(Nov 9, 1918 - Jun 15, 2002)
Tae Kwon Do
General Choi started to
study Taek Kyon, an ancient Korean method of fighting with the feet, at
the age of 12. Later, when he was studying in Japan, he met a Karate
teacher who helped him earn his first degree Black Belt in less than two
years. He then intensified his training, striving to earn his second
degree. Around the same time, he started teaching.
Conscripted into the Japanese army during World War II, he was posted to
Pyongyang where he was imprisoned. Wanting to maintain his good physical
and mental health during his imprisonment, he practiced karate, alone at
first, then by teaching it to the staff of the prison and the other
Becoming an officer in the new Korean Army after the end of the war, he
continued to teach his martial art to his soldiers as well as to
American soldiers serving in Korea.
His beliefs and his vision of a different approach to teaching martial
arts led General Choi to combine elements of Taek Kyon and Karate
techniques to develop a modern martial art. He called it Tae Kwon Do,
which means "the way of the feet and the hands", and this name was
officially adopted on April 11th, 1955.
In 1959, General Choi was named President of the Korean Taekwon-Do
Association. Seven years later, on March 22nd,1966, he created the
International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). As the Founder of Taekwon-Do
and President of the ITF, he had the ability to share his art with
students everywhere. Today, Taekwon-Do training is available around the
After a life dedicated to the development of Taekwon-Do, a modern
martial art based on traditional values, philosophy, and training,
General Choi, Founder of Taekwon-Do and President of the International
Taekwon-Do Federation, died of cancer on June 15th, 2002, in the country
of his birth.