Kukkiwon (국기원; 國技院), also known as World Taekwondo Headquarters, and home of the World Taekwondo Academy, is the official taekwondo governing organisation established by the South Korean government. It is supervised by the International Sports Division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Kukkiwon is based at 635 Yeoksam-dong (역삼동) in the Gangnam-gu (강남구) district of Seoul, South Korea. Construction of the main building commenced on 19 November 1971, and was completed on 30 November 1972, with the organization being officially named on 6 February 1973. The main building accommodates up to 3,000 people for events. Standing at three stories in height, the building’s roof features kiwa (blue Korean tiles)—the same type of roofing as the Blue House (the official residence of the President of South Korea).
In May 1973, the Korea Taekwondo Association and Kukkiwon hosted the first World Taekwondo Championships, with 200 taekwondo competitors from 17 countries in attendance. Kukkiwon has had a permanent taekwondo demonstration team since September 1974.
Un Yong Kim was the first President of Kukkiwon, and resigned from the position on 15 November 2001. Woon Kyu Uhm of the Chung Do Kwan was elected President on 2 March 2004.The President in late 2005 was Yong Gye Um. On 10 December 2009, Seung Wan Lee of the Jidokwan was elected as Kukkiwon’s next President.
In mid-2010, Won Sik Kang became the president; he was also the current president of Song Moo Kwan, Korea. President Kang stepped down at the end of his term of office in early 2013. After him the interim president while awaiting an election was Grandmaster Kyu Sok Lee, who also serves as Secretary General for the Asian Taekwondo Union. Kim Chung Gun later acted as the Chair-in-Office. The next president was Grandmaster Lee Kyu Hyung (9th dan) after being provisionally named by the Director of the organization’s board as of August 20, 2013; he resigned after a short period, claiming he was unable to perform the role to the best of his abilities due to political issues.
The current president is Grandmaster OH Hyun Deuk, which was elected on 3rd of june, 2016.
Kukkiwon was founded as a Central Dojang of a traditional Korean martial art in 1972. It paved the way to globalization by holding the 1st World Taewondo Championships and establishing the World Taekwondo Federation(WTF) in 1973. Since then, Taekwondo has expanded with significant demonstrations of performance aspects. Kukkiwon have set up the Poom-Dan Promotion Test System to issue Poom-Dan certificate. It has been preparing the ground for development of Taekwondo by educating a leader who will lead Taekwondo in the future and opening a research institution. Also, it has contributed to revitalize and develop Taekwondo as a cultural industry by establishing a Taekwondo Demonstration Team and holding a World Taekwondo Hanmadang. Kukkiwon, as a cradle and holy place, will lead the way not only spread and inherit Taekwondo technique but also spirit to aim world peace that transcends racial, national, and ideology.