General Choi’s TaeKwon-Do Memorial Cup unites practitioners from around the world

TaeKwon-Do, a Korean martial art of self defence, conditions one’s mind and body through intensive training. It promotes discipline and confidence whilst teaching peace and unity. Not only a sport, TaeKwon-Do is a way of life for many practitioners. Each year, marital artists from around the world attend the Memorial Cup to celebrate the accomplishments of General Choi Hong Hi, a prominent figure in the foundation of TaeKwon-Do who passed away in 2002. This annual event commemorates General Choi and honours his contributions to the martial arts community while uniting practitioners of TaeKwon-Do from around the world.

Hosted by Lu's Taekwondo, General Choi’s TaeKwon-Do Memorial Cup will be held at Algonquin College Woodroffe Campus Gymnasium (1385 Woodroffe Avenue) this Saturday June 8, 2019. Many elite competitors will be attending from across North America, Nunavut, China and the Dominican Republic. The tournament will start at 8am with the children’s divisions. The Opening Ceremony will take place at 11am. Attendees can also look forward to a Black Belt Demonstration by the Canadian World Champion Junior Team who won multiple medals during the CHITF World Championship in Australia this past March including the Black Belts high level of Special Multiple targets breaking in the air semi-final competition.

Students from Lu’s TaeKwon-Do, an Ottawa-based martial arts school owned by Senior Grandmaster Phap Lu, describe the many ways TaeKwon-Do positively influences their lives.

Eli, 11 years old, has been practicing TaeKwon-Do for approximately three years and has achieved the rank of the red belt. Eli has competed in close to 7 tournaments. “I like the sparring. It really raises my spirits to see how my techniques have been and how I’ve worked on getting there,” says Eli. Sparring, a form of combat training for points, is well loved by many students and is a division in most competitions.

On average, students of Lu’s TaeKwon-Do train from 2 to 4 classes a week to master techniques required for the tournament. The students describe their instructors to be motivating and inspiring to their improvement of the martial art. One student explains how he appreciates the way his instructors push him to do his best, helping him improve. “When I see the black belts spar, I want to be like them, and I keep trying harder to be like them," explains 12-year-old Dante.

TaeKwon-Do has many health benefits, both mental and physical. The martial art is a known factor in gaining confidence, concentration, relieving stress and increasing self-esteem. Dante adds, “I have been doing Taekwon-Do for around a year and a half. I joined to get more confidence and to become proud of myself. I kinda joined to get the mental aspect of it.”

Unfortunately, TaeKwon-Do is still a male dominated sport, but that doesn’t stop 11-year-old Emily. Emily, one of the few girls in her class, explains how she is inspired by her female instructors and how she is “used to having more boys in her class." Starting 5 years ago, Emily and her brother, Liam, 9, have attended nearly 5 tournaments combined. “I like how you make more friends and there's more people in TaeKwon-Do,” Liam says. TaeKwon-Do is a social sport and gives participants numerous opportunities to meet new people.

General Choi’s TaeKwon-Do Memorial Cup aims to unite TaeKwon-Do practitioners from around the world, despite their differences. The Cup focuses on celebrating General Choi and his many accomplishments for the TaeKwon-Do community.