The ITF-TAO will operate in accordance with the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Constitution created by the Founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi.

The By-Laws, Rules and Regulations supplement the Constitution and reflect the detailed policy of the ITF. The By-Laws must be in harmony with the ITF Constitution; in case of conflict, the terms of the ITF Constitution prevail.

The mission of ITF-TAO is to promote the values, the practice, and the teachings of Chang Hun Taekwon-Do, unchanged, as developed by the Founder General Choi Hong Hi. It is the intention of the ITF-TAO to preserve the highest standard of Technical excellence in the art of Taekwon-Do

1. Membership

1.1 Application

Affiliation to ITF-TAO is possible for groups of people, or individuals, in the circumstance now detailed.

To apply to be a member of the ITF-TAO one must:

a. completes the ITF-TAO application form

b. fax or mail the application form to the Secretary

c. receive approval from the Board of Directors of ITF-TAO by majority vote

1.2 Criteria

To be recognized by ITF-TAO and its affiliated organizations, a TKD school, club, or training center must:

  1. must have a qualified ITF instructor and must practice Chang Hun Taekwon-Do as taught by the founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi, and act in accordance with the ITF-TAO By-Laws, policies, standards, and regulations
  2. be in possession of a valid ITF Black Belt Certificate
  3. be directed by an International Instructor who is in possession of a valid ITF International Instructors Certificate or by a lower degree Black Belt member who is supervised by an International Instructor approved by ITF-TAO
  4. Purchase all (ITF) Gup certificates from ITF-TAO
  5. Must send all Black Belt applications through ITF-TAO.
  6. Agree to purchase all ITF approved uniforms and sparring equipment form the ITF-TAO “Approved Supplier”
  7. Support all ITF-TAO functions and events
  8. Attend the “Annual Technical Conference”
  9. be in operation for 6 months of the year or more.

A main Dojang is the first training school which an instructor is 4th Dan or higher and registers with ITF-TAO.

A branch Dojang is a training school which an instructor is 1st to 3rd Dan and registers with ITF-TAO.

1.3 Resignation, Expulsion, Suspension

An individual member or school’s membership can be withdrawn from ITF-TAO for the following reasons:

  1. Expulsion
  2. Resignation
  3. Suspension

An individual member or school may resign from ITF-TAO by sending written notice by registered mail to the Secretary/Treasurer.

1.4 Voting Member

Each registered organisation within a country may send (2) voting members to the Annual General Meeting regardless of how many locations are under one registration. The delegates must be at least a 1st Dan black belt. The names of the delegates must be sent to the Secretary at least one (1) week before the opening of the Annual General Meeting. Should either delegates have to leave the room at any time during the AGM, he or she may be replaced by another other delegate who meets the criteria. Delegates participate under the following conditions:

  1. Only the delegates present and entitled to vote shall decide on any questions put to a vote
  2. No delegate shall be allowed to represent more than one (1) Country
  3. During their term of office, members of the Board of Directors shall not be eligible to act as delegates of members.
  4. Voting by letter or proxy is not allowed.

2. Membership Fees

Membership fees are set by the Board of Directors and may be amended at any time by the Board. All fees payable to ITF-TAO and must be remitted to the Secretary / Treasurer.

The Annual Registration fee for ITF-TAO is $150.00 for per location for one year the main Dojang (the first training school which an instructor is 4th Dan or higher and registers with ITF-TAO) and $80.00 for a branch Dojang (a training school which an instructor is 1st to 3rd Dan and registers with ITF-TAO). Branch locations must be under the direct supervision of an ITF-TAO certified International Instructor who is in good standing.

The membership fee applies to calendar years and is due on the first day of January and no later than the 31st to be applied to the calendar year.

Anyone who wishes to affiliate to ITF-TAO in regions not yet served by ITF-TAO or its member clubs must present a proposal to the Board of Directors for approval. The Board of Directors of ITF-TAO makes the final decision.

3. Communications

English is the official language of ITF-TAO, but other languages may also be used when appropriate. Meetings of the Board of Directors and of the various committees may be held in person, by telephone or by videoconferencing. Official information may be transmitted through:

  1. ITF-TAO official Web site
  2. E-mail
  3. Registered mail

Communications with members and practitioners may be by ground or airmail, facsimile, e-mail or the official ITF-TAO Web site.

4. Guiding Principles

  1. Practitioners of ITF-TAO recognize that they are forever students of the Founder, General Choi Hong Hi. ITF-TAO will strengthen and promote the legacy of General Choi as described in his Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, 1999 5th edition, notably the twenty-four patterns and the philosophy.
  2. ITF-TAO belongs to all its members; it must work for its members and with its members to provide the services they need and want.
  3. ITF-TAO is always open to suggestions from members and encourages innovative ideas.
  4. ITF-TAO is and must remain free of all political influence.
  5. All decisions made by the administrators of ITF-TAO must be fair, impartial, and justified.
  6. ITF-TAO must play a proactive role in strategic areas such as communications and the development of Chang Hun Taekwon-Do in its four facets: as a martial art, but also as a way of life and a tool for social development and self-improvement.
  7. ITF-TAO must put maximum on-going efforts into building and maintaining an efficient structure and professional operations.
  8. All qualifications and promotions within ITF-TAO will be attributed according to merit and in conformity with well-established criteria.
  9. The key to the future development of ITF-TAO is its core group of Grand Masters, Masters and Instructors.
  10. Each individual who holds an official position in ITF-TAO (including instructors, umpires, seminar leaders, examiners) must be an active member in good standing. This means he/she must have taken the appropriate courses, have the required certificates, and have paid all fees applicable. He/she must not be subject to disciplinary measures and must respect and apply the regulations of ITF-TAO
  11. The respect of hierarchy authority is an important principle in all martial arts. All members of ITF-TAO will respect those who are their seniors in the organization, particularly their teacher. On the other hand, the seniors will treat their students and other juniors with respect and fairness.

5. Structure

5.1 The Board of Directors

The members of the Board of Directors serve a two-year term. Board Meetings are generally held twice a year. When possible, these meetings are planned to coincide with local or National events. In between meetings, on a monthly basis or for urgent business, Board Members will be contacted by e-mail or other means to vote or provide their opinion on subjects within their mandate. The Board:

  1. approves objectives, action plans and budgets
  2. amends and approves by-laws, rules, policies and procedures
  3. presents to Executive Committee for approval any modifications to the By-laws that may become necessary
  4. participates in development and review of strategic planning
  5. for each Standing Committee, nominates a Chair and approves the list of committee members submitted by the Chair
  6. approves decisions of the Technical Director and Tournament Director
  7. ratifies decisions to accept new members
  8. makes final decisions about cases of discipline and expulsion
  9. makes decisions to take legal action when necessary
  10. takes any other actions within the mandate conferred by the Constitution and in the best interests of ITF-TAO and its members

5.2 The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is composed of the President, Senior Vice-President, Vice-President’s and the Technical Director. The Executive Committee:

  1. executes decisions taken by the Board of Directors
  2. ensures day-to-day management of ITF-TAO
  3. may apply temporary disciplinary measures on a member or an individual, pending investigation and a decision by the Board of Directors

The Executive Committee may approve expenses up to 5,000.00 CDN (five thousand Canadian dollars) per case.

5.3 The President

The President “is responsible for the development and maintenance of policy affecting the affairs of ITF-TAO ” and “represents the ITF-TAO in all functions”. The President oversees the general operations of ITF-TAO. The President chairs meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, as well as other meetings involving the members of the Board of Directors and the Chairs of the Standing Committees. He is an ex officio member of all committees. The President works with the members of the Board of Directors and with other advisors chosen for their knowledge and experience. The office of the President is responsible for:

  1. strategy and orientation
  2. Public relations (general public, other martial arts organizations, etc.)
  3. communications (media interviews, Web site, press releases)
  4. Business and development (pilot projects, promotional missions, etc.)
  5. ethics and discipline

5.4 The Senior Vice-President

The Vice-President assists the President for specific files. He/She:

  1. analyses ITF revenues, reports and makes recommendations to the President regularly
  2. identifies and develops strategies to generate new revenues for ITF and ensures the implementation of these strategies
  3. is responsible for monthly follow-up on action plans with those responsible; reports results to the President
  4. provides solutions and resources necessary to reach objectives
  5. mediates conflicts
  6. may be given responsibility for specific files or projects

5.5 The Secretary

The responsibilities of the Secretary/Treasurer include the following:

  1. handles correspondence and queries about ITF-TAO
  2. forwards correspondence to appropriate officer or committee and ensures follow-up
  3. is responsible for agenda, logistics, and minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors, of the Executive Committee, and of the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  4. uses e-mail or other means to transmit to members of the Board of Directors, documents about current files, requesting that they vote or give their opinion; ensures follow-up
  5. consults the President about actions to be taken in urgent matters
  6. processes membership applications
  7. maintains a filing system
  8. Issues all ITF certificates (International Instructors, Umpires, and Black Belts, seminar participation, International Instructor Training Certificate, etc.)

5.6 The Treasurer

The responsibilities of the Secretary/Treasurer include the following:

  1. collect all ITF-TAO fee’s
  2. prepares the budgets for operations, development and promotion
  3. ensures application of appropriate policies and procedures for accounting
  4. produces detailed monthly and annual financial statements
  5. produces other financial reports as required
  6. communicates frequently with the President to provide feedback about the finances of ITF-TAO

5.7 The Technical Director

The responsibilities of the Technical Director include the following:

  1. Technical

a. settle differences in interpretation of ITF techniques

b. prepare the program and organize the “Annual Technical Conference”

c. review documentation on techniques; examine how they are used and eliminate any contradictions

d. answer technical questions from members

e. consult members about their technical needs

f. develop and maintain a ITF-TAO Web site that is attractive, informative, interactive, up-to-date and user-friendly

g. ensures that all Black Belts, teaching members, and examiners have official ITF certification

  1. Instruction

a. review and redefines contents of training programs for all levels and all ages

b. revise contents and organization of “Annual Technical Conference”

c. write and update model regulations for safety and quality of training

d. develop and update training tools (techniques, mental development, moral culture, ethics, etc.) using all available media

  1. Ethics & Discipline

a. develops and promote a ITF-TAO Code of Ethics

b. develops and update tools for teaching ethics and moral culture

c. provides advice and consultation to members on ethical issues and related matters

5.7.1. Technical Committee:

The Technical Director may appoint members to the Technical Committee upon board approval. Instructors must be the minimum rank of 4th Dan to be appointed to the Technical Committee. The duties of the Technical Committee members are to assist the Technical Director to ensure that the highest technical standard is maintained throughout ITF-TAO. The Committee may itself make recommendations to the Board on matters of a technical nature as defined by the Board.

5.8 The Tournament Director

The responsibilities of the Tournament Director include the following:

  1. Understands the rules of competition to promote safety, ensure fairness, and enhance ease of understanding
  2. ensure application of rules of competition
  3. assist and supervises preparations for all Championships
  4. develops guides about how to organize a competition at all levels
  5. receives applications from organizing committees and individual schools for Regional and National Championships and presents the qualified candidates to the Executive for approval
  6. maintains a Tournament Calendar for each year and keeps an up-to-date list on the ITF-TAO official website

5.9 The Umpire Director

The responsibilities of the Umpire Director include the following:

    1. qualify and train referees and umpires
    2. monitor qualification and training of class B and C umpires
    3. monitor performance and conduct of umpires
    4. handles disputes and enforces Tournament Rules and Regulations at all tournaments and Championships.
    5. must maintain an up-to-date Umpire certification from the ITF

5.10 Senior Advisor

All registered members of ITF-TAO, regardless if they own and / or operate a Dojang, who have attained the rank of ITF 7th Degree Black Belt or higher will hold the position of Senior Advisor. The Senior Advisors role is to be a moral guide to the organization and its members and must attend the Annual General Meeting and the Annual Technical Conference. This is a non-voting position.

6. Qualifications

6.1 Requirements

Black Belt Membership Degrees Before applying for testing for a Black Belt 3rd degree or higher, the candidate must have completed the required waiting period. Therefore, a copy of the ITF Black Belt membership card or certificate indicating the degree held currently and the promotion date must be submitted to ITF-TAO for approval.

grading waiting period additional requirements
1st to 2nd degree 1.5 years NA
2nd to 3rd degree 2 years NA

Note: The waiting period for advancement from 1st to 2nd degree or from 2nd to 3rd degree will be reduced by a maximum of three months if the candidate takes an International Instructors Course during the waiting period. In that case, the International Training Certificate number for the course must be provided when applying for grading.

grading waiting period additional requirements
3rd to 4th degree 3 years minimum age: 18 years *
4th to 5th degree 4 years *
5th to 6th degree 5 years *
6th to 7th degree 6 years *
7th to 8th degree 7 years *
8th to 9th degree 8 years *

* Completion of at least one International Instructors Course during each waiting period. Notes: a) Starting with the 4th degree, the waiting period for advancement from one degree to the next will be reduced by a maximum of six months if the candidate takes a second International Instructors Course during that waiting period. In that case, an International Training Certificate number for each of the courses must be provided when applying for grading.

6.2 International Instructors

The International Instructors Course is open to Red Belts, Black Belts, Instructors, and Masters. The Continental Federation or National Academy organizing the course must have received the approval of ITF-TAO. Participants receive an International Training Certificate.

      1. An International Instructor is an individual who;

a. is at least 18 years’ old

b. is at least a 4th Degree ITF Black Belt member

c. has passed the required International Instructors Course as a 4th Degree

d. is the holder of an International Instructor Certificate

6.3 Grading


Is an ITF qualified International Instructor. They may test up to one half of their own degree level: for example: IVth degree may test and promote up to IInd degree: VIth degree may test and promote up to IIIrd degree


      1. Promotion to VIIth or VIIIth degree Black Belt Degree will be by the ITF-TAO Promotion Committee consisting of 7 members who are ITF International Instructors and it must be by a unanimous decision.
      2. Promotion to IVth to VIth Degree Black Belt will be the Promotion Committee of ITF-TAO consisting of and ITF VIIth degree Black Belt and two other ITF International Instructors. Before the candidate for promotion may take the grading test they must complete a paper which gives their personal history and their Taekwon-Do history. These must be detailed. listing occupation, education, etc. by date. They must also submit a thesis on Taekwon-Do, as they see it, both at the present and the future. The histories and thesis must be submitted to ITF-TAO 3 months prior to and permission given before the grading can take place.
      3. Promotion to IIIrd Degree Black Belt will be conducted by a board composed of at least three but less than seven members of the Promotion Committee of ITF-TAO who are ITF International Instructors, one of whom must be a VIth Degree or higher. This may differ in exceptional circumstances but must always be by written authority from ITF-TAO
      4. Promotion to 2nd Degree Black Belt may be conducted in any particular school and conferred by an ITF International Instructor (IVth degree Black Belt or higher).
      5. Promotion to 1st Degree Black Belt may be conducted in any particular school and conferred by an ITF International Instructor (IVth degree Black Belt or higher).
      6. Gup testing may be conducted at an appropriate gymnasium, to which the student belongs, by an ITF International Instructor

Instructors (Sabum) Instructors are selected among the 4th to 6th Degree Black Belt members and approved by ITF-TAO. Assistant Instructors (Boo-Sabum) Assistant Instructors are selected among the 1st to 3rd Degree Black Belt members and approved by ITF-TAO. Grades (Gup) There are ten Gup grades from 10th grade (white belt) to 1st grade (red belt with black stripe). Gup certificates are issued by ITF-TAO.

6.4 Titles & Functions of Black Belts

      1. 9th degree, Grand Master, will be addressed as SASUNG NIM. Their position in ITF-TAO will be decided by the Board of Directors.
      2. 8th and 7th degree, Master, will be addressed as SAHYUN NIM. Their position in ITF-TAO will be decided by the Board of Directors.
      3. 6th, 5th, and 4th degree, Instructor, will be addressed as SABUM NIM. Their position in ITF-TAO will be decided by the Board of Directors.
      4. 3rd, 2nd, and 1st degree, Assistant Instructor, will be addressed as BOOSABUM NIM. Their position in ITF-TAO will be decided by the Board of Directors.

7 Dress Specifications

7.1 Dobok:

All ITF-TAO practitioners must wear the current ITF-approved dobok, introduced in 1982.

      1. Grade members (color belts) wear the basic uniform:
      2. The shirt and pants are white   


        1. The ITF badge is worn on the left side of the shirt front at chest level
        2. On the back of the shirt is a logo which symbolizes an evergreen tree and incorporates the word “Taekwon-Do” in English and Korean as well as the letters “ITF”
        3. On the outside of both pant-legs, at knee level, the letters “ITF”
      3. Black Belt members 1st to 3rd Degree wear the basic uniform with the addition of black piping three centimeters wide around the bottom edge of the shirt.
      4. International Instructors (including Masters and Grand Masters) wear the same uniform as degree members with the addition of a vertical black stripe three centimeters wide on the outside of each sleeve of the shirt and both of the pant-legs.
      5. The corresponding epaulettes for their degree must be worn on the shoulders of the Dobok 2″ from the collar.

7.2 Belt:

      1. The belt is five centimeters wide and five millimeters thick. It is worn wrapped around the body once.
      2. There are six colors of belts:

Black: 1st to 9th degree Red: 2nd grade Blue: 4th grade Green: 6th grade Yellow: 8th grade White: 10th grade

      1. The stripe on both ends of the belt that indicates 9th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, or 1st Gup, is five millimeters wide. The distance between the stripe and the end of the belt is five centimeters.
      2. The level of Black Belt degree is written in gold-colored Roman numerals at one end of the belt only
      3. A degree holder may add their Dojang or school name in gold letters as well as the name “International Taekwon-Do Federation”.

8. Amendments to By-Laws

This By-Law may be amended at any time by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.


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