Under the slogan “Martial Arts for One World, One World for Martial Arts,” 2016 Cheongju World Martial Arts Masterships, hereinafter referred to as CWMAM, was held in Cheongju from September 2 to 8, 2016. Approximately, 2,000 martial artists from 81 countries participated in this competition, which was the first of its kind among international martial arts competition. During the competition, martial artists in 17 sports including Taekwondo, Judo, Muay Thai, and Jiu-Jitsu, showed off their skills at several gymnasiums in Cheongju.
Because of this event, KNUE was selected to be one of the accommodations for the artists, and was among four other places in Cheongju, including NH Human Resources Development Institute, Sejong Spatel, KT&G Human Resources Development Institute, and Chungcheongbuk-do Institute of Human Resources Development. According to Center for In-service Education, KNUE received a payment by Chungcheongbuk-do Provincial Government in exchange of operating costs for lodging, which was 27,245,000 won. With this payment 335 artists stayed in Hamindang and practiced their martial arts in KNUE’s gymnasium during the competition.
Meanwhile, there was a safety problem in KNUE. On September 4, four Taekwondo artists from Uzbekistan who stayed in Hamindang were absent without leave. After they disappeared, Residential Education Center warned the students living in the dormitory against possible dangers. Some students expressed concerns over the incident. A female KNUE student (who asked not to be named) said, “At first, I was scared when I heard that news from my friends. As time went by, my anxiousness was eased, and I just wondered why they came to Korea and what will happen if they are caught by the police.” According to the CWMAM Organizing Committee, all of them came back to their accommodation on September 7. It was reported that they had thought it did not matter about leaving their accommodation, because all of their schedules ended.
On the other hand, the martial artists’ absent without leave in KNUE was not the only problem during the competition. It was found that 29 percent of the all foreign martial artists could not participate in the competition because of visa issuing problems and denial of entry into Korea. Their absence disrupted a smooth operation in some games, such as Belt Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and Kurash. After the CWMAM ended, many expressed their disappointment. Kang Hyeon-sam, a council member of Chungcheongbuk-do provincial council said, “Although the competition was held after having many difficulties, it was shabby enough to put the title ‘the biggest martial arts festival of the global village’ to shame.” A lot of criticisms seem to make the next CWMAM doubtful.
Jo Jeong-rae, the head of Emergency Committee of the KNUE Student Association, expressed his regrets over the CWMAM. “It was a pity that CWMAM showed the lack of preparedness overall, as well as the incident in KNUE, but it is a relief that there were not any safety accidents in KNUE.”
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