Tag: founder of taekwondo

general choi hong hi seminar

19 year anniversary passing of General Choi

19 Year Anniversary

Of the passing of Choi Hong Hi

Founder of Taekwondo

19 year anniversary

Today marks the 19 year anniversary of the passing of the Founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi.

Grandmasters, Masters and students around the globe will reflect on the General’s influence and continue to keep his legacy alive through the continued promotion and growth of ITF Taekwon-Do

In 2000, General Choi, the Founder of Taekwon-Do, was announced by Taekwon-Do Times magazine, as the most influential martial artist on the century.

General Choi ITF Taekwon-Do

Purchase your copy here

General Choi is regarded as the Founder of Taekwon-do and served as President of the International Taekwon-do Federation (I.T.F.) for many years. He sadly passed away in June 2002, after a long battle with cancer.

The Taekwon-Do Founder, General Choi Hong Hi (dec) was born on November 9th, 1918 in the rugged and harsh area of Hwa Dae, Myong Chung District, in what is now D.P.R of Korea . A sickly but willful child, he was expelled from school at the age of 12 for leading a protest against the occupying Japanese.

His father then persuaded him to study calligraphy and Chinese characters. Choi’s tutor, Master Han II Dong, was also a master of TaeKyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting which Han II Dong had practiced in secret throughout the Japanese occupation. Noticing Choi’s frail physique, he decided to teach him TaeKyon also to help build up his body.

Choi travelled to Japan, where he studied English, mathematics, and karate. In Kyoto, he met a fellow Korean with the surname Kim, who was a karate instructor and taught Choi this martial art. Choi also learned Shotokan under Gichin Funakoshi,  the founder of Shotokan karate-do, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is known as a “father of modern karate”

Just before he had left Korea, Choi had a disagreement with a wrestler named Hu, and the possibility of a future confrontation inspired him to train. In his own words, he said “I would imagine that these were the techniques I would use to defend myself against the wrestler, Mr. Hu, if he did attempt to carry out his promise to tear me limb from limb when I eventually returned to Korea”.

With two years of concentrated training, Choi attained the rank of first degree black belt, and then 2nd Degree soon after. These techniques, together with Taek Kyon (foot techniques), were the forerunners of modern Taekwon-Do.

General Choi’s military career began in 1937, when he was forced, as were all Korean soldiers, to join the Japanese army as a student volunteer, during Japan’s occupancy of Korea.

On his return to Korea in 1942, he hid to avoid conscription into the Japanese Army, but was eventually caught, and in October 1943 began his basic training. He was soon arrested during an attempt to escape and join the underground Korean Liberation Army. Sent to Pyung Yang prison for treason, he was due to have been executed on August 18 1945, three days after Korea was liberated.

While in prison, to alleviate the boredom and keep physically fit, Choi began practicing this art in the solitude of his cell. In a short time, even his cellmate and jailer became students of his.

In 1945, Choi enrolled in the Koreans Military Academy, later to be commissioned to the rank of second lieutenant in 1946. By 1948, he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was a Taekyon instructor for the military troops of the R.O.K. and the American Military Police School based in Korea.

On the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Choi hurried back to Korea, where he was ordered to set up an officer training academy. In 1952 he was appointed chief of staff of the First Corps, and soon found himself briefing General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the United Nations troops, on the situation at the front line.

From 1946 to 1951, Choi received promotions to first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, and then brigadier general, becoming Chief of staff to the Korean Army.

The year 1953 was an eventful one for the General, in both his military career and in the progress of the new martial art. He became the author of the first authoritative book on military intelligence in Korea.
He organized and activated the crack 29th Infantry Division at Cheju Island, which eventually became the spearhead of Taekwon-Do in the military and established the Oh Do Kwan (Gym of My Way) where Korean soldiers were trained in General Choi’s new martial art to become the pioneer Taekwon-do instructors. It was also a opportunity to develop the Taekyon and Karate techniques into a modern system of Taekwon-Do.
He went on to command Chung Do Kwan (Gym of the Blue Wave), the largest civilian gym in Korea; 

In 1954 Choi was promoted to the rank of Major General.

During his military career, General Choi constantly researched various martial arts, mainly Taekyon, Kung Fu and Karate – drawing from each to create the original version of Taekwon-do.

In 1955 General Choi led the Korean Army’s Taekwon-do demonstration team on a tour of China and Vietnam to promote his form of unarmed combat. After breathtaking displays, both these countries adopted General Choi’s Taekwon-do as an integral part of their soldier’s military training.

In 1961, the Korean Taekwon-do Association was formed with General Choi as its President. During the next few years, he led Taekwon-do demonstration teams throughout the world. In 1965, the South Korean government gave approval to General Choi’s martial art and declared it as Korea’s National martial art.

As a Korean ambassador, and now a retired 3-star General, General Choi he led a goodwill mission on tours of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

On March 22nd, 1966, General Choi Hong Hi (dec) formed the International Taekwon-do Federation (I.T.F) in Seoul, Korea. At the time it had associations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, America, Turkey, Italy, Egypt and Korea. Taekwon-Do was taken up by several foreign armies, and was taught at West Point in America. During the Vietnam War, the Taekwon-Do training of Korean and other foreign soldiers was said to have had a demoralizing effect on the Viet Cong.

In 1971, the South Korean president Park Chung Hee began to use Taekwon-Do as anti-communist political propaganda. Choi, fiercely against this, went into exile in Canada. He continued to teach Taekwon-Do throughout the world, including in North Korea, and in 1974 he organised the first Taekwon-Do world championship in Montreal.

All the while he had to endure death threats from Korean Central Intelligence, attempts to kidnap him and attempts on his life by armed assassins. On one occasion his son and daughter, who had stayed behind in South Korea, were kidnapped and their lives threatened if Choi did not return to Korea. His response was “I choose Taekwon-Do over my son”. They were freed.

General Choi died of cancer on 15 June 2002 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Choi is listed in the Taekwondo Hall of Fame with various titles: “Father of Taekwon-Do,” “Founder and First President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation,” and “Founder of Oh Do Kwan.” Choi is survived by his wife, Choi Joon Hee; his son, Choi Jung Hwa; two daughters, Sunny and Meeyun; and several grandchildren.

- exerpts from 'Taekwondo - The Korean Art of Self Defence' - General Choi Hong Hi



Subscribe to our YouTube channel to view General Choi seminars, ITF patterns and much more.


View our General Choi Hong Hi Photo Gallery


Sydney, Australia 1993


Sunshine Coast, Australia 1995

Celebrate Founders Birthday with us

Celebrate Founders Birthday with us


To celebrate the Founder’s Birthday, we are staging the Inaugural General Choi Memorial Cyber Championships.

The General Choi Memorial Cyber Championships is open to and and all Taekwon-Do practitioners who train in the Founder’s wonderful martial art.

Registrations Now Open – Scroll down page for form

Check out the great videos that have been submitted from around the World so far:

The commemorate the memory of our Taekwon-Do Founder and to show respect and gratitude by promoting his martial art to a global audience. All are welcome to take part in the General Choi Memorial Cyber Championships.

Who can participate :

  • All Ages (from 5-85)
  • All ranks (from beginners to grandmasters)
  • All ITF styled Taekwon-do schools
  • All countries

Following on from the great success of our recent Cyber Tournaments, where competitors from across the World came together to share and celebrate ITF Taekwon-Do

With more new events and more chances for you to win – the rest is up to you. Register now and train hard, then submit your best effort. Scroll down the page for Event guidelines.

Events will include:

  • Individual Patterns
  • Team Patterns (3 people – mixed age/gender is ok)
  • Multi-Breaking
  • Self Defense (pairs)
  • Pre-arranged Sparring (pairs)
  • Model Sparring (pairs)

Registrations & Video Submissions close on 

9th November, 2020

Birthday of General Choi Hong Hi, Founder of Taekwon-Do

See below for Rules, Filming & Submission Guidelines, Registration

Enquiries contact Organizer, Master Michael Muleta – contact us here



Register Here:

  • DD slash MM slash YYYY
    Gups perform 1 pattern from their most recent grading Black Belts perform 2 patterns from most recent grading (both patterns on SAME video) Please film in landscape (Horizontal)
    Team is made up of 3 people. ALL team members must register and pay. Perform 1 Pattern only Please film in landscape (Horizontal)
  • If entering a team in team patterns, please include your unique team name
    Please check event guidelines (below) Please film in landscape (Horizontal)
    Self Defense routine (Pairs) - Each participant must demonstrate 5 different defense sequences. BOTH participants need to register and pay. Medals Awarded to both partners
    Pre- Arranged Sparring Routine Both participants must demonstrate 5 different sequences in a continuous manner BOTH participants need to register and pay Medals Awarded to both partners
    Model Sparring routine with partner Each participant must demonstrate 3 different sequences Once in slow controlled manner, then at full speed BOTH participants need to register and pay Medals Awarded to both partners
  • $ 0.00
    Where participant is under 18 years of age, parent or legal guardian must check this box on their behalf.

Here’s how its going to work…..

  1. First, you need to register and pay
  2. You will film yourself, or be filmed at your club/class, performing your patterns or routines.
  3. Upload these performances to a designated folder online, and our panel of judges will watch them, judge them and score them.
  4. From 10th November, all videos will be switched from ‘Private’ to ‘Public’ settings on our YouTube event playlist so you can watch every one in your category, and the other participants.
  5. We will announce the results and promote the winning performances on our social media platforms, websites and other means of direct communication.
  6. You can view them, share them with family, friends and club mates.
  7. All placegetters will have medals posted to their head instructor, or directly to the address on your form, if you are in a lockdown area.

General Choi Memorial Cyber Cup






Event Logistics Sponsor

global fitness institute

celebrate General Choi Memorial Cyber Cup


All content, images and text remains property of Thoroughbred Taekwon-do