* This post is written by Korean Class Massive, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Anyone who went to pop down to the Korean area of the Thames Festival last weekend and saw the amazing Kukkiwon team in action will have no doubt been awed and dumbfounded at their taekwondo displays.
The Kukkiwon Demo team have been stunning crowds since 1974, and have performed all around the world in over 100 countries, including the UK several times now. The Kukkiwon Demo Team is devoted to “promote Taekwando as a culture and tourism industry, increasing Taekwondo competitiveness in the world by performing Taekwondo demonstrations for visitors.” (source) The team is made up of over 70 members of 5th Dan competency, and boy doesn’t that show when they perform!
Kukkiwon as an organisation is the World Taekwondo headquarters, and has been aiming to globalise taekwondo since its inception. Kukkiwon held the 1st World Taekwondo Championships and established the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in 1973. In 1983, Kukkiwon opened the World Taekwondo Academy, and have since then been perfectly their curriculum so new generations of those interested in taekwondo can master it. Kukkiwon continues to create awareness of Taekwondo culture and aims to spread the “culture, spirit and history worldwide, increasing the best competitive power of Taekwando as a martial art in life. [They’re] going to do [their] best for diffusion of Taewondo spirit and values such as self-restraint, self sacrifice and service so that it become a model of good behaviors to the global citizens”. (source) If you want to read more about Kukkiwon, go to its homepage.
At the Thames Festival, the Kukkiwon Demo Team performed on both days, and gave it their all each time. Their performance was split into three sections, with the middle section being an epic mini drama where the arrogant student went up against his wise teacher. Some of the facial expressions during this bit could been off a melodrama of epic proportions. We need to see some of taekwondo/sageuk drama with these guys as leads now!
The stunts this team can pull off are insane. Kicking apples of swords, jumping off other members to back flip in the air while breaking a wooden plank with a foot, and doing blindfolded fighting were just some of the things the audience got to see.
The music they used really added to the whole atmosphere too. It was dramatic, like it was from the soundtrack of some epic historical battle film. It matched their taekwondo moves and the stories they were portraying perfectly.
These guys had a really great rapport with the audience, and on Saturday even had a quick photo and autograph session after their performance. They were so popular with everyone (particularly the girls), it was like they were idols!
Looking at them up close, you could be excused for mistaking them for superstars. These guys and girls were glowing!
You might think we’re a bit obsessed with them by this point, and you’d be right. They were just so amazing! It wasn’t just their taekwondo skills though, they were also really cute and adorable. They kept interacting with the audience, waving, smiling and sending out little hearts. There were even some brief Kpop intervals!
At the end of their performance, for their encore, the audience were in for a great treat. They did their own rendition of ‘Gangnam Style’ – ‘Kukkiwon Style’! On the Sunday, this encore was followed by an extra special treat for the Korean Ambassador. Take a look at the video below to see what happened! Check out some of those sexy moves too haha.
It was great fun watching the Kukkiwon Demo Team. If you missed them this year, we’re sure they’ll be back for the Thames Festival next year. In the meantime, we’ve got a playlist of some of their performances, so don’t delay and watch them now!