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[Herald Interview] North Chungcheong Province poised to become a mecca of martial arts: Lee Si-jong

North Chungcheong Province Governor Lee Si-jong speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, Thursday. (North Chungcheong Province)
North Chungcheong Province Governor Lee Si-jong speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, Thursday. (North Chungcheong Province)
Aspiring to achieve the same global recognition as K-pop and K-dramas, North Chungcheong Province, the home of traditional Korean martial arts taekkyeon, plays host to various martial arts-related programs.

“At the World Martial Arts Festival in 1998, North Chungcheong Province established the World Martial Arts Mastership, successfully hosting the first and second mastership in North Chungcheong Province in 2016 and 2019, respectively. We developed martial arts into a cultural business by opening the world’s first international Martial Arts and Action Film Festival and Martial Novel Competition,” North Chungcheong Province Governor Lee Si-jong said during an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday.

“The World Martial Arts Committee Convention 2021 represents North Chungcheong Province’s desire to promote the value of martial arts across the globe,” Lee added.

WMC Convention 2021 is a hybrid online-offline event with various programs, including general meeting, world martial arts leaders’ forum, an academic conference and a world martial arts industry fair. The 3-day event which kicked off Thursday will also include discussion on the media transformation of martial arts,

With the vision of passing down martial arts as intangible cultural heritage to the next generation, WMC obtained a permanent consultative member status at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport, enjoying equal status as other consultative members such as IOC, FIFA, UNICEF and more.

The growing influence has led nine countries to establish National Martial Arts Masterships Committee, a national governing body that distributes the Masterships movement. Mongolia will hold the World Youth Martial Arts Masterships in 2023, becoming the first case of exporting the Masterships.

“I believe that the martial arts has huge potential to become an industry for the future, which can be developed into cultural, manufacturing and MICE industries.“

Short for “Meetings, Incentives Travel, Conventions and Exhibition,” MICE is a big part of global business travel.

The Swiss city of Lausanne has developed into a global city after many international sports organizationd and the IOC headquarters moved in, the governor said.

“I think the Masterships can be developed into a global festival on par with the Olympics, leading North Chungcheong Province’s brand as the home of martial arts,” Lee added.

The governor stressed that the martial arts are a prestigious cultural heritage embodying the country’s history, tradition, culture and philosophy.

“Martial arts hold the universal values of peace and coexistence of all humankind. Unlike the Olympics, a Western-centered sports competition, the Masterships seeks to become a global festival by harmoniously applying the world’s martial arts,” Lee said.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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