General Choi Hong Hi
Founding Father of Taekwon‑Do
* 9 November 1918 — † 15 June 2002
- Fort Bliss, Texas Army Modern Weapons Course
- Fort Benning, Georgia Army Advanced Infantry School (Military Strategies/Intelligence)
- Fort Riley, Kansas Army General Ground School (Military Intelligence)
- First Class Graduate of the Republic of Korea’s Military Academy
- Chuo University Law School, Japan
- Honorary Doctorate Degrees Earned:
- Physical Education, Russia 1992
- Sports Science, DPR Korea 1999
- Philosophy, Moldova 2001
- President, International Martial Arts Games Commission, 1999
- Honorary President, Korea Taekwon‑Do Association, 1969
- Founding President, International Taekwon‑Do Federation,1966
- Ambassador-At-Large, 1965
- President, Korea Tae Soo Do Association, 1965
- 1st Korean Ambassador to Malaysia, 1962
- 1st President, Korea Taekwon‑Do Association, 1959
- Director, Martial Arts Department, Korean Army, 1959
- Founder, Oh Do Kwan, 1954
- Honorary Director, Chung Do Kwan, 1954
- Promoted to 2-Star Major-General, Korean Army, 1954
- Moral Guide Book, 2000
- Taekwon‑Do and I: 3 Volume Set, 2000
- Condensed Encyclopedia (6 Editions 1988–1986), 1988
- Encyclopedia of Taekwon‑Do: 15 Volume Set (5 Editions 1985–2008), 1983
- Taekwon‑Do (6 Editions & 2 Reprints 1972–1986), 1972
- Human Weapon Magazine (1st Taekwon‑Do Magazine), 1969
- Taekwon‑Do: Korean Art of Self Defense (Reprint 2007), 1965
- Korean Military Taekwon‑Do Manuscript, 1964
- Taekwon‑Do Teaching Manual, 1959
- Military Intelligence, 1953
- Taught Taekwon‑Do worldwide until his death, 1955–2002
- Taught Korean Martial Arts in the Korean Military, 1946–1955
- Taught Tang Soo Do (Karate) in YMCA, 1942–1943
Taekwon‑Do was devised, studied and completed by Gen. Choi Hong Hi of Korea and brought into the world as modern martial arts.
Gen. Choi Hong Hi had to practice Karate of Japan because Korea was under its colonial occupation for over 36 years. Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.
In 1946, he made up his mind to create the martial arts of Korea which will outshine over all other martial arts in both spiritual and technical aspects so as to demonstrate the spirit and wisdom of the Korean nation to the whole world.
He devoted his everything for ten years to study, devise and develop new techniques of attack and defense, comparing with other martial arts, on the basis of the excellent technical movements of “Soo Bak Gi” and “Tae Kyon”, the traditional martial arts of Korea, with its spiritual basis on ethics of the East, by which one can generate his/her strength to the maximum in the principle of modern science, different from the existing technical movements.
It was late in 1954 that he completed the fundamentals of Taekwon‑Do.
Hereby on 11th April 1955, the Session of Naming Board consisting of notorious historians and leaders of society deeply versed in martial arts decided to name the martial arts so far studied and completed by Gen. Choi Hong Hi after Taekwon‑Do on the basis of his proposal.
Taekwon‑Do began to spread throughout the world with the visit of Taekwon‑Do demonstration team consisting of 19 pioneers headed by Gen. Choi Hong Hi to Vietnam and in Taiwan in 1959.
Afterward Gen. Choi Hong Hi introduced Taekwon‑Do to the United States of America in 1960 while attending Missile Course in Texas, USA.
In 1962, he introduced and disseminated Taekwon‑Do to Malaysia and South-East Asia, as a result of which Taekwon‑Do association was formed in Malaysia in 1963 and in Singapore in February 1964. And it was spread also in Brunei to lay down the foundations for forming its NGB (National Governing Body).
In 1965, he toured Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and Singapore with his Demonstration Team for staging Taekwon‑Do demonstrations and organizing Taekwon‑Do NGB in every country he visited thus laying down the foundations to form The International Taekwon‑Do Federation.
On this basis, Gen. Choi Hong Hi founded the International Taekwon‑Do Federation on 22nd March 1966 comprising 9 Taekwon‑Do associations of Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, USA, Turkey, Italy, Arab Republic of Egypt and South Korea and was elected as first President of ITF. The establishment of the ITF was of great significance in the history of Taekwon‑Do.
The International Taekwon‑Do Federation developed rapidly over past decades overcoming all difficulties since its foundation. It has now expanded and developed into a huge international organization with 50 million practitioners in 128 member countries.
Gen. Choi Hong Hi who created Taekwon‑Do and founded the ITF as its first President, dedicated his all to Taekwon‑Do till last moment of his life, passed away to our great sorrow from his gastric cancer in Pyongyang, DPR of Korea on 15th June 2002.
All Koreans owe a debt of gratitude to Gen. Choi for spreading Taekwon‑Do globally, which also put Korea on the map as well as give Korea a warm face to the world.
All Taekwon‑Do students owe a debt as well to General Choi, as for without him there would not be a Korean Martial Art called Taekwon‑Do.