Lower Sackville taekwondo master fires back at union after being suspended over caning
The Maritime Taekwondo Union says using a bamboo cane as punishment is not acceptable, but Grand Master Woo Yong Jung's lawyer says the student isn't complaining.
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The use of caning in taekwondo is under the microscope after a Lower Sackville instructor has been suspended after complaints, although the instructor says the issue is being pushed by competitors who want to “damage him.”
In a release Monday, the Maritime Taekwondo Union (MTU) said a “credible complaint” was filed on Jan. 15 against Grand Master Woo Yong Jung, owner and head instructor of Woo Yong’s Taekwondo Academy.
The complaint said Jung had been “administering corporal punishment using a bamboo cane on a 17-year-old student.” The release said the caning was performed in front of multiple members of the club.
“The MTU considers these actions by Master Jung to be of a very serious nature and not in any way representative of the sport or martial art of taekwondo,” the release said.
In response, the MTU immediately suspended Jung of all coaching credentials at local and national taekwondo events.
The MTU said two investigations are underway: the first in response to the original complaint, and the second into Jung’s behaviour at the National Taekwondo Games held in Ottawa over Feb. 15-18.
The results of both investigations will be turned over to an independent disciplinary panel for review and possible sanctions, the release said.
Jung’s lawyer, Jason Gavras, said in an email Monday that both the 17-year-old student involved and his family had no issue with the cane being used, and Jung has “received many letters of support including from the student who was disciplined as well as his entire family.”
Gavras said Halifax police investigated and closed the case without any charges, and social services has also been involved with no actions being taken.
The release was sent out Monday because Jung believes that MTU president Doug Large (another local taekwondo master) and other MTU members “are his competitors and just want damage him,” Gavras wrote.
It’s “noteworthy” that the complaint was laid by one anonymous person, Gavras said, not by those persons directly involved, or by any of the other roughly 100 students of Jung’s.
“The discipline Master Jung administered 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,” Gavras said.
Gavras added that he and Jung have not yet seen any of the complaints, and no dates yet have been set for a hearing.