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Kukkiwon (국기원), also known as World Taekwondo Headquarters, and home of the World Taekwondo Academy, is the official taekwondo governing organization 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 storeys 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.

Kukkiwon is the centre of taekwondo instructor education, being the home of the World Taekwondo Academy, and issues official instructor and dan (black belt) and poom (junior black belt, for practitioners under 15 years of age) certifications. The organization's main aims are:

• "Help people to develop their spiritual and physical strength by spreading our cultural asset, Taekwondo.

• "Introducing Taekwondo's philosophy and skills in order to enhance the national prestige abroad.

According to the World Taekwondo Federation's (WTF) rules, taekwondo competitors seeking entry into WTF-sanctioned events must hold black belt rank (whether poom or dan) from Kukkiwon. Kukkiwon has specified 21 articles in its regulations for poom and dan promotion tests. Article 2 of these regulations notes that they apply to all instructors and students enrolled as members of Member National Associations of the WTF. Article 4 stipulates that "WTF will support the Member National Associations to help perform the task of Dan promotion testing smoothly.

The organization has contributed significantly to the introduction of taekwondo as a full medal sport in the Asian Games (from Seoul 1986) and the Olympic Games (from Sydney 2000). Despite these efforts, according to information published by the South Korean government, one of taekwondo's largest problems from an organizational perspective is that "over 90% of the taekwondo market operates separately from Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters and there is a lack of communication between taekwondo organizations and Kukkiwon.

In Kukkiwon's promotion test regulations, Article 8 lists the time and age limits associated with promotion between ranks; that is, the minimum time a candidate must have held a certain rank, and the minimum age a candidate must be, before becoming eligible to be tested for promotion to the next rank. For promotion to ranks up to and including 5th dan, there are different minimum age limits depending on whether the candidate had previously been promoted into poom ranks. Time and age limits are not inflexible; for example, under Article 17, winners of Olympic Games, other world-level, and continental-level WTF championships may receive concessions. Article 18 allows for taekwondo practitioners with non-Kukkiwon ranks to apply for Kukkiwon rank certification.

Apart from its principal role as a governing body, Kukkiwon is an important tourist attraction for visitors to Seoul. Kukkiwon offers a 'taekwondo experience' program for tourists at a cost of 20,000 won. The program includes instruction in basic stances, self-defence, and board breaking. The Seoul Times has reported that Kukkiwon will eventually move to the Muju Taekwondo Park, which has been designed by Samoo Architecture. The park is due to open in 2013.

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