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Taekkyeon makes an appearance


PETALING JAYA:  Almost everyone has heard of Taekwando, Judo and Hapkido, but Taekkyeon, a traditional Korean martial art, is almost unheard of.

But last night, a group of seven Taekkyeon practitioners from Korea, enthralled the audience at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC), here, when they presented amazingly fluid and dance-like Taekkyeon movements.

Almost 200 viewers were introduced to the unique movements of Taekkyeon and its history through the performance and video presentation.

This was the first Taekkyeon stage performance in Malaysia initiated voluntarily by the Organisation for the Preservation of Taekkyeon in Korea, during the three-day Korean Martial Arts Showcase which kicked off on Friday at the DPAC.

Led by its grandmaster Jung Kyung-Hwa, the performance was aimed at introducing the martial art form to Malaysians, besides raising funds for the Malaysian children’s martial art training and development programme.

According to Jung, Taekkyeon was recognised as the first martial art on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) intangible cultural heritage list in November 2011.

He said there were certain similarities between Taekkyeon and the motions of Taekwando, but Taekwando movements were rather rigid, straight and restrained while Taekkyeon were curved, natural and minimally stressful.

“It relies more on defence than on offence that the fluid, spontaneous movements of the hands, feet, and body flow consistently with the muscles,” he told Bernama.

Jung said unlike other martial art forms, there was no abrupt kicking or punching in performing Taekkyeon.

“Taekkyeon uses many sweeps with straightforward low kicks using the ball of the foot and the heel and flowing crescent-like high kicks. There is more emphasis on low kicks and leg sweeps to make the opponent
lose balance and knock the enemy to the ground. Another notable characteristic of Taekkyeon is its lyrical and dance-like rhythm, in which the fighter constantly changes stance from left to right by stepping forward and backward with arms up and ready to guard,” he explained.

Jung said Taekkyeon could be practised well into old age because all movements were intended to harmonise with the structure of the human body.

“Taekkyeon serves to facilitate community integration and as a sport that is accessible to all, it can play a major role in promoting public health,” he said.

Meanwhile, World Korean Martial Arts and Cultural Centre (WKMACC) president Tan Eng Sin said besides promoting Taekkyeon, the performance was also a platform to enhance bilateral relations between Malaysia and South Korea.

Tan, who is also the producer of the Korean Martial Arts Showcase, said the performance targeted to raise RM100,000 for the fund.

He said at the showcase, eight members of the Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association also performed together with Malaysia’s Taekwando demonstration team ‘Arena by Viva’ involving 30 members aged seven to 20 years.- BERNAMA


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