North Korean Taekwondo Captivates American Audience
보스톤코리아  2011-06-20, 16:20:43 
HyunCheon Kim
Translated by SeungYoun Woo

The National Taekwondo Demonstration Team of North Korea visited Boston to perform Taekwondo, and they received fervent response from American audience.

On Saturday, June 11th, over 1000 American neighbors gathered to watch Taekwondo performance of North Korean Taekwondo Demo Team at Lowell High School. They send off with a roar of applause in between every demonstration.

The demo team spent a lot of time to show not only basic move, pine board breaking and brick breaking but also tried to show true aspects of Taekwondo as a part of martial arts. The team received a big applause at the end of the whole performance, when they demonstrated breaking the lumbers with the whole body.

After the demonstration, young audience picked up broken pine boards and went to find each team member to ask their signatures and commemorative photographs. The team members gladly accepted young children’s offers one by one.

“I am very thankful to parties and citizens in the U.S., who are interested in Taekwondo, for inviting and welcoming our demonstration team,” said Neung-man Bae, the leader of the demo team. “I am glad that we had another chance to show the technique and power of traditional Taekwondo after having the first chance in 2007. I believe that this chance will reinforce friendly relations among Taekwondo and martial arts people in the two countries.”

The leader Bae added, “We are very pleased to see Americans enthusiastically enjoying our performance. If there is another chance to visit the U.S, We will definitely come again.” When he was asked if he is not nervous before the performance, he answered, “I was never nervous. I was confident.”

Ok-chul Kim, who blocked and broke the lumbers with his body, was asked if he did not hurt. He answered, “I am fine,” and he added, “even if I am hurt, I just suffer patiently.” When he was asked how he feels about receiving a great applause, he answered, “I am happy that the performance went well.” Mr. Kim (27) has been doing Taekwondo for 10 years now.

The master Young-hwan Kwon, who was in charge of the performance of North Korean Taekwondo Demo Team in Boston, said, “It is the form of Taekwondo that was first introduced in Korea in 60s and 70s. Nowadays, ever since Taekwondo became as an Olympic event, its form has been changing over and over. However, North Korean demonstration team showed traditional Taekwondo that has not changed much from the old days.” He added, “I also felt that the world is united when Americans passionately sent standing ovation. I am glad and thankful that we could successfully complete the performance without any accident.”

On the other hand, a Korean audience worried after watching the lumber breaking at the end, and commented, “I think it was a pretty dangerous demonstration for many children in the audience to watch.” They said that kind of performance is horrified and it involves such a lot of risks that it cannot eliminate any mistake and accident.

 The North Korean Demo Team arrived on June 10th in Boston. They started their performance at Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury, MA, on June 11th, and they visited Harvard University and MIT in the morning of that day.

Jessica Lee, a Second-generation Korean American, who guided the team from the arrival at Logan Airport, said, “They are not different from us. They like Kalbi and Bulgogi as we do.” She added, “I could also feel that Taekwondo is a worldwide word.”
The master Young-hwan Kwon announced that he donated part of profits of demonstration performance to help the poor in Tewksbury and Lowell.

ⓒ 보스톤코리아(, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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