For two days,Daejeon City will go all martial arts,all the time

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For two days,Daejeon City will go all martial arts,all the time

A Buddhist monk who smashes bricks with his bare fists and an 89-year-old master of an ancient martial art are just two of the attractions at the first-ever nationwide Martial Arts Contest which shows off major forms of traditional Korean fighting arts.

More than 6,000 athletes will take part in the tournament at Daejeon City Hall Square from April 24 to 25, competing in seven forms of martial arts including taekwondo, hapkido, kendo, traditional restored martial arts from the Joseon period and combat martial arts practiced by bodyguards and military personnel.

Organized by the Korea Traditional Martial Arts Association and sponsored by Daejeon Metropolitan City, the event will feature both public demonstrations and contests between some of the masters of each art form. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 24, the organizations will take turns giving performances and self-organized contests. One of the more interesting participants is Kim Dae-kyung, 89, a master of gonbangdo, a Joseon period (1392-1910) martial art which uses sticks.

The highlight of the tournament will be the Martial Arts Championship bout on April 25. In an open field, the best teams in each category will compete, with three winners chosen by a panel of judges.

Another contest expected to draw plenty of interest from the fans is the brick-smashing event, in which 200 to 300 masters and interested amateurs will use their bare hands or other body parts to break bricks that measure 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) by nine centimeters by six centimeters.

The organizers have also prepared a board-smashing seminar and contest for visitors.

“We organized this event to determine the true master of destructive power,” said Seok Bo, 60, a Buddhist monk and an official of the World Buddhist Taekwondo Federation. “Board or brick breaking is the highlight of weapon-free martial arts and as such we will showcase the true power of traditional martial arts.”

The tournament will also feature several hands-on activities including a “You too can become a master” corner where participants can try their hands (and feet) at various martial arts.

“We’ve prepared contests and events to entertain both professional martial artists and casual fans,” said Jeong Bok-yoo, the president of the KTMMA. “We want to showcase the true spirit of our traditional arts, and allow the seven associations under the aegis of the KTMAA to present the essence of their martial art form.

“We hope to use this opportunity to boost the pride of our martial artists,” Jeong said.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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