SPRINGFIELD – The fourth annual Oregon State Hanmadang (pronounced Hän-Ma-Däng) is coming to Springfield. The event has been held in Eugene for the first three iterations, but will be held at the Bob Keefer Center on May 5 and 6, and will include a Martial Art Expo on Friday night and a tournament on Saturday. The event is spearheaded by Tim Greathouse, a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo and owner of MooDo Taekwondo in Eugene.
“We have a tournament that’s truly for everyone. Every age, every belt level, with the best judges you can find, representing the entirety of martial arts, not just the fighting side,” Greathouse said. “Then on top of all that, we have the expo, which is a chance for local martial artists, all of our special guests, and the other groups in town to come together and do presentations, perform for each other, and do fun competitions.”
As Taekwondo was becoming an official Olympic sport in the early 1990s, Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters in Korea, decided to hold the world’s first Taekwondo Hanmadang in 1992. Hanmadang in Korean means “a celebration open to all.”
Since then, there have been Hanmadangs every year around the world. When Sang Lee, Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Taekwondo Committee (USTC), asked Greathouse to host the Oregon State Hanmadang, he jumped at the opportunity.
“When Sang Lee asked me to be the Oregon State President, and to put a Hanmadang on here, I eagerly agreed. I’ve seen both the world and national events. I was raised as this type of martial artist, so I took it on immediately,” Greathouse said.
Greathouse grew up a soccer player in the Midwest, but when he got to college at Purdue University he signed up for a karate class, which turned out to be a Taekwondo class. Since then he’s become a Master in Taekwondo, opened multiple Taekwondo schools, and competed around the world, including at the World Hanmadang Tournament in 2017, where he took 3rd place in the power breaking and creative breaking in the men’s division.
For Greathouse, martial arts is a deeper practice. It’s not about knocking an opponent out or winning a competition. It’s about the artform and the history of that artform.
“The roundhouse kick I teach may seem new to you, but the kick itself is thousands of years old. And the way it’s done is thousands of years old,” Greathouse said. “It’s a legacy that’s been carried on to us by the good people who have not pigeonholed the martial arts before us. They allowed it to expand and grow into the west and all of that, and we need to continue to carry on that same spirit.”
The appreciation for the artform is why the USTC, of which Greathouse is an Executive Vice President, decided to keep the name of Hanmadang when putting on these events. Greathouse is intent on not constricting who can perform and compete at the event. It’s why his Hanmadang isn’t just Taekwondo. Special guests this year will be performing Taekwondo, Kung Fu, and there will even be a Capoeira performance, which is a Brazilian martial art with elements of dance and acrobatics.
“If we’re going to follow the rules about the particularness of the name, then we have to follow through with our spirit of the event. If we’re going to have an open field, we have to have an open field. And we’ve got to bring in other artforms,” Greathouse said.
Greathouse attributes many things to the success of the previous Hanmadangs. There’s Lada Korol, who is in charge of all of the marketing behind the Hanmadang and someone who Greathouse says “is the behind-the-scenes.” There’s also the fact that the Oregon State Hanmadang is a non-profit, which gives Greathouse and Korol the freedom to host vendors and put the guests first.
There’s a lot to be excited about for the Oregon State Hanmadang, and not just for martial arts fans. Greathouse doesn’t just want the event to include multiple artforms, he also wants the guests to be those who are fans of martial arts, as well as those who may not be initially.
“Imagine all of their favorite professional sports stars coming together in one place to show off and to go for personal bests in whatever they’re doing,” he said. “If you saw me lining up a stack of wood with 12 boards would you keep walking? Or would you stop and pull your phone out? This is really entertaining stuff, and I think it’s stuff people will want to see.”
For more info and the full schedule, head to oshanmadang.com