Original Taekwon-Do Federation of America
Message from the OTFA
Master Vincent A. Affatigato, Co-Founder/President (2009-2019)
The OTFA was formed as a means to allow our Members to be part of the ITF and all it has to offer. Our goal is to provide our Members access to ITF International Certification, Seminars and Competition on a Global scale, as well as on the National level with OTFA Certification, Seminars and Competition. We strive to be a Martial Arts Organization that will be modern and progressive in our thinking, proficient in our actions and tireless in serving our Members.
The OTFA was founded by Master V.A. Affatigato [President], Master Cody Springsguth [Vice President] and Mr. Lee Benson [Senior Advisor] in 2009. The idea for creating a new Taekwon-do Organization in the USA at the time was to bring the Taekwon-do practitioners who had previously been part of the ITF, but who no longer were due to the politics of the respective Governing bodies after the passing of General Choi Hong Hi in 2002, back to the organization from which they started.
Up until the General’s passing in 2002, most ITF practitioners in the USA were members of the United Staes Taekwon-do Federation [USTF], which was the recognized National Governing Body [NGB] of the ITF in the USA. The President of the USTF, GM Charles C.E. Sereff also served as Vice President of the ITF. GM Charles C. E. Sereff was the second person promoted to 9th Dan, Grandmaster by General Choi Hong Hi.
After the General’s passing in 2002, GM Charles Sereff chose to leave the ITF along with the USTF and it is members. This left a void in the USA and the ITF appointed a new NGB for the country. Over time the ITF decided to also allow Allied Associations [AA] to become Member Organizations.
In 2012 the OTFA was accepted by the ITF as an AA and the status of all groups in the ITF was changed to AA as well. This left no one group to be NGB, but all 4 Allied associations working together in the USA to coordinate National Events and National Team selection.
The OTFA has since added to its Board of Directors, Master Brian McNamara [Vice President], Master Alvin Bernard [Director] and Mr. Scott Saccareccia [Secretary General]. We will continue developing all Committees and bringing new highly motivated and skilled individuals to our Team in order to make us the best Martial Arts Organization in the USA.
The OTFA strives to be the leaders in the USA to bring the level of Taekwon-do in the country to rival the highest levels throughout the World.
OTFA Logo Meaning
The OTFA logo was created by Master V. A. Affatigato.
The idea for the OTFA logo was to connect the origins of Taekwon-do with the new beginnings of our organization.
The design of the logo shows the original ROK patch, which is a clenched fist inside of the shape of the Korean peninsula, used by General Choi Hong Hi for the 29th Infantry Division where Taekwon-do was developed. This was known as the ‘Fist Division’. The number ’29’ on the forearm in the patch represents this division as well.
The Red, White & Blue bars represent the USA and the 3 stars represent the 3 Founding Members of the OTFA: Master V.A. Affatigato, Master Cody Springsguth and Mr. Lee Benson.
International Taekwon-Do Federation
Message from the ITF Past President
05 July 2010, Grand Master Pablo Trajtenberg
We are headed towards a single destination: the EXCELLENCE of our Organization.
I have always had the certainty and also the ambition -as we all have- of taking ITF to the highest place in the podium of martial arts. To this aim, we must advance not only in one particular aspect but in several at once, since total excellence is achieved through the sum of the excellence of each part.
It is time to advance in order to place ITF Taekwon-Do among leading national and international institutions, taking advantage of this wonderful social instrument. Therefore, ITF is divided into different committees with distinct functions and it is their task to project our activity to a higher level.
ITF after 2002
In 2002, after the passing away of Grand Master Choi Hong Hi, we upheld our democratic beliefs in the ITF statutes with then Senior Vice-President Dr. Russell Maclellan, a former Canadian senator, taking over as ITF President; later on, a new President would become in charge, Grand Master Tran Trie Quan, elected on June 13th2003 at the Congress held in Poland and who would lead ITF until his tragic demise during the Haiti earthquake. Due to his, then Senior Vice-President Pablo Trajtenberg had to take over ITF’s Presidency to be later confirmed at his post during the New Zealand Congress held in March 2011, and he has served as President till the present.
The Organization is legally based in Spain and its Headquarters are located at 5 Mercado Street, in Benidorm, Alicante. With 90 Member Countries affiliated over 5 continents and about 1.000.000 who practice it on a regular basis, we have become a strong, healthy, well managed organization.
A fundamental component of ITF Taekwon-do is the international Instructors Courses, which provide qualifications across the world with the aim of standardizing and perfecting the technical level in all nations. Between 2003 and the end of 2015, over 10,000 instructors from all over the globe attended 100 courses imparted by the Technical Committee in different venues worldwide.
The Official Championships organized by the ITF are the ITF World Championships and ITF World Cups every two years. However, other approved championships take place across the world such as Continental Championships and approved ITF Open Championships. The ITF strives to provide top quality competition and organization at all its tournaments. Safety is a priority, as is efficient and fair umpiring. Participants are expected to demonstrate sportsmanship and reflect the true spirit of ITF Taekwon-Do at all times.
Since 2014, ITF is a TAFISA member and a strong supporter of this new The Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA) initiative. TAFISA is the leading international Sport for All organisation. With more than 270 members from over 150 countries on all continents.
The New Logo and its Meaning
As a first emblem, our new logo shows a fist , a symbol that shows that union makes up strength, where each color finger represent the chain of learning, since it contains all the colors of the belts that the practitioner gradually earns.
Besides the belts, the five elements represent the five continents and also the five tenets of our philosophy, where those continents co-exist in harmony. The fact that the logo does not appear encircled expresses our open attitude to everyone, without any sort of discrimination.
Our Philosophy and our Tenets
We often call our philosophy “Do” or “way”; such concept points out that the practical learning of ITF Taekwon-Do is of little value if its spiritual part is brushed aside. Mind and body are in fact indivisible, Grand Master Choi Hong Hi, founder of Taekwon-Do, laid special emphasis on this when he joined the spelling of its wording by means of a hyphen which symbolizes the fusion between both parts, essential to a harmonious and simultaneous development.
Such philosophy is based on the essential tenets of courtesy, integrity, self-control, respect for our elders, all of which elements enable a better co-existence in this world and foster the loftiest values in each human being, in order to avoid conflicts and wars.
This is tantamount to saying that the moment when one begins to practice the physical aspects with tenacity and perseverance – the part which is likely to enthuse us most – we must in the same way start putting into practice and exercising our tenets, not by paying mere lip-service to them or as a habit of memory, but in order to adopt a lifestyle which enables us to harmonize the power that the practice of ITF Taekwon-do provides us.
General Choi Hong-Hi
Message from the Founder
“1) We are willing to diffuse Taekwon-Do which is the Korean National Art of Self-Defence all over the world, for the purpose of promoting not only friendly-relations but also cultural-exchange among the member nations.
General Choi can be rightfully viewed as the principle founder of the Original Taekwon-Do. He conceived the name Taekwon-Do, received permission to submit the name to the first President of Korea, from a special group of leading members of Korean society, that he had the foresight to form. This resulted in the new name of Taekwon-Do being officially approved and authorized by the President, Dr. SeungMan Rhee, PhD, by virtue of the Calligraphy penned by the hand of Dr. Rhee in Chinese Characters indicating the presidential approval. Thus April 11, 1955 has become known as the birthday of Taekwon-Do, celebrated annually all around the world by millions of practitioners of the Art.
In 1959 he led the first Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team abroad, when they performed in South Vietnam and Taiwan. Later that year he formed the original Korea Taekwon-Do Association (KTA), serving as the first president. These events marked the start of the internationalization of Taekwon-Do. This KTA was the initial attempt to unify the 6 early Kwans under his Taekwon-Do banner. This unity was short lived as the civilians formed the Korea Tae Soo Do Association in 1961, with a focus on a new set of sports rules that were influenced by the practice of the Jidokwan.
In January of 1965 General Choi was elected the 3rd President of the Korea Tae Soo Do Association. By August of 65 he was successful in pressuring them to adopt his Taekwon-Do name. That long internal struggle contributed to the tension between General Choi and his juniors of the 2nd generation leaders. The younger generation leaders were successful in pushing out General Choi from the KTA after his 1-year term ended. Within 2 short months the ITF was formed and the divide between the generations was widened and was to become irreconcilable for many reasons, including but not limited to competing goals, personalities and autocratic leadership style that has less success on the civilian side, as it had on the military side.
When the ITF was formed on March 22, 1966 in Seoul Korea it had the consent of its initial nine member nations:
United Arab Republic (of Egypt), (W.) Germany, (S.) Korea, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, United States of America and the Republic of (S.) Vietnam.
These countries either had Taekwon-Do established in it by instructors General Choi previously dispatched there or recruited during the 1965 Kukki Taekwon-Do GoodWill Mission that he led which toured the world in 1965. Today ITF Taekwon-Do is practiced in well over 100 countries globally.
27 October 1967 –
The ITF was registered as Social Organization #27 with the ROK Ministry of Education
5 November 1968 –
The ITF was registered as a private organization for International GoodWill #60 with the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Over the years the military dictatorship in Korea became increasingly harsh. General Choi as a retired high ranking Army General and former Ambassador, became increasingly frustrated, as many Koreans did. However his stature and his vocal opposition voice as a leading political dissident, contributed to creating unsafe conditions for his personal safety. It also hampered his efforts to further implement his vision for Taekwon-Do. Therefore in 1972, the year of the height of the brutality of the military dictatorship of General Park Chung-Hee, he left on a Taekwon-Do trip, never to return to the Country he helped to establish. As a result the ITF Headquarters was relocated to Toronto Canada.
The generous immigration policy of Canada, combined with the diversity of a major metropolitan area like Toronto, would enable General Choi to continue his global dissemination of Taekwon-Do. The geographical setting, just north of the USA and above South America and the Caribbean, as well as half way between Asia and Europe/Africa, would also facilitate the internationalization of the Korean Art of Self-Defence. General Choi also noted that the upcoming 1976 Olympics would be held in Montreal Canada. Montreal would be the site of the first ITF World Championships in 1974. The Olympics was a long sought after goal of General Choi.
Meanwhile back in south Korea, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was formed in May of 1973 at the occasion of the first world Taekwondo championships. The sport centered WTF had as their inaugural President Dr. Kim Un-Yong, a high ranking government official of the military dictatorship. Dr. Kim, aka Mikey Kim, (a KCIA operative name), a gifted multi-lingual politician previously held many other high level positions of trust. However south Korea, engaged in a standoff with the communist north, during the “Cold War Era” did not have any diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R., the Soviet Bloc, “Red China” or Eastern Europe. General Choi, now a Canadian citizen was free of any political constraints and proceeded to introduce Taekwon-Do behind the “Iron Curtain” of a divided Europe, with hopes of “building a more peaceful world.” In 1978 General Choi led the 5th ITF Demonstration Team to Eastern Europe.
The expansion of Taekwon-Do without regard to race, religion, creed, national boundaries or political ideology required the ITF to relocate again in 1985. The ITF Headquarters moved to Vienna Austria, a city centrally located in Europe, between Western and Eastern Europe. Austria is also a politically neutral country that allows access regardless of a nation’s political system. This is evidenced by the large number of U.N. branches and international organizations in Austria. So this setting facilitated the global expansion of Taekwon-Do, where now over 200 countries are doing some style of Tae Kwon Do.
The current WTF President, Dr. Choue Chong-Won answered this question:
“The ITF Grandmaster’s considered as the “ITF Pioneers” many times facing much hardship and opposition, traveled the world to promote Taekwon-Do but today receive little or no recognition from the WTF; how do you feel about them and would you welcome them in South Korea?”
Dr. Choue answer included:
“……..they did a really good job to introducing TKD in many countries, I think without them TKD is, is really impossible to TKD became Olympic sport. So we plan to have a recognizing those peoples who introduced TKD in difficult times and difficult situations.” “…….. as a hero of introducing TKD in all of the world.”
General Choi, the first President of the ITF was the man responsible for Taekwon-Do. Without him, it is safe to say there would never have been Taekwon-Do. No other person can be legitimately seen as a founder of Taekwon-Do. The original members who formed the OTFA are committed to sharing his Taekwon-Do, with all others. They have a proud record of an open door policy to all martial arts, long embracing various methods of cross training to enhance their personal skills and the self defense capabilities of their followers. General Choi’s had a long held desire to make “ONE TAEKWON-DO and today, the OTFA an Allied Association of the ITF is steadfast in their aspiration to see that goal of his become reality.
Page of Honor
The ITF wishes to acknowledge those who contributed to the development of Taekwon-Do and the ITF in the past, though some may no longer be with us, nevertheless we acknowledge their involvement in Taekwon-Do. They are sometimes referred to as Pioneers, the early instructors or first to bring Taekwon-Do to certain regions of the world, or to assist Gen. Choi in the development and promotion of the art of Taekwon-Do. This section of the website will take time to compile in a careful and accurate way and we ask for your help. If you have pictures, information or historical documents relating to the Pioneers of Taekwon-Do, please email communications@tkd-itf.
The Oh Do Kwan
The Oh Do Kwan: Was the Military Gym that was co-founded by Gen. Choi and Col. Nam. After a very successful legendary demonstration in front of the 1st Korean President Dr. RHEE Seung-Man, in which the President directed Gen. Choi to teach the Martial Arts to all the Troops, the Oh Do Kwan became the facility to carry out that mandate. The name translates to gym of my way or my gym. Hence each individual soldier could feel at home in their gym, regardless of the Kwan they may have trained at on the civilian side. The Oh Do Kwan became the training centre that would produce the many instructors needed to spread Taekwon-Do throughout the Korean Military. Gen. Choi was the Director, Capt. Nam the Chief Instructor and Sgt. Han Cha Kyo the Assistant Instructor.
The First 3 Masters of Taekwon-Do
Early Military Taekwon-Do Instructors
Founding Members of ITF (1966)
Key Members that Led the ITF over the Years
Founder & President 1966-2002
Founding Member, 1st Promotion Committee Chairman, Past Vice President
Founding Member who was perhaps the most important person actually responsible for the logistics in setting up the ITF, 1st Chief Instructor of Instructor Courses, Designed ITF Crest & Plaque, Former Chairman of the Technique & Merger Committees, Past Secretary General, Instructor of the 1st International Umpire Course, Host of the 1st World Championships, Member of the 4th & 6th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1979
Founding Member who was perhaps the most important person in establishing bases for ITF Member Nations by teaching TKD throughout Southeast Asia & introducing TKD to Vietnam, Head of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating in Vietnam in 1959 & on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, 1st Chairman of Planning Committee & Former Chairman of the Tournament Committee
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating it on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, Past Secretary General, Member of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th ITF Demo Teams 1968, 1973 & 1974, Former Member of the Consultative Committee
Past Secretary General & Former Chairman of the ITF Instruction Committee, traveled worldwide as the Chief Instructor, Member of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1978-81
Founding Member, Member of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th ITF Demo Teams 1968, 73, 78, 79, 80, Host of the 4th World Championships, Past Vice President
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating it on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, Member of the 2nd ITF Demo Team 1968, Former Chairman of the Discipline Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8, Former Chief Instructor, Former Vice-Chair of Umpire Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 3rd & 5th, 6th ITF Demo Teams 1973, 78, 79, Former Chairman of Umpire Committee, Designed ITF Tree Logo
Former Chairman of Merger Committee, ITF Spokesperson & Special Assistant to Gen. Choi
Founding Member, Former Chief Instructor
Founding Member, Former Chief Instructor
Founding Member, Member of the 3rd ITF Demo Team 1973, Former Chairman of the Expansion Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 2nd & 3rd ITF Demo Teams 1968, 1973
Past Vice President, Former Assistant Auditor, Member of the 4th & 7th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1980
Past Secretary General, Member of the 7th ITF Demo Team1980
Member of the 6th ITF Demo Team 1979, Former Special Advisor
CHARLES E. SEREFF
Past Vice President & Secretary General, Former Chairman of Collegiate & Promotion Committees, Member of the 7th ITF Demo Team 1980
VAN BINH NYUGEN
Founding Member, Chairman of the Master’s Promotion Committee
Founding Member, Member of 2nd ITF Demo Team 1968
Founding Member, Past Vice President, Former Chairman of Title Committee
Member of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8, Former Chief Instructor & Chairman of Merger Committee
Former long term Under-Secretary General & Secretary General, Treasurer
LEONG WAI MENG
Member of the 5th ITF Demo Team, Former Chairman of the Consultative Committee
Founding Member & Member of the 2nd & 4th ITF Demo Teams, 1968 & 1974
Former Chairman of the Promotion Committee, Member of the 4th ITF Demo Team 1974
Former Chairman of the Umpire Committee, Member of the 4th & 7th ITF Demo Teams 1974 & 1980
TRÂN TRIÊU QUÂN
Former Chairman of the Tournament Committee, Host of the 1990 & 2007 World Championships, Past President who played a vitally important role in navigating the ITF through turbulent times following the passing of General Choi & moving the ITF forward in a professional manner well suited for the 21st Century, before he himself passed away tragically in a massive earthquake in the service of those less fortunate
Promoted to IX Dan Grandmaster By General Choi
8th December, 1997 GM Charles E. Sereff A-9-1
8th December, 1997 GM Hwang, Kwang-Sung K-9-1
1st May, 2001 GM Park, Jong-Soo C-9-1
1st March, 2002 GM Van Binh Nguyen A-9-2
1st March, 2002 GM Duc Dang A-9-3
- 21st March, 2002 GM Jung, Woo Jin A-9-4