Most popular martial arts have an international federation that governs their art. Their predominant mission is usually to promote the martial art, maintain standards of tradition and curriculum, as well as to sanction official competitions and belt rankings. In Taekwondo, the World Taekwondo Federation reigns supreme.
One thing that sets the WTF apart from most martial arts federations is the fact that it is a member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. The other is why we chose to feature them first out of all the martial arts federations: their commitment to philanthropy. With the current refugee crisis being an ongoing issue around the world, the WTF launched the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, which aims to empower refugees through Taekwondo. Here we break down some of the good that the World Taekwondo Federation does.
Origin and Purpose
Established in 1973, the World Taekwondo Federation has come a long way from its beginnings. The inaugural meeting was held at the Kukkiwon and attended by 35 representatives from across the Federation. Determined to preserve the standards of Taekwondo, the WTF promotes growth, while holding true to educational, cultural and sports values; fair play, youth development and education are key elements of their movement. This also helps to encourage peace and harmony through participation and respect for the art. Rules and regulations are also governed by the WTF so competitions throughout the world have the same rules applied.
Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation
Keeping true to the tenet of indomitable spirit, the WTF views Taekwondo practice as a source of empowerment for many. At the core of their operational guidelines lie three principles that guide their efforts: sustainability, alignment and transparency. By viewing it as a long-term program (rather than a quick fix), their project becomes sustainable. Don’t just give them a fish; teach them how to fish.
Their foundation allies with various stakeholders that include government bodies, UN agencies, NGOs and corporate sponsors, in order to ensure a balance in both intention and execution. Transparency also boosts their legitimacy, by showing stakeholders what is being achieved and where money is being spent.
So far, the THF pilot project has been successful in Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan and the Kilis refugee camp in Turkey, along with having a positive impact in Nepal, where they aided earthquake hit areas in recovery. Their pilot project in Jordan had also evolved into Korean Taekwondo coach, opening the Taekwondo Academy in Azraq. To learn more, see their mission page on why they decided to aid refugees and how they intend to make a positive impact.
World Taekwondo Federation Going Forward
The WTF is going through an evolution in its competitive rules and regulations. After some controversy in the 2012 London Olympics that could have scarred international Taekwondo competitions forever, the WTF is doing what it can to improve its regulations to avoid corruption and political influences. The sport’s inclusion in martial arts has helped to drive growth and participation in the art of Taekwondo, across the world, while showing us that traditional martial arts have a place in modern sport.
The World Taekwondo Federation is planning to expand its humanitarian efforts to Africa — specifically Ghana and Rwanda — as well as Latin America. We consistently see great after-school martial arts programs popping up on our side of the world, helping many at-risk youth stay productive with their time. Lots of great things can come through the positive effects and influence of martial arts. At ChampionsWay, we were proud to create a website for the amazing Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. After building this free website for the organization, we decided to do more and also donate money to the cause. We are humbled to be able to be a part of this movement that is changing the world for the better.
Want to be more inspired with how you can make a positive change through martial arts? Here are five socially conscious martial arts professionals to help show you the right path.