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2019 World Taekwondo Hanmadang kicks off in PyeongChang Updated: 2019-07-26 16:28:42 KST

Taekwondo practitioners are showing off board-breaking performances, jumping high in the air and crushing them with their bare feet.
This high-flying aerobatic move is an iconic part of Taekwondo that adds a jolt of excitement to the gathered spectators.

"Here at the YongPyong-Dome in PyeonChang, which hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics, nearly five-thousand people have gathered, from 57 different countries, making this year's event the second largest since it was first held in 1992."

Chinese nationals were the most numerous among the foreign contingent taking part in the event.
They say the beauty of Taekwondo lies in exerting 'energy', which they say brought them to this annual martial arts festival.

"Taekwondo was different to me in that unlike Chinese traditional martial arts, I felt more "energetic" even after practicing it. That was about twenty years ago. Since then, I've been attached to this Korean sport and am practicing it.

Among the foreign demonstrators were those who flew all the way from Africa.
While they agree Taekwondo is all about 'energy', they also appreciated how this Korean martial art creates a sense of fellowship among the practitioners.

"The one thing I can say it's well organized "teamwork", and again I want to say thank you to the master, my team master Lee, from Korea. He is my coach in Kenya. He's the one who encouraged me to come and participate in this sport."

People say Taekwondo is no longer a sports practiced locally in Korea or limited to Asia, but rather its influence has reached as far as the heart of Europe.

"I am a trainer, and I have a lot of children starting training taekwondo. And many parents come and take their children to our do-jang (Taekwondo training hall). And so it's a beautiful manner to educate children."

Touching on a similar note, the organizers at the opening ceremony said Taekwondo has many physical and educational purposes.
They expressed hope that this annual event could allow more people across the world to discover and cherish this age-old Korean martial art.

Choi Si-young, Arirang News, PyeongChang.
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