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 http://www.canadianblackbelthalloffame.com/2009.html#hong-hi-choi.
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.