The ITF wishes to acknowledge those who contributed to the development of Taekwon-Do and the ITF in the past, though some may no longer be with us, nevertheless we acknowledge their involvement in Taekwon-Do. They are sometimes referred to as Pioneers, the early instructors or first to bring Taekwon-Do to certain regions of the world, or to assist Gen. Choi in the development and promotion of the art of Taekwon-Do. This section of the website will take time to compile in a careful and accurate way, and we ask for your help.
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The Korean Martial Art of Self Defense first developed in the Republic of (south) Korea’s Army by Gen. Choi Hong Hi and soldiers under his Command. Gen. Choi conceived the name Taekwon-Do and was able to get the 1st President of Korea Seung-Man Rhee to approve the name. As a result the date April 11, 1955 has come to be associated as the birthday of Taekwon-Do. The purpose of the training was to instill confidence in military combat situations and to develop esprit de corps. As the soldiers and Gen. Choi retired from the military they continued to disseminate Taekwon-Do abroad.
With the inception of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) on March 22, 1966 in Seoul the responsibility for the development and spread of this “Original Taekwon-Do” now fell to the ITF under the Presidency of Gen. Choi. As Taekwon-Do moved to the civilian population, self defense continued as a focus of the training, along with being a sport, a way of life and a tool for social development in hopes of “building a more peaceful world.”
Translated literally “Tae” stands for jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot. “Kwon” denotes the fist-chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. “Do” means an art or way-the right way built and paved by the saints and sages in the past.
The Oh Do Kwan
The Oh Do Kwan: Was the Military Gym that was co-founded by Gen. Choi and Col. Nam. after a very successful legendary demonstration in front of the 1st Korean President Dr. Rhee Seung-Man, in which the President directed Gen. Choi to teach the Martial Arts to all the Troops, the Oh Do Kwan became the facility to carry out that mandate.
The name translates to gym of my way or my gym. Hence each individual soldier could feel at home in their gym, regardless of the Kwan they may have trained at on the civilian side. The Oh Do Kwan became the training centre that would produce the many instructors needed to spread Taekwon-Do throughout the Korean Military. Gen. Choi was the Director, Capt. Nam the Chief Instructor and Sgt. Han Cha Kyo the Assistant Instructor.
The First 3 Masters of Taekwon-Do
Early Military Taekwon-Do Instructors
Founding members of ITF (1966)
Key members that led the ITF over the years
Founder & President 1966-2002
Founding Member, 1st Promotion Committee Chairman, Past Vice President
Founding Member who was perhaps the most important person actually responsible for the logistics in setting up the ITF, 1st Chief Instructor of Instructor Courses, Designed ITF Crest & Plaque, Former Chairman of the Technique & Merger Committees, Past Secretary General, Instructor of the 1st International Umpire Course, Host of the 1st World Championships, Member of the 4th & 6th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1979
Founding Member who was perhaps the most important person in establishing bases for ITF Member Nations by teaching TKD throughout Southeast Asia & introducing TKD to Vietnam, Head of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating in Vietnam in 1959 & on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, 1st Chairman of Planning Committee & Former Chairman of the Tournament Committee
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating it on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, Past Secretary General, Member of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th ITF Demo Teams 1968, 1973 & 1974, Former Member of the Consultative Committee
Past Secretary General & Former Chairman of the ITF Instruction Committee, traveled worldwide as the Chief Instructor, Member of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1978-81
Founding Member, Member of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th ITF Demo Teams 1968, 73, 78, 79, 80, Host of the 4th World Championships, Past Vice President
Founding Member who introduced TKD by demonstrating it on the Goodwill around the world in 1965, Member of the 2nd ITF Demo Team 1968, Former Chairman of the Discipline Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8, Former Chief Instructor, Former Vice-Chair of Umpire Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 3rd & 5th, 6th ITF Demo Teams 1973, 78, 79, Former Chairman of Umpire Committee, Designed ITF Tree Logo
Former Chairman of Merger Committee, ITF Spokesperson & Special Assistant to Gen. Choi
Founding Member, Former Chief Instructor
Founding Member, Former Chief Instructor
Founding Member, Member of the 3rd ITF Demo Team 1973, Former Chairman of the Expansion Committee
Founding Member, Member of the 2nd & 3rd ITF Demo Teams 1968, 1973
Past Vice President, Former Assistant Auditor, Member of the 4th & 7th ITF Demo Teams, 1974 & 1980
Past Secretary General, Member of the 7th ITF Demo Team1980
Member of the 6th ITF Demo Team 1979, Former Special Advisor
CHARLES E. SEREFF
Past Vice President & Secretary General, Former Chairman of Collegiate & Promotion Committees, Member of the 7th ITF Demo Team 1980
VAN BINH NYUGEN
Founding Member, Chairman of the Master’s Promotion Committee
Founding Member, Member of 2nd ITF Demo Team 1968
Founding Member, Past Vice President, Former Chairman of Title Committee
Member of the 1st ITF Demo Team 1967-8, Former Chief Instructor & Chairman of Merger Committee
Former long term Under-Secretary General & Secretary General, Treasurer
LEONG WAI MENG
Member of the 5th ITF Demo Team, Former Chairman of the Consultative Committee
Founding Member & Member of the 2nd & 4th ITF Demo Teams, 1968 & 1974
Former Chairman of the Promotion Committee, Member of the 4th ITF Demo Team 1974
Former Chairman of the Umpire Committee, Member of the 4th & 7th ITF Demo Teams 1974 & 1980
TRÂN TRIÊU QUÂN
Former Chairman of the Tournament Committee, Host of the 1990 & 2007 World Championships, Past President who played a vitally important role in navigating the ITF through turbulent times following the passing of General Choi & moving the ITF forward in a professional manner well suited for the 21st Century, before he himself passed away tragically in a massive earthquake in the service of those less fortunate.
Promoted to IX Dan Grandmaster by General Choi
- GM Rhee, Ki-Ha – 1st July, 1997 – GB-9-1.
- GM Charles E. Sereff – 8th December, 1997 – A-9-1.
- GM Hwang, Kwang-Sung – 8th December, 1997 – K-9-1.
- GM Park, Jong-Soo – 1st May, 2001 – C-9-1.
- GM Van Binh Nguyen – 1st March, 2002 – A-9-2.
- GM Duc Dang – 1st March, 2002 – A-9-3.
- GM Jung, Woo Jin – 21st March, 2002 – A-9-4.