HALIFAX – A Halifax taekwondo coach has been suspended after a 17-year-old student was struck with a cane as discipline.
Halifax police say they investigated a report of an assault at Woo Yong’s Taekwondo Academy in January, and determined an instructor had disciplined a student with a cane.
“The youth did not require any medical attention and did not he suffer physical injuries,” said Const. Carol McIsaac.
She said police closed their probe on Feb. 4 with no charges being laid.
However, the Maritime Taekwondo Union, the regional sanctioning body, has suspended master Woo Yong Jung’s coaching credentials pending its own probe.
“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.”
Jung’s lawyer, Jason Gavras, said in a statement that “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.”
The MTU launched its own investigation after the complaint was brought to its attention on Jan. 15.
The organization immediately suspended Jung from coaching at local and national taekwondo events.
When completed, the results of its investigation are 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 said the situation has been blown out of proportion.
“I have absolutely no concern when it comes to the safety and security of my children when they are in master Jung’s care,” said the association’s chairman, Byron Kendall.
“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.”
Large said he has known Jung for a long time and said 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.
(Global News, The Canadian Press)