Taekwon-Do History

Although the origins of the martial arts are shrouded in mystery, we consider it an undeniable fact that from time immemorial there have been physical actions involving the use of the hands and feet for purpose of self-protection. If we were to define these physical actions as “Taekwon- Do”, any country might claim credit for inventing Taekwon-Do. There is, however, scant resemblance between Taekwon-Do, as it is practiced today, and the crude forms of unarmed combat developed in the past.

Modern Taekwon-Do differs greatly from other martial arts. In fact, no other martial art is so advanced with regard to the sophistication and effectiveness of its technique or the over-all physical fitness it imparts to its practitioners. Technically, 1955 signaled the beginning of Taekwon-Do as a formally recognized art in Korea. During that year, a special board was formed which included leading master instructors, historians, and prominent leaders of society. A number of names for the new martial art were submitted. On the 11th of April, the board summoned by Gen. Choi Hong Hi, decided on the name of Taekwon-Do which had been submitted by him. This single unified name of Taekwon-Do replaced the different and confusing terms; Dang Soo, Gong Soo, Taek Kyon, Kwon Bup, etc.

In 1959, Taekwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries. The father of Taekwon-Do and nineteen of his top black belt holders toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Taekwon-Do techniques. Many of these black belt holders such as Nam Tae Hi, President of the Asia Taekwon-Do Federation; Colonel Ko Jae Chun, the 5th Chief of Taekwon-Do instructors in Vietnam; Colonel Baek Joon Gi, the 2nd Chief instructor in Vietnam; Brigadier Gen. Woo Jong Lim; Mr. Han Cha Kyo, the Head Instructor in Singapore and Mr. Cha Soo Young, presently an international instructor in Washington D.C. eventually went on to spread the art to the world.

In this year, Choi was elevated to two illustrious posts; President of his newly formed Korea Taekwon-Do Association and deputy commander of the 2nd Army in Tae Gu. In 1965 Ambassador Choi, 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 the Ambassador, for the first time in Korean history, declared Taekwon-Do as the national martial art of Korea.

This was the basis not only for establishing Taekwon-Do Associations in these countries but also the formation of the International Taekwon-Do Federation as it is known today. In 1966, the dream of the sickly young student of calligraphy, who rose to Ambassador and the Association President of the most respected martial art in the world came true. On the 22nd of March, 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.


President; Mr. Chang Ung ( PRK )
Senior Vice President; GM Rhee Ki Ha ( UK )
Vice Presidents; GM Park Jong Soo ( CAN )
GM Leong Wai Meng ( AUS )
Mr. Yuri Kalashnikov ( RUS )
Mr. Pak Si Ung ( PRK )
Secretary General; GM Hwang Kwang Sung ( USA )
Deputy Secretary General; Mr. Ri Yong Son ( AUT )
Treasurer; Mr. Son U Chol ( AUT )
Members; Mr. Arne Hansen ( NOR )
Master Georgios Stilianides ( GRE )
Master Villanueva Adolf ( ARG )
Master Phap Lu ( CAN )
Master Hwang Jin ( JAN )
Mr. Enrique Deacon ( PER )


Affiliation to the International Taekwon-Do Federation(ITF) is possible for groups of
people, or individuals, in the circumstances detailed below.
1. The ITF will only recognise 1 National Governing Body(NGB) per country. That body
will be entitled to send 2 representatives to the Congress Meeting following
recognition by the ITF and the fulfilment of the conditions listed below :
A. They must have a qualified ITF instructor and must practise TKD as laid down by
the Founder of TKD, General Choi Hong Hi.
B. They must follow the ITF constitution and rules.
C. They must pay the US$200.00 affiliation fee(this is not a plaque fee).
D. They must support the ITF by ensuring that all of their members take ITF
membership cards, status cards and have ITF certificates for degrees held.
2. The NGB may accept into membership groups of people, or individuals, as they
decide suitable, from time to time. The schools(clubs), of the group, must affiliate to
the ITF by paying the ‘main’ or ‘branch’ school plaque fees(this is not the affiliation
fee) and the instructors and students must pay the membership fees.
3. A ‘main’ school is the first training hall which an instructor registers with the ITF. To
receive a main plaque the instructor has to pay the fee of US$200.00 following which
a plaque will be sent. He then has to pay $150.00 for each and every following year
for the school to remain affiliated with the ITF.
4. A ‘branch’ school is any further training hall, up to a maximum of 4, which is under the
personal tuition of the same instructor and is registered with the ITF. To receive a
branch plaque the instructor has to pay the fee of US$150.00 following which a
plaque will be sent. He then has to pay $80.00 for each and every following year for
the school to remain affiliated with the ITF.
5. The plaques remain the property of the ITF and must be returned when the fee
is not paid. The plaques may not be transferred to another school without the
permission of the ITF and on transfer the full fee has to be paid.
6. Individuals may affiliate to the ITF by paying the membership fee. They may only pay
the fee when they are a member of a main or branch school. Take note: It is
emphasised that only groups which are members of the recognised NGB may affiliate
to the ITF, and only individuals who are members of the recognised groups can
affiliate to the ITF. Groups seeking affiliation to the ITF should, ideally, do so through
the NGB. However, where this is impractical then application should be made direct
to the ITF. On request, the ITF will send the necessary forms with explanation of what
to do. When returning the completed forms for affiliation, they should be
accompanied by the necessary fees, with certified cheque or international money
order made payable to the ITF, in US$ funds