March 12, 2018 6:39 pm
Updated: March 13, 2018 10:45 am

Taekwondo instructor credentials suspended after caning student

WATCH: A Halifax-based taekwondo instructor has had his coaching credentials suspended by the regional organization that sanctions tournaments. A complaint was filed to police after Master Woo Yong Jung struck a 17-year-old student with a cane at his martial arts school. But as Jeremy Keefe reports, no charges are being laid.

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The regional sanctioning body of Taekwondo tournaments has suspended the coaching credentials of a long-serving instructor over what they call “corporal punishment.”

Master Woo Yong Jung was found to have struck a 17-year-old student with a cane in a disciplinary incident after Halifax Regional Police followed up on a report of an assault on Jan. 10.

Their ensuing investigation determined that although the incident took place, no medical attention was needed nor did the student suffer physical injuries.

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They concluded the investigation on Feb. 4 without charges being laid.

Jung’s lawyer Jason Gavras provided a statement indicating, “Master Jung, the student who was disciplined and his family are quite surprised that this matter has become a story. They considered it largely a non-event and closed long ago.”

However, the Maritime Taekwondo Union is denouncing such a practice and saying they’re outraged one of their members would take part in that type of disciplinary action.

“The MTU has very clearly defined rules and policies around how we are to interact with our students and interact with the community,” said MTU president Doug Large. “We as masters and instructors take those principles very seriously.”

The MTU launched its own investigation into the incident after the complaint was brought to their attention on Jan. 15.

The organization then decided to immediately suspend Jung from coaching at local and national taekwondo events.

When completed, the results of their investigation is to be turned over to a three-member panel said to consist of legal and medical professionals who are far removed from the taekwondo community. The MTU’s disciplinary measures range from dismissal of the complaint to permanent expulsion from the organization.

“I think the entire event is unfortunate but we as an organization have no options,” said Large. “It has to be dealt with, it has to be addressed. We have a responsibility to all of our members and a responsibility to uphold the policies that we’ve set.”

A letter of support from the Woo Yong TKD Parent Association reiterates what Jung’s lawyer asserted in his statement; that the situation has been blown out of proportion.

The association’s chairperson Byron Kendall said, “I have absolutely no concern when it comes to the safety and security of my children when they are in Master Jung’s care,” adding, “My son … was present at the academy in early January when the initial incident occurred between Master Jung and one of his older students. My son, who did not witness the incident but was within earshot of it, heard the incident and understood what was happening but knew that there was no danger to him or any of the other children.”

“I believe that this is simply an attempt by one businessman to destroy a competitor.”

Large admitted he has known Jung for a long time and that their relationship has been a tumultuous one but denied any of his previous experience with the suspended instructor contributed to the complaint and ensuing investigation.

“Master Jung was my master instructor for the first half of my practice,” he explained. “He and I had a falling out a number of years ago and have reconciled.”

“None of what has happened has been anything more than a response to his actions in his club and his decision-making process,” Large explained.

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