Muju Taekwondowon opened in Muju, Jeollabuk-do in April of 2014, and offers visitors a facility where they can see, learn, and experience everything about Korea’s traditional martial art, Taekwondo. This facility was built specifically for Taekwondo to act as a dedicated space for international competitions, training, education, research, and all things Taekwondo. Muju Taekwondowon’s grounds cover an area of 2,314,000 square meters and are equipped with a variety of facilities including the T1 Arena (main stadium), Taekwondo Museum, Sculpture Garden, Observatory, monorails, and more.
T1 Arena is the largest Taekwondo stadium in the world. It is a multipurpose space that can host international matches, events, and performances. The arena has around 5,000 seats and a number of large-scale global events like the World Youth Taekwondo Camp and the 2014 World Taekwondo Culture Expo are slated to take place here. At the theater in the basement level of the T1 Arena, visitors can watch Taekwondo performances.
The Taekwondo Museum is comprised of three exhibition halls featuring the history, development, and globalization of Taekwondo. The museum has on display over 5,000 Taekwondo-related artifacts spanning from ancient to modern times. Visitors can also watch a 3D Taekwondo-themed animation in addition to various permanent and special exhibitions at the museum.
Outdoor Sculpture Garden
The outdoor Sculpture Garden’s motif is of Poomsae, a set of offensive and defensive techniques for self-training. The eleven sculptures symbolizing the five oceans and six continents signify mutual respect, courtesy and peace for humankind. Furthermore, each of the sculptures manifests the strong body and upright spirit of Taekwondo practitioners.
The Experience Center is designed to help visitors enjoy and become more interested in Taekwondo. At the center, visitors can get hands-on with some basic physical training and interactive techniques, as well as try some virtual sparring using motion detection equipment. In addition, visitors will have a chance to learn Taekwondo gymnastics from virtual characters and watch creative Taekwondo performances and images.
Traditional Park (Myoungyegirim & Hoyeonjeong Pavilion)
The Traditional Park at Muju Taekwondowon represents the global status of Taekwondo in the world. Inside the park, there is a wall symbolizing the five elements (wood, fire, metal, earth, and water) of Eastern philosophy, which are considered aspects of transition for all things in the universe. The bamboo forest Myoungyegirim commemorates and pays respect to all senior Taekwondo practitioners. The park also has five bridges that each represent the varying levels of poom belts (white, black, blue, green, and the black-and-red) and the traditionally designed Hoyeonjeong Pavilion.
Taekwon-jeon is where trainees can meet high-rank holders and learn the spirit of Taekwondo. Taekwon-jeon has the architectural design of a Confucian school during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), which allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of traditional Korean construction. Also, the traditional Korean landscaping of the surrounding areas gives the facility an added sense of antiquity.
Taekwondowon Experience Programs
The daily programs at Taekwondowon allow participants to learn a range of Taekwondo-based gymnastics and self-defense techniques. For instance, “Taekwon Gymnastics” is a fitness training program made by combining the basic kicks and hand strikes of Taekwondo, and it is an easy program to follow, even for people who do not have any experience in martial arts. Another program, the “Self-defense Martial Art” program, is great for women to practice some simple, yet effective techniques that can help them out in dangerous situations. Other programs include Taekwon PAPS (Physical Activity Promotion System) for a systematic management of physical strength needed for practicing Taekwondo, trekking on the Body, Mind and Spirit (che-in-ge) Path for enhancing conditioning, Taekwon Healing Therapy brings peace to the mind and body by applying Taekwondo techniques to breathing and meditation exercises, and many more. International visitors can even participate in the hands-on programs wearing Taekwondo uniforms!
Observatory & Monorails
Located on the highest point at Taekwondowon, the Observatory can be reached by taking one of the two monorails. Walking up the circular staircase from the first to the third floor, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Baegunsan Mountain and Taekwondowon. There is a café inside the observatory where you can rest while looking down on the breathtaking scenery
Other Facilities at Taekwondowon
Korean-style meals are offered at Taekwondowon, though cereals and light meals are also available for breakfast. The snack bar in the Experience Center and the food court (1F) at the T1 Arena also sell food.
Taerang, Baegun Dosa (Grand Master Baegun), and Jinjin (from left to right) are the mascots of Taekwondowon.
Shuttle buses operate for a convenient tour of the expansive Taekwondowon grounds. Operation hours vary by season and visitors can only get off at the designated stops.
Muju Bandi Land
Bandi Land is a place to learn about and explore firefly habitats with a variety of facilities that include the exhibition halls at the Insect Museum, Bandi Observatory, Youth Camp, Bandi Nature School, and more. The Insect Museum, the largest of its kind in Korea, exhibits rare insects and butterflies and features an ecological greenhouse with tropical plants and butterflies. There is also a dome theater where visitors can watch videos of insects while lying down in their seats. The Bandi Observatory has on display a total of 72 panels and experience exhibits related to space science and astronomy from the first floor to the third floor.
Deogyusan Recreational Forest
Located adjacent to the Deogyusan National Park, the Deogyusan Recreational Forest has a pavilion, an observatory, rest areas, a forest park, a camping site, lodging facilities, and more. The forest park is covered with dense larch and nut pine trees. Visitors to the forest park can enjoy light camping except during the dry season. Deogyusan Recreational Forest is especially famous for its lush gamunbi-namu (Korean spruce) forest and it takes about an hour to gently stroll through the spruce forest and the rest of the facility.