Vietnam taekwondo master Truong Ngoc De has become the first non-Korean ever to be promoted to ninth-degree black belt, the martial art’s highest rank, after passing a test in Seoul on Monday.
De, who is also president of the Vietnam Taekwondo Federation (VTF), was the only candidate who sought promotion from eighth-degree to ninth-degree black belt during the test organized by Kukkiwon, the world's taekwondo governing body.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.
A taekwondo master must have held the eighth-degree black belt for at least nine years to be eligible for promotion to the ninth ‘dan,' which is Korean for degree.
Candidates of the strenuous promotion exam are required to submit an essay at least ten pages long on either of the two topics, 'my taekwondo life' and 'the taekwondo spirit.'
A practical test follows where candidates demonstrate their proficiency in the various aspects of the art before a panel of judges.
|Vietnamese taekwondo master Truong Ngoc De performs a practical test before a panel of judges during a ninth-degree black belt promotion test in Seoul, South Korea on November 11, 2019. Photo: Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre|
The fee for taking the ninth-degree black belt promotion test is about US$600, in addition to a tuition fee of $100 for a training course that precedes the test.
Besides master Truong Ngoc De, VTF deputy general secretary Nguyen Thanh Huy was among seven international taekwondo masters who took the promotion test for the eighth ‘dan’ on the same date.
Huy is also the head coach of Vietnam's national taekwondo team.
Both Vietnamese masters passed their respective tests.
They are expected to receive their certificates in December.
|Vietnamese taekwondo masters Truong Ngoc De (second row, third left) and Nguyen Thanh Huy (first row, left) pose for a group photo with other candidates during a 'dan' promotion test in Seoul, South Korea on November 11, 2019. Photo: Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre|