According to Passport to Korean Culture, “starting on the 23rd of September to the 26th of September, the Korean people celebrate Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving”. This is a three day holiday. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar on the full moon. Chuseok roughly translates to “Autumn Eve”. This is a major festival for all Korean people, it is a celebration of thankfulness for good harvest and to honor the ancestors within each person’s family. As part of this, people return to their families’ hometown to pay honor to their family members who came before them. We as TaeKwon-Do students should utilize this holiday to meditate on our TaeKwon-Do ancestors and to return to our TaeKwon-Do families’ hometown.

Our family is TaeKwon-Do and our home was created for us by General Choi Hong Hi, that home being the International TaeKwon-Do Federation. Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, a way to say “thank you” for all that we have through the work of those who came before us. During this time, it would be well for the TaeKwon-Do student to reflect on everything that General Choi built through his tireless and persevering hard work. Since TaeKwon-Do was created by General Choi Hong Hi, the Choi Family is where our home is and only can be.

Through TaeKwon-Do, we as students have all become adopted sons and daughters of the Choi family. General Choi was the patriarch of the family and when he died his eldest and only son takes over the duties of the family. No adopted child can take the place of the first born son, for anyone that would try to put himself as high as the eldest son in a family would surely be shunned. There is only one rightful heir to the Choi family and to the ITF and that is President Choi Jung Hwa. The Chuseok holiday is a great reminder that we as students of the ITF are all members of one family, the Choi family. That family is led by the only son of the patriarch.

Contemplating upon this holiday as a non-Korean, a festival that has gratitude at its very heart, I think to myself how can we demonstrate gratitude? I believe that the only way to truly demonstrate your gratitude in a family unit is through loyalty. As family members, our selfish desires must come second to the needs of the family as a whole. As TaeKwon-Do students, we must show our gratitude through loyalty by constantly putting the needs of the International TaeKwon-Do Federation and the Choi family above our own personal desires, thoughts, and ambitions. Through that loyalty to the family, we can demonstrate our gratitude by promising to continue the work of the head of the family, General Choi Hong Hi, to never forget that his focus was upon building a peaceful world and reintroducing moral standards back into society.

So, on this holiday let us return to our ancestral home, the Choi family, led by General Choi’s only son, President Choi Jung Hwa. Let us remember our Instructors and Masters who have played a special part throughout our TaeKwon-Do journey. Let us demonstrate our thanks and gratitude through our renewed spirit of loyalty to the International TaeKwon-Do Federation and to General Choi’s teachings. To be part of a family, we must let go of ourselves and our prides to put the family first above our own selfish desires. To quote part of President John F. Kennedy’s famous saying: Ask not what the ITF can do for you – ask what you can do for the ITF.

May this be a year of great Thanksgiving and bountiful harvest for the International TaeKwon-Do Federation.

Master William R. Howard

Chairman of Ethics Committee

1, 2 Passport to Korean Culture by Published by Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Written by: Master William R Howard - 10th October 2018