South Korean towns and cities, like most around the world, all lay claim to fame for one thing or the other. In the case of an inconspicuous town called Chung-ju (pronounced Choong-joo) they actually lay claim to being the caretaker of the ancient martial art of Taekgyeon. In order to help propagate the art they started a nationwide martial art festival. It slowly grew into an international event held every two years that paired the ancestral fighting art with French Savate, Indonsean/ Malaysian Silat, Filipino Arnis, Uzbek Jang Sanati and Native Canadian Okichitaw (among many others).
This year the Chungju World Martial Arts Festival (as it is now called) was held September 22nd to the 28th, 2017. The event was held at the World Martial Arts Park in the town, which boasted 3 concert stages, a 3-story martial arts museum and numerous booths both martial arts and local cultural wares.
There was a martial art gallery showing entitled “Martial Arts Story”, the 3rd Penjak Silat Championship, the 1st World Kids Masterships contest, the 2nd Uzbek Jang Sanati Championships, the 2017 World Martial Arts Festival Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, the 3rd International Thang-Ta Championship, the 1st Arnis Friendly Match and the 2017 International Martial Arts Contest which was held Saturday to Sunday that week on the Main Stage of the World Martial Arts Park.
There were also booths educating the locals about little-known regions of the world such as Malaysia, as well as opportunity to experience Korean Teuk Gong Moo Sool (Korean special forces training) and Canadian Okichitaw. It proved to not only educate the people of the town, but bring the very diverse martial artists closer in a way the Olympics only wishes it could do.
World Martial Arts Union: http://womau.org.
Chung-Ju World Martial Arts Festival: http://www.martialarts.or.kr/index_eng.php
Master Guy Edward Larke has spent most of his life enamored with the martial arts and Asian culture in general. He relocated in South Korea in 2000 and remains so till this day. He writes, teaches, studies and lectures about the martial arts out of his present home in Seongnam city. Master Larke started writing 13 years ago and has penned 450+ articles and translated 7 textbooks from Korean to English with his wife Gi-Ryung. He can be found on Facebook or Linkedin.