It was the hope of the Korea Tae Kwon Do Association that all of the original Korean Kwans would merge, drop their names, and move Tae Kwon Do forward under the guidance of one overseer organization. To some degree, this did occur. Most notably, the name "Tae Kwon Do" was accepted by all of the original Kwans, and most Kwans practice the same set of WTF preset training forms—now most commonly known by the Korean word poomse.

What also occurred, however, was that virtually all of the original Kwans held onto their names and continued to promote their own unique interpretation of Tae Kwon Do. They never wholly dissolved. In some cases, the original founder of the Kwan is still alive. In other cases, an elected president runs the Kwan. Thus, the Kwans are still very much inexistence and continue to issue rank and instructor certification. Virtually all of the remaining original Korean Kwans are associated with the WTF. In some instances, both the Kwan and the WTF certify a black-belt Kwan member. More commonly, however, especially in the West, this is not the case. Rank certification comes solely from the Kwan. As the WTF no longer recognizes Kwan certification, certified Kwan members must then go through additional testing at Kukkiwon if they wish to hold WTF rank or instructor certification.

The propagation of the kwans has also continued. Many Tae Kwon Do masters, originally certified by a Kwan, have created organizations all around the world that bear the name of the original Kwan but are no longer directly linked to it. These organizations commonly provide rank and instructor certification sanctioned solely by the individual association.

Written by Conrad Howard — November 22, 2012

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