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International Taekwon-Do is fighting fit in NZ


International Taekwon-Do is fighting fit in New Zealand

The Sunday Star Times published an article on 21 October 2001 stating "Feud kicking their art goodbye: Infighting has splintered New Zealand taekwondo and is costing it international recognition". This article claimed "It is a sport where insiders are questioning whether they should even encourage young people to join because they know, if they are good, they will be buffered by the politics."

However, this article was about World taekwondo. International Taekwon-Do is very strong in New Zealand, and has a very strong relationship with the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). The two styles of Taekwon-Do are as different as rugby league and rugby. While the New Zealand Taekwondo Federation and the Taekwondo Union of New Zealand are having difficulty resolving their differences, everything is running smoothly in the International Taekwon-Do Foundation of New Zealand (ITFNZ Taekwon-Do).

The article made further errors. First, ITFNZ Taekwon-Do is a founding member of the Taekwon-Do Council of New Zealand (TCNZ) referred to in the article. It has no intention of backing away from the council. The combined body was a requirement set by the Hillary Commission for funding, and ITFNZ Taekwon-Do will not be turning away from the government grants it has sought for some time.

Secondly, the article called ITF a "non-Olympic version of taekwondo". This is wrong. ITFNZ Taekwon-Do are also involved in TCNZ so ITFNZ Taekwon-Do athletes will be able to represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games, albeit under World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) tournament rules. Further, ITF was formed on 22 March 1966 with 9 member countries. WTF was formed at the behest of the South Korean government in 1973 to rival the ITF. So ITF Taekwon-Do is not a "version" of WTF taekwondo.

WTF taekwondo is a martial art focussed on sport. Its tournaments contain the free sparring event seen in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. It is well suited to athletes who are interested in the sport of martial arts. ITF Taekwon-Do is an holistic martial art. It has a sport aspect: regular local tournaments and biennial World Championships consist of four events of free sparring, patterns, power breaking and special techniques. It is equally concerned with self defence, art and personal development. It is well suited to people who want a martial art, self defence and a sport.

Other differences between the two arts include, ITF Taekwon-Do is often considered more technical; the two arts practice very different sets of patterns. WTF taekwondo has ten degrees of black belt; Grandmaster Lee is 9th dan; ITF Taekwon-Do has only 9 degrees of black belt, and the founder of the art, General Choi Hong Hi, is one of a handful in the world. ITF Taekwon-Do is definitively codified, with regularly updated versions of 15 volume and one volume condensed encyclopaediae.

ITFNZ Taekwon-Do have over 50 clubs nation wide. The first club was established in Palmerston North in 1970 by its current President, Norman Ng. It is New Zealand's national governing body for the ITF, which is represented in 120 countries.

For further information about ITF Taekwon-Do or ITFNZ Taekwon-Do, please call me on 021 398 608. Further information can also be found at or

We regret having to make this press statement, but we are forced to do so by the error of the Sunday Star Times. We would be grateful if you would see fit to publish an article to correct the error, which is unjustifiably hurtful to International Taekwon-Do.

Mark Banicevich
Director of Marketing
International Taekwon-Do Foundation of New Zealand
Telephone 021 398 608

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