IT SEEMS after karatedo, it’s taekwondo that the Philippine Sports Commission is tackling next and grandmaster Sung Chun Hong is reportedly set to meet with PSC Commissioner Mon Fernandez to discuss some of the matters that have been raised.

I had a curious experience with a PTA Grandmaster early in my career, though I’m not sure if it’s GM Hong, and like a scene from a forgotten Mario Puzo book, it is slowly coming back. I was covering the Samsung Best of the Best tournament at SM, just taking notes near the table, when I was told to stand up because the GM has just arrived. I’m not sure if I was told to wait before the master sat before I could take a seat but I do remember being told to treat him with reverence and act accordingly in his presence.

My first thought then was that it seemed the grandmaster was getting a treatment almost harboring on worship but I filed it under the peculiarities of the martial art. I also didn’t put much emphasis on it considering the state of taekwondo in 2004 and what it has done.

It regularly sent a representative to the Olympics and, I think in August 2004, if not for a change in competition rules, Mary Antoinette Rivero would have won a silver medal in Athens. Away from the national team, you could see the sport’s exponential growth, too, and its selection process for the national team, which was better than the other NSAs.

Take that event I covered, for example. The Visayas Best of the Best would pit the winners with the Mindanao and Luzon Best of the Best, making sure that talent--not connections--will get you to the national team. And for years, we’ve had lots of Cebuanos in the national team. That same concept--holding regional championships and a national championships--was used by football in its youth selection.

You couldn’t deny the success of taekwondo and I thought whatever the perks, the grandmaster deserves it because of his success. That was in 2004 and over the years, I could still see how the sport has grown. Of all the NSAs, (football included, pre-Nonong Araneta era), I’ve always admired taekwondo and its officials, because it was obvious they have the sport--not their welfare--in mind.

It’s unfortunate right now that it seems they are being lumped together with the Philippine Karatedo Federation, which was hounded by corruption allegations. That’s why, in an online discussion with a former PSC chairman, I gave PTA the benefit of the doubt regarding the latest issues hurled against them.

I hope the PTA gets to defend itself in a proper forum. There were questions raised about some fees collected but I thought that as a private organization, it has to look for ways to raise funds, right?

There were also questions raised against the uniforms and why those who don’t use PTA-approved uniforms get deducted an automatic point. I agree, that seems unfair, but if these rules were approved by the national body or by an assembly or are patterned after that of an international federation, that it is being raised now may also raise a question. Is this a case about disgruntled parties out to settle a score? Or someone out for genuine reform?

That’s for the PSC to resolve.
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