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Corpun file 26671 at www.corpun.com
CBC News, Toronto, 12 March 2018
Halifax taekwondo grandmaster suspended over caning
Neither the student nor the student's parents complained about the incident
By Anjuli Patil
Woo Yong Jung is head instructor and owner of Woo Yong's Taekwondo Academy.(CBC)
A Halifax taekwondo grandmaster has had his coaching credentials at local and national taekwondo events suspended after he struck a 17-year-old student with a bamboo cane in early January.
Woo Yong Jung, head instructor and owner of Woo Yong's Taekwondo Academy on Kempt Road, caned the student in front of numerous members of the club, but neither the student nor the student's parents complained. The Maritime Taekwondo Union (MTU) issued Jung's suspension.
"Master Jung has done a tremendous amount to advance the study of taekwondo in Canada. He is the only grandmaster in Atlantic Canada and has been teaching for 30 years. This isolated incident is, unfortunately, being blown way out of proportion," Jung's lawyer, Jason Gavras, told CBC News in an email.
The union said in a news release issued Monday the caning incident, as well as a second alleged incident are being investigated.
The initial incident was reported Jan. 15. The second incident is in relation to Jung's subsequent behaviour at the National Taekwondo Championships held in Ottawa the weekend of Feb. 15-18.
"It is not part of what taekwondo has as part of its principles, its tenets," said union president Douglas Large. "We do not, as masters and instructors, use corporal punishment."
The results of the investigations will be handed over to an independent discipline panel for review and possible additional sanctions, the union said in a news release. Sanctions range from dismissal of the complaint to permanent expulsion from the union.
No police charges
Gavras said Jung, the student who was disciplined and his family are "quite surprised that this matter has become a story."
"They consider it largely a non-event and closed long ago," Gavras said. "This entire matter is the result of a very botched process conducted by a small, informal group of people within the MTU and one anonymous complainant."
Halifax Regional Police investigated the incident, but did not lay any charges.
"The youth did not require any medical attention and did not suffer physical injuries," Const. Carol McIsaac told CBC News in an email.
Gavras said Jung believes this is a case of his competitors trying to damage his reputation because of his success in producing champions. Jung himself won a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Parental support for Jung
When Large was asked by CBC News if he was impartial in this incident, he said he's not involved in the investigation or any of the procedures and processes underway.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Woo Yong Parents Association said he supports Jung.
"We're rather surprised and rather bewildered by the whole situation," said chairperson Byron Kendall. "There was a decision that was made by a family, a decision on discipline and how to discipline a young man to try to correct some difficult behaviour and that decision involved Master Jung."
Kendal said he has "absolutely no concern" about the safety and security of his six- and nine-year-old children when they're in the care of Jung.
Large said he's been practising taekwondo for nearly 20 years and this is the first time he's heard of caning in the sport.
"It's not what I teach in my practice, it's not what anyone that I know outside of this incident would ever do," said Large.
Gavras said Jung's discipline was "entirely in keeping with his cultural tradition and training and the student, having studied in Korea, was fully aware of this and doesn't see it as a problem."
Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.
With files from Tom Murphy
© 2018 CBC/Radio-Canada. All rights reserved.
Corpun file 26672 at www.corpun.com
Global News, Toronto, 14 March 2018
Parents say taekwondo master's caning of student caused harm to other kids
By Jeremy Keefe
Video Journalist Global News
Caned: Rodrigo, 17
Several parents have removed their children from Woo Yong Jung's Taekwondo Academy following a January incident in which a classmate was struck with a cane by the club's master.
The parents have said the event left a negative impression and PTSD-like symptoms on the young students.
Jung was found to have struck a 17-year-old student with a cane in a disciplinary incident -- a move that has been denounced by the Maritime Taekwondo Union this week.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, several parents of children who attended the school have advised that the incident caused them to immediately withdraw them from any further classes with the veteran instructor.
According to parents, despite being outside the instructional area, one child is said to have heard the screams of the 17-year-old student as the punishment was administered, parents claim has caused PTSD-like symptoms, including nightmares and an aversion to loud noise.
The parents' outrage stems from both the use of physical punishment on a minor as well as the inclusion of other children in the discipline, as younger students were within earshot while older students witnessed it firsthand.
The parents indicated that at least four families have left Woo Yong's for other clubs, while several other parents have removed their children from taekwondo altogether.
But the father of the child who received the physical punishment says that his son "saw his punishment as a favour" and is "a better and more mature boy" because of it.
"The master gave him a choice," Rolf Meier explained.
"He said, 'Alright, you apologize to all the club members publicly and you get a few slaps on the rear end and then it's okay again,'" Meier said. "'If you don't want that, then you cannot train with me anymore.'"
The punishment was the result of an incident at a Christmas party in which Rodrigo is said to have consumed alcohol, become intoxicated and physically attacked his master.
His father said that Rodrigo has "learned a lesson."
"We were really happy that this happened because it has really made Rodrigo a better and more mature boy."
Meier's son has been training in the Korean martial art on an almost daily basis since the age of six.
Jung's website depicts him as a taekwondo practitioner who has reached rare heights, winning world championships as both a coach and fighter.
Meier believes so strongly in his children's teacher he brings Rodrigo and his younger son Django from more than an hour away to attend classes. For them, taekwondo is a way of life and such punishment comes with the territory, a mindset not shared by those exiting the long-time master's club.
"It was mutual consent of students, parents and master, so we never thought of it anymore -- until some parents started pretending that their children are severely damaged because of this, which we honestly believe is not true," Meier said.
Although he defends the punishment method administered on his son, Meier does admit that, in hindsight, the involvement of other students was not the best way for the situation to be handled.
"Firstly, he would never do it again, and secondly, yes, he should have maybe done it after the taekwondo training," he said.
While the matter continues to be investigated by the Maritime Taekwondo Union, Jung remains suspended by the organization, removing his ability to coach his students in competition.
"This particular incident is once in a blue moon," said Taekwondo President Wayne Mitchell.
Mitchell said often after a regional or provincial body completes an investigation and renders a decision, it will conduct its own to ensure due-diligence.
"When we have those incidences, then we deal with them best we can through our policies," he said. "It's something that's serious and we will take seriously, but we have to ensure we follow our process to give both the opportunity for their voices to be heard."
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
RELATED VIDEO CLIP
Two-and-a-half-minute video version of the above news story from Global News (Halifax), 14 March 2018.
The video includes some information not included in the text version. Notably, we see 17-year-old caning beneficiary Rodrigo himself, talking to camera, stressing that he was okay with the punishment even though it made him scream ("but not in a dramatic way") and adding that sitting down afterwards was painful.
HERE IS THE CLIP:
IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.
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