The Olympic Sport aspect of Taekwondo constitutes only a small part of Taekwondo. Taekwondo is more importantly a Martial Art. Taekwondo’s true value is rooted in its traditions as a Martial Art. Respect, Perseverance, Integrity, and Confidence are the intangibles that every true Taekwondo practitioner strives for. Only 5% of Taekwondo practitioners are elite athletes with aspirations to compete at the Olympic Games. The other 95% are families and children who train together to have regular exercise, reinforce family values, and learn valuable self-defense skills.
Unfortunately, many countries around the world are only focused on developing Taekwondo as an elite sport, with athletes’ only desire to bring home an Olympic Medal. Some countries do not even practice with Taekwondo uniforms and belts and the simple and most important act of bowing. The traditions of Taekwondo as a martial art are beginning to deteriorate in certain countries around the world.
In order to create more opportunities for Taekwondo practitioners around the United States and the world, Grandmaster Lee founded another Open tournament: the U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang in 2009. But this tournament is more of a festival than a competition. In Olympic Sport Taekwondo, there is always a winner and loser. In the Hanmadang participants perform at their personal best. In the Hanmadang, families and children can perform together. The U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang focuses on Taekwondo as a Martial art. The events of forms (poomsae), board breaking (kyukpa), and creative forms are what each Dojang are practicing today. Grandmaster Lee created this event to maintain the martial arts aspect of Taekwondo and open opportunities for children and families to expand their skills.
Grandmaster Ki Hong Kim was selected as the Tournament Director for the U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang in 2009 in Chicago, IL. Grandmaster Kim is the former Treasurer for the U.S. Taekwondo Union. The U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang began in 2009 with great enthusiasm and participation. Each year the number of participants continues to grow. He established a great foundation for the U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang.