TKD Resources – General Choi’s Encyclopedia

16 Aug

One of the founder’s biggest projects and true labors of love was his encyclopedia. You can find a short description of his work here.

While the collection has apparently been out of print for quite some time, you can try to purchase used copies on Amazon.


TKD Resources – General Choi in the Guardian UK

10 Aug

Here’s another well-written obituary from 2002, highlighting the major aspects of his legacy.

This one is from the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, one of my personal favourites. I will continue to post resources as I find them, so please enjoy this one for today.

TKD Resources – 1968 Instructional Film Starring General Choi

8 Aug

There are a fair number of videos featuring General Choi on Youtube, particularly featuring his work in seminars. I found one nugget in particular from 1968, when his techniques had almost fully evolved to the contemporary ITF Taekwondo that many practitioners know and love.

You can watch it here on the channel operated by Steven Doyle.

TKD Resources – TKD Times Book Store

3 Aug

While it is increasingly difficult to find copies of the first two volumes of General Choi’s memoirs, you can purchase a copy of his Moral Guide Book from the online store at the Taekwondo Times web site.

When I read it, I was struck by the aphoristic style of the slim volume. His philosophy often references Confucius and Mencius. Most of the principles can be boiled down to what we read on the banners hanging on the wall of virtually any dojang in the world. My grandmaster, Jong Soo Park, also includes these tenets on his school web site.

The sign of a good teacher, I think, is that they emphasize courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit in their students before anything. High kicks and hard punches can be taught more easily than how to comport oneself in and out of school.

TKD Resources – Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia

1 Aug

General Choi profiles exist online in many places but many of the accounts are either too short or too political in nature. The Encyclopedia Britannica version is perfunctory, summing him up in one paragraph.

Personally, I still prefer the wikipedia entry. It provides a nice summary of his life while explaining some of the divisions in the Taekwondo world in a fair and factual manner.

Though the main story has been told for now, I will continue to post Taekwondo resources in this space on an ongoing basis.

TKD Resources – General Choi Obituary – NY Times

26 Jul

If you are looking for an even more abbreviated story of General Choi’s life, check out his obituary in the New York Times here.

He has been gone for thirteen years but the piece is still on the site. That’s better than most newspapers, which I suppose is how people think of the New York Times in general.

General Choi at the Canadian Black Belt HOF

19 Jul

The following is the text from General Choi’s induction into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame, where he was inducted posthumously in 2009. It can be found online at


General Choi Hong Hi

Founder of Tae Kwon Do

November 1918 – June 15, 2002

Choi Hong Hi, born November 1918, also known as General Choi, was a South Korean army general and martial artist.

Choi is the ‘Founder of Taekwondo’.

In 1937, Choi traveled to Japan for further study. In Kyoto, he met a fellow Korean with the surname Kim, who was a karate instructor and taught Choi this martial art. Choi attained the rank of 1st dan in karate in 1939, and then 2nd dan soon after.

Choi had been forced to serve in the Japanese army during World War II, but was implicated in a rebellion and imprisoned, during which time he continued practicing martial arts.

Following the war, in January 1946, Choi was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the South Korean Army. From 1946 to 1951, he received promotions to first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, and then brigadier general. He was promoted to major general in 1954.

Choi stated he combined elements of taekkyeon and karate to develop a martial art that he called “Taekwon-Do”, which literally means, “kick, punch, art”, and it was so named on April 11, 1955.

Taekwondo organizations credit General Choi with spreading taekwondo internationally by stationing Korean taekwondo instructors around the world. He is also the author of the first English Taekwondo syllabus book, entitled “Taekwon-Do” in 1965.

In 1971, the South Korean government refused Choi permission to teach Taekwondo in North Korea; as a result, Choi went into exile in Canada and the South Korean government formed the World Taekwondo Federation.

General Choi died on June 15, 2002 in Pyongyang, North Korea.