When we think of taekwondo as an international sport, we often think of competitions.
However, pomsae, which is a collection of basic offensive and defensive movements, is also a significant part of taekwondo, a martial art that has been practiced since ancient times.
The Korean pomsae team held its final training session at the Lin’an Sports and Cultural Exhibition Center in Hangzhou on the afternoon of the 23rd, the opening day of the Hangzhou 2023 Asian Games.
The sport, which was first included in the program at the last Games in Jakarta-Palembang 2018, has two gold medals at stake in the men’s and women’s individual events.
With two gold medals in one day, on the 24th, the day after the opening ceremony, the sport is expected to boost the morale of the entire Korean athletes, not just the taekwondo team.
Coached by Kim Tae-wan (Hongcheon County Office) and Lee Jae-hee (Kyunghee University), the Korean team will include Kang Wan-jin (Hongcheon County Office) and Cha Ye-eun (Kyunghee University) in the men’s individual competition.
Competing in a 12-meter-long by 12-meter-wide arena, Poomsae is judged by the average score of the five highest and five lowest scores among seven judges.
In this tournament, both the first and second games from the preliminary round to the quarterfinals will be played in authorized Poomsae, while the semifinals and finals will be played in one authorized game and two free games.
While recognized poomsae involves the most precise and precise execution of set movements, free poomsae involves free movement to music.
The unpredictability of the various movements has led some to call it “artistic” taekwondo.
Kang Wan-jin, a ‘favorite’ to win gold at the 2018 Asian Games, said that the division of the sport into two events, official and free, allows for both tradition and modernity.
Speaking to Yonhap News Agency, he said, “Certified Poomsae includes ‘martial arts’. It’s traditional,” he said, adding, “Free Poomsae is colorful. With music, each athlete shows his or her uniqueness and strength,” he said.
“If you enjoy it with background music, it will be very immersive for the viewer,” he said, adding that he would like to introduce the sport to more people.
Kang Wan-jin said, “I feel like my physical condition has improved a lot today. If I manage my physical condition well, I will have a good result tomorrow,” he said.
He added, “I didn’t really have a strategy. I’m going in with the mindset that I’m going to win unconditionally from the first move,” he said, emphasizing that it’s best to win every match perfectly.
“I heard that if I win, it could be Korea’s first gold medal at the Games,” she said, “but I’m not going to worry about that. We have the women’s modern pentathlon before, and I hope to do well there.”
Cha Ye-eun, who will be competing for the women’s title, said she was more nervous than Kang Wan-jin.
“I feel honored to be competing in such a big event. I would be very happy to win a gold medal here,” Cha said.
A former taekwondo demonstration team member, Cha describes herself as a “free poomsae athlete.
In fact, she’s hard to beat in this sport, taking first place in the individual free poomsae event at the Asian Poomsae Championships last year.
Her first challenge is to make it through to the quarterfinals, where only certified sumis are allowed.
“My goal is to make it to the quarterfinals by focusing on certified poomsae and then move on to my main event, free poomsae, from the quarterfinals,” Cha said.
Cha is no different from Kang in her desire to promote the sport.
“When there was only certified poomsae, some people thought it was a bit boring, but when free poomsae came in, it became more colorful and interesting,” Cha said, adding, “It’s not that boring, so I hope people will pay attention to it.” 안전놀이터