On 24 February 2015 Kukkiwon published a letter to taekwondo masters announcing a significant revision to the dan promotion process. The letter proved to be controversial for two reasons.

First controversy - Initially the letter appeared to state that:

  1. Starting in March 2016, current masters and grandmasters would no longer be able to promote students past 2nd dan; i.e., a promotion panel would be needed instead. Important note: this belief now appears to be somewhat incorrect (see below).
  2. Starting in March 2016, current masters and grandmasters must attend a special Kukkiwon-sponsored Examiner's Course in order to be able to promote students past 2nd dan. (This is true.)

The second clause above is controversial because many senior masters and grandmasters have been promoting students literally for decades -- this second clause implies that perhaps they have been doing this poorly.

The first clause is apparently not true. If a master or grandmaster is promoting one of his own students in his own school, he can do that individually -- as long as he's attended the Examiner's Course. The first clause applies only to students who try to test under somebody other than their own master. In other words, some students will "shop around" to find "easy masters" at other schools who will promote them; the first clause is intended to put an end to that practice. If you test under somebody other than your own master, it must be done in front of a panel of masters. In terms of enforcement however, there's a bit of an "honor system" about this: the Kukkiwon is expecting trained Examiners to be honest about when somebody is their student or not.

Second controversy - A second intent of the Kukkiwon announcement was to establish a more "federated" approach to certificate issuance, with each country having a governing body that represents Kukkiwon in that country. In the U.S., the designated body is the World Taekwondo Masters Union (WTMU); a second controversial aspect of the Kukkiwon letter is that the selection of these bodies was not performed transparently (in other words, other organizations were not offered the opportunity to make their case for being selected as their country's representative body).

On 7 October 2015 a letter was published in response to the Kukkiwon letter, a response authored by leading taekwondo figures in the U.S. The letter enumerated several objections to the new Kukkiwon process. The U.S. letter objects to (a) the lack of transparency in the Kukkiwon process, (b) the requirement for additional examiner training, and (c) special dan promotions. The letter was signed by:

On 24 October 2015, a letter from the WTMU (going under the name "Kukkiwon America") to schools in the U.S. described how WTMU plans to implement the new Kukkiwon process in the U.S. specifically.

On 28 October 2015, an additional letter from Bruce Harris (of USA Taekwondo) to "Kukkiwon America" (WTMU) was posted to the taekwondo subreddit. This letter likewise enumerates several objections to the new Kukkiwon process: Examiner Certification is onerous in geographically dispersed countries like the U.S., and the selection of WTMU was not transparent.

In July 2016, USA Taekwondo announced the new U.S. National Dan Program, which is seen as being the USAT response to the Kukkiwon dan promotion changes. This new program enables USAT -- in partnership with USTGS -- to issue its own dan certificates, and thereby bypass the Kukkiwon process for U.S. national competitions.


Starting in January 2016, a similar exchanged played out in Australia (see below). The concerns again were the same: examiner panels, and the lack of transparency in selecting a national representative for Kukkiwon.

Kukkiwon Letter - February 2015Edit

Online reference:
Note: the acronym MNA refers to Member National Association

Dear Mr. President of MNA and KUKKIWON Masters:

I would like to thank you for your hard and committed work to develop Taekwondo. KUKKIWON is committed to improving the pride of the Taekwondo family by strengthening the role and function as the World Taekwondo Headquarters.

KUKKIWON plan to push forward an International Policy Project to promote Kukkiwon target business, including the Kukkiwon Poom·Dan Promotion test, and vitalize the martial art Taekwondo to enhance business ability and build an international organization. We kindly ask your full cooperation on this matter.

Policy ProjectEdit

  • Establish the Kukkiwon Branch or Division
  • Formulate the Kukkiwon Taekwondo Poom·Dan Promotion Test system
  • Build an Education & Training system by characteristics of each country
  • Increase the support of Regional & National martial art Taekwondo competition
  • Build the Kukkiwon Global Network

Policy Project Ⅰ - Establish the Kukkiwon Branch or DivisionEdit

  • Purpose : In order to vitalize the Kukkiwon Business through building the overseas organization based
  • Direction: Promote to install the Kukkiwon branch or Division depending on national circumstances.

1) Kukkiwon Branch - The Kukkiwon plan to set up one branch for each nation. The Kukkiwon can directly establish the overseas corporation or approve a MNA or local subsidiary as the Kukkiwon branch.

2) Kukkiwon Division - The Kukkiwon plan to install the Kukkiwon Division, as a pre-stage for establishing the Kukkiwon Branch, to carry out the Kukkiwon target business, including Kukkiwon Poom·Dan Promotion Test through an agreement with the national association or Taekwondo organization.

  • Start from March. 2015

Policy Project Ⅱ - Formulate the Kukkiwon Taekwondo Poom·Dan Promotion Test SystemEdit

  • Purpose : In order to vitalize the Kukkiwon Poom·Dan Promotion Test project and improve the value of Poom·Dan certificates through formulating Taekwondo Poom·Dan Promotion Test system.
  • Direction: Plan to move forward step by step to stabilize the Kukkiwon target business, including Taekwondo Poom·Dan Promotion Test.
  1. Adjustment of delegated authority for Poom·Dan Promotion Test. - The current Poom·Dan Promotion Test delegated authority will be deferred by ‘15.06.30. Likewise, the Kukkiwon will delegate the authority from the 3rd to 7th Dan promotion test to the appointed National Associations OR Organizations which established the Kukkiwon Branch/Division, or which signed the MOU with the Kukkiwon since 2015.07.01.
  2. Adjustment of Poom·Dan Promotion Test fee. - The Poom·Dan Promotion Test fee will be changed from GDP basis to GNI basis, and it will be divided into 3 levels starting at 2016. Jan.

Regional Promotion Test registration feeEdit

Poom-Dan Promotion Test Fee
Region Rate 1 poom-dan 2 poom-dan 3 poom-dan 4 poom-dan 5 poom-dan 6 poom-dan 7 poom-dan
Region 1 100% 70 90 120 150 300 350 450
Region 2 80% 50 70 90 120 240 280 360
Region 3 60% 30 50 70 90 180 210 270
  • Start from year 2016

Policy Project Ⅲ - Build an education/training system by characteristics of each countryEdit

  • Purpose : In order to vitalize the Kukkiwon target business by expanding Education & Training through building the education/training system.
  • Direction: Plan to invigorate overseas Do-Jangs and improve ability for masters through mitigation of qualification for Foreign trainees and customized training.

1) Mitigation of qualification for overseas training

Classification Hanmadang Referee Promotion Examiner Instructor Course
Qualification standard 5th Dan and above 4th Dan and above Pre-Master Above 2nd Dan
Qualification Above 4th Dan
Cost $200 $300 Pre-Master $200
Qualification $250
Training Period 3 days 3 days 5 days
Training Candidates Masters to participate in the Kukkiwon events (Poom-Dan promotion test / Hanmadang competition / Kukkiwon seminars), National Asso/Organizations to organize Kukkiwon competitions and business

2) Customized training by countries

  • Poomsae/Demonstration/Self-Defense Training according to national characteristics. - Do-Jang Management seminar to vitalize the Do-Jang in overseas.
  • Start from March. 2015

Policy Project Ⅳ - Increase the support of Regional & National KUKKIWON Taekwondo competitionEdit

  • Purpose : In order to vitalize the martial art Taekwondo through standardize the existing martial art competitions and promote to the World Taekwondo Headquarters, Kukkiwon competition
  • Direction: Settle the Kukkiwon Martial art Taekwondo competition by distributing the competition manual and expand the support.

1) Distribution of the existing martial art Taekwondo competition manual - Kukkiwon Cup/ Taekwondo Hanmadang competition manual development and dissemination

2) Support martial art Taekwondo competition

  • Administration and goods/financial support in accordance with the approval of the Kukkiwon competition.
  • Taekwondo Hanmadang competition : support US$50,000~$100,000 depending on the scale of Regional/national competition.
  • Kukkiwon Cup competition : support US$5,000~$50,000 depending on the scale of national competition Kukkiwon since 2015.07.01.
  • Start from March. 2015

Policy Project Ⅴ - Build the Kukkiwon global networkEdit

  • Purpose : Plan to invigorate the Kukkiwon network and business through building the overseas organization based.
  • Direction: Build the Kukkiwon Global Network by field

1) KGN categories

Categories Title Member
KGN-1 Leaders Member Chairman of KUKKIWON (Branch headquarter)

President of KUKKIWON (Branch office)
President of (National Association)

KGN-2 Committee Promotion Test Committee Masters Committee

Referee Committee
Special Advisory Committee Dispatching Master Committee

KGN-3 Group Pre-Masters Group

KMS Group

2) KGN formation method

  • Kukkiwon Branch and Division installed country
    • Each country form the committee(include Chairman, Vice Chairman) and request to the Kukkiwon to register and appoint.
  • Kukkiwon Branch and Division uninstalled country
    • Form a committee for each continent/region and request to the Kukkiwon to register and appoint.

3) KGN support contents

Title Category Contents
KGN(KukkiwonGlobalNetwork) Common service Appointment Certificate, Badge, Business card, Provide News-letter, Participate a seminar each yaer Pick-up service at the airport
Individual service Provide Accomodation, Special Invitation
  • Start from March. 2015
  • Please contact the International Business Team for more information. Thank you for your positive cooperation in advance.
  • 2015 . February. 24.

U.S. response - October 2015 Edit

Online reference:

October 7, 2015

Mr. JEONG, Man Soon

Mr. HONG, Moo Jong
Chairman of the Board,

Mr. KIM, Jong Duck
Minister of Korean Sports Culture and Tourism

Mr. KIM, Chong
Deputy Minister of Korean Sports
Culture and Tourism

Dear Sirs:

As leaders of several independent and separate Taekwondo organizations in the United States of America, we are writing to you to express our deep concern regarding the manner in which Kukkiwon in choosing to proceed internationally, specifically in a couple of areas that we will discuss shortly.

We begin by saying that we fully support Kukkiwon as the World Taekwondo Headquarters, and we have been supporters of Kukkiwon over the past 40 years. The idea of Kukkiwon being viewed as the Mecca of Taekwondo for Taekwondo practitioners globally is a positive idea that we support and help to perpetuate. The globalization of Taekwondo and the success that Taekwondo enjoys in over 200 countries is directly attributable to the outst anding job that Kukkiwon and the World Taekwondo Federation have done in exporting the Korean Martial Art and Sport to the international community, and in gaining success all over the world. The Kukkiwon Dan Certificate is an unquestioned document that has great value and meaning to those who possess a Kukkiwon Certificate because it represents the ideals and tenets of Taekwondo. More importantly, the Kukkiwon Dan Certificate is embraced all over the world as the standard of excellence in Taekwondo training as a martial art.

Transparency and Fairness Edit

Our concern exists because of the recent actions on the part of Kukkiwon to do the following:

Kukkiwon engaged individuals in several countries and enteredinto a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with those individuals without having an open and transparent process for selecting those individuals. This is true in the case of the United States of America. Further, Kukkiwon did not honor existing agreements with individuals that were selected througha fair and transparent process in the past. One organization with an MOU uses the name “Kukkiwon America”, which demonstrates the personalnature under which the Kukkiwon is conducting business. Actions like this destroy the credibility of Kukkiwon and cause concerns that Kukkiwon is prone to acting in a whimsical manner, one that suits only the needs of Kukkiwon. This does not cause Taekwondo leaders to continue to cling to the belief that Kukkiwon will adhere to the tenets of Taekwondo that it expresses to the world, nor does Kukkiwon act in a manner that allows for global practitioners to trust Kukkiwon at its word. Transparency in business dealings should be at the forefront of all business dealings, especially from an organization that puts itself as the World Taekwondo Headquarters. All members should feel that they are being treated fairly, and that any agreement entered into with Kukkiwon will be honored. This is not what has happened with the awarding of MOUs to individuals in the USA without an open and fair selection process.

Opposition to Kukkiwon’s Regional Poom/Dan Promotion Examiners Training and Certification Course Edit

In addition, the new requirement to attend a Kukkiwon Examiner Seminar in order to be certified to test individuals for Kukkiwon Dan Certification is a travesty that flies in the face of all that Kukkiwon has done in the past, and all that its Dan Certificates stand for. In the past, a Taekwondo Master could test and promote students and process black belt certification through Kukkiwon. Now, this privilege is being given to only a chosen few who have a relationship with an organization who has an MOU gained unfairly with the Kukkiwon. This shows great disrespect to all the Senior Grand Master who have sacrificed their entire lives promoting and growing Kukkiwon Taekwondo in the USA.

From a dojang owner perspective, for a Black Belt student to have to attend a Regional Promotion Exam does not make any sense for many reasons:

  1. There is a special bond between Grandmaster/Master and Student. If the student is required to attend a promotion exam that is not administered by his or her Grandmaster/Master it does not strengthen this very important bond.
  2. Geographically, the USA is a very large country. By requiring students to attend a regional exam, travel expenses will increase significantly (airfare/gas, room and board). This will also inhibit the students to be able to celebrate their achievements with their family and friends who would normally be in attendance to support.
  3. From a curriculum standpoint, many Grandmasters and Masters have developed a testing procedure that is carried out over a period of time (days, sometimes weeks). To hold a reginal exam that will only take a couple of hours will cheapen the value of the promotion.
  4. If Masters and Grandmasters are not allowed to test their own students as this Regional Dan/Poom Testing will create, relationships will become strained and uncomfortable between area Masters and school owners.
  5. Kukkiwon needs to understand that in the United States, all Taekwondo students come from private dojangs. Without support for the dojangs and their owners, the Kukkiwon will not survive.

These are just some of the reasons why us and many Masters and Taekwondo School Owners in the Unites States are in agreement with American Taekwondo United’s letter that was distributed stating their opposition to this Regional Dan/Poom Test, and must stop immediately to prevent irreversible damage to the Kukkiwon’s already declining reputation.

Opposition to Kukkiwon’s Special Dan Test Edit

Recently, a trend has been developing in the Kukkiwon organization of offering “Special Dan Testing” in countries. These Special Dan Tests have served only to infuriate Taekwondo practitioners that have adhered to the process of being loyal to their instructors and by going through those instructors for Kukkiwon Dan testing. Suddenly, lower level Taekwondo students have been elevated far beyond the one rank Skip Dan that is a part of Kukkiwon’s standard procedures. It has not been uncommon for persons to go from 1st or 2nd Dan to 6th Dan certification by Kukkiwon. In many cases these persons have not continued to study or to practice the martial art of Taekwondo for many years. Nonetheless, they are allowed to achieve certification of Dan rank that is equal to that of Taekwondo students that have loyally and faithfully continued to study and to practice Taekwondo with their instructor.

Kukkiwon Special Dan Tests were held in the United States in 2009 in Las Vegas and 2013 in Chicago. Per Kukkiwon rules and regulations, a black belt is allowed to skip from 1st Dan to 3rd Dan if they meet all the requirements. However, because many students were skipped from 1st Dan to 6th or 7th Dan, it angered many Taekwondo Masters and Grandmasters in the United States. A petition was circulated that requested an explanation from the Kukkiwon, but no clear answer was given. These Special Dan Test created the sentiment of “Give Kukkiwon money and buy your promotion” throughout the Taekwondo community. Only 1,000 out of 40,000 dojang are using Kukkiwon Dan Certification. It is becoming clear why only 2.5% of dojang choose to use Kukkiwon Certification. Because of this low participation number, we must work together to improve the perception and show the honor and prestige of receiving a Kukkiwon Dan Certification. Perhaps Special Dan Testing is necessary in some situations, however not much was gained from the previous two Special Dan Tests in the United States. However, reputation was lost and the value of a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate was diminished. Therefore, distrust with the Kukkiwon has grown and many are questioning the need for Kukkiwon Certification for their Black Belts. Some countries are already using their own Dan certification. If Kukkiwon de-values its own Dan Certification program, perhaps in the future, all 200 countries will abandon the Kukkiwon’s Dan Certification and instead issue its own Dan Certification and Kukkiwon will only be the Official Certification for Korea.

Practitioners in the Taekwondo community are well aware of those who attend a Special Dan Test and who successfully get certified by Kukkiwon at a level well beyond their years of Taekwondo experience, and this causes complete mistrust of the Kukkiwon certification process and also what the Kukkiwon Dan Certificate actually represents. Those who have studied and trained for many years in order to meet requirements for promotion that have always been the standard for Kukkiwon Dan Certification, are offended by those allowed to skip from a novice level of certification to that of a senior Master level. While this may serve as a good source of income for Kukkiwon, it also greatly dishonors all that Kukkiwon stands for. Integrity of the organization is questioned and the appearance of representing all that is good about Taekwondo is severely tarnished. Therefore, it our strong recommendation that the Special Dan Testing is also stopped immediately until the opportunity to discuss further to determine if it is in the best interest for the Kukkiwon and United States to proceed.

Minister of Korean Sports Culture and Tourism Edit

From the Taekwondo Promotion Act, the Kukkiwon falls under the Korean Minister of Sports Culture and Tourism. It is the Minister’s obligation to supervise and oversee the actions of the Kukkiwon. If the Kukkiwon is fulfilling it’s mission then the Minister does not have to do anything. We respectfully request that the Minister continue to review the actions of the Kukkiwon to ensure it is in the best interest for the Kukkiwon, Korea, and Taekwondo worldwide.

As leaders of Taekwondo organizations in the United States of America, we stand united in disapproving of the actions that are listed above. It is our sincere hope that Kukkiwon revisit these actions and see the value in ceasing these activities immediately. The reputation of Kukkiwon is at stake, a reputation that has been built over a number of decades. All of this could be destroyed should Taekwondo leaders and practitioners no longer view Kukkiwon with the high ideals that have kept Kukkiwon and its Dan Certificates in such high demand. Recognition of the Kukkiwon Dan Certificate as the Standard of Certification for Taekwondo Black Belts globally is sure to diminish rapidly and to disappear. National Dan Certification is already replacing Kukkiwon as the national standard in several countries. This trend is likely to grow and to continue until Kukkiwon loses its global standing as the Taekwondo industry standard. We do not want that to happen. Kukkiwon must modify its behavior immediately in order to maintain its standing as the World Taekwondo Headquarters, with certification that is globally recognized as the industry standard. Our hope is that the Kukkiwon works together with the global Taekwondo community to determine what is best for the Kukkiwon as well as its members. Thank you for your consideration, and we respectfully request a reply to this letter by October 18, 2015.

Respectfully Submitted:

U.S. Taekwondo Grandmasters’ Society
John Choi, Secretary General

U.S. Taekwondo Committee
Doug Fuechsel, Executive Director

USA Taekwondo
Bruce Harris, Secretary General

U.S. Taekwondo Grandmaster Society

  • Formed 2003 in Los Angeles, CA with 8th/9th Dan Grandmasters
  • Members include all founding Grandmaster in USA (over 200 members)
  • Supported and attended by Taekwondo Promotional Foundation since inception
  • Over the last 14 years, created Hall Of Fame to recognize what Grandmasters did for the Taekwondo movement in USA and throughout the world.
  • President: Jin Song Chung

U.S. Taekwondo Committee

  • Formed in 2007 to maintain Martial Arts spirit for Taekwondo in the USA
  • Hosted 2008 World Taekwondo Hanmadang in Los Angeles, CA - the 1st time it was held outside of Korea
  • Hosts the US Open Taekwondo Hanmadang since 2009 to promote Kukkiwon’s World Taekwondo Hanmadang in USA
  • 2009 – 2010 Conducted Kukkiwon License Seminars, Referee Seminars and Poomsae Seminars
  • President: Sang Chul Lee

USA Taekwondo

  • National Governing Body of Sports Taekwondo under the US Olympic Committee
  • Secretary General: Bruce Harris

Letter from WTMU to U.S. Schools - October 24 Edit

'Online reference:



1. With the authority and responsibility to maintain "global standards," the Kukkiwon is implementing regulations in the U.S. that are already successfully established in Korea and other countries.

2. The Kukkiwon policy does not change anything for the individuals testing for 1st and 2nd Dans. Individuals testing for 3rd through 7th Dans will need to be tested by a licensed Kukkiwon Test Examiner.

3. Masters and Grandmasters who want to certify their own students should know current Kukkiwon standards by becoming licensed Kukkiwon Test Examiners. They can then promote their own students at their own location and with their own schedule.

4. Regional Panels of Test Examiners will be set up in each state and will only need to be responsible for their own state.

5. The Kukkiwon has a very clear picture of dojang operations worldwide, and as a "base" for examinations, the Kukkiwon standard was created as a minimum and allow instructors to include their personal material.

6. Testing is supposed to be an "Examination," where the student is tested on the required material as articulated in the Kukkiwon rules. Those conducting the examination need to have command of the testing material and be trained in how to score the different elements of the examination, in order to render a fair and qualified opinion on the student's ability to meet a "specified" standard during the examination. Testing is not a "demonstration"; it is an examination. Testing is about the "student," not the audience.

7. The organization that was given the lead five years ago to assist the Kukkiwon with the regulations not only failed in their attempts, but their actions have delayed the standardization in the U.S., and they are now working to discredit the Kukkiwon.

8. To retain some semblance of order and presence for the Kukkiwon practitioners in America, MOU organizations were selected and were given the same opportunity, as was given to the WTMU, to assist in establishing the standards. Only the WTMU has fully invested the time, effort, and its resources, into helping the Kukkiwon here in America.

9. Bringing high standards and respect to Taekwondo, the Kukkiwon will continue to execute their federated strategy and regionalized examination panels with an inclusive mindset, so all Taekwondo practitioners in America have access to the Kukkiwon.

10. The Kukkiwon urges all Taekwondo masters to come into compliance with existing policies of the Kukkiwon. Active resistance to adopting the Kukkiwon test policies will not be tolerated.

KH Kim, 9th Dan Kukkiwon
World Taekwondo Masters Union

Bruce Harris response - October 2015 Edit

Online reference:

USA Taekwondo respectfully disagrees with statements made public by Kukkiwon America. We also disagree with the direction in which Kukkiwon is moving. Please read our concerns and opinions on the matter of Kukkiwon initiating Kukkiwon Examiner Seminars in the United States of America.

Even though Kukkiwon has the authority and responsibility for developing and maintaining global standards, the United States of America is different in many ways than Korea and other countries in which they may be implementing Examiner Seminars for certification. For example: currently, in Korea, the only requirement for Black Belts to promote to a higher rank is to perform the following:

  • Designated Kukkiwon Poomsae for rank advancement
  • Random Kukkiwon Poomsae previously learned
  • Free Sparring
  • Thesis

Therefore, although this is how Black Belt promotion testing is done in Korea, this is not the way that Taekwondo Masters test and promote their Black Belt students in the USA. This new Kukkiwon Policy would make drastic changes for those who are currently Kukkiwon-certified 4th Dan Masters and higher. They would no longer be able to test their students past the 1st and 2nd Dan level. To test them to a higher Dan rank would require that they attend a Kukkiwon Examiner Certification Course, investing money for travel, time away from their Dojang, and also the cost of attending the seminar. Unlike Korea, the United States of America is a vast geographical area and, as such, it would require residents of the USA to travel distances that are vastly further than the geographical region of Korea.

The Kukkiwon Policy heretofore has allowed Kukkiwon-certified 4th Dan and higher to test If it is a matter of Kukkiwon attempting to standardize its test and promotion standards, then their students up to one level below the current rank of that Instructor. This would no longer be the case. Being able to promote one’s students is one of the major attractions for getting a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate. No longer being able to do that with current Kukkiwon Dan certification will greatly diminish the attractiveness of a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate, and it will dilute the value of a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate.

Kukkiwon should publish those test/promotion standards and distribute them to its Kukkiwon-certified 4th Dan and higher members, rather than require that they attend an Examiners Certification Course.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Program that was established by Kukkiwon that resulted in the selection of WMTU/Kukkiwon America was a flawed process. Kukkiwon did not offer an open and transparent selection process. By what criteria was WMTU/Kukkiwon America selected to represent Kukkiwon in the USA? What is their authority? Are they the sole agent of Kukkiwon in the United States of America?

Kukkiwon America ( states:

“The Kukkiwon urges all Taekwondo masters to come into compliance with existing policies of the Kukkiwon. Active resistance to adopting the Kukkiwon test policies will not be tolerated.” In Korea, all dojang owners must be certified and obtain a license to operate a dojang business. Obtaining Kukkiwon Black Belt certification in America is a choice every dojang owner chooses to make. There is no obligation for any dojang to use Kukkiwon Black Belt certification, or to have a license to operate a dojang. Therefore the statement “Active resistance to adopting the Kukkiwon test policies will not be tolerated” seems to be a very threatening and misleading statement under which Kukkiwon America may have no authority. The conduct of Regional Seminars does not provide for all Kukkiwon Instructors in America to have access to Kukkiwon and to promote their students without an additional investment in time and money, above and beyond the original agreement and policy of Kukkiwon. Why is the Member National Association (USA Taekwondo) not included in this policy change? Until now, USA Taekwondo has fully supported Kukkiwon by adding a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate as a requirement to participate in its National Events. This new policy may lead to a drastic change in the USAT policy that may result in no longer recognizing a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate for those who choose to participate in USAT National Events. The USA Taekwondo Dan Certificate may become the standard for participation in all USAT National Events.

The Kukkiwon Dan Certificate has been the global standard for the past forty years. Perhaps it is time for that to change. National Dan Certification is the right of each sovereign country, without being required to show allegiance to a foreign entity such as Kukkiwon.

Internationally, it may be time for all countries to fight back against such drastic changes such as this on the part of Kukkiwon. Countries, in the past, have chosen to recognize the Kukkiwon Dan Certificate as a valued commodity. Perhaps that will change with new policies such as this from Kukkiwon. Kukkiwon should reevaluate its position in regards to having Kukkiwon Dan holders be required to take an Examiners’ Seminar in order to be able to promote their students beyond 1st or 2nd Dan in the future.

Bruce Harris
USA Taekwondo

Letter from T4U-Kukkiwon Australia - January 2016Edit

Note: STAL is Sport Taekwondo Australia, Limited; probably more commonly known by their logo, STA.

Happy New Year

I wish Taekwondo family all the best for 2016.

As many of you may have heard, a MOU was signed with Kukkiwon in 2015 and since then T4U-Kukkiwon Australia hhas been negotiating with STAL and other organizations to commence Kukkiwon projects within Australia. These projects include Dan examiner course, instructor course and seminars, and Kukkiwon Australia Hanmadang competitions.

T4U-Kukkiwon Australia which was formed from three separate organizations, is a non-profit organization that is open to everyone who shares the aims of Kukkiwon, without the need to pay a joining fee to become a member. Therefore, T4U-Kukkiwon Australia promises to continue its efforts to maintain a good rapport with STAL and all other organisations in Australia.

T4U-Kukkiwon Australia aims to establish a standard of systematic assessment through offering a Dan examiner course to all the members of Taekwondo in Australia. It will allow enough time to ensure that members have the qualifications to conduct Dan assessments, in order to minimise friction beteen existing Dan assessment authorities.

T4U-Kukkiwon Australia will provide Hanmadang events, management, and promotion, and Hanmadang referees for Poomsae, Sparring, and board breaking. T4U-Kukkiwon Australia will also provide education and seminars for coaches and Dan promotion test examiners, as well as management support, Grand Master education and seminars, and demonstrations.

Of course, the establishment of systematic Commitee and appointment of a State Branch Manager will be essential. In future, those who register with Kukkiwon will be issued with registration certificates and plaques, Kukkiwon flag and, in some cases, grants.

T4U-Kukkiwon Australia is now in a position to call for expressions of interest from you to assist on the Committees. We are calling for expressions of interest for the committees listed below.

Kyorugi Referee Kyorugi Coaching Board breaking Judges
Poomsae Judges Poomsae Coaching Demonstration Team
Events  Management Grand Masters Advisory
State Branch Manager

I appreciate your interest and support in future activities of T4U-Kukkiwon Australia. If you would like to participate in the COMMITEE for have any inquiries, please send an email to

Best regards,
T4U-Kukkiwon Australia

Letter from Australian Community to T4U-Kukkiwon Australia - January 2016Edit


To: Mansoon Jeong, Kukkiwon President and Chulwung Park, Deputy Section Chief, International Business Team

Gentlemen, after being a very loyal supporter of the Kukkiwon for some 40 years I must say that I'm very disappointed in your decision to appoint 3 Australian Instructor as Kukkiwon representatives to conduct Dan Gradings here in Australia.

As an 8th Dan Kukkiwon certified Grand Master Instructor I believe I have the right to grade my own students.

Were do you get the right to tell me I should now surrender that right to grade my own students to Dan levels up to 7th Dan to 3 Australian Instructor who are competitors to a number of current Australian clubs including my own Koryo TKD Centre which was established since 1976.

I believe that STAL should be the only Australian organisation authorised to apply for Kukkiwon Certificates here in Australia.

Currently all my students receive Kukkiwon Certificates when they past a Dan Grading, however, if you go ahead with this action I'm prepared to no longer support the Kukkiwon which will not effect some 95% of my students.

As an 8th Dan Jidokwan Instructor I will supply my Black Belt students with a Jidokwon Certificate if the Kukkiwon go ahead and remove my right to grade my own students.

You would also be aware that Taekwondo in Australia is just starting to move forward under the STAL banner, so why would the Kukkiwon now wish to cause additional problems for our National Body.

Please reconsider your decision so that our Australian Taekwondo Family can continue to move forward towards a bright future.


8th Dan Kukkiwon Grand Master Instructor
Number 05003575
Russell Wood

Park Chulwung
Chulwung Park, Deputy Section Chief, International Business Team

Mansoon Jeong, Kukkiwon President

Response from T4U-Kukkiwon Australia - 27 January 2016Edit

  • Note: STAL is Sport Taekwondo Australia, Limited; probably more commonly known by their logo, STA.
  • AOC is the Australian Olympic Committee
  • ASC is the Australian Sports Commission

Dear John Walk and Board Members,

Kukkiwon is a World Taekwondo Headquarters. As a result of our love for the support, we have readily offered our services to the cause, and Kukkiwon has accepted the offer for a partnership. Kukkiwon firmly believes this is in the interest of the community, and is willing to form partnerships with any organization who share the same vision.

The Kukkiwon project has no obligation to obtain permission from WTF, AOC, or ASC. Therefore, for the progression of Australian Taekwondo, we aim to commence the project. 

  1. The MOU exists to serve Australia, and not specifically STAL.
  2. Master Hong has not signed on behalf of STAL. Rather he has signed on behalf of T4U, the organization selected by Kukkiwon to be their partner.
  3. We respect that the ASC acknowledges STAL, but Kukkiwon Australia is an independent organization appointed by Kukkiwon in order to carry out their services.

For the past year, there has been numerous instancese of communication with STAL representatives in order to implement Kukkiwon plans. However, with their limited experience regarding Taekwondo, it remained difficulty to explain the concepts. Same explanations were provided multiple times, and these communications disputes have delayed plans made by Kukkiwon. 

T4U operations can commenct without approval by STAL, but it is our wish to collaborate and discuss with STAL in order to promote unity and advancement within the Australian Taekwondo scene. Thus we would appreciate if STAL could select a date with a representative to hold a meeting with Kukkiwon Australia. 

We have no interest in politics; we exist to support and promote the advancement of Taekwondo in Australia. 

I hope to be in contact with you again soon.

Yours sincerely,
Tae Ho Uhm
Secretary General

See Also Edit

Other References Edit