Spc. Omead Saney prepares to strike some boards at the 2019 Foreigners Taekwondo Culture Festival at Kukkiwon Taekwondo Headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 28. Saney helped represent 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division. (Photo Credit: Kenji Thuloweit)
Spc. Omead Saney prepares to strike some boards at the 2019 Foreigners Taekwondo Culture Festival at Kukkiwon Taekwondo Headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 28. Saney helped represent 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division. (Photo Credit: Kenji Thuloweit)

Soldiers kick it with fellow Taekwondo-ins at annual festival in Seoul

by Kenji Thuloweit
U.S. Army

"Unifying the world with Taekwondo" is the theme at the Kukkiwon Taekwondo Headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea. Eighth Army Soldiers joined fellow Taekwondo-ins at the 2019 Foreigners Taekwondo Culture Festival Sept. 28.

The event began with a ceremony that featured Kukkiwon's demonstration team breaking boards and performing with traditional Korean drums. Eighth Army leaders from across the peninsula were among the dignitaries honored during the ceremony. After a lunch period featuring food from around the world, the action kicked off.

The Taekwondo students participated in competitions such as sparring, board breaking or hand striking, and speed kicking.

"This is my second time coming (to Kukkiwon); it's really a privilege to be here," said Spc. Jose Ortiz, 61st Support Maintenance Company, who helped represent 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division.

Soldiers belonging to Taekwondo clubs across South Korea were invited to Gangnam for the day. Ortiz said he studies under Grandmaster Kim at Camp Casey, South Korea, who is affiliated with Kukkiwon.

The top competitors in each category were rated and judged by Kukkiwon staff members and medals were awarded at the end of the day.

According to Korean websites, Kukkiwon is also known as World Taekwondo Headquarters and is home to the World Taekwondo Academy, which is the official Taekwondo governing organization established by South Korea. It is supervised by the International Sports Division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

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