Kukkiwon 9th dan awarding ceremony held on 8th December 2022 at Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul, Korea.
Grandmaster Kim Seng has a knack for achieving firsts through his martial arts journey and the most recent was at the Kukkiwon 9th dan awarding ceremony held at Kukkiwon, home of the World Taekwondo Headquarters in the sunny December winter in Korea.
This special ceremony was initiated as the ultimate recognition for taekwondo high dan achievers when they reach the ultimate highest Kukkiwon 9th dan. The awarding ceremony was a grand affair with all recipients donning the ancient style Korean ceremonial robes designed to capture the essence of the ancient Korean king’s court and taekwondo.
The formal ceremonial costumes use the five primary Korean colours called obangsaek, which embody the yin-yang, the five elements and the ideological foundations of the traditional Korean philosophy. The five colours being white, blue, black, red and yellow. These colours were derived from the natural elements in the environment of fire, water, trees, precious metals (gold and silver), and the earth. The 9th dan recipients wore the red ceremonial robes while the Kukkiwon President Grandmaster Dr Dong Sup Lee wore the yellow ceremonial robe. The directors of Kukkiwon wore the blue robes.
The 9 dan awarding ceremony had been presented mainly for persons of Korean nationality in the past, but the December 2022 ceremony marks an historic occasion as it was the first time it included overseas persons of non-Korean nationality. The Kukkiwon President personally congratulated all recipients and hand presented the Kukkiwon 9th dan certificates which were beautifully encased in double frames, to the 7 Korean nationals and the famous 5 (so dubbed because they were the first of non-Korean nationality from overseas) who hails from Australia, Canada, Ivory Coast and two from Belgium.
Reaching the 9th dan is a major goal for any taekwondo practitioner, but it takes years of training and practice, in some cases, a lifetime. Grandmaster Kim Seng embraces the five tenets, including such as Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.
Without these, one could not really fulfill and embody true martial arts philosophy and practice. Other often misunderstood core values include those of Respect, Loyalty, Honour, Patience, Family and Mentoring (the receiving and the giving).
With mentoring, Grandmaster Kim would like to acknowledge what he learned and received from his Grandmaster Sok Pong Kim up until 1999, when he sadly passed away, then Grandmaster Jae Young Kwak, from 1999 to the present day, and to other masters and colleagues who had built up a good relationship and support.
For every practitioner, there is a master, and this relationship is the main stay and lineage links of a true martial artist. Grandmaster Kim Seng passes on his learnings, knowledge and experiences in mentoring his members of his club, the Australian Taekwondo Academy and other masters and grandmasters who seek his mentoring and guidance.
The covid pandemic delayed proceedings for high dan promotion testings which must be held in Kukkiwon in person, preceded by physical training. In Grandmaster Kim’s case, it was a delay of more than one year. Since the covid pandemic there has only been one 9th dan promotion test and two 8 dan testing from Australian masters.
The below photos represent the occasion of the 9 dan awarding ceremony, with short captions showing the landmarks at the Kukkiwon.
Kukkiwon also produced a you-tube short video clip showing the highlights of the occasion where one can see how such a grand event is held and to experience the occasion. Perhaps something to inspire you to reach for that occasion yourself, however long it would take you to get there.