ITF is the International Taekwon-Do Federation, founded on March 22, 1966 in Seoul (south) Korea, by General Choi Hong Hi, who developed Taekwon-Do, to promote the teaching of this martial art.
At that time, nine countries were involved: Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, USA, Turkey, Italy, and Egypt. Taekwon-Do is now taught in almost every country in the world, and General Choi is recognized as the Father of Taekwon-Do.
The International Taekwon-Do Federation is legally registered in Spain and has its headquarters in Benidorm.
The mission of the ITF is to represent, promote, and work for the development of the practice of Taekwon-Do in all countries by:
coordinating and certifying Taekwon-Do activities such as competitions and seminars
setting and enforcing high quality standards for technical and teaching
identifying and collaborating with affiliated organizations, such as Continental Federations, National Associations, and Allied National Associations,
providing assistance to local Taekwon-Do organizations
Certification for Black Belt holders, international instructors and umpires
Practitioners of Taekwon-Do (TKD) recognize that they are forever students of our Founder, General Choi Hong Hi. The ITF and its affiliated organizations will strengthen and promote the legacy of General Choi as described in his Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, notably the twenty-four patterns and the philosophy.
The ITF belongs to all its members; it must work for its members and with its members to provide the services they need and want.
The ITF and its affiliated organizations are always open to suggestions from members and encourage innovative ideas.
The ITF and its affiliated organizations are and must remain free of all political influence.
All qualifications and promotions within the ITF and its affiliated organizations will be attributed according to merit and in conformity with well-established criteria.
The respect of hierarchy authority is an important principle in all martial arts. All members of ITF will respect those who are their seniors in the organization, particularly their teacher. On the other hand, the seniors will treat their students and other juniors with respect and fairness.
In his speech to the 14th Congress Meeting in Warsaw (Poland) in June 2003, newly-elected ITF President, Master Trân Trieu Quân outlined the vision the new ITF team has for the organization. The following is an excerpt from that speech:
ITF Taekwon-Do is a sport, a martial art, a way of life, and a tool for social development. How can we work together for progress on all four facets?
Taekwon-Do is a Sport
To develop ITF Taekwon-Do as a sport and encourage greater participation in competitions, major changes will be made to tournament rules, to the competition calendar, and to the qualification process. Training for umpires will be upgraded, and we will investigate the use of a computerized scoring system. Competitors will be happier and motivated to continue when our competitions are safer and scoring is more precise and reliable. Competitions held in well-known locations around the globe will focus attention on the ITF and will result in greater visibility.
Taekwon-Do is a Martial Art
To improve ITF Taekwon-Do as a martial art, there will be increased emphasis on the traditional core values and protocol. The teaching of self-defence our “raison d´etre” will be improved. We will use seminars, documentation, videos, and other means of communication to spread knowledge of ITF Taekwon-Do, reaching out to new markets and to new participants, particularly women.
Taekwon-Do is a Way of Life
To demonstrate the value of ITF Taekwon-Do as a way of life, we must teach all facets of ITF Taekwon-Do, including the Do. I can tell you that General Choi’s true last wish and words of guidance for us for the future are found in the introduction to his last book Moral Culture. The General had come to realize that most of the emphasis had been placed on the teaching of the technical aspects of ITF Taekwon-Do. He felt it would be up to the next generation to give equal importance to the teaching of the Do.
We have already started working on a Code of Ethics based on the Do. In future, we will use all the resources available to us to teach the whole ITF Taekwon-Do: the technical and the Do. By studying the Do, our students will grow in understanding of the “why”, not only the “how”.
The ultimate purpose of life is the search for happiness. Many people suffer because they do not have the proper value system that leads to a balanced life and happiness. We have a solid philosophy and the tools to apply it in our lives. Now we must put in place a structure to teach the mental and spiritual aspects of ITF Taekwon-Do to our students so that they will be able to achieve a balanced life and happiness.
I have been teaching ITF Taekwon-Do as a way of life for many years and I believe we can help people to find a balance between family life, school or work, and ITF Taekwon-Do. Teaching this approach will open many doors to us.
Taekwon-Do can be a Tool for Social Development
To use ITF Taekwon-Do as a tool for social development, we must practice Taekwon-Do not just for ourselves, but also to improve life in our communities. ITF Taekwon-Do can be a powerful tool to help solve social problems such as drug abuse and juvenile delinquency, providing structure, discipline, and self-confidence that carry over into all aspects of life.
We hear a lot about efforts to reduce poverty in the world. By educating people with ITF Taekwon-Do values and practices, and by showing them that there is hope of improving their quality of life, we will be making an important contribution.
The ITF can develop programs such as intensive instructor training for the unemployed and ITF Taekwon-Do courses offered at affordable prices. Starting with small-scale projects, our success will attract the attention and support of international development agencies and governments around the world. In Canada we have had excellent results with this type of program, and we will assist you to implant pilot projects in your countries.
There is a lot of work to be done in this area, but there is also an enormous potential for improvement.
By striving to develop all four facets of Taekwon-do to the maximum, we can realize our full potential as individuals and as an organization.
Working together, we can do great things!
Promote and develop Taekwon-Do as a means of building a better society on a foundation of peace, freedom, and justice
Regulate the teaching of Taekwon-Do as well as the development of new methods and practices
Improve the quality of Taekwon-Do instruction by applying high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement
Establish and maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct for all members of the ITF
Coordinate ITF Taekwon-Do activities around the world
Resolve disagreements and conflicts between members
Operate the ITF in countries around the globe without discrimination on any basis; this includes race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and political beliefs.