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NMSU hosts International Conference for Taekwondo Jan. 23-24

New Mexico State University’s College of Education will host the International Academic Conference for Taekwondo Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23 and 24, on the NMSU campus in Las Cruces. The event is taking place in collaboration with local taekwondo schools, Maximum Martial Arts and Gold Medal Taekwondo. The theme is “Taekwondo as a Martial Art and Martial Sport in 2015: A Collaboration of Physical Training and Academic Discourse for All.”


Group of men standing for photo
New Mexico State University’s Ron Dziwenka, second from left, presents during the 8th International Taekwondo Symposium in the Republic of Korea in December 2014. NMSU will host the International Academic Conference for Taekwondo Jan. 23 and 24. (Photo courtesy of Ron Dziwenka)

“Our purpose is to celebrate both the contribution of our taekwondo community to excellence in education and taekwondo’s significant impact on children and families here in the Southwest,” said Ron Dziwenka, program manager for assessment in the College of Education. Dziwenka taught and studied for 12 years at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and earned his first master’s degree there. In taekwondo, he is Kukkiwon – certified a seventh-degree black belt.

“Our conference will include both the physical training in and academic discourse on ‘traditional taekwondo,’ as a martial art, and ‘modern taekwondo,’ as a competitive and world-wide Olympic sport, both as important aspects of Korean culture,” Dziwenka said. “The conference’s holistic combination of the academic and the physical, which combines the breadth of what taekwondo and martial arts are in the United States today with the historical development of taekwondo and martial arts over time, is a unique conference format. Our event will serve and enrich the local, state and regional taekwondo as well as martial art communities by including everyone in the academic discourse and physical training.”

Adding their support for the conference are Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation, and Ken Min, professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley and founder of the University of California at Berkeley Martial Arts Program. From NMSU, the conference has the support of Dean Michael Morehead of the College of Education, Dean Miriam Chaiken of the Honors College, Associate Provost Cornell Menking of the Office of International and Border Programs and Director Kristian Chervenock of the Office of Education Abroad.

The conference will include 18 academic researchers and Master-level practitioners, from the U.S., Mexico, Republic of Korea and Canada. Among the many presenters with a Ph.D., one received his in the DPRK (North Korea). An academic forum will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 23 in Room 233, O’Donnell Hall, with 12 researchers presenting papers on various topics on taekwondo as a martial art and a marital sport. These include presentations on the philosophy, education, injury treatment, business success and competitive sport aspects of taekwondo.

Jan. 24 will be the workshop portion from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the NMSU East Gym, with eight physical activity workshops on various aspects of taekwondo teaching and training for sparring competitions, patterns and self-defense. The workshop presenters will include Olympic gold medalists and multiple World Champions in taekwondo, and internationally accredited Masters. Organizers expect to have at least 130 participants and their families attend the conference.

For more information on the iACT event, contact Dziwenka at 575-646-4016 or dziwenka@nmsu.edu, visit the website at www.iactkd.com or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iactkd .