General Choi Hong Hi

General Choi Hong Hi

General Choi Hong Hi
General Choi Hong Hi
Michal Košátko at the General's grave
Michal Košátko at the General’s grave

The founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi was one of the founders patriot and democrat to revolt against the dictator. General Choi Hong Hi was born on November 9th, 1918 in the rugged and harsh area of Hwa Dae, Myong Chun District in what is now D.P.R of Korea. In his youth, he was frail and quite sickly, a constant source of worry for his parents.

Even at an early age, however, the future general showed a strong and independent spirit. At the age of twelve he was expelled from school for agitating against the Japanese authorities who were in control of Korea. This was the beginning of what would be a long association with the Kwang Ju Students’ Independence Movement.

When he became older he went to Japan to study calligraphy. Choi had been studying calligraphy and Taek Kyon in Korea under Han Il Dong and upon arrival in Japan he started to study Shotokan Karate as a student of a Korean named Kim Hyun-soo, and after two years of intensive training he was presented with a first Dan Black Belt in Shotokan. He then went into Tokyo University where he studied under Master Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, and gained his second Dan.

Becoming an officer in the Korean Army after the end of the war, he tought 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 Taekwondo, which means “the way of the feet and the hands”, and this name was offically adopted on April 11th, 1955. Seven years later, on March 22nd 1966, he created the International Taekwondo Federation. As the Founder of Tae Kwon Do and the President of the ITF, he had the ability to share his art with students everywhere.

After a life dedicated to the development of Tae Kwon Do, a modern martial art based on traditional values, philosophy, and training, General Choi, died of cancer on June 15th, 2002, in the country of his birth.

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