HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL TAEKWON-DO FEDERATION
|Français||GENERAL CHOI HONG HI|
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.
The young Choi's father sent him to study calligraphy under one of the most famous teachers in Korea, Mr. Han Il Dong. Han, in addition to his skills as a calligrapher, was also a master of Taek Kyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting. The teacher, concerned over the frail condition of his new student, began teaching him the rigorous exercises of Taek Kyon to help build his body.
In 1937, Choi was sent to Kyoto, Japan to continue his education. In Kyoto, Choi met a fellow Korean, Mr. Kim, who was engaged in teaching the Japanese martial art : Karate. With two years of concentrated training, Choi attained the rank of first degree black belt. These techniques together with Taek Kyon (foot techniques) were the forerunners of modern Taekwon-Do.
At the liberation of Korea in 1945, Choi teached his art at the new army of South Korea.
In 1953, Choi brought the organization of the crack 29th Infantry Division to Cheju Island, which eventually became the spearhead of Taekwon-Do in the military. They established the Oh Do Kwan (Gym of My Way), where Choi succeeded not only in training the cadre instructors for the entire military, but also developing the Taek Kyon and Karate techniques into a modern system of Taekwon-Do. He was helped from 1954 ouward by his right hand man, Mr Nam Tae Hi.
In 1955 signaled the beginning of Taekwon-Do as a formally recognized art in Korea. During that year, a special board was formed which included leading master instructors, historians, and prominent leaders of the society. A number of names for the new martial art were submitted. On April 11th, the board summoned by General Choi, decided on the unified name of Taekwon-Do which he had submitted previously. This single unified name of Taekwon-Do replaced the existing different and confusing terms, of Dang Soo, Gong Soo, Taek Kyon, and Kwon Bup.
In 1959, Taekwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries. The father of Taekwon-Do and nineteen of his top black belt holders toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Taekwon-Do techniques.
Also in 1959, Choi was elevated to two illustrious posts; President of the newly-formed Korea Taekwon-Do Association, and the deputy commander of the 2nd Army in Tae Gu.
The 1960's brought the rapid spread of Taekwon-Do not only to the Korean populous and military, but to the United States, and many other countries throughout the world, with General Choi as the ambassador. This was the basis not only for establishing Taekwon-Do associations in a great number of countries, but also the formation of the International Taekwon-Do Federation as it is known today.
In 1965, General Choi ended his military career and gave up his title of General two stars.
In 1966, the dream of the sickly young student of calligraphy, who rose to Ambassador and to Association President of the most respected martial art in the world, came true. On March, 22nd, the International Taekwon-Do Federation was composedof associations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, the United States, Turkey, Italy, Arab Republic of Egypt and Korea.
In 1968, General Choi received the first price of South Korea the sports research for his devotion to Korean martial arts.
Still in 1968, General Choi visited France as delegation chief of the Korean gouvernment and participed at a symposium of International board for military sport in Paris. The same year, the United Kingdom taekwon-do Association was formed.
In 1972, General Choi moved the headquarters of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, with the unanimous consent of member countries, to Toronto, Canada, envisaging to eventually spread this art to all countries throughout the world. In the same year, he published the first edition of his book "Taekwon-do" by Choi Hong Hi.
In 1979, General Choi helped to create the South Pacific Federation of Taekwon-do and the Australian Federation of Taekwon-do.
In 1982, General Choi formed the North American Federation of Taekwon-do in Toronto.
In 1983, General Choi helped to promote the Central American Federation of Taekwon-do.
In 1983, General Choi published the encyclopedia of fiftheen books "Taekwon-do" by Choi Hong Hi.
In 1985, the founder of Taekwon-Do strengthened his desire to spread his art to the entire world, especially third world and politically disadvantaged countries by moving the International Taekwon-Do Federation to Vienna, the capital city of Austria, where it is still located.
In 1988, General Choi said : "My dream has at last been fulfilled... the ultimate fantasy of spreading and teaching Taekwon-Do with no regard to considerations of religion, ideology, national boundaries, or race. I can say without hesitation that I am the happiest man alive."
It is my earnest desire that Taekwon-Do should retain its original concept and technique. It is also my sincere hope that Taekwon-Do's emphasis on promoting a healthier body and mind will provide a significant contribution to human progress for many generations to come."
LAJEUNESSE, Richard. 1998, " Le credo du Taekwon-do" dans Taekwon-do, jour après jour, Lasalle. Taekwon-do Richard Lajeunesse, p. 11-13.