President’s Message for January 2008 – Welcoming the Year 2008
Like many of you, I have been enjoying a few days of vacation with my family during the holiday season. We just returned from a visit to my father-in-law who lives in Buffalo (New York State, U.S.A.) and particularly enjoyed presenting one more time our granddaughter Jasmine, one year and half, to her great-grandfather.
Like grandparents everywhere, I am very proud of my granddaughter, but the other day Jasmine really surprised me. She took my hand and led me to the lower level of our house where there is room to practice Taekwon-Do. There, she started by doing some “baby” kicks and then led me to the treadmill. Apparently she was trying to encourage me to exercise! Of course I thought this was very cute, but it also shows that Jasmine is getting the message that Taekwon-Do and physical conditioning are a normal part of life, and I know this will have a beneficial effect throughout her life.
On my return to the office it took me quite a bit of time to read the more than one hundred and fifty e-mail messages wishing me and my family “Happy Holidays”. There were messages from our National Associations and from individuals around the world, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you.
I am really touched that so many of you took the time to write. This is one more indication of the strong family spirit that is growing among the members of the ITF. An international organization like the ITF is a pretty big “family”, but that is the type of environment we are working to create: an organization where everyone feels at home and where we all work together to reach our common goals.
As we begin the New Year, this is a good time to review what we have accomplished in 2007 and to look forward to what we are planning for the year 2008.
Judge Dr. Kluger of the Civil Court in Vienna (Austria) confirmed the 2005 judgment by default of Judge Susanne Korn of the Provincial Court for Civil Law Matters. That judgment confirmed that the Congress held in Warsaw (Poland) in 2003 was legal according to the ITF Constitution and that the members of our Board of Directors are the legitimate leaders of the ITF. Moreover, it was confirmed that we are the ITF that is officially registered with the authorities in Vienna.
The claims of Mr. Chang Ung’s group that Master Paul Weiler and Master Tom MacCallum had forced their way into the ITF Headquarters building and had attacked their representatives was disproved by the testimony of the Austrian police officers present. Consequently, Mr. Chang Ung’s group lost the case and had to reimburse the ITF for the costs incurred for this court case.
In Canada, the ITF and the Canadian Taekwon-Do Federation International took legal action against Master Choi Jung Hwa. In two separate cases, the courts ruled that he does not have the right to use the ITF name and trademarked symbols.
These positive legal decisions reinforce the legal status of your ITF. It is clear that, with these matters settled, much brighter days lie ahead for our organization.
(To read more about these court cases, click here.)
The ITF Board of Directors
At the 15th Congress held in Québec City (Canada) in June, the members of the ITF Board of Directors who were elected in 2003 were all re-elected for a second four-year term lasting until 2011. The only change is that Master Tom MacCallum and Master Wim Bos have switched roles. Master MacCallum is now Treasurer, while Master Wim Bos is the new Secretary General. The re-election of our Board of Directors indicates certain stability in the organization and shows that our country members support the changes made by the Board of Directors.
The Standing Committees
The following were named to the position of Chair of various ITF Standing Committees in 2007:
- Master Alberto Katz, Chairman of the Tournament & Umpire Committee,
- Master Evan Davidson, Chairman of the Ethics & Discipline Committee,
- Master Per Andresen, Chairman of the Business Development Committee.
In addition, Mr. Mark Banicevich and Mr. Harry Van Schaik were confirmed as new members of the Business Development Committee.
I would like to mention here the fine work done by two people whose talents and know-how proved invaluable during our first four-year mandate:
- Dr. Janel Gauthier, who served as Chairman of the Ethics & Discipline Committee, and
- Mr. Jean-Marc Demers, who was Chairman of the Communications Committee.
Both these gentlemen generously shared their knowledge and expertise – and gave freely of their time – to help the Board of Directors restructure the ITF into a more efficient and more democratic organization. On behalf of the ITF, I wish to thank them for their contributions to our success.
The new Chair of the Ethics & Discipline Committee, Master Evan Davidson is President of ITF Taekwon-Do New Zealand and has a professional background in law enforcement. He and Dr. Gauthier are collaborating to make sure that the transition goes smoothly.
The new Chair of the Business Development Committee, Master Per Andresen has been very successful with Taekwon-Do in his home country of Norway (Of a population of 4.6 million, there are approximately 6,000 Taekwon-Do students). Master Andresen has already sent me a draft memorandum with the title “ The Way forward” describing his approach to business development and including some very interesting recommendations.
I was very happy in reading of this memorandum as his thoughts and proposals are fully in line with our vision and philosophy for the development of the ITF that we are working since 2003. Therefore, I would like to share with you some of his inspiring ideas in this valuable document:
“……Taekwon-Do is not only beneficial as a sport and self defense activity but it helps people in their daily life to get better results at school, at work and with family and friends. This “mission” has been our success in Norway and it is a very powerful message.
…..If we can unit our members in the idea to be nice and good to others we will not only be good to the society but it will also create a stronger spirit in our members and we will be on the way to fulfill our vision. Focusing in this order keeps our martial art integrity, at same time it is good for recruiting new members and to get a large membership in our clubs/schools.
….Having progress for ITF and increase the membership needs to be innovative and be modern in the way of thinking.
…Martial arts were for the few “hard people” who could handle hard training accompanied with strong discipline. The martial arts have become an activity for the “common people” in all ages, which have quite different motivation and capacity. This market is enormous because it includes everybody and not a small group of people. Taekwon-Do can be good for so many people both physically and mentally. We have to discover the society’s needs. As example can mention overweight is not longer a problem only for adults. It is a huge problem also for kids and teenagers.
…I think tradition is great value in the martial arts, and also absolutely necessary, but it should not prevent us to do changes if needed.
….We should therefore not be too afraid of thinking new thoughts of how we operate and use the system to achieve our goals…..”
During 2007, the ITF welcomed six new country and club members from the following countries: Afghanistan, China, Ethiopia, Greece, Peru, and Venezuela.
Many factors make membership in the ITF attractive to potential members:
- The recent court decisions in our favor have helped to eliminate any confusion about the legal status of the ITF.
- The changes we have made to the structure of the organization and the way the ITF is operated on democratic principles make membership in our organization very attractive.
- The range and quality of services offered to our members is very interesting.
As a result, a number of individuals and groups from other international Taekwon-Do organizations have joined (or rejoined) the ITF. This is confirmed by reports from our country members who point out that their total membership has increased. This is very good news because it confirms what is becoming obvious to everyone: We are the authentic ITF.
To ensure order and fairness within the ITF, in 2007 the Board of Directors put a lot of emphasis on the concept of “a member in good standing”. To be considered “a member in good standing”, an affiliated organization must ensure that each Black Belt degree holder obtains the appropriate official ITF certificates and that each instructor has a valid ITF teaching plaque number. The organization must also participate in ITF activities by sending participants to International Instructor Courses, seminars, and representatives to the Congress.
Currently, the ITF has 75 countries that are considered “members in good standing”, and only country members meeting this standard are listed under “Affiliated Organizations” on our Website. The application of this principle is just one indication of the professional way the ITF operates now.
ITF World Championships – Québec 2007
Québec City (Canada) was the site of the first combined Senior and Junior World Championships in the history of the ITF. This event was a great success, attracting 851 competitors from 52 countries around the globe.
With the assistance of our major sponsors – the Government of Canada, the Government of the Province of Quebec, the City of Québec, and Alcan Inc. – and a host of smaller sponsors, the Organization Committee’s budget enabled us to offer numerous new and innovative services and activities for participants and spectators – from daily live Webcasts of all the competitions to the gala ITF Awards banquet – and to bring the event in on budget.
As part of the communications plan for the World Championships, a short documentary about the ITF was produced. This documentary is now available for use by ITF National Associations and clubs, as are other promotional materials produced for this event.
Use this link to view the documentary.
Click here to read more about the World Championships and to see some great photos.
For many of you, the updating and maintenance of the official ITF Website is probably our most visible achievement in 2007. And there will be more improvements in 2008! To give our affiliated organizations an opportunity to use the ITF Website, we have invited them to supply articles about their activities. After consultation with the affiliated organizations, it has been agreed that they will submit articles on a regular schedule, once every three months.
It takes a lot of work to maintain our Website as a dynamic and reliable portal for our members and for the public… and to do this in three languages! I would like to thank all those who help to make our Website better and better.
Technique & Instruction Committee
By continuing to put emphasis on quality teaching and competitions, the Technique & Instruction Committee has been instrumental in the success of the ITF. For example, during 2007, we held seven International Instructor Courses in countries around the world.
Our plan for 2008 is to provide much more information and training to our teachers. One method of providing information is Web Instructor, a section of the Website that will be accessible only to holders of an ITF teaching plaque number; it will be in operation very soon.
Throughout 2007 we have worked on our four objectives for the development of the ITF that I described in my speech after my re-election as President at the June Congress in Québec City. Here are the four objectives and a quick look at how we have been working to achieve them:
- To promote and provide assistance for the democratization process in the ITF and its affiliated organizations;For example, the PowerPoint presentation of the seminar about operating a democratic organization that Dr. Gauthier presented at the World Championships in last June will soon be made available.We will also be providing additional useful information about subjects such as how to structure and operate a democratic organization, and governance for board members.As you know, the ITF Constitution requires that all affiliated organizations operate according to democratic principles. However, we do not need to coerce them into doing so. When we look at the positive results of operating the ITF on a democratic basis, we realize that it is beneficial for all.
- To promote and support the teaching of the Do;We have developed a new program to assist our instructors to teach their students how to live the Taekwon-Do way of life. We are currently in the planning stage for the implementation of this program in 2008.In the new section of the Website called “The Way of Life” we will be featuring quotations and proverbs from philosophers, teachers, and other well-known people in Oriental and Occidental cultures. The emphasis will be on teaching and living the Do. I am sure our teachers will find this a useful source of motivational quotations, and everyone is invited to suggest suitable quotations.Your reaction to the President’s Messages I have posted since I became president four years ago has been a source of satisfaction and motivation for me. A lot of thought and time go into the preparation of these messages, so I am gratified that you take the time to read and think seriously about these important subjects.
Now, to make it easier to find a specific topic, we are preparing an index of these messages, organized according to subject. Also, we will make it easier for you to print a copy of any message for use in teaching and promotional activities. Watch the Website for these new features.
- To promote the ITF in different parts of the world by bringing new countries into the ITF, particularly for Africa and Asia, and to support the growth of the existing national organizations;We have been working to prepare promotional folders that will be useful for recruiting new members as well as presentation documents that can be used when applying to government and other officials for recognition and/or funding.In addition, we will be producing posters, business cards, and other materials that will help project a professional image of the ITF.As I mentioned above, the new Chair of our Business Development Committee, Master Per Andresen has some interesting ideas as I mentioned above. We will be hearing more from this Committee in 2008.
- To increase the visibility of the ITF on the international scene, particularly with the IOC, GAISF, and with major media.The President’s office and the Communications Committee in cooperation with the president of AETF will continue to make representations to these sports organizations and to the media, particularly those specializing in the martial arts, to make sure that the ITF remains in the public eye.
Watch for new developments as we continue to work to achieve these objectives in 2008.
As you can see, this review of our accomplishments in 2007 logically leads us to another challenging and exciting year in 2008.
With the devoted work of your elected ITF leaders and the implication of our members, the ITF will grow stronger and better each year.
I send best wishes for health and happiness in 2008 to each of you and your families.
Master Trân Triêu Quân, President
Québec, Canada December 29th, 2007
P.S. Please don’t forget that you have until the end of March 2008 to enter the ITF Family of the Year contest.