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Palace Taekwondo Program print


"Yap! Taekwondo!"
Loud voices resound through the front yard of the usually quiet Sungjeongjeon (숭정전). A group of 17 foreigners dressed in white uniforms stand facing their Taekwondo master at the site of the Taekwondo Experiential Program (organized by Seoul City for international tourists).

Participants hail from all over the world, including countries like Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, as well as from countries in Africa. Most are beginners who have never worn a taekwondo uniform before. Some who had never even seen a taekwondo belt thought it might go around their forehead instead of around their waist. However, after the instructor helped them put on their uniforms correctly, they looked like a group of professional, international martial artists.
A traditional martial art of Korea, Taekwondo is currently practiced by 70 million people around the world in 100,000 martial arts centers in 181 countries. The numbers of participants continue to grow, as taekwondo draws increasing acclaim as an activity that increases both physical ability and mental strength. Ever since the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Taekwondo has been recognized as an official sport of the Olympic Games and as a global martial art.

Master Lee Byoung-ho (52), who taught taekwondo for 15 years in Africa, is the instructor for today’s session. Since the class is conducted in English, trainees have no trouble understanding as he calls out instructions, teaching them basic moves like ‘striking’, ‘kicking’, and ‘blocking’. The mood is light and fun. Some laugh as they awkwardly try to imitate the moves, while others are applauded for their quick mastery. As the instructor mimics some of their clumsy moves as a form of constructive criticism, everyone bursts into laughter. Regardless of skill level, foreigners and Koreans alike get caught up in the spirit of camaraderie as they enthusiastically cheer and applaud one another.

As the session comes to an end, participants are awarded a certificate and badge. The most serious student of the group, Mr. Philipose (62) from India, smiles widely and talks about how pleased he is with the program. He goes on saying that he wishes he could practice taekwondo every day and that kicking practice was his personal favorite.

→ For more information on the Gyeonghuigung Palace
Snap shots from the Taekwondo Experiential Program
"I feel nervous in front of the master." "I make more mistakes when I have to come up and demonstrate! But the Master said I’m doing fine."
"Kicking is the most fun. I should kick well when it is my turn…" "I should have lost some weight before getting into this." "Please congratulate me. I got my certificate."
The Taekwondo Program for Foreigners

The city of Seoul is currently offering a Taekwondo Experience Program at Gyeonghuigung Palace. The program has three one-hour sessions, each one focusing on different martial techniques such as kicking, self-defense, and breaking. Participants may choose which session they’d like to go to, or take all three. All participants will be presented with a certificate of training and a badge at the completion of each session.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, a Taekwondo demonstration is held for 1 hour from 14:00-15:00. The performance is based on the story of King Gyeongjong who had his coronation ceremony at Gyeonghuigung Palace. The show not only exhibits the outstanding skill of its Taekwondo practitioners, but also combines traditional Korean music, dance, and drama into a unique performance fun for all ages


[Gyeonghuigung Palace Taekwondo Experiential Program]

☞ Period: April 3, 2010 (Sat.) – December 4, 2010 (Sat.) / Closed on Mondays
☞ Location: Seoul-si, Jongno-gu, Sinmun-ro, Gyeonghuigung Palace
☞ Program: : Taekwondo Demonstrations (Every Wednesday and Saturday from 14:00-15:00)
                 Session 1: Taekwondo kicking (11:00-12:00)
                 Session 2: the art of self-defense (13:00-14:00)
                 Session 3: board-breaking (15:00-16:00)
☞ Program Fee: 20,000 won per session
☞ How to Apply: Please visit our homepage to make a reservation
                       ->Click Here for Reservations (English)
☞ Contact: +82-2-594-4022 (Korean, English)
 

Taekwondo Cultural Performance
Map (* Click on the image to enlarge)
Article & Photos by Park, Ji-hyun
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