The World Taekwondo Federation

The WTF is organized (for the purpose of sports) into five continental unions:

AFTU – African Taekwondo Union
ATU – Asian Taekwondo Union
ETU – European Taekwondo Union
OTU – Oceania Taekwondo Union
PATU – Pan American Taekwondo Union

Each Union has a President, and Secretary General, and several member National Associations for each country in the Union. The PATU has 44 member National Associations.

Note this statement on the introduction page of the WTF:

“The World Taekwondo Federation is the International Federation [IF] governing the sport of Taekwondo and is a member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations [ASOIF]. The WTF recognizes national Taekwondo governing bodies recognized by the NOC in the pertinent country, one in each country, as its members.”

Also, note the statement about “Dan” promotion tests on the WTF site:

“All matters about black belt Poom/Dan certification are dealt with by the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters). Dan/Poom promotion tests are conducted according to the Regulations for Promotion Tests of the Kukkiwon.”

It should be understood that when the Kukkiwon Headquarters building was completed at the end of 1972, and named in 1973, the WTF was also created as a liaison office between Korea, and foreign instructors for obtaining Black Belt Dan certificates from the Kukkiwon, and for regulating the sport of Taekwondo. The first President of the Kukkiwon, Dr. Un-Young Kim, was also elected as the first President of the WTF. Therefore, when the Kukkiwon originally issued international Dan certificates, the documents also carried the logo of the WTF, and had Dr. Kim’s signature as President of both entities. The Kukkiwon originally housed the offices of the KTA (national academy), the KOC (Korean Olympic Committee), and the WTF. However, in recent times, the duties of the WTF was re-structured to focus on the Olympics, and other matters for competition rules, and they stopped placing the WTF logo on Dan certificates. Since then, the WTF has relocated to its own building in Seoul, South Korea. The WTF does not have its own curriculum for teaching Taekwondo, and has nothing to do with rank promotions or Dan certificates.

The many schools around the world that have become accustomed to calling themselves “WTF schools” because of the competition rule book they follow for sports, and because of the close former affiliation between the Kukkiwon and the WTF really should understand the truth. There is no such thing “officially” as a WTF school, but schools can become members of the Taekwondo National Governing Body (NGB or MNA) in your country which is “recognized” by the WTF, and your students can register as members of that association. The teaching curriculum, however, comes from the Kukkiwon, and/or your own Dojang or association.


By Chief Master Darwin J. Eisenhart – Taekwondo 7th Dan with the United States Chung Do Kwan Association