Grand Master Kang Shinchul demonstrates a Taekwondo kick during his visit to the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Korean martial art Taekwondo got a shot in the arm in the UAE with the opening of the first specialised facility.

The UAE became the 12th country in the world to have a Taekwondo Dojang (club) represented by the World Taekwondo Taedoo Union (WTTU) when the legendary Grand Master Kang Shinchul, who formed the WTTU in 2009, came to Dubai from South Korea to open the club last week.

Grand Master (G.M) Shinchul has appointed his student Master Grant John Randall as the President of WTTU UAE, with the first training centre opening in May in Damac Park Towers in DIFC, Dubai, under the name of WTTU Moo Duk Taekwondo.

“Coming to the UAE and overlooking the opening of another WTTU member country was a great experience and I look forward to future visits to see the progress of Taekwondo in the UAE,’ he said.

The Korean master said that he first heard about UAE Taekwondo from Dr Choue Chung-won (President of the World Taekwondo Federation). “I am happy to know that Shaikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, is supporting Taekwondo in the UAE and helping promote its development,” he added.

“Taekwondo teaches us to develop our body and mind, I wish for the people of the UAE to benefit from the opening of the first WTTU Dojang and I will be watching the progress of our members there,” added G.M Shinchul, who with 50 years of experience, is known as the living Taekwondo legend.

During the opening ceremony, Shinchul was accompanied by UAE-based Grand Master Zeyad Hammad Abu Zahieh, who is on the Kukkiwon Advisory Committee as a Technical Committee member and a supporter of the opening of WTTU in the UAE.

G.M Shinchul also visited many places across the UAE, including Sharjah and Fujairah, to take photos of landmarks whilst performing Taekwondo forms. His visit to Sharjah Waterfront early last Friday morning particularly attracted a large number of Taekwondo players who gathered there to meet the grand master. Visitors at the Sharjah Waterfront were mesmerised by the display of some Taekwondo moves by the Grand Master.

With the opening of its club in Dubai, the World Taekwondo Taedoo Union hopes to promote traditional Taekwondo martial arts in the UAE.

Master Zeyad said: “The new Taekwondo club in Dubai will be the house of traditional techniques of Taekwondo under the teachings of the legendary G.M Shinchul.”

He added that members of the Dojang (club) would learn pure Taekwondo directly from its Korean origin, under the leadership of Master Grant, the first certified instructor by G.M Shinchul in the UAE. “Surely, I will be supporting him as the Kukkiwon Advisory Committee Member (Technical Committee),” he said.

Master Grant said that it was great honour for him to be appointed as the President of WTTU in the UAE. “It is my goal to help spread the teachings of G. M Shinchul and develop a strong foundation for traditional Taekwondo in the UAE,” he said.

Grant noted that Taekwondo is still a developing martial art in the UAE. “We at WTTU Moo Duk Taekwondo wish to be a strong part of helping the UAE become a regional and world leader in Taekwondo excellence,” he added.