[ultkd]

University of Leicester Taekwon-Do Club

Historical Perspective

[tkd]


Beginnings - Development - Schisms - Current Situation - Legal Standing - TKD in the UK - Further Reading


Origins

Despite being one of the newest true martial arts in existence, the history and origins of Taekwon-Do are a tangled web of conflicting versions and differing accusations, largely caused by different (politically motivated) views of how it came about, and what happened when.

Beginnings

As far as we are concerned, Taekwon-Do came into being on 11th April 1955. This is not to say that Korean martial arts did not exist before then, or even that the art now known as TKD didn’t exist before then by another name, but this is the date from which ITF practitioners count the beginning of their art. Some authorities claim TKD is thousands of years old and based on traditional Korean arts; even if this were true, TKD as an art in it’s own right didn’t exist until it was given the name in the 1950’s; before then it was either essentially similar but called something else, or was a set of traditional arts with no real similarity to TKD.

Since the 1870’s Japan had been trying to force Korea into an (unequal) partnership, and following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty in 1905, and full annexation in 1910, Korea had become a de facto part of the Japanese empire. Between 1910 and 1945, Japanese forces occupied Korea and suppressed all native forms of art and culture, especially martial arts, in the hopes of breaking the people’s national spirit. So, as is so often the case, the native Korean martial arts went underground, where they were (allegedley) secretly practiced and handed down to a select few individuals.

In 1943, the ban on martial arts was lifted, and the Japanese authorities allowed civilians to train in martial arts such as Karate and Judo. In addition, many Koreans had fought on the side of the Japanese and received training in the Japanese martial arts. Because of this, and the repression of traditional Korean martial arts, when the Japanese were finally driven out of Korea in 1945 the Korean kwans (schools) of martial arts that sprung up and later developed into Taekwon-Do taught a system essentially similar to Karate, though usually given a Korean name such as Kong Soo Do (‘empty-hand way’), Tang Soo Do (‘China hand way’), Tae Soo Do (‘way of body and hands’), or Kwon Bop (‘fist fighting method’).

In 1946, General Choi (at that time a second lieutenant) was stationed in Kwang-Ju City, assigned to the 4th Regiment, where he began to teach Karate to his troops in order to develop a strong combat-ready force. However, he began to wonder why he was teaching a Japanese martial art to Korean soldiers, and began to develop what would become a uniquely Korean art1. He undertook a scientific study of martial arts systems, which he practiced, taught and refined for nine years, with the help of his right-hand man Nam Tae-Hi, resulting in the art which he called Taekwon-Do.

By 1953, General Choi was in charge of the 29th infantry division (nicknamed ‘Ik Keu’ or ‘The Fist’ division because of their flag, showing a fist above the Korean peninsula). While here, General Choi recruited a number of Tang Soo masters from the Chungdokwan (‘Blue Wave School’) to help train the troops in hand-to-hand combat2. In 1954, at a demonstration of martial arts put on by the 29th, President Seong Man-Rhee was impressed enough to declare that this martial art should be taught to the entire army3. Sometime after, the 29th moved to Yong Dae Ri, whereupon the General ordered a gymnasium be built, called Oh Do Kwan (‘School of the One Way’), where Nam Tae-Hi began to teach military instructors.

On May 25, 1953 the founding masters of the 9 kwans got together and formed the Korean Kongsoodo Association, the first attempt to unify the art. Unfortunately this organisation was not very successful, and the individual kwans continued to call their arts by different names and failed to co-operate. The association eventually fell apart, but the dream of unifying was born and remained an aim.

In 1955, a committee was set up to decide on a name for the unified martial art. Some of the committee preferred the established names, due to their similarity with the already widely-known Karate, but Choi was determined that they accept his suggestion, Taekwon-Do, partly because of its resemblance to Taekkyon, thus evoking Korean tradition; and also because it describes both hand and foot techniques. The preferred option of many of the other Kwan heads was Tae Soo Do. These names were largely chosen to try and separate the Korean martial art from any connections with Japan, since at this time the various Korean schools mostly taught an art similar to and derived from Karate, the result of many years of Japanese occupation of Korea. A meeting took place on 11th April 1955 between the heads of the various kwans. Both General Choi1,4 and Son Duk-Sung5 hold that it was at this meeting that the name Taekwon-Do was agreed to; according to other accounts, the name chosen at this point was Tae Soo Do6, and it wasn’t until some years later that the name was changed to Taekwon-Do. Regardless, it is this date which is held by ITF TKD practitioners as the birthday of TKD.


  1. Taekwon-Do And I, Volume 1 (Choi, Hong Hi)
  2. http://www.chungdo.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=3
  3. http://www.geocities.com/ustfregion5/NamTaeHi.html
  4. http://www.geocities.com/psta_gtf/realhist.html
  5. http://www.martialedge.net/articles/history/a-history-of-modern-taekwondo-part-1
  6. Taekwon-Do (Park, Park, Gerrard)

Development

In 1959, the heads of the major kwans were persuaded to unify under one organization called the Korea Taekwon-Do or Tae Soo Do (depending on your point of view) Association (KTA), formed to oversee the development of the newly named art. The KTA became responsible for standardising the requirements for black belt testing, and for carrying out the tests and awarding belts. This caused friction with some of the kwans, who felt testing and promotions belonged to the kwan, as well as it being an important source of revenue.

It is often alleged that General Choi used his position in the military, and especially his relationships with General Lee Hyung-Keun, Commander in Chief of the Army, and Seong Man-Rhee, president of South Korea (until forced to resign on April 19th 1960 following a student-led uprising), to push through his vision of Taekwon-Do. Given the apparent inability of the various kwans to agree amongst themselves, it would seem fair to think that, without this pressure, the kwans may never have united under a single banner at all, and Taekwon-Do would never have existed as we know it today.

Dissent among the kwans that did not unify carried for six years. On May 16th 1961, the Second Republic under the leadership of Chang Myon was overthrown by a military coup led by General Park Chung-Hee, and on September 14, by official decree of the new military government (known as the Kwan Unity Act), the kwans were ordered to put themselves under the jurisdiction of the KTA. Those that did not submit, notably the Moo Duk Kwan of Hwang Kee, often found life outside the KTA was made difficult by the authorities; nonetheless, some have remained independent and flourish to this day.

In the late 1940s, following an unsuccessful insurrection against the Korean government, General Park had received a death sentence, later rescinded, from a military court martial panel that had included General Choi. After General Park’s appointment as president, General Choi was forced to retire from the army and in 1962 was sent to Malaysia as ambassador. In his absence, the heads of the kwans decided to change the official name to Tae Soo Do. It was as the Korean Tae Soo Do Association that the art was finally recognised by the Korean Sports Union, the governing body for sports within Korea. It remained this way until 1965, when General Choi returned to Korea. He promptly had himself elected as president of the Korea Tae Soo Do Association, and arranged for the name to change back to Taekwon-Do. In the same year he published Taekwon-Do: Korean Art of Self-Defence, the first Taekwon-Do manual in English.

According to many sources, General Choi’s manner was authoritarian and bullying, and caused friction between himself and many of the other kwan heads, particularly in his insistence that the art be called Tae Kwon Do rather than Tae Soo Do. As a compromise, in 1966, General Choi was persuaded to resign from the KTA and found the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in order to spread the art worldwide; thus on March 22 1966 the ITF came into being, initially incorporating 9 countries - South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, West Germany, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, and the USA.

Over the next few years, the political climate in Korea worsened, causing General Choi to believe he was at risk of arrest due to his opposition of President Park’s increasingly politically restrictive regime. General Choi firmly believed that Taekwon-Do belonged to all mankind, and should remain free of any political leanings or interference. Following Park’s election to his second term as president, the KTA began increasingly meddling in the affairs of the ITF, so in 1972 General Choi left the country to re-establish the headquarters of the ITF in Toronto, Canada. He remained firm in his resolve that Taekwon-Do should be independent, even though the Korean authorities applied increasing pressure to return. Eventually, General Choi’s desire to spread Taekwon-Do to the world led to a second relocation. In order to facilitate access to the countries of Eastern Europe and the USSR, the Fifth ITF Congress meeting of December 1984 unanimously voted to relocate to Vienna, Austria, and in 1985, the ITF headquarters were moved. Also in this year, General Choi completed and published the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, a 15-volume manual comprehensively documenting Taekwon-Do.

While the KTA continued to be the national governing body for Korean Taekwon-Do, the Korean government set up a rival international body in 1973, calling it the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), based at Kukkiwon in South Korea. Since that time, Taekwon-Do has been divided, and the systems have developed along different lines, so while the basic techniques remain similar, the names for those techniques, and patterns practised differ between the two styles. The main difference, however, is in the focus employed: ITF adheres to the original principles of General Choi’s vision, as a true martial art with an all-round physical, mental and moral system underlying it. WTF-style has developed more along sport lines, resulting in its inclusion as a sport in the Olympic games. In 1980, WTF Taekwondo was recognised by the International Olympic Committee and became a demonstration sport at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. In the year 2000 WTF Taekwondo made its debut as a full Olympic sport at the Australian games.

Schisms

Sadly, and perhaps inevitably, eventually cracks began to appear within the ITF. General Choi’s manner had caused him to fall out with a number of senior masters, some of whom subsequently left to form their own organisations. A further problem was caused in 1980 when General Choi embarked on a visit to North Korea with a demonstration team of TKD masters. This caused massive consternation in South Korea (still technically at war with the North at the time), and was followed by pressure being applied by the South Korean government which led to many instructors leaving the ITF and joining the WTF. Other measures, designed to curry favour with North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in exchange for funding (one of which was replacing the pattern Ko-Dang with a new pattern Juche) caused rifts within the ITF, and the loss of masters such as Park Jong Soo (although he later reconciled his differences with General Choi). General Choi’s insistence on continuing relations with North Korea led to increasing friction within the ITF, a major consequence of which was the loss of Park Jung Tae, one of the original masters, who left in 1989 and founded the Global Taekwon-Do Federation in 1990.

More seriously, perhaps, were allegations being made that that ITF was being controlled, at least indirectly, by North Korea or its agents within the ITF headquarters. While this may or may not be true, it is certain that the majority of key positions at the ITF were filled with North Koreans; this was explained as General Choi wanting to surround himself with his countrymen, seemingly a fair enough request for one exiled for so long from his homeland. Others, however, accused the North Korean contingent of exercising undue influence over the General, who at this time was beginning to suffer the effects of the illness that would eventually take his life.

At the 13TH ITF World Congress in Rimini, Italy, in July 2001, General Choi was elected to serve the first 2 years of a 6 year term, with his son, Master Choi Jung Hwa, elected to serve the remaining 4 years of this term. Several months later, in a meeting in Slovenia, Master Choi informed the North Koreans that, while he would welcome them as members and an NGB, he would not have them interfering in internal ITF matters once he became president. Subsequently, Master Choi and his supporters were accused of being disruptive and making proper administration of the ITF near impossible. A ‘Special Congress’ was held in Vienna on 12th January 2002, where it was decided to amend the Rimini result to the effect that General Choi would serve the entire 6 year term. The official reason given for this was that, as merger talks were imminent between the ITF and WTF, it would be better for General Choi to continue for the full 6-year term. However, an enquiry made to the WTF elicited the response that no approaches had been made to this effect, leading to suspicion being raised that the North Korean contingent, unhappy with Master Choi’s intentions, had used their influence with General Choi to have him removed from the presidency.

In response, Master Choi’s faction claimed that the January Special Congress was an illegal attempt to overturn the legitimate decision of the Rimini meeting, an opinion apparently shared by the ITF’s own (and now ex-) legal adviser, Master Michael Tibollo (see Further Reading, link for ’The Breakup Begins ....’) and several others. On 26 February 2002, Choi Jung Hwa was informed that he had been expelled from the ITF; this lead to an immediate split, with both General Choi (based in Austria) and Master Choi (based in Canada) claiming to be the legitimate head of the ITF. Subsequently, a number of other ITF members either left or were expelled by the Vienna faction, presumably for siding with Master Choi.

Further shenanigans ensued following General Choi’s death in 2002. Initially, it was reported that General Choi’s dying wish was that Mr Chang Ung, a North Korean government official, IOC Member and basketball coach, and also head of the North Korean TKD Federation although with no graded rank in TKD, would become succeed him as President of the ITF. This was seemingly confirmed at a special meeting in Pyongyang on September 20, 2002. Mr Chang then proceeded to take control of the ITF headquarters in Vienna, and to fill the top positions with North Korean Compatriots.

However, shortly after it emerged that the Pyongyang meeting had no legal standing. Furthermore, some delegates at this meeting, which was conducted in Korean and translated into the language of the delegate, believed afterwards that they had been tricked into giving Chang Ung their support, or that they had been told a vote had been taken when in fact none had taken place (and would, in any case, have been invalid). Others stated that the written version of the General’s last words differed from that which they had been told at the time by their translators.

In any case, this method of appointing a president would not be in accordance with the ITF constitution, which demanded that a president be elected at a formal meeting of ITF members. According to this thinking, Vice-president Russell McLennan continued as president until the 14th ITF Congress Meeting, held in Warsaw, Poland on June 13, 2003, when elections were held in accordance with the Constitution of the ITF, and Grandmaster Trân Triêu Quân from Canada was unanimously elected President.

General Choi’s actual words on the matter, although translated into English, were: "I have always worried about a successor to the president. However, my mind is set at ease for there is Mr. Chang Ung.". This caused a difference of opinion over the interpretation of General Choi’s last words. Some believed he intended Chang Ung to take over immediately, in direct succession; whereas others believed that General Choi had intended for Chang Ung to present himself at congress and be elected to the post with the General’s blessing, but in accordance with the ITF constitution. This situation promptly (further) split the organisation between those who believed that General Choi’s last wishes should be followed as stated, and those who believed the rule of law, embodied in the ITF constitution, should take precedent - even pointing out that they had no objections to Chang Ung taking over the as president, as long as he was voted in correctly. This led to two groups based in Vienna claiming to be the ‘real’ ITF, the former, headed by Chang Ung (hereinafter known as ITF-NK) and the latter by Russell McLennan (ITF-V). Together with the group in Canada led by Master Choi (ITF-C) the stage was set for the fragmentation of the ITF:


  1. http://www.tkd-itf.org/pub_web/ver_eng/PMTTQ122005.html

The Current Situation

Currently, then, there are three organisations claiming to be the head body for ITF Taekwon-Do: One in Canada, under General Choi’s son Grandmaster Choi Jung-hwa (known as ITF-C), and two based in Vienna, Austria (known as ITF-V, currently led by Grandmaster Pablo Trajtenberg, and ITF-NK led by the North Korean faction under Mr. Chang).

A further mess occurs when you consider the NGBs. In the UK, the United Kingdon Taekwon-Do Association (UKTA) under Grandmaster Rhee affiliates itself to ITF-NK, as does ITF-England (ITF-E), whereas other national bodies, such as ITF England (ITF E), ITF-Scotland (ITF-S), ITF-Wales & Irish National TKD Association (INTA) align themselves with ITF-V. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the largest (by membership)TKD body in the UK (and Europe, according to their website) is the Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB), who are an independent organisation affiliated with none of the three ITFs but instead set up their own international organisation in 1993, Tae Kwon-Do International (TKDI), covering both ITF and WTF styles. Ironically, the TAGB split from the ITF in 1983 for reasons relating to the quality of the governing body; subsequently, in 1993, a group broke away from the TAGB to form Global TKD International (GTI) citing similar reasons.

The following link illustrates the situation by demonstrating the position of the various TKD Governing Bodies & Organisations for England.

The continental governing body for Europe, the All Europe Taekwon-do Federation (AETF) was founded in June 1979 in Oslo, Norway and currently has its headquarters in Lublin, Poland; since the split it has linked itself to ITF-C under Master Choi. More recently, however, a second organisation has appeared, initially claiming also to be the All Europe Taekwon-do Federation founded in 1979, but changing its name in 2007 to the Europe ITF Taekwon-Do Federation (EITF), currently based in Zagreb, Croatia and having a completely different board of directors, and claiming allegience to Mr. Chang’s ITF-NK.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States TKD Federation (USTF, founded 1973) under GM Sereff have split entirely from the ITF, and now reside as completely independent entities, whilst continuing to honour the memory of General Choi by teaching TKD as he developed and promoted it; while other bodies claiming to be ’the’ governing body for TKD in the USA exist, with different political allegiences. This pattern is repeated around the world.

In addition, there are several other independent international organisations founded by some of the original pioneers of TKD, e.g:

and numerous smaller national or local groups who practise ITF (or Ch’ang Hon, or similar) style TKD but have dissociated themselves from the official ITF(s) as a reaction to the political manoeuvring therein. Sometimes it’s enough to make you cry.

More recently, Mr Chang has become embroiled over allegations made by Dr. Kim Un Yong, formerly head of the WTF. Dr Kim resigned from the WTF, and from his post as South Korean representative to and a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, shortly before being arrested and convicted on charges of embezzling funds estimated at more than $3 million donated to the WTF and other organisations he headed, and accepting $700,000 in bribes1. Dr. Kim alleges that he paid Mr Chang sums of money to promote sporting links between the two Koreas; Mr Chang’s opponents allege that the money was paid to Mr Chang to use his position as ITF president to push through a merger between WTF and ITF, with the WTF taking the leading role in the new organisation.

Whatever the truth of this situation, it is a salutary reminder of why General Choi spent his life promoting Taekwon-Do as "an international, non-governmental, non-political, non-profit organization of unlimited duration, which does not recognize differences of race, religion, sex or politics." It can only be hoped that this position be strengthened as an outcome.

In an interesting development, Dr. Kim’s successor as head of WTF, Koo Chun-seo, was himself arrested in December 2003 on charges of rigging his election in February 2002, and bribing fellow officials2. Prosecutors have indicted Mr Koo, accusing him of using 300 "gangsters and taekwondo experts" to stop rivals attending the vote. Mr Koo was unanimously elected chairman of the martial arts association by the 17 delegates who were able to attend. He was also accused of paying over $20,000 to two association officials ahead of the vote. Mr Koo was arrested and charged along with Lee Seng-wan, an adviser to the association, who was once in prison for organising the violent disruption of an opposition political rally in 1987.

It will therefore come as little surprise to read that the Government of South Korea passed a special law on on Feruary 18th 2010, putting Kukkiwon under direct government control. A specific part of this law was the clause that anyone with a criminal record will no longer be allowed to be Kukkiwon president.

On September 20th 2006 in Lausanne, Switzerland at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a meeting took place between representatives of the IOC, the WTF and ITF-NK to agree on establishing a committee to integrate the two TKDs. December 2nd 2006 saw a mutual agreement to this effect signed in Doha, Qatar, between Chang Un (ITF-NK) and Chungwon Choue (WTF), although there seems to have been no further developments announced since then.

In November 2009, a preliminary meeting took place between representatives of ITF-V & ITF-NK to discuss their intentions regarding reunification. The ITF-V lawyers temporarily suspended legal action pending the outcome of this meeting. As yet there has been no formal announcement by either body as to the content or outcome of this meeting. It is also unclear where the ITF-C stands in relation to this development.


  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3381737.stm
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3293927.stm
  3. http://www.bta-taekwondo.com/pdf/tkdka3.pdf

Legal Standing

The ITF-V has taken legal action to recover its headquarters building from the North Koreans and to recover a large sum of money that had been removed from its bank account. An Austrian court judgment (June 6th, 2003) found that Mr. Chang had no legal status in the ITF and that he and his supporters had no right to present themselves as representatives of the ITF. An Austrian Register of Association on 16 December 2003 asserted that GM Trân was the correct holder of the ITF registration. However, in 2004, Mr Chang obtained a court ruling reversing this registration. A subsequent judgement on 27 October 2005 confirmed that GM Trân, and not Mr Chang, was the legitimate President of the ITF (although Master Choi’s status does not appear to form part of this consideration). Mr. Chang’s group subsequently filed an objection to this judgment, but that objection was rejected by the court. Throughout this, Mr Chang continued to assert his claim that he was the legitimate president of the ITF. The ITF-V viewpoint is outlined in a January 2006 Address by the President. Subsequently, the ITF-V wrote a letter to Jaques Rogge, then president of the International Olympic Committee outlining the judgement, and reccommending that he place Mr. Chang under investigation for ".. his illegal and unethical actions".

In addition, the ITF-V has had some success protecting its claim to the "(ITF) International Taekwon-Do Federation" as a registered trademark:

Note that these rulings do not affect the legitimacy or otherwise of any group, merely the ownership of the registered trademarks to ITF in that country, however it could be taken as an indication of which way the situation is going. Watch this space for more legal fun and games...


  1. http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2006/2006fc1459/2006fc1459.html
  2. http://cas-ncr-nter03.cas-satj.gc.ca/IndexingQueries/infp_RE_info_e.php?court_no=T-2108-02
  3. http://www.itf-administration.com/articles.asp?arturn=868

TKD in the UK

Taekwon-Do was introduced into the United Kingdom by Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha IX (at that time V Degree) in 1967. A number of RAF Servicemen, who had trained under Master Rhee whilst stationed at RAF Changi in Singapore, expressed their desire to continue their Taekwon-Do training when they returned to Britain, and so they invited Master Rhee to come and teach them in the UK. The first Taekwon-Do school in the UK (and, indeed, Europe) was formed at Tile Hill Woods School in Coventry on July 2nd, 1967. The classes proved to be very popular, and while initially operating under the auspices of the Korean Taekwon-Do Asociation1, eventually grew into the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association (UKTA).

Unsurprisingly, Taekwon-Do in the United Kingdom has also seen its share of splits. As any organisation grows, the potential for conflict and differences of opinion increases, and thus it was in 1981, when Master Roy Oldham left the UKTA due to a personal disagreement with GM Rhee1 and along with Mr Murray Walker set up the TUGB2.

A bigger split took place in 1983, when the UKTA planned to host a World Championship event at the NEC, Birmingham. The plan was ambitious; it involved bringing Korean masters in from around the world, and the combined bill to cover hire of the venue and expenses was estimated at £80,000 - more than the UKTA could afford. Some senior members of the UKTA were uneasy about having to invest large sums of their personal money in the event, with the possibility of being liable for the costs if the event made losses, and so resigned3. These instructors (amongst them Masters Dave Oliver, Ron Sergiew, Kenny Walton, Mike Dew, and Kim Stones) formed the Tae Kwon Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB) in August 1983, which has gone on to become the largest TKD organisation in the UK, and through its international arm Tae Kwon Do International (TKDI) has links to organisations in 58 countries.

Initially, the TAGB had as its head instructor Grandmaster Hee Il Cho; however by 1993 they had decided to dispense with his services and voted to remove him as head instructor2. This prompted a group of instructors who wanted to stay with GM Cho, comprising Masters Kim Stones, Frank Murphy, Tony Sewell, Francis Plunkett, Clive Harrison, George Cockburn, Alan Sparks, Mark Weir and Bhupinder Sahota, to leave the TAGB and set up Global Taekwondo International (GTI), retaining GM Cho as their head instructor. The first chairman of this organisation was Master Sahota, who himself left within three months (when it became clear that the other founders of the GTI had different ideas to him as to its direction) and formed United Kingdom Global Taekwon-Do (UKGT), which has since re-joined with the ITF.

In 1988 a number of organisations, including both UKTA and TAGB, formed a governing body to oversee TKD in the UK - this is the British Taekwondo Council (BTC), which now comprises 15 organisations, and is the governing body for UK TaeKwonDo as recognised by the Sports Council.

The following link is a diagram showing the links between most of the major Ch’ang-Hon style groups in the UK: UK TKD Organisations Timeline.


  1. http://www.gt-uk.net/articles/article.asp?article_id=19
  2. http://www.tempo-tkd.co.uk/3.html
  3. http://www.redditchtkd.co.uk/masterdonatkins.php

Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha

Grandmaster Rhee is a pioneer of Taekwon-Do, and is considered by many to be one of the best practitioners of Taekwon-Do of all time. In 1964 he was the first person to leave Korea with the official description of ’Taekwon-Do Instructor’ listed as his occupation in his passport. On July 1st 1997, 30 years after introducing Taekwon-Do to the United Kingdom, Master Rhee was promoted to Grandmaster IX Degree by General Choi himself, the first Taekwon-Do practitioner to receive this honour, and one of only seven to be promoted by General Choi personally.

Grandmaster Rhee links:

Further Reading

A Killing Art: The Untold History of Taekwon-Do by Alex Gillis. Mr Gillis is an investigative journalist and 3rd degree black belt in TKD. The book is based on his research, including interviews with the pioneers of TKD, and details the origins and development of the art. It is well worth reading for anyone who thinks they know the history of TKD:


The following links are a series of articles on the Alberta Taekwondo Community Message Board posted by Master Norm Moreland, consisting of letters and other communications passed around since the ITF began to fall apart:

  1. Chronology of the Current ITF Situation
  2. The Breakup Begins ....
  3. The Breakup Continues ....
  4. The General Dies
  5. Yet Another Split?
  6. The Fatal Blow ...
  7. Merger? What merger?
  8. It continues ....

The following links to a letter from Master Leong Wai Meng to the ITF regarding the events in Pyongyang at which Mr Chang was (allegedley) made president of the ITF: http://www.tkd-itf.org/pub_web/pdf/Appendix2UpdateLegal.pdf


Some other views on the History of TKD:

  1. A History of Taekwondo
  2. A History of Modern Taekwondo

Each of the the three ITF headquarters is shown; where these have a European-wide governing body this is shown also. Each ITF has a National Governing Body covering England; and each of these have a number of member organisations. Individual clubs are not shown. In each case, the organisation down to NGB level claims to be the only true organisation in charge at its respective level:


Headquarters:ITF-VITF-NKITF-C
European Body:AETFEITF-
England NGB:ITF EnglandITF-EnglandEngland-ITF
Member
Organisations:
ETABITFUKITF
TKDIUKGT-
VTAUKTA-
TAEUKTC-
-UKTD-
-TIF-

Beginnings - Development - Schisms - Current Situation - Legal Standing - TKD in the UK - Further Reading