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Title [ICM's Pick] My experience as a member of the 2020 UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team
UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team aims to deliver message of peace and harmony inherent in martial arts and promote proper awareness and popularization of martial arts by show-casing global martial arts and its values.
Tang Hongfu (Wushu)
Hi, my name is Tang Hongfu and I am from Qingdao, China. In the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team, I was in charge of Wushu performance and experience activities. Although I was the only non-Korean member in the team due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I felt very comfortable.
When I first joined the team, I felt like a stranger because I had to encounter new environments, people, and different types of martial arts all at once. However, I soon adapted to the new surroundings after talking and laughing with my colleagues. We often had meals together and looked after one another. We were so close that we even exchanged gifts.
The demonstration activity was very meaningful to me because I believe continuous demonstrations can attract people to be more interested in martial arts. Our activity can encourage spectators to learn and practice martial arts for various reasons including health improvement. Five months with the team flew by. At first, I wanted to give up because I was unfamiliar with the team activity. But now I feel a strong affection to my team. I am surprised that my feelings have changed this much. I am very honored and grateful for being part of the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team. Thank you!
Park Minhee (Wushu)
Hi, I was in charge of the Wushu performance in the demo team. I remember ourselves carrying out given tasks separately because we were not familiar with the whole situation in the beginning. I regret that we didn’t spend time laughing and sharing jokes from the beginning just like we do now.
It was a very meaningful and novel experience for me to have met other martial arts practitioners, and to have practiced and prepared the performance with them. Also, learning other martial arts and teaching my martial art was very exciting.
The memory of preparing tours to schools is still vivid. We wanted our martial arts class to be exciting and interesting, so we studied the program over and over. Fortunately, the students were active in following the movements of the martial arts very well and stayed focused during the whole time. I enjoyed organizing the program and meeting the students. The team activity was very meaningful and I will never forget this. My experience as a member of the team will remain in my mind forever.
Cho Seonghun (Taekkyeon)
I had a great time with my team. Not only my teammates but also the staff members helped me significantly. I was in charge of Taekkyeon. It was very interesting to watch and learn different types of martial arts from the members. There were some difficulties in performing due to COVID-19, but in some ways, making new attempts such as preparing online contents were meaningful. I particularly enjoyed encouraging little kids to experience martial arts. Even though the activity was not long, I could learn and feel many things.
Han Yeseong (Taekkyeon)
This year, numerous offline performances were canceled due to COVID-19. It was a shame because I joined the team to increase awareness on Taekkyeon. But we soon thought of new ways to advertise not only Taekkyeon but the whole demo team. We created online contents ourselves. Performing and communicating with the audience through an online platform made me feel connected and unified.
Most of all, I felt biggest joy and achievement when we visited a primary school as part of the offline performances. I realized how delightful it is to give joy or help to other people, through my talent and efforts. In Taekkyeon class, I engaged with the students and exchanged feelings with them. After the class, I realized that I learned more from them than what they learned from me. I obtained both achievement and confidence to motivate me to think and act more positively and aggressively, no matter where I am and what I do. This priceless experience provided me with more energy and from now on, I will participate in many more activities.
Park Jaemin (Muay Thai)
It seems just like yesterday when I first joined the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team. I feel sad that it is time to say goodbye. Multiple memories flash through my head like a movie. When the team activity began, I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. Although I was worried about the age gap with other members, we had a great time together thanks to my considerate teammates. Despite the volatile schedule caused by the pandemic, the team activity was successfully carried out based on cooperation. I enjoyed this new experience in which I learned many things. It’s a shame we have to say goodbye now. I will keep dedicating myself to Muay Thai practice. I’d like to rejoin the team if I have another opportunity in the future. I hope the best success for the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team. Thank you, all!
Kil Seho (Muay Thai)
When I applied for the team, I was worried about two things. Firstly, I was not sure whether we could deliver a performance amid the pandemic. Secondly, I was not sure whether Muay Thai is suitable for demonstration because Muay Thai is not a splashy sport.
Considering COVID-19, I expected there would be changes to our performances. The activities changed from offline to online, and to video-clips. We freely exchanged numerous ideas and put them into practice. Although I was satisfied with some of them, there still remain some unsatisfactory parts.
Although I’ve been practicing Muay Thai for 14 years, it was my first time demonstrating and participating in a martial arts performance. I realized that demonstration is different from real practice. I even experienced some difficulties from the gap. Amid these difficulties, we succeeded in expressing the energy of Muay Thai appropriately, with the help of my teammates who were equipped with demo experience. Finally, I’d like to give my special thanks to Park Jaemin who performed Muay Thai with me.
Lee Ceeun (Arnis)
I indeed expected to learn something from the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team activity, but I did not know I’d gain more than I expected. In the activity, I could see various martial arts with my own eyes and feel their features and beauty. Not only that, I enjoyed my time getting to know my teammates and talking about martial arts. Different martial arts created harmony. I am happy that I not only learned about various martial arts but also became friends with the practitioners. I am very grateful to my teammates for helping me become a better me.
Kang Bongmin (Arnis)
Hi. I am Kang Bongmin and I was in charge of the Kali Arnis performance. I will write about my four-month experience in the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team. In the beginning, we didn’t know much about each other, so we often had conflicts. Sometimes I felt many restrictions due to environmental constraints.
We were under high pressure because demonstration was rarely possible, challenged by the virus. But in the latter part of the activity, we were able to perform several offline demonstrations, lessening our emotional burdens.
We all had a hard time and were under stress due to the pandemic. I hope things get better next year and wish everybody luck.
Gu Gwang U (Pencak Silat)
Although I’ve been performing martial arts demonstrations for a long time, I felt the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team is different. The team performs more than just one martial art. Five different martial arts created harmony of different cultures. And this colorful performance brought light to not only us but also people who suffered from difficulties due to the pandemic and natural disasters including typhoons and floods in 2020. It was very meaningful to support them through online performances, martial arts experience activities, and volunteer works. In Korea, not many people know about pencak silat, so it was a nice opportunity for me to increase the awareness of the sport with the demo team. Thank you.
Ahn Sungjun (Pencak Silat)
Farewell to the UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team
It is now time to wrap up the demo team activity that lasted between June and October. During the first few days, we were not used to each other, but we were shortly connected by a shared interest, which was martial arts. The whole process of preparing demonstrations was joyful. However, due to the COVID-19, many of our schedules were canceled. To find a breakthrough, we held many meetings and took several challenges. Because we haven’t experienced such a situation before, our achievement was not as big as we expected. However, it was still meaningful because it gave us the chance to experience something new and to take a challenge. In October, offline performances were scheduled more than usual, and I thought things would have been much better if things were the same in the previous months.
While many demonstration teams perform only one martial art, only UNESCO ICM Martial Arts Demonstration Team performs various martial arts altogether. This is a differentiated strength of the team. I hope the team maintain its strength and make bigger achievements next year. I’d like to thank the staff members of the center for supporting us and my teammates for everything. I wish you good luck
During the first few days, we were not used to each other, but we were shortly connected by a shared interest, which was martial arts..