Taekwondo awareness and interest are about to go to the next level in the UAE following the opening of the first ever specialised Taekwondo facility. This is one of the initiatives in the UAE to promote the sport in the country. If the interest garnered by the opening of the facility is anything to go by, exciting times lie ahead for UAE Taekwondo.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that has been around for over 1,000 years. It is one of the martial arts that have been round for the longest time. Over the years, Taekwondo has remained largely the same. It is similar to Karate in some ways. The main difference is that in Taekwondo, the main emphasis is on kicking techniques. As your skill level grows and you rise up the ranks, you get different belts as awards. The black belt is the highest level that one can reach.
The UAE becomes only the 12th country globally to have a WTTU-represented Taekwondo club. WTTU stands for World Taekwondo Taedoo Union. The Union has been in place since 2009. Kang Shinchul, the great Grand Master, who was behind the formation of the WTTU who lives in South Korea, visited Dubai for the opening of the club.
Grand Master Shinchul also appointed Master John Randall, who is his student, to be the president of the WTTU UAE. The first training centre will be opened in May. It will be situated at Damac Park Towers.
GM Shinchul spoke about how he had first heard of UAE Taekwondo. He said that it was the World Taekwondo Federation President, Dr Choue Chung-won who had brought it to his attention. He also expressed his delight at overseeing the opening of a new WTTU member country, adding that he had enjoyed the experience and would visit occasionally to see how UAE Taekwondo was progressing.
Other places visited by GM Shinchul were Fujairah and Sharjah. In addition to performing different Taekwondo forms, he also took photographs of various landmarks. His appearance at the Sharjah Waterfront saw a large turnout of Taekwondo players who had gathered there just to catch a glimpse of the grand master. And they were not disappointed as he mesmerised them with several Taekwondo moves.
With the new club in Dubai, WTTU hopes that it will mark the beginning of the promotion of traditional Taekwondo in the UAE. Grandmaster Zeyad Abu Zahieh from UAE, who also accompanied Shinchul during the opening, said the new club would focus more on traditional techniques and adhere to the teachings of Grand Master Shinchul.
He also added that members of the club would learn Taekwondo in its purest Korean form, under the guidance of master Grant, who becomes the first instructor in the UAE to be certified by GM Shinchul. Master Zeyad said he would be supporting master Grant as a technical committee member of the Kukkiwon Advisory Committee.
Grant, on his part, acknowledged that Taekwondo was still a developing art in the country saying he hoped that he would play a role in helping the UAE to become one of the leading countries in world Taekwondo.
How much can be achieved by Taekwondo UAE after this opening? Only time will tell.