Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
THE Jamaica Taekwondo Federation (JTF) has come out swinging at Master Peter Lue of the Jamaica Taekwondo Association (JTA), shooting down assertions made by the tae kwon do veteran, relating to the local presence and international activities of the rival martial-arts bodies.
In a statement released yesterday, Howard Chin of the JTF responded to Lue accusing selection panel chairman and Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) boss, Mike Fennell, of playing JOA-JTF politics in not naming JTA fighter Nicholas Dusard as a nominee for the Sportsman of the Year Award.
Fennell had questioned the JTA's credentials after the International Taekwondo Federation-aligned body had nominated Dusard.
The JTA fighter won gold and silver medals at the International Sport Kickboxing Association's World Championships in North Cyprus last month.
Chin, second vice-president of the World Taekwondo Federation-aligned JTF, described Master Lue as being "disingenuous" in querying the existence of a resident JTF gym, adding that the Fennell-led JOA and others "have been intimately aware of both our local and international activities".
"This is a bit disingenuous as he can, at any time, call up JTF president, Chris Chok, who he knows, and simply ask," Chin said of Lue's assertions.
"We have classes in WTF-style tae kwon do at Hillel Academy, DeCarteret College, Quest Prepara-tory, American International School of Kingston (AISK), Stella Maris and Brijade Gym in Santa Cruz," the statement added.
Chin pointed to WTF tae kwon do as "the Olympic martial art sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), exclusively the one practised by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), and the JTF is a member of the WTF".
"This recognition occurred because the IOC recognised WTF taekwondo was widely practised, with numerous practitioners in 205 WTF member countries worldwide, and has a programme to keep the sport current."
Chin suggested that JTA fighters have been unable to cope with WTF-style fighting and suggested that it was due to superior funding that they have been able to compete in more tournaments of varying styles.
He also took on JTA first vice-president Denise Romero, who had stated that more than 60 countries were expected in Jamaica for next year's ITF World Cup in Montego Bay.
"Ms Romero proudly states that, 'more than 60 countries are expected to attend the ITF World Cup', but the WTF World Championships, just this past July in Puebla, Mexico, had 152 of its 205 member countries in the world participating. Among these was the Jamaican team representing the JTF who made a creditable try, but only came within a whisker of winning a possible bronze against the best practitioners in the world.
"It is because we (the JTF) are not as well funded as the local branch (the Jamaica Taekwondo Association) of the ITF, that we primarily compete in WTF style, and WTF-sanctioned competitions.
"It would be pointless for us to expend scarce funds to compete in ISKA, ITF, cage fighting or other forms of martial arts, as they do not generally follow the 3x2 minute-round format, follow the WTF rules and points system and, most definitely, do not use the specialised protective gear with the sensors to assist the referees. As well, it is also different from other forms of tae kwon do, in style, techniques and other aspects.
"The athletes from other styles, who have received training, locally, from Master Chok, Master Jenkins and WTF coaches overseas, at the level necessary for international/Olympic competition, have remarked that it is tougher than other styles, and they have, generally, not performed well in WTF international competitions.
"These athletes have mostly, long ago, stopped training for, and entering WTF-sanctioned competitions, effectively eliminating them from consideration for any Olympics, even if the new licensing regime allowed them.
"One who has kept up WTF-style training has recently been inexplicably advised of an adverse analytical finding by JADCO," Chin said, referring to Olympian Kenneth Edwards, a JTA fighter.
Chin also pointed to "a former JTA member who has registered a company in our name, the Jamaica Taekwondo Federation".
"The rationale for this is unclear but it seems that a strategy similar to cyber squatting, as found on the Internet, has come to tae kwon do," he said, inviting the ITF to merge with the WTF.
"It is sad that the ITF missed the boat in 1988 when, as Mr Lue stated, there were active discussions about merging the two main forms of tae kwon do. Perhaps the ITF can now see fit to make another approach, if they are not now so doing. It would be beneficial for them to join the larger, more widespread WTF," Chin's statement added.