The WTF Presents iACT 2016: Issues in Taekwondo History & Future Directions



Dr. Allan Bäck is a Professor of Philosophy at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He received his B. A. in philosophy (Phi Beta Kappa) from Reed College, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin. He has studied taekwondo and hapkido for many years. He has written many articles and three books with the late Dr. Daeshik Kim on the martial arts, and now continues to do so by himself. He has also published widely in such areas as the history and philosophy of logic, ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, comparative philosophy, and philosophy of sport. His first book received a prize from VG-Wort. In 1999 he was awarded a Forschungspreis from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Senior Humboldt Research Prize) for his research Senior Humboldt Research Prize), and has been occasionally in residence at the University of Freiburg. Professor Bäck has also taken an American Philosophical Association Fellowship for the Institute for Advanced Studies at Edinburgh University in Scotland in recognition of his scholarly work. Kutztown University has given him the Chambliss Research lifetime achievement award for his research and the Wiesenberger Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Dr. Steven Capener is an Associate Professor of Korean Literature at Seoul Women’s University in the ROK. He earned his B. Sc. from the University of Montana in Sport Science, and his M. A. and first Ph.D. in sport philosophy from Seoul National. He went on to complete another Ph.D. in modern Korean literature from Yonsei University, also in Seoul, ROK. He has been living in the ROK since the late 1980s. He worked for the International Division of the World Taekwondo Federation from 1989-1992. Professor Capener was a member of the U.S. National Taekwondo Team in 1986 and 1987. He won bronze medals in the 1986 1st World University Taekwondo Championships and the 8th World Taekwondo Championships as well as a gold medal in the 1987 10th Pan American Games. At his current position, he teaches Korean and English literature, and literary translation. He is a Kukkiwon 8th degree.
Dr. Udo Moenig was born in, Peißenberg, near Munich, Germany. As a young man, he studied various martial arts, and began taekwondo in 1979. During the 1980s, he was once a competition member of the German national taekwondo team, and trained professionally for four years as a member of the German, national military team, headquartered at the Sportschule in Sonthofen. In 1988, after finishing military service, he traveled extensively in Asia and, in 1990, settled for further studies and training in Korea. After earning his B.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland, he engaged in three terms of North Korean Studies from the Graduate School for North Korean Studies. He then earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physical Education from Keimyung University, ROK, with concentrations in taekwondo, history, and philosophy. In 2005, Professor Moenig was appointed by the Youngsan University Department of Taekwondo, in Yangsan, as the first foreigner in Korea to teach taekwondo at the university level. He researched, lectured, and published extensively in the field of Asian Studies, martial arts, and sports. He has authored (or co-authored) a variety articles about taekwondo and martial arts, published in various journals. His latest publication is a groundbreaking work titled, Taekwondo – From a martial art to a martial sport (London: Routledge, 2015).
Dr. Hyeongseok Song (WTF 4th dan) has been a Professor at the Department of Taekwondo, Keimyung University in Daegu, ROK, since 1999. He earned his Ph. D. in 1995 at the Deutsche Sporthochschule zu Koeln, Germany. He is Vice-President of the Society of Korean Sport Philosophy. His research interests are in historical and philosophical problems of taekwondo and sport from a humanistic perspective, and he has published extensively in these fields.
Dr. George Vitale (ITF 8th dan) started training in Taekwon-Do as a martial art in the early 1970s. At that time, it was still popular in some circles to refer to it as Korean Karate. Currently, he is only the 7th American-born practitioner to achieve the level of 8th dan in the Original Taekwon-Do. He spent 24 years with the NY State Police and now draws upon that investigative training and experience to aid in researching the history of Taekwon-Do. Among his four Undergraduate Degrees is a B.A. in History and an M.A. from the City University of New York. After attending CUNY’s Graduate School & University Center’s Doctoral Program for 2 years, he enrolled in a new international program administered in part through the Pyongyang government in the DPRK. In 2011, he earned his Doctorate from their State Commission on Academic Degrees & Titles, becoming the first American to do so. His training, studies and research have led him to over 70 countries around their world, often teaching during his extensive travels. Dr. Vitale’s utilization of Taekwon-Do as a tool of “soft diplomacy” has resulted in a long term active engagement with the people of the DPRK, leading to his membership in the National Committee on North Korea in Washington, D.C. He continues to present and publish research articles on Taekwon-Do. His work has earned him recognition from numerous organizations, as well as appreciation not only from the US government but also from the governments of both the ROK and the DPRK.

martial art / martial sport