2015 Denver Summit of Kang Duk Won Taekwondo Grand Masters
Article first published in The Denver Post on November 18, 2015 in Castle Rock, Douglas County, Douglas County Front, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree
[Denver] TaeKwonDo masters and grand masters from Korea, Pakistan and the United States gathered in Highlands Ranch recently to oversee higher belt examinations for 160 black belt students of Han Lee’s Taekwondo Academy. Grand Master Han Won Lee is a seventh degree black belt and former head coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. His three academies, in Highlands Ranch, Greenwood Village and Castle Rock, train more than six hundred enthusiasts of all ages in the Denver South area.
Mountain Vista High School and Mountain Ridge Middle School in Highlands Ranch played hosted the testing November 7 and 8, 2015 as hundreds of parents and well-wishers shared in the excitement and anticipation felt by scores of local black belt candidates of all ages who were testing for their first dan (black belt level) up to third dan.
Adult and school age TaeKwonDo practitioners must train for upwards of four years in order to advance to the first black belt degree, and must perform precisely choreographed pumsaes or forms including with traditional weapons like the nunchaku, bo or staff, and geom or sword. They are also required to be able to break multiple boards with bare hands or feet.
Not all is choreographed however, as the most weight in one’s dan (black belt) examination is given to how a student performs at free sparring one upon one by Olympic TaeKwonDo rules. Sparring partners are matched roughly according to age and size but not gender, and yet young women frequently excel over their male counterparts with lightning-fast high kicks.
Senior masters and grand masters from Korea, Pakistan and the United States, including the worldwide head of Kang Duk Won Taekwondo, 10th Dan Great Grand Master Hwa Chong who played a pivotal role in winning Olympic status for Taekwondo, also convened in Castle Rock at the dojang of Grand Master Han Lee to discuss global concerns and to chart a future course for Kang Duk Won (‘House of Teaching Virtue’), one of nine original ‘houses’ or lineages of Tae Kwon Do.
Patrick Harrigan, a former president of the University of Michigan TaeKwonDo Club, is the World Kang Duk Won Federation's Vice President for Public Affairs.
Courtesy: The Denver Post of November 18th 2015