Taekwondo in Nuuk

One of the few things that I can find a taste of Korea from in Greenland is Taekwondo. Soon after I arrived in Nuuk, I learned that one of my colleagues was black dan and did remember how to count numbers and say some—though mostly Taekwondo terms—in Korean. It was a great surprise and I thought it would be interesting to learn the Korean traditional martial art in this remote country.

In early April, I’d contacted the Nuuk Taekwondo club, and thought about taking some trains. But then, we had a snowstorm, I got busy at work, and then we had rain, and then I got lazy. With all the stupid excuses, I haven’t taken one with them.

As the time I leave Greenland comes closer, I thought I should at least know when the sport was introduced to the country and how it has developed, etc. I contacted one of the masters in Nuuk, Lauritz Heilmann. He told me the club is holding a demonstration today, and I made a visit to the Taekwondo performance for the first time in my life.

Taekwondo players demonstrating board breaking at Godthåbhallen, Nuuk

After the performance, I briefly talked with Master Heilmann. He said Greenland taekwondo belongs to the International Taekwondo Federation, which has a root in North Korea. (The other is World Taekwondo Federation from South Korea.) That explained why some part of their performance looked so military, nothing such I’ve seen on TV in Seoul. Master Heilmann referred it as “marching” and said it’s actually from Russia. He said the reason Greenland taekwondo is a part of ITF is that their grandmaster, a Malay Chinese, who introduced the sport to Greenland was a student of General Chang, a North Korean taekwondo master.

I couldn’t talk with him longer as people started gathering around to talk or take picture with him. We decided to meet sometime next week again. Stay tuned!


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