Choi Jung Hwa
Choi Jung Hwa was born on Cheju Island, Korea in May, 1951 and has studied Taekwon-Do since the age of 7, not only under his father, but also under many high ranking and pioneering Taekwon-Do Masters during their visits and stays with General Choi. His earliest recollections of training are around the time General Choi was appointed as Korea’s Ambassador to Malaysia.
Those early days were spent training on the lawn of the Embassy compound, as there were no dojangs established at that point. He grew up in an environment surrounded by Taekwon-Do due to General Choi’s hectic schedule and diligent work in spreading Taekwondo globally. Constantly surrounded by visiting high-ranking instructors, Choi Jung Hwa trained with many instructors during this period.
He served many years on the ITF Executive Board as Secretary General and, later on, President Choi Jung Hwa would assist General Choi on many of his International Seminars throughout the world, and later would be appointed by the ITF to conduct these International courses on General Choi’s behalf.
All those who have had the privilege and opportunity to meet and train with President Choi have been immediately struck by his dynamic personality, charisma and awesome Taekwon-Do abilities.
Choi Jung Hwa has been a regular and popular visitor to our shores since the mid-1990’s, impressing with his power and dynamic ability, as well as his great communication and motivational skills. All Australian instructors who came across him were very impressed by him and still speak highly of him, even those now in non-ITF bodies.
Administratively, President Choi held the post as Secretary General of the ITF for several years until elected as General Choi’s successor to the Presidency by the ITF members in 2001.
Unfortunately, that result did not suit those with their own agenda in the ITF, and he soon seperated himself from those influences and continued the ITF under his own leadership.
“… for many years I tried to instigate change within the ITF from the inside, many aspects were rotten to the core, and with the stronghold some people had over General Choi it become impossible to change.
The members’ spoke democratically by electing me as the next President at last year’s ITF Congress in Italy. That appointment was seen as a threat to those who had their own future plans for the ITF after the Founder’s death, and they used their influence over him to have the election result overturned unconstitutionally. ”
Choi Jung Hwa was promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt in 2004 and to the rank of Grandmaster, is the only son of the Founder of Taekwon-Do General Choi Hong Hi. He currently serves in the position of President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, with it’s administrative headquarters in London, England.
Choi Jung Hwa was democratically elected as the President on the International Taekwon-Do Federation at the 2001 ITF Congress, to serve the next 6 year term as President. He humbly offered that General Choi should remain ITF President for the first 2 years of that term as to give him the opportunity to retire with dignity in 2003.
Unfortunately, General Choi Hong Hi passed away less than 12 months later. Such is his humility that he refuses to go by the earned title of Grandmaster, feeling that General Choi was the only true Grandmaster of Taekwon-Do, instead preferring to be referred to as simply President Choi, or Master Choi Jung Hwa.
He has made 8 Seminar Tours to Australia, most recently in 2018.
“Australia’s role is very important as the largest country in the pacific region. For many years Australia has lacked a real presence in ITF, considering the many senior ranks they have, administratively they had been inept. This has all changed now through the tireless efforts of Michael Muleta and his fellow leaders.” Choi explained.
“The United ITF Taekwon-Do organisation is the only INO group that represents the ITF in Australia. They are doing a terrific job for the ITF under the leadership of their President. In fact, they were among the first to speak up against the corruption in Vienna, and even Australia, and come on board. Many of the problems Australia encountered mirrored those of the ITF generally. They have had a valuable cleansing process of their own. We have great faith in their ability … and they have shown already, the task is not beyond them.”
Choi Jung Hwa still works extensively promoting Taekwon-Do around the world and is accredited with introducing and developing Taekwon-Do in many Eastern European countries such as Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, the former USSR and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
The Choi Jung Hwa led ITF historically returned to South Korea for it’s 2004 ITF World Championships. ITF has now commenced re-establishing itself in South Korea, Choi Jung Hwa’s country of birth.
“As an organization, we must become sensitive to the changes around us and be able to cope, without compromising the principles – that is, to maintain this purity of technique and philosophy that General Choi handed down to us…..Don’t forget the standards include moral as well as technical.”
His focus today is on the emphasis of the ‘Do’ in Taekwon-Do, much of which seems to have been lost in the pursuit of commercialism and sports recognition.
As much as our president emphasizes the correct interpretation of ‘Taekwon’, in its technique, application, theory and reason. Choi Jung Hwa also places an equal if not greater emphasis on the ‘Do’. Therefore, the Moral and cultural aspects of Taekwon-Do are addressed consistently by Choi Jung Hwa, so that all demonstrate and understand the ethical qualities required to hold any position within Taekwon-Do, particularly those of seniority and authority.
“ I hope that people delve more diligently into the moral culture and morality because that is what Taekwon-Do stands for” he says. “ We only want to pursue our martial arts goal and will continue to contribute for the benefit of society, not for a handful of athletes, or for the glory of one country.”
“Let us not forget the legacy, nor the indelible impression that he has left in the lives of all who are dedicated to the essence of the beloved art of his invention. I know my father would commend us all if we continued with the same vigour and zest which personified his life, the promotion of Taekwon-Do worldwide.” said Choi.
” Myself, I know I am blessed. I have been given Taekwon-Do as a tool to guide me through life. As a young man, my father made me practice Tul after Tul, giving me advise as I performed each of them. No detail was left unchecked, no knowledge was considered too irrelevant to pass on. When he sensed a lack of enthusiasm, he said the things that old men say to young men that young men simply think of as silly things that are said by past generations. “Perform Tul and you will never be alone” or “training will provide you with all the guidance you need”. For love of my father, I focused my mind and carried out the exercises. As I matured my mind was forced to develop a sense of focus that would allow me to digest all the information being passed onto me. Now my father is gone, yet when I perform Chon-ji and my mind arrives at that place of serenity, I can hear his voice, not as a memory but as an audible sound. I can hear the sounds of my childhood home, the unique echo of our Dojang with each breath or footstep. When I perform Tul, I feel my brothers and sisters world-wide moving in unison, I am not alone. When I perform Tul, I hear my father voice guiding me as if he were standing next to me. I hear his words of advise given at the most appropriate times as if he knows my troubles and is responding to them. I am blessed as are all practitioners who can put their hands on their heart and say they train in earnest and with pure intentions. ” (from Blue Cottage Taekwon-Do)
In 2018, Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa was inducted as ‘Legend of Taekwon-Do’ in the Australasian ITF Hall Of Fame.
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