International Taekwon‑Do Federation
My love for General Choi Hong Hi and passion for ITF
GM Adolfo Villanueva
I received my 9th Dan in 2009. Currently, I am the Vice-President of ITF in America, President of FAAT (Federation of the Argentinian Associations of Taekwon‑Do), and Director of the South American School; a school that I founded and I have represented since 2003. I have been involved in TKD for 53 years.
I started practising it in 1967, when Taekwon‑Do began to be practised here, with the arrival of three young Korean instructors to Argentina, who are now great Masters Han Chang Kin, Nam Sung Choi, and Kwan Duk Chung. Under them, I became a 1st Dan holder in 1971, in the first ever ITF grading that was held in Argentina.
As my instructor asked me to do, I settled in Tucuman, a province in the north of Argentina, to help Taekwon‑Do become more popular since it was an unknown art at the time. Fortunately, in a short period of time many people began to practise it.
We held the first tournament and watched the first students become Masters, Senior Master and Grandmaster. They have been practising, teaching and spreading Taekwon‑Do around the country for 46 years. We organized many activities on all levels including state, national, South American, Pan-American and Intercontinental competitions; we have participated in all worldwide championships organized by ITF since 2004, accompanied by instructors, coaches and competitors.
Argentina’s Taekwon‑Do schools were quickly developed. The first association was created in Tucuman, years later the first federation was established, and eventually we were able to establish Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Taekwon‑Do (FAAT) in 1989, which holds all associations in the country. I have been the president since 1992, following successful democratic elections by its members. In addition, I have given training workshops in 15 American countries, as well as in Spain and England.
Due to my contributions in the art, I have the great honour of being in the Hall of Fame in the DPRK, the Hall of Palace of Taekwon‑Do, together with our dear and beloved father of Taekwon‑Do, General Choi Hong Hi, as well as with great Taekwon‑Do Masters of the world.
In 2009 I was awarded with the Hall of Fame of Taekwon‑Do in New Jersey. I was named member of the Executive Committee and the Committee of Graduation, position that I have been now holding for 8 years. I have been President of the Pan-American Council for 4 years, a position that I quit to become the American Vice-President, after being elected and re-elected by the leading members of the continent.
I have many accomplishments in regards to Taekwon‑Do, but the most important one is having been able to bring our father of Taekwon‑Do, General Choi Chong Hi, to Tucuman, Argentina; in the years 1996 and 1997 many students from all over the country attended his seminars. I had the honour of being able to attend his seminars in many other countries as well. Through his excellent teaching, I was able to attain his Taekwon‑Do knowledge in theory and practice of Taekwon‑Do, and his love and passion for our beloved art.
I felt moved when I could travel to Korea, the place where our creator shaped Taekwon‑Do little by little, the place where this beloved art was created, the birthplace of General Choi Chong Hi. It was an honour to pay homage to him in all my trips. It was also amazing to see the Stadium and Palace of Taekwon‑Do. It was also humbling to see the organization of these institutions, in the hands of the state and our leaders, Professor and Doctor Sir Chung Ung and President and Professor Master Ri Yong Son.
Taekwon‑Do leaders continued to follow the steps of General Choi Chong Hi, with the clear objective of spreading each one of the concepts they learnt from him in the years they spent together. Argentina had the honour of receiving them and learning from their knowledge. They are the sources of inspiration that make me work even harder every day for the organization, union and growth of Taekwon‑Do, especially in America where I am regarded as a leader of the martial art.
As an immediate project, I would love to continue in the organization to conduct ITF World Championships in Argentina, which was unfortunately affected by the worldwide pandemic caused by Covid-19.
Taekwon‑Do is my passion and I will continue to fight for the legacy of our Father in Taekwon‑Do, General Choi Chong Hi.