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Converging Taekwondo with K-pop, K-tigers set for NBC audition program

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“We will share Korea’s cultural competence through taekwondo performances.”

The K-Tigers Taekwondo Performance Team, which combines K-pop with taekwondo to create a cultural performance, is participating in the NBC audition program. They aim to showcase the strength of Korean culture in the United States through their taekwondo performances.

The 16 members of the K-Tigers traveled from Korea to the NBC studios in Los Angeles on April 5. After honing their skills during the recording, the team returned to Korea with plans to revisit Los Angeles for future auditions, depending on the outcomes.

K-Tigers originated as a taekwondo demonstration group in the 1990s. “At that time, a taekwondo demonstration team was created in Korea to introduce taekwondo to the United States, and now it has evolved into an entertainment and cultural performance that combines taekwondo and K-pop,” said An Chang-bum, the team leader.

The NBC audition program will feature performances that elevate taekwondo to a cultural art form. The performance team, composed of taekwondo masters, will present a dramatic showcase.

The K-Tigers Taekwondo performance team greeted the Korean community in Los Angeles before the recording of the NBC audition program. [Courtesy of the K-Tigers]
“Taekwondo is both a martial art and a sport,” said An. “We incorporate music, dance, acting, and singing into the performance so that people can appreciate taekwondo as a cultural experience.”

The K-Tigers have toured the United States multiple times. They aim for Americans and others worldwide to embrace taekwondo as a part of pop culture.

“At the beginning of K-Tigers’ activities, some criticized it as not being a traditional martial art,” said An. “However, the local response in the U.S. and other countries was enthusiastic, and taekwondo gained recognition for its educational value. Nowadays, taekwondo is blended with various elements of popular culture, bringing laughter and excitement,” he added.

The K-Tigers will also feature American pop music in their taekwondo performances on the NBC audition program. “A taekwondo performance team from Korea will take the stage under the Korean flag,” An explained. “We aim to display a new dimension of taekwondo that bridges American and Korean cultures, and we hope Korean-Americans will take pride in our performance.”

BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, JUNHAN PARK    [kim.ian@koreadaily.com]