Tour Through Time: Stop 11: Kaesong Checkpoint

We have completed our 102 mile run along the North-South Divide and have reached the Westernmost checkpoint at Kaesong.

General Choi always dreamt of seeing his country reunited; despite being born in North Korea he always saw himself simply as “Korean” and deeply hoped that the Tae Kwon-Do he developed would play a part in Korea’s unification.

Pattern Tong Il was created in Malaysia in the early 1960’s as the final pattern of Ch’ang Hon Tae Kwon-Do, representing the unification of North and South Korea into one nation. Some of the movements of this pattern are said to be significant; the first two moves symbolising the two Korea’s being divided for too long, the third move and change in tempo supposedly representing North Korea’s instigation of the Korean War, the various stamps symbolising Choi’s anger and frustration, and the high twin vertical punch with stamp on move 38 representing the breaking of the 38th parallel. Interestingly, pattern Tong Il had the highest number of revisions out of all the patterns. Perhaps it was Choi wanting it to better represent his dream, perhaps it was just due to technical advances in Tae Kwon-Do, we will never know for sure.

Sadly, Choi passed away on 15th June 2002, with his dream remaining just that; but the patterns remain a reminder that he was not alone in his dream. From the creation of the world and the formation of the Korea in Chon Ji and Dan Gun, through Korean history, it would seem poetic to finish on Tong Il; but that it neither the final pattern in our Tae Kwon-Do, nor the end of our journey.

We are celebrating our arrival at the last checkpoint of the North-South Divide with 102 Ab Splits and continue a very brief 6 miles north to visit Kaesong’s famous bridge.

%d bloggers like this: