Earlier or later, it was necessary to write about the real ideas of
General Choi. As a Spanish and a practitioner of Traditional Taekwon-do, founded by General Choi, there are many truths that I think the world should know.
In Spain, General Choi Original Taekwon-do came in 1968. Direct students (who I do not want to quote to protect their data) introduced Taekwon-Do in 1968, but the influence of Korea made Taekwon-Do disappear completely. I mean the practice and dissemination in the year 1979. So in January of that year, General Choi Taekwon-Do disappeared in Spain. Then, it was when, with my new black belt, I began my struggle to return the style of Taekwon-Do founded by General Choi to Spain. It is not until 1982 that I get his address in Canada, and her daughter answers to my letter. In her response (which is in my possession) she tells me the whole true story about what had happened to Taekwon-Do in Spain.
This was a fascinating story, hence, my feelings took to the recovery of Choi’s Taekwon-Do and historical heritage. Then, I started working to bring it back to my country.
In 1984 I was invited by General Choi to the World Championships in Glasgow. I could not go because of my financial situation. I was very young. I had just a few students, and very little purchasing power. It was a pity for me not going to his personal invitation. However my communication with General Choi was constant. Every month we sent letters to each other. Finally, in 1984, in the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the ITF, General Choi invited me to Austria to attend such great event. There I met him. Since then we became good friends; obviously with the distances and relevant protocols between a great personality as was General Choi. Since then and until the end of his days, my communication with him was very close. I participated as an assistant in two courses in Spain and I was his personal assistant during the course that General Choi made in Portugal, where Taekwon-Do came back.
I spent five days with him: having breakfast, lunch, dinner; and training in his room. I cannot write all the things he told me about Taekwon-Do, but here’s the summary of so many things I asked:
One of the first things was:
General, what do you expect about Taekwon-Do future? His answer was blunt “MY TAEKWON-DO MUST BE AN OFFICIAL SPORT!” I said “You know that’s impossible, because the WTF is now official? He answered “TAKE OFF WTF AND PUT MY ORGANIZATION!” Then I told him “With my respect sir, it is impossible. The policy does not work that way; the policy world works differently”. He said “It’s not my problem. I am the founder of Taekwon-Do!”. There was no reason to insist.
What most strikes me is that there was no important event, European or World Championships where he didn’t ask for me; just to say hello, because he just wanted me to be present. I remember that during his visit to Spain in 1987, at the dinner of brotherhood with all the fans, he told aloud to all participants the following:
I INTRODUCET TAEKWON-DO IN SPAIN AND ANY STUDENT OF MY RACE CONTINUED DOING IT. IT HAD TO BE A PERSON WHO IS NOT THE SAME RACE AS ME, AND FAITHFUL TO ME. HE REGAINED MY TAEKWON-DO IN SPAIN. SO, YOU OWE IT TO MARIO PONS.
Those words brought tears to my eyes, and then my final wishes were: to continue until the end with this great man and Grand Master.
One of the questions I asked him in my career was what he thought of his Taekwon-Do. His answer was clear: “TAEKWON-DO IS KOREA AND KOREA IS TAEKWON-DO!”
At that time I had clear that I had to follow his thoughts, and so it has been. But the time, the future, and the vicissitudes experienced since his death, have made me to take another path. WHY? Because his TAEKWON-DO stayed in the hands of people who, for eight years, have not done anything. They have not solved the big problem, or accomplished the great illusion of General Choi, to make TAEKWON-DO OFFICIAL IN ALL THE WORLD! Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m sure he wanted to see his TAEKWON-DO as an official sport in the WORLD. If you have to call it TRADITIONAL TAEKWON-DO to get that, who cares? It was his hope and his future. Anyone disputes that?
Since 1999 I work in politics in my country. I worked hard in Spain. Here everyone knows the style of General Choi thanks to my disinterested courses. Hundreds of articles in journals, magazines such as BLACK BELT, the Budokan, DOJO etc. have echoed my work. I edited two books. I made a VIDEO in Spanish and English. All for the dissemination of GENERAL CHOI style, the ORIGINAL Taekwon-Do. After so many years, my work as a politician has helped me to make TRADITIONAL Taekwon-Do a OFFICIAL SPORTS IN MY REGION (Valencia). No one had managed to do it before, and now my mission is to make TAEKWON-DO OFFICIAL IN THE WORLD.
I’m taking advantage of my 9 international courses with General Choi in Spain, Portugal, North Korea or Vienna (Austria). So his history, his Taekwon-Do, along with all his followers in the world, can enjoy and help in my project. “TAEKWON-DO TRADITIONAL BY GAISF”. This was his main hope; as well as launching the distribution of its new dobok, the gray dobok that he wanted to use in the 80s to differentiate his Taekwon-Do from other styles in the World. His response to the failing of the gray dobok was: “The grey dobok has not succeed because any of my direct students has supported me! Now is the time to fulfill his dream; the Gray Dobok will be a reality with ITTAF, as well as so many things I have written from his memories; written down by me and that will now be a reality.
Perhaps some people think I’m crazy, but I owe much respect to their ideas, to the North Korea Taekwon-Do (BUT NOT TO HEED THAT GENERAL CHOI TAEKWON-DO STYLE IS KNOWN IN NORTH KOREA SINCE 1980).
I practice Taekwon-Do since 1971. My respect to North Korea and to his followers and masters, but any Korean knows how to hold an Ap Cha Busigui in the genital area, because General Choi did not have time to teach everything in North Korea. That’s because a teacher is not made in practice, but by practice time, and I did had time to learn straight from him.
MY TRIBUTE TO GENERAL CHOI, MY MASTER, MY FOUNDER; AND MY FIGHT TO FULFILL HIS ILLUSIONS.
ALL TOGETHER FOR ITTAF.
SM MARIO PONS 8th DAN, delivered by General Choi four months before his death.
HIS LIFE IS TAEKWON-DO AND MY LIFE IS HIS LIFE.