Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Korea "Destinations" by Jeff Rosser from CHOSUN newsletter January, 2016

Jeff's monthly Korea "Destinations" column can be seen every month in the Chosun Taekwondo Academy newsletter

Seodaemun Independence Park
               Located in northwestern Seoul, Seodaemun Independence Park pays tribute to those who fought for Korea’s independence from Japan (1910 – 1945).  The focal point of the park is the Seodaemun Prison History Hall.  It was here that the Japanese incarcerated, tortured, and executed Korean activists who spoke out and fought against Japanese colonial rule.  Pictures of former inmates line the walls and the cells have been left just as they were.  There are also a number of exhibits displaying the torture and abuse inflicted on the inmates by the Japanese guards.  Most areas of the prison are open to the public and serve as a chilling reminder of Korea’s colonial past prior to independence.
Seodaemun Prison Hall
               At the entrance to the park, you will also find the Independence Gate.  This massive stone gate is of European design and stands in the place where the Yeongeunmun Gate once stood during the Joseon era.  The Yeongeunmun Gate was destroyed in 1895 by the Japanese and the new Independence Gate was erected a year later.  On weekends, the park is a popular destination for locals wanting to relax and tourists seeking to better understand Korea’s complex history.  The best way to reach the park is by taking exits 4 or 5 from Dongnimmun Subway Station on Line 3.
About the author:
Jeff W. Rosser is a teacher, martial arts instructor, and writer in South Korea. He’s a former AAU U.S.A. National Karate Team member and has competed internationally in Karate and Taekwondo. He also has over 24 years of experience in Karate, Taekwondo,
Hapkido, Ju-Jutsu, and Judo. He’s a columnist for Taekwondo Times (“The Hidden Art”), a monthly contributor to Totally Taekwondo Magazine, and the author of “Combative Elbow Strikes: A Guide to Strikes, Blocks, Locks, and Take Downs” published by Turtle Press. Contact: karatekajwr@yahoo.com (Email), www.mawriter.webs.com(website)

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