Before engaging athletic bodies at the upcoming 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships, the World Taekwondo Federation first engaged intellectual minds as it kicked off a two-day academic seminar.
The 5th International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies got underway at South Ural State University in the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk under the title “Leading Toward Taekwondo Excellence.”
“I am very proud to say that the WTF is the only international federation having this kind of academic symposium together with its World Championships,” said WTF President Chungwon Choue in his opening remarks during the opening ceremony of the symposium. He added that the academic studies the symposium represents would lead to “further development of the sport.”
The first International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies took place in 2007 in Beijing, China on the occasion of the 2007 World Taekwondo Championships. The WFF hosted the 2nd symposium in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the third and fourth ones in 2011 in Gyeongju, Korea, and in 2013 in Puebla, Mexico, respectively.
Korean Vice Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Chong praised the WTF-sponsored International Association for Taekwondo Research, or IATR, which organized the symposium, and announced that the Korean government would “… continuously take interest in the association’s activities and pledge financial support.”
“Thank you for the support,” responded John Johnson, a Korea-based American taekwondo scholar who acted as the IATR’s master of ceremonies. “Because of you, the IATR has a very bright future.”
The 2015 symposium, arranged for the IATR under the aegis of an organizing committee presided over by Evgeniv Orekhov, rector of Ural State University of Physical Culture, runs over May 9 and May 10. Subsequently, the 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships begin in Chelyabinsk on May 12, ending on May 18.
The symposium features presentations from 40 academics hailing from nations as disparate and distant as Russia, South Africa, Korea and the United States.
The 26 academic papers to be presented are divided into two categories: natural science and social science. Papers in natural science discuss such areas as injury prevention, recovery, warm ups, dietary supplementation and genetics. Social science papers cover disciplines, including history, philosophy and psychology.
There will also be 18 poster presentations, covering themes ranging from poomsae and personal teaching methodologies to taekwondo Olympic medalist profiles and analyses of counter-attack reaction time.
In the symposium’s first keynote speech, Orekhov argued for the development of a consistent international educational context for taekwondo athletes. In the second keynote, fellow Russian Maksim Karpov made the case for taekwondo as a vehicle to inculcate desirable spiritual and moral characteristics in youth. And in the third, American James Jones compared taekwondo athletes to various animals in their performance of physical activities, using examples from the natural world, including polar bears, lizards and squirrels.
The IATR was created in 2013.. It published its first journal in 2014. After the 2015 symposium concludes, the delivered papers will be collected and published.
Vice Minister Kim noted that the association’s journal, which was first published in 2014, was “very meaningful” as “… worldwide scholars can exchange research results.”