ITF – Happy 57th Birthday
The International Taekwon-Do Federation, ITF, is the first international taekwondo organization, founded on March 22, 1966, by General Choi Hong Hi, the Founder of Taekwon-D0, in Seoul, South Korea.
The ITF was founded to promote and encourage the growth of the Korean martial art of Taekwon-Do.
General Choi Hong Hi served as the Inaugural President of the ITF from 1966, until his death in 2002.
The main functions of the ITF include coordinating tournaments, conducting technical seminars, setting the technical standards for the teaching of General Choi’s art, working with affiliated member organizations, to oversee promotions in Degree rank and ITF certifications.
In 1965 General Choi, a retired two-star general, was appointed by the Government of the Republic of Korea to lead a goodwill mission to West Germany, Italy, Turkey, United-Arab Republic, Malaysia, and Singapore.
This trip is significant in that for the first time in Korean history, Taekwon‑Do was declared as the national martial art of Korea.
The international promotion of Taekwon-Do was the basis not only for establishing National Taekwon‑Do Associations in these countries, but also the formation of the International Taekwon‑Do Federation (ITF).
On the 22nd of March, 1966, the International Taekwon‑Do Federation was formed with associations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, the United States, Turkey, Italy, Arab Republic of Egypt and Korea.
In the proceeding years, affiliated National Organizations were set up in many more countries around the World.
In 1971, the South Korean president Park Chung Hee began to use Taekwon-Do as anti-communist political propaganda. General Choi, feeling fiercely against this, went into exile in Canada, and the ITF Headquarters was relocated.
General Choi continued to teach Taekwon-Do throughout the world, and in 1974 he organised the first Taekwon-Do World Championship in Montreal.
The administrative headquarters later relocated again, to Vienna, Austria, where it was for the remainder of General Choi’s lifetime.
See General Choi bio