DPRK Taekwondo team touring the US – last show tonight

Pictured above: A member of the DPRK TKD team trains a middle school student in Boston, MA.  See other photos here.

According to Yonhap:

A group of North Korean taekwondo athletes arrived in the United States Thursday (June 9) for a rare performance tour abroad amid hopes of a thaw in Pyongyang-Washington relations as the U.S. appears to be preparing for the resumption of food aid.

The 17-member team, which left Pyongyang on Saturday, arrived in San Francisco at 10:40 a.m. by way of Beijing.

This will be the second time the group has toured the US (The first time in 2007).  The web page for both tours (2007 and 2011) is here.  It appears the last performance is tonight in Delaware Valley.

A documentary on the 2007 tour will be released soon (web page here and trailer here). According to PRWeb:

This June, the North Korean National Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team perform for American audiences on the east coast. This cultural exchange follows their historic 2007 Taekwon-Do Goodwill Tour sponsored by Iowa resident, Woo-Jin Jung, which is being made into a documentary film called “Tong-il: Breaking Boards, Bricks, and Borders” by Texas filmmaker, Luan Van Le, and independent production company, LUV Films.

From June 11 through June 14, 2011, a 17-member North Korean Taekwon-Do delegation will travel and perform in Boston, MA, New York City, and New Jersey, for their 2011 TKD Goodwill Tour. Spearheaded by Grandmaster Woo-Jin Jung, a US citizen, it is a cultural exchange to promote peace between North Korea and the USA. Filmmaker, Luan Van Le, has been following Jung’s efforts for the feature documentary called “Tong-il” which covers Jung’s biography as well as the first 2007 North Korea/USA TKD Goodwill Tour.

The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice backed by the USA on the South Korean side and the Soviet Union on the North Korean side, leaving the peninsula divided to present day. The absence of a peace treaty leaves all parties in a technical state of war and hostilities. Through 2010, the diplomatic relationship between the USA, South Korea, and North Korea dove to an all time low and hinges on North Korea’s feared nuclear weapons program. Since the relationship between the USA and North Korea are vital to any eventual peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula, the TKD

Goodwill Tours are efforts to help jumpstart diplomatic endeavors through non-governmental people-to-people exchanges. The practice of Taekwon-Do espouses building a more peaceful world and Grandmaster Jung strives to exemplify the philosophies taught through this Korean martial art.

Luan Van Le was given permission by the North Korean government to travel and film in North Korea in June of 2007 and was given exclusive access to film the North Korean delegation through the October 2007 TKD Goodwill Tour, which traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cedar Rapids, IA, Louisville, KY, and Atlanta, GA, over two weeks. The 2011 tour is meant to introduce the North Koreans to new cities and audiences. LUV Films, the company responsible for the production of “Tong-il,” will be on-hand to record the New York segment. The documentary “Tong-il” is currently in the editing and post-production phase and is set to be finished this summer.

To learn more about the documentary go to http://www.tong-ilmovie.com and to attend the June event visit http://www.usnktkd.com.

You can learn more about the bizarre history of Taekwondo and North Korea here.


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