First lets look at the term Taekwon-Do. You will see it in a number of ways, you will see it as I have it, Taekwon-Do or Taekwondo, Taekwon-do, TaeKwonDo, Tae Kwon Do. Often I am asked which is the “correct” way of writing it. And for me it is simple, I write it the same way as my instructors do it, and of course how General Choi, Hong-Hi did. However, for the most part, they are the exact same way of spelling the term for to “smash, fly to kick with the foot (Tae)태 to punch with the fist (Kwon)권 and a way of life (Do)도. In Hangul (Korean) it is written thus: 태권도 and in Hanja (Chinese) it is written 跆拳道.
The history of Taekwon-do in its present form is now just over 50 years old. While its roots do predate the term now used it is not as some claim to be 1000 years or more. It is just 50 years period. Yes, the Kwans ? – ? (schools) do predate the founding of the name Taekwon-do however even those Korean Kwans that do, they are at the earliest, formed in 1944(Chung Do Kwan).
(MORE COMING SOON!)
Portions of The Modern History of TaeKwonDo, by Won Sik Kang and Kyong Myong Lee.
Provided here and elsewhere with permission.
The links I have added for informational purposes, and anything else in color I have added as well, again for informational purposes. And an * represents where I changed the word proceeding. (Webmaster)
ABOUT THE ORIGINAL AUTHORS
Kang Won-sik worked for the Korea TaeKwonDo Association, the Asia
TaeKwonDo Union and also the Kukkiwon. He is currently a Professor in
the TaeKwonDo Department at Yong-in University and the President of
TaeKwonDo Shinmun, a TaeKwonDo newspaper in Korea.
Lee Kyong-myong worked in the World TaeKwonDo Federation after
teaching TaeKwonDo in Europe for 20+ years. He is a Professor in the
Sports Diplomacy Department of Choong-cheong University and has
published several books on TaeKwonDo.
Chapter 1: Development of the Korean Kwans
Section 1: Chung Do Kwan ???
Right after the independence of Korea the Chung Do Kwan, one of the five key dojangs, was founded first. It symbolized the Chung Do Kwan’s name, Blue Waves, meaning a youngster’s spirit and vitality.
Chung Do Kwan’s founder, Lee Won Kuk, moved to Japan when he was 19 years old, in 1926. While in Japan he first attended high school and then entered the law school of Chuo University. Then he joined Japan’s Karate-do headquarters, the Song Do Kwan ??? (Shotokan ???). He received Karate instruction from Karate’s father, Funakoshi Sensei. There he learned Karate with the Song Moo Kwan’s founder, Ro Byung Jick.
He moved back to Japan and taught Tang Soo Do (???/???) in the Yong Shin school hall in Suh Dae Moon Gu’s Ochun Dong, Seoul because he had a good relationship with Japan’s Chosun Governor General Abe in 1944. This led to the rumor that he was pro-Japanese.
Later, Oh Do Kwan’s(???) founder, Choi Hong Hi (???/???) said “After independence Lee Kwan Jang was charged with acts of pro-Japanese and stood in a special civil trial.”
Lee Won Kuk was a precise person. He had a strong body of a martial artist and glaringly sharp eyes. His expression was very strict. Right after the independence day he seemed to offset his pro-Japanese deeds by developing a good relationship with people of the National Police Headquarters. He led the efforts to get rid of Seoul gangsters. The Chung Do Kwan was once called the National Police Headquarters dojang.
After the Korean War the Chung Do Kwan members were less than 200. GM Lee Won Kuk visited the school twice and watched the lessons. The primary instructors were Yoo Ung Jun and Son Duk Sung with promotion tests given every six months.
Graduates of the Chung Do Kwan were: (1) Yoo Ung Jun, (2) Son Duk Sung, (3) Uhm Woon Kyu, (4) Hyun Jong Myun, (5) Min Woon Sik, (6) Han In Sook, (7) Jung Young Taek, (8) Kang Suh Chong, (9) Baek Joon Ki, (10) Nam Tae Hi, (11) Ko Jae Chun, (12) Kwak Kuen Sik, (13) Kim Suk Kyu, (14) Han Cha Kyo, (15) Jo Sung Il, (16) Lee Sa Man, (17) Rhee Jhoon Goo (Jhoon Rhee), and (18) Kim Bong Sik.
From Inchon, which became the center of the Chung Do Kwan’s annex Kwans, more schools were opened. They were: (1) Kang Suh Chong’s Kuk Mu Kwan (???), (2) Lee Yong Woo’s Jung Do Kwan (???)in Suh Dae Moon Ku, (3) Ko Jae Chun’s Chung Ryong Kwan (???) in Kwang Ju and (4) Choi Hong Hi’s Oh Do Kwan(???). The Oh Do Kwan especially had active Chung Do Kwan members who were in the military after the Korean War.
The Chung Do Kwan’s first Kwan Jang was Lee Won Kuk, the second was Son Duk Sung, and the third was Uhm Woon Kyu. When Son Duk Sung became* the Kwan Jang of the Chung Do Kwan, Uhm Woon Kyu, Hyun Jong Myun, and Nam Tae Hi had conflicts with regard to the issue of who should receive the nomination from Lee Won Kuk and become the next Kwan Jang.
Section 2: Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu (Ji Do Kwan)
The Ji Do Kwan was founded by an elite member, Chun Sang Sup, on May 3, 1946, as the Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu. When he was a teenager he learned Judo (??) and learned Karate while studying abroad in Japan. After the Independence Day he opened the Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu at the former Judo school, Choson Yun Moo Kwan, where he taught Judo and Karate. He began to recruit new members. He had a slender figure and was not particular, but was an intellect and always wore suits.
However during the Korean War he vanished, the Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu was abolished and it was renamed Ji Do Kwan.
After Independence Day the Choson Yun Moo Kwan taught no guep (mu guep) to 8th guep in high, middle and low classes. The student’s Kwan number was based on guep promotion and not only the day of the first registration as a student.
The Choson Yun Moo Kwan was started in Seoul, but the major development and structural growth was spread from Chung Ju* (??), Cholla Buk Do as a center. Then Chun Il Sup opened another school in Kunsan, Cholla Buk Do in May 1947, and spread his school’s reputation from Jun Joo to Kunsan, I Ri, Nam Won, Jung Uep and more.
During the Korean War the Choson Yun Moo Kwan’s name was changed to Ji Do Kwan. After Chun Sang Sup was kidnapped to North Korea the Ji Do Kwan (Wisdom Way School) was opened and ran by Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo until 1967. However through the process of unification with the Korea Tae Soo Do Association (???????) the Ji Do Kwan had conflicts between Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo. Led by Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan ???), Lee Nam Suk(Chang Moo Kwan ???), Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan???), Hyun Jong Myun (Chung Do Kwan/Oh Do Kwan) and others planned to unify, but Yoon Kwe Byung and Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan ???) declined and persisted on their self testing committee.
Ji Do Kwan graduates were (1) Bae Young Ki, (2) Lee Chong Woo, (3) Kim Bok Nam, 4) Park Hyun Jung, (5) Lee Soo Jin, (6) Jung Jin Young, (7) Lee Kyo Yoon, (8) Lee Byung Ro, (9) Hong Chang Jin, (10) Park Young Kuen and others.
Ji Do Kwan’s distinguished difference from other schools was mainly based on Kyorugi (sparring). When Taekwondo tournaments became active from the beginning of the 1960’s to the 1970’s the Ji Do Kwan distinguished itself. The major representatives were Lee Seung Wan, Cho Jum Sun, Hwang Dae Jin, Choi Young Ryul and more.
Ji Do Kwan’s representing annex was the Han Moo Kwan ???. But Lee Kyo Yoon said the Han Moo Kwan root is not Ji Do Kwan, but rather the Choson Yun Moo Kwan. This shows the debate of the origins of the school.
Ji Do Kwan’s first Kwan Jang was Chun Sang Sup, the second Kwan Jang was Yoon Kwe Byung and the third Lee Chong Woo.
Section 3: Moo Duk Kwan ???
After Independence Day the Moo Duk Kwan started as the “Transportation by Rail Committee Tang Soo Do Bu” at the railroad system at Yong San Station, Seoul.
The Department of Transportation allowed the Tang Soo Do dojang as a traffic service, but the exact date is unknown. We only know that it was founded after 1946.
Hwang Kee claimed that he learned Kuk Sool (?? / ??) when he worked for the Southern Manchuria Railroad in 1935, but other Taekwondo seniors denied this claim saying that there was no evidence.
Moo Duk Kwan was nearby the Yong San Railroad station so it was called the “Railroad Dojang”. The first Moo Duk Kwan dan holder was Kim Woon Chang. Others were: (1) Hong Chong Soo, (2) Choi Hui Suk, (3) Yoo Kwa Young, (4) Nam Sam Hyun, (5) Kim In Suk, (6) Lee Bok Sung, (7) Hwang Jin Tae, (8) Won Yong Bup, (9) Chung Chang Young, (10) Lee Kang Ik and others who were all railroad personnel. The Moo Duk Kwan used the trains to open a school in different railroad station’s storage rooms and spread its power. When someone said Moo Duk Kwan one would think about the railroad.
When the Moo Duk Kwan had rank testings the Chung Do Kwan’s Lee Won Kuk and Song Moo Kwan’s Ro Byung Jik visited and built a good friendship, but regarding dan certificates and promotions they had disagreements with Hwang Kee.
In 1955, the Moo Duk Kwan Central Gymnasium was opened near Seoul Station in Joong Gu’s Dong Ja Dong, Seoul. In the same year 9 more annex schools were opened and it held the friendly China-Korea International Tang Soo Do Championships.
But in 1960, the Moo Duk Kwan had a big change. The Moo Duk Kwan was no longer 1953’s Korea Tang Soo Do Association and it was changed to a Korean traditional name, the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association.
Later the Moo Duk Kwan had big headaches because of Hwang Kee’s persistence in not unifying with the KTA. Finally in March 1965, Kim Young Taek and Hong Chong Soo led the Moo Duk Kwan unification with the KTA without Hwang Kee.
After that incident Lee Kang Ik became the next Kwan Jang, but soon after resigned with Hong Chong Soo becoming the third Kwan Jang. After, Oh Se Joon became Kwan Jang. The Moo Duk Kwan’s customs were the strongest among the first five big Kwans.
Section 4: YMCA Kwon Bup Bu ?????? ???(Chang Moo Kwan) ???
Yoon Byung In, who taught Moo Do ?? with Chun Sang Sup in the Choson Yun Moo Kwan, founded the Chang Moo Kwan in 1946 at the YMCA in Jong Ro, Seoul. He spent his childhood in Manchuria ?? and learned “Joo An Pa”, a Chinese martial art. Right before Independence Day he went to Japan to study abroad and learned Karate receiving the 5th Dan rank. Nihon University’s Karate founder Toyama Kanken saw Yoon Byung In’s Chinese martial art and was impressed. Later they exchanged their martial arts and became good friends.
Yoon Byung In’s passion towards martial arts was so high that he received the 5th Dan in Karate. He was the Karate Team Captain at Nihon University. This showed his martial art ability was high. Right after Independence Day he became the Physical Education instructor at Kyung Sung Agricultural School and started teaching Moo Do.
He had a good relationship with Choson Yun Moo Kwan’s Chun Sang Sup and once Chun and Yoon were called brothers because they trained so much together. Chun Sang Sup’s younger brother Chun Il Sup said: “YMCA Kwon Bup Bu’s Yoon Byung In and Lee Nam Suk trained with the Choson Yun Moo Kwan in the beginning, so I can say the Yun Moo Kwan and the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu were brother Kwans.”
Yoon Byung In was basically a traditional Moo Do man. His body was small, but was trained with martial arts and full of energy. His behavior was blunt. He did not know how to wear his clothes and shoes fashionably. He wore a pair of oversized US Army boots and his left baby finger was cut off so he had to wear a pair of special white gloves, even in the summer.
He taught his martial art (Ju An Pa Kwon Bup ?????) to his students according to their body sizes, so the students could learn martial arts that suited their body specialty.
Before the Korean War, on June 24, 1949, the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu held a Yun Moo Demonstration. Park Chul Hee demonstrated the “Jak Do Kwon”, Park Ki Tae demonstrated “Bong Kwon” and Chung Do Kwan’s Son Duk Sung, Uhm Woon Kyu and Lee Yong Woo demonstrated Chan Jo.
YMCA Kwon Bup Bu practice sessions started at 4:30 PM. In the beginning more than 500 members were recruited, but after three months, only 180 members were remaining because of the severity of the training. After Yoon disappeared, Lee Nam Suk opened a Kong Soo Do school and started teaching.
After the Korean War, Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae reopened the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu as the Chang Moo Kwan. The Chang Moo Kwan was represented with asymbol of two dragons. But according to Lee Chong Woo, the Chang Moo Kwan name was used by Yoon Byung In as a favorable name before the Korean War.
YMCA Kwon Bup Bu graduates were: (1) Lee Nam Suk, (2) Kim Sun Gu, (3) Hong Jung Pyo, (4) Park Chul Hee, (5) Park Ki Tae, (6) Kim Ju Gap, (7) Song Suk Joo, (8) Lee Joo Ho, (9) Kim Soon Bae and others.
2nd Kwan Jang Lee Nam Suk and 3rd Kwan Jang Kim Soon Bae had conflicts with Hong Jung Pyo and Park Chul Hee. This led to Hong and Park leaving the Chang Moo Kwan and opening their own school, the Kang Duk Won ???, in nearby Shinsuldong, Seoul, in 1956.
Section 5: Song Moo Kwan ???
The Song Moo Kwan was founded by Ro Byung Jik in Kae Song in 1946. Song Moo Kwan founder Ro Byung Jik studied together with Chung Do Kwan founder Lee Won Kuk in Japan. They both studied Karate under Funakoshi Sensei. Right before the Independence Day, he returned to Korea and taught youngsters Karate as a hobby at an archery place, the Kwan Duk Jung.
Ro Byung Jik explained his school’s name: “Song Moo Kwan’s ‘Song’ meant pine tree, which meant green and a long life. Also, Song was one of the Koryo capital city name, Song Do. And Song was also borrowed from the Song Do Kwan (Shotokan) when I learned Karate under Funakoshi while studying abroad.”
Ro’s practice sessions started one hour earlier with warm up exercises consisting of lifting weights and then practicing on the Kwon Go (makiwara). He was known as a powerful puncher and kicker from his students.
Ro always let his students punch the Kwon Go at least 100 times and then started the real practice. If students received the 4th Guep or higher, he let them spar. Like any other dojang, he was known to let his students practice in cold weather during winter, and in the hot weather during summer.
Ro Kwan Jang’s student, and the 2nd Kwan Jang, Lee Young Sup reflects: “Every six months, there was testing for promotion. Mainly one step sparring, three step sparring, free sparring and forms were used to decide promotions. But free sparring was for 4th guep and higher, and 1st Dan required breaking a board. If these rules were broken, the Kwan Jang was very upset.”
The Song Moo Kwan graduates were: (1) Lee Hwae Soon, (2) Lee Young Sup, (3) Kim Hong Bin, (4) Han Sang Min, (5) Song Tae Hak, (6) Lee Hwi Jin, (7) Jo Kyu Chang, 8) Hong Young Chang, (9) Kang Won Sik (co-author of this book) and others. However, its power and customs were the weakest among the first big five Kwans.
Song Moo Kwan’s first Kwan Jang was Ro Byung Jick, the second was Lee Young Sup and the third Kang Won Sik.
This concludes the Modern History presentation of the first five major kwans.
Section 6: Oh Do Kwan
The Oh Do Kwan is a product of former ROK Army members Choi Hong Hi and Nam Tae Hi. Nam Tae Hi made a big contribution to the Oh Do Kwan, which was founded by Choi Hong Hi in the 3rd Army Yong Dae Ri base. For Choi, Nam was a treasure.
Nam registered at the Chung Do Kwan right after Independence Day. After he learned Tang Soo Do from Lee Won Kuk, he taught Tang Soo Do at the Military Signal School in 1947. This led to his faith and loyalty with the military. A handsome man with excellent administrative skills, Nam’s Tang Soo Do was great. After he met General Choi of the 29th Infantry Division in Chejudo, this was the beginning of his changing life.
The Oh Do Kwan had new members that were mostly former members of the Chung Do Kwan. They were (1) Nam Tae Hi, (2) Han Cha Kyo, (3) Woo Jong Rim, (4) Ko Jae Chun, (5) Kim Suk Kyu, (6) Kwak Kuen Suk and others. Instructors were Hyun Jong Myun and others who were from the Chung Do Kwan. After Hyun Jong Myun taught for more than 10 years since 1954, he became the Kwan Jang. There is a rumor that this relates to Choi, who became the Chung Do Kwan’s Honorary Kwan Jang.
After ROK President Rhee Syng Man sponsored General Choi, the Oh Do Kwan grew rapidly since 1955. His plan to teach Tang Soo Do to everyone in the military led to changing Tang Soo Do’s name to Taekwondo. When he taught Taekwondo, he instructed his students to yell out “TaeKwon!”. When the Vietnam War broke out in the early 1960’s, General Choi sent Taekwondo instructors to Vietnam. This led to the discrimination against civilian
dojangs and spread his dojang’s reputation.
Taekwondo instructors were sent to Vietnam in December 1962. Nam Tae Hi was the head of the group and Kim Seung Kyu, Jung Young Hwi and CHOO Kyo were the instructors. Until the evacuation of the ROK military 657 instructors were dispatched. Successive generation Taekwondo instructors were (1) Nam Tae Hi (2) Baek Joon Ki (3) Choi Dong Hee (4) Kim Suk Kyu (5) Ko Jae Chun (6) Kim Bong Sik (7) Jung Byung Kill (8) Kim Sueng Kyu. Mostly they were former Chung Do Kwan members.
However, when new military recruits who had Taekwondo dan rank joined, the Oh Do Kwan only approved Chung Do Kwan dan ranks. The dan ranks from other Kwans were not approved and they were called “Civilian Dan rank” so the new recruits had to pass another test to receive Dan rank in the military. This caused complications between the Oh Do Kwan and other Kwans.
Regarding this issue, General Choi defended the action and said: “The Oh Do Kwan had frequent exchanges of basic forms and similar practice sessions with the Chung Do Kwan, but the Ji Do Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan and other schools had different structural forms. So the military needed to test their members.”
After Choi Hong Hi founded the International Taekwon-Do Federation, Choi deviated from the KTA and weakened the Oh Do Kwan. Hyun Jong Myun was the second Kwan Jang, Kwak Byung Oh (Jak Ko) was the third and Baek Joon Ki was the third Kwan Jang for the Oh Do Kwan.
Section 7: Kang Duk Won
The Kang Duk Won was founded after the Korean War in 1956 by two people who practiced martial arts at the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu. They were Hong Jong Pyo and Park Chul Hee. The first Kwan Jang was Hong Jong Pyo.
The Kang Duk Won was founded after YMCA Kwon Bup Bu’s founder, Yoon Byung In, was kidnapped to North Korea. Hong Jong Pyo and Park Chul Hee had conflicts with Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae, which led to a separation. Regarding this Kang Duk Won’s second Kwan Jang, Park Chul Hee, said: “After the Korean War when the members were scattered the Chang Moo Kwan and Kang Duk Won came out of the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu’s root. Therefore, we cannot say that the Kang Duk Won was from the Chang Moo Kwan.”
After starting the dojang in Shin Sul Dong, Seoul in 1956, Kang Duk Won was named, which meant “a house of teaching generosity”. This motto became the symbol of the Kang Duk Won.
The Kang Duk Won was not a big school. The first members were (1) Lee Kum Hong (the present WTF Secretary General), (2) Kim Yong Chae (5th KTA President), (3) Lee Jung Hoo, (4) Lee Kang Hwi, (5) Han Jung Il, (6) Kim Pyung Soo, (7) Ji Seung Won, (8) Im Bok Jin, and others.
Later the Kang Duk Won constantly moved from Chang Sin Dong to Chung Jin Dong to Suh Dae Moon Gu to Seoul Gymnasium to Suh Dae Moon Gu Lottery and other places. When Lee Kum Hong became the third Kwan Jang, the Kang Duk Won moved to In Sa Dong and settled there. Presently, the Kang Duk Won Moo Do Hwe (Kang Moo Hwe) continues on.
Section 8: Han Moo Kwan
Lee Kyo Yoon founded the Han Moo Kwan in August 1956 and it was the leader of the new schools in the mid 1950’s. Even now, Lee Kyo Yoon denies that the Han Moo Kwan was a split from the Ji Do Kwan. After the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan’s Chun Sang Sup was kidnapped to North Korea during the Korean War, everything was in chaos, so Lee Chong Woo opened the Ji Do Kwan, and he himself opened the Han Moo Kwan. Therefore Han Moo Kwan’s root is not Ji Do Kwan, but rather from the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan. This is Lee Kyo Yoon’s claim.
Lee Kyo Yoon says: “In November 1950, I came back to Seoul and taught Tang Soo Do (Taekwondo). But the Choson Yun Moo Kwan’s Lee Jae Hwang said the building I was using was a Yudo place, so he insisted that I leave. After thinking for a long time, I went to visit Vice President Lee Sang Mook of the Korean Amateur Sports Gymnasium (Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan, Han Che for short) and he allowed me to start a Taekwondo club and teach.”
Back then, the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan taught boxing, Judo, wrestling, weight lifting and fencing as a universal gym. With the permission of Lee Sang Mook, Lee Kyo Yoon taught Taekwondo (Tang Soo Do) temporarily and secured 200 members. However, conflicts with Lee Chong Woo became amplified and with Lee Sang Mook’s suggestion, he temporarily stopped teaching Taekwondo. Then he went to Chang Sin Dong of Jong Ro Gu, Seoul at the backyard of Kang Moon High School to open his own school. This led to the founding of the Han Moo Kwan. The period of the Chang Sin Dong was a hardship. He called his tent with a straw mat for a floor, a dojang. Despite this hard life, his school reputation grew and finally in 1969, he could open his central dojang in Wang Sip Ni, Seoul.
Section 9: Jung Do Kwan
The Jung Do Kwan was founded by Lee Yong Woo (presently a Kukkiwon Promotion Test Committee member) right after the Korean War in 1954 at the Lottery in Suh Dae Moon Gu, Seoul. The Jung Do Kwan had no conflicts or disagreements with the Chung Do Kwan, which was a unique difference from the other Chung Do Kwan branch or annex Kwans.
Lee Yong Woo discusses the naming of his school: “I wanted to open a dojang, but just couldn’t think of any good names. At that time, my training buddy, Uhm Woon Kyu in the Chung Do Kwan suggested to take out the dot from Chung character and name my school the Jung Do Kwan. This was a very good idea I thought. The meaning of Jung Do, ‘Stepping the right way’, was the identical meaning of a martial artist’s spirit, so I’ve decided to name my school the Jung Do Kwan.”
Back then the Jung Do Kwan’s area was about 100 pyong. However, word of Lee Yong Woo’s unique training program that was distinctive from other schools attracted many students. To meet the increasing number of students, Lee Yong Woo taught five different classes, which finished late at night.
With the school’s motto, “I am an honorable man without shame”, the Jung Do Kwan opened additional schools in Masan, Wool San, Chang Won, Mok Po and Kim Je, spreading its power.
The Jung Do Kwan’s first students were: (1) Jang Yong Gap, (2) Kim Jae Ki, (3) Kim Ki Dong, (4) Oh Bu Woong, (5) Joo Ki Moon, and (6) Park Tae Hyun. Later, following in their footsteps were (1) Park Kyung Sun, (2) Shim Myung Gu, (3) Kim Myung Hwan, (4) Kim Hak Kuen, (5) Chun Young Kuen, (6) Chun Sun Yong, 7) Lee Jong Oh.
Chapter 2: The process of Association unification is full of ups and downs
Following Independence Day and the Korean War, social disruptions swept through the Korean peninsula which led the five major Kwans and the Taekwondo leaders and pioneers to feel the need of a unified Association. The leaders and pioneers wanted to distinguish Korea’s own martial arts from other foreign arts and re-establish traditional Korean fighting skills. Unifying and developing Taekwondo into a National Sport became the agreed objective for the Taekwondo leaders and pioneers. Therefore, since the 1950’s, the Korea Taekwondo Association went through Dae Han Kong Soo Do, Dae Han Tae Soo Do and finally became a unified Taekwondo Community.
This process is called the “Disorder Period”. Because of the Kwans and Kwan Leader’s relationships and misunderstandings with each other, the process had to suffer from numerous misapprehension. Especially Hwang Kee’s protrusion out of the unified association was a big obstacle to the process.
Between the mid 1950’s and 1960’s, when the movement of Association unification began, more Annex Kwans (sub-kwans) came into existence, such as the Oh Do Kwan, Kang Duk Won, Jung Do Kwan, Han Moo Kwan, Kuk Mu Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Soo Moo Kwan, Chang Hun Kwan, Moon Moo Kwan and others. There were about 40 newly derived Kwans which led the age of Taekwondo. Especially, when Choi Hong Hi used his military authority to hop into the Taekwondo world by founding the Oh Do Kwan, the civilian Kwan leaders and pioneers and he began to develop complications regarding the direction of Taekwondo.
Section 1. Independence of August 15 and the process of Association unification
Most of the masters thought all the traditional and various martial arts schools should be united during the Japan occupation. Following the liberation of Korea on August 15, 1945, Taekwondo entered a new phase.
Following Lee Won Kuk’s founding of the Chung Do Kwan, the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu, YMCA Kwon Bup Bu, Moo Duk Kwan and Kae Song’s Song Moo Kwan (the Five Major Kwans) competed and developed Taekwondo with good intentions. At this time, the Kwan founders agreed to associate and organize a unified Association.
Representatives Lee Won Kuk (Chung Do Kwan), Chun Sang Sup (Chosun Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu), Yoon Byung In (YMCA Kwon Bup Bu) and Ro, Byung Jick (Song Moo Kwan) had several meetings to accomplish their objective. Despite their eagerness and agreement, there were misunderstandings and mingles that could not be overcome.
After the attempted Association failed, each Kwan concentrated on training its younger generation. Unexpectedly, the Korean War broke out and the land of Korea was under war’s calamity and flame. The Taekwondo community was no exception and many leaders were separated from their Kwans and scattered north and south. This was a period of chaos and disorder.
Section 2: The Korean War and the Korea Kong Soo Do Association
During the Korean War, the Taekwondo men who were refugees in the temporary capital city of Pusan, agreed to organize an Association and finally decided to found the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. The organizing members were Ro Byung Jick, Yoon Kwe Byung, Son Duk Sung, Lee Nam Suk, Lee Chong Woo, Hyun Jong Myun, Jo Young Joo, and Kim In Hwa. To build public confidence, the Korea Kong Soo Do Association included non-Taekwondo men in the committee, but the key players were the Taekwondo practitioners. The first President, Jo Young Joo, was head of the Association of Korean Residents in Japan.
However, less than one month after the founding of the new Association, Moo Duk Kwan President Hwang Kee withdrew from the Association because he was not given a position on the Central Testing Committee. After one month following Hwang Kee’s withdrawal, Chung Do Kwan President Son Duk Sung withdrew for the same reason. Therefore, the attempt for the complete unification of all the Kwans was another failure.
After Hwang Kee returned to Seoul, he personally organized the Korea Tang Soo Do Association and was eager to join the Korea Amateur Sports Association. After Yoon Kwe Byung and Ro Byung Jik realized the seriousness of the situation, they submitted a petition to stop the Korea Tang Soo Do Association from joining the Korea Amateur Sports Association. This impediment was successful.
The new President of the Korea Kong Soo Do Association was Lee Joong Jae, who was the ROK Minister of Finance, with Min Kwan Sik’s recommendation. The Chief Director was Ro Byung Jik and the Secretary General was Lee Chong Woo.
The role of the Korea Kong Soo Do Association was to test and qualify promotions and issue official recognition of Dan rank. To unify all the Dan ranks, the seniors were promoted to 4th Dan.
The first and second Promotion Tests of official recognition were held in the temporary Central Dojang of the Chung Do Kwan, which used the Si Chun Church (Hope Wedding Hall) as a gym in the evenings. The third and fourth Promotion Tests were held at the Chae Shin Bu Dojang (next to the old Capitol Building) which was run by Lee Nam Suk. Ro Byung Jik and Yoon Kwe Byung took full charge of the Testing Committee, but Hwang Kee had trouble relating and did not participate.
Ro Byung Jik gives his impressions of the Korea Kong Soo Do Association Promotion Tests: “In the mid 1950’s, the sensitive issue was how to give an officially recognized Dan to the seniors. It was decided that Uhm Woon Kyu,
Son Duk Sung, Lee Nam Suk and Hyun Jong Myun would be given the 4th Dan, and Park Chul Hee would be given the 3rd Dan. The tests were based on practical examinations. Lee Chong Woo could not participate because of his appendicitis. I remember Uhm Woon Kyu and Park Chul Hee were good in sparring.”
However, the Korea Kong Soo Do Association showed signs of break up after several months. As mentioned from the beginning, after Hwang Kee attempted to create the Korea Tang Soo Do Association and join the Korea Amateur Sports Association, there were the beginning signs of rapid disruption tendencies.
Section 3: The newly established Annex Kwans holding their own and the subsequent unification efforts
Beginning in the mid 1950’s, newly created Annex Kwans such as the Jung Do Kwan, Han Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan and Kang Duk Won held their own against the original Kwans, which led to factional strife. The Oh Do Kwan especially was backed by military authority, which complicated the Taekwondo political situation.
Meanwhile, after Son Duk Sung became the second Chung Do Kwan Kwan Jang, Uhm Woon Kyu, Hyun Jong Myun and Nam Tae Hi had a feud with Son over Lee Won Kuk’s Kwan Jang nomination certificate. A Seoul newspaper (Seoul Shinmoon) published the following statement by Son Duk Sung on June 16, 1959:
With morality and humbleness, the Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan is determined to punish those traitors who threw away their trust to the other numerous Kwans. Especially after Lee Won Kuk left Korea, the traitors deceptively contacted these other Kwans, used the dojang under their own names to slanderously spread their own names. We can no longer watch these violations and wish to make clear to the nation so the Chung Do Kwan is not misunderstood. Therefore, we lay bare their criminal acts.
A Brief History of the Chung Do Kwan
Lee Won Kuk returned from Japan to open his dojang in Yong Chun, Suh Dae Moon Ku in 1944 and produced disciplines (Sado). Following the liberation of Korea, Lee moved his dojang to the Si Chun Church Hall, Kyun Ji Dong and continued to teach. When the Korean War broke out, the members were separated and became refugees, but I gathered some members and continued to teach. When the Allied Forces retreated on January 1, 1951, Lee Won Kuk said he was old and no longer able to teach, so he wanted me to be the next Kwan Jang. I became his successor.
After I returned to the capital city of Seoul, I found Hyun Jong Myun leading the school, but he insisted that I take over the school, perhaps because he thought he couldn’t handle or take the responsibility. My juniors also insisted that I take over. Finally, when Jung Yong Taek, who ran away to Japan, brought a message that nominated me to the Kwan Jang position by Lee Won Kuk, I agreed to be the next Kwan Jang. Because I did not charge the black belts and policemen the 300 hwan fee, I started to have financial problems. At the time, I could not even pay the Sabums. Despite the net loss from operating the Chung Do Kwan, I continued to organize ceremonies and tournaments, and spread the Chung Do Kwan and Taekwondo in published news articles.
After several months, I came back to Seoul and found out Lee Won Kuk and his family all ran away to Japan. I thought they were living in Pusan. Jung Yong Taek also ran away to Japan, but came back several times during the year. However he did not know what Lee Won Kuk and his family’s situation or business was. Lee Won Kuk’s sister in law, Moon Myung Ja, also frequently flew back and forth between Korean and Japan. I don’t know why she visited Korea so often. Jung Yong Taek and Moon Myung Ja were jealous of the Chung Do Kwan’s growth and devised a plan to split the Chung Do Kwan. At last, they formed an illicit connection with discontented members of the Chung Do Kwan and returned to Korea. They obtained not a nomination certificate (Im Myung Jung), but a notice statement (Ji Ryung Jung) signed by Lee Won Kuk. On June 4, 1959, the notice statement was given to Uhm Woon Kyu.
The Korean traitors who ran away to Japan were a matter of regret for me. They don’t know that they will be punished at last. Nam Tae Hi asked me to give a dan certificate to 29th Infantry Division commander Choi Hong Hi, who had some experience in martial art (Sado), so we could use his military authority to spread the Chung Do Kwan. To contribute to Taekwondo’s development, I gave an Honorary 4th Dan certificate signed by myself, Son Duk Sung, to Choi Hong Hi in front of the 3rd Army commander in 1955.
In 1957, Choi insisted that I give him a 6th Dan and sent a certificate he prepared in my name for me to sign. Because Choi and I were sworn brothers, and because my younger brother had a 6th Dan, he wanted one also. I tore up the certificate he sent to me without signing it. General Choi was also sending instructors (Sabums) to Vietnam, but he did that on his own authority and chose the number of instructors to send without consulting me. He also lied and stated that he had 24 years experience in martial arts practice (Sa Do Soo Ryun) and spread propaganda about himself. Therefore, it was unavoidable that I had to cancel his Honorary 4th Dan certificate and Honorary Kwan Jang position.
The nomination of Sabums
After I received the position of 2nd Kwan Jang of the Chung Do Kwan, I nominated Min Wook Sik, Hyun Jong Myun, and Uhm Woon Kyu as Sabums. Later, I nominated Nam Tae Hi as a Sabum and Uhm Woon Kyu as a Standing or Permanent Sabum (Sang Im Sabum). However Hyun Jong Myun, Uhm Woon Kyu and Nam Tae Hi acted as if they were at war against me and frequently contacted with people who ran away to Japan. Who can nominate a Kwan Jang in a private dojang except the legal person with the authority? I myself am willing to give up my position as the Kwan Jang, if I see a promising and capable person who can be the next successor, but I am still looking for that person. There is no excuse for the actions of Uhm Woon Kyu, when he was sent by me to teach
Taekwondo at the Korea Military Academy, Sung Kyun Kwan University and Seoul National University. He should have known better as an educated person. But I feel very sorry for those who received just a notice statement (Ji Ryung Jung) and not a nomination certificate (Im Myung Jung) from him. If he thought about all the other Taekwondo schools and the Chung Do Kwan’s future, he would not do such a betrayal. I want the wise citizens of Korea to judge this matter. When I found out about these matters, I expelled them from the membership on behalf of my name. All the more, the Chung Do Kwan will unite ever more and practice rigorously for tournaments in the future, so please do not be disturbed by this whole action.
1. Expelled members: Hyun Jong Myun – Uhm Woon Kyu – Nam Tae Hi
2. Cancellation of Honorary 4th Dan certificate and Honorary Kwan Jang position: Choi Hong Hi
June 15, 1959
Kwan Jang Son Duk Sung
The Kwans produced more schools and Annex Kwans, which created the problem of stealing other Kwan’s art name. If we look at the art names used by Kwans, Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan, Lee Won Kuk’s Chung Do Kwan and Ro Byung Jick’s Song Moo Kwan used the name Tang Soo Do, Chun Sang Sup’s Yun Moo Kwan used the name Kong Soo Do, and Yoon Byung In’s YMCA Kwon Bup Bu used the name Kwon Bup. All the Kwans used an art name that was borrowed from either Japanese or Chinese martial arts names and because of this the issue of the revision of the art name was very urgent.
Thus the Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do, Hwa Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do and Kwon Bup art names were running around and a new movement of unification began, with the idea that the unified organization’s name should be based on Korean tradition and background.
This movement was quickly dealt with by Choi Hong Hi. General Choi of the 29th Infantry Division founded the Oh Do Kwan and influenced the Taekwondo community with using his military authority. During the Liberal Party era, General Choi was favored by ROK President Rhee Syng Man, so General Choi was able to summon and create a Naming Committee composed of various men of society. After he and his adjutant Nam Tae Hi conducted research, they finally used “Taekkyon” and “Do” to create the name “Taekwondo”. The name was unanimously approved and officially announced. However, because only the Chung Do Kwan and Oh Do Kwan participated in the Naming Committee, the name Taekwondo was not supported by the leaders of the other Kwans.
Section 4: Choi Hong Hi and the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association
At the end of the 1950’s, the interests and activities of the newly established Annex Kwans had complicated the internal conflicts and subsequently weakened the power of the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. At this time, with the support of the Chung Do Kwan and Oh Do Kwan, General Choi organized a Taekwondo Association and encouraged Kwan unification. General Choi lobbied the Ministry of Education and the Korea Amateur Sports Association to found the Korea Taekwondo Association in 1959.
The 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association’s founded was conducted at the Korea Amateur Sports Association conference room. Participating in the foundation meeting was Ministry of Education’s Physical Education Director, the Korea Amateur Sports Association Director, as well as representatives from six of the Kwans (Chung Do Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, and Moo Duk Kwan).
However, in the meeting, the Association had debates over the art name. Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan) persisted on Tang Soo Do. Ro Byung Jik (Song Moo Kwan), Yoon Kwe Byung (Ji Do Kwan) and Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan) also insisted on Tang Soo Do. But the name Taekwondo, which the Chung Do Kwan and Oh Do Kwan used since the mid 1950’s, was widely spread by the Chung Do Kwan and Oh Do Kwan and it was decided that Taekwondo would be the art name of the Association. It was General Choi’s determination that we should no longer use any Japanese or Chinese martial art names, but rather use one derived from Korean tradition.
Choi Hong Hi later said: “At the time, the only reason I could force the name Korea Taekwondo Association was because I was a ROK Army General.”
The president (Hwe Jang) of the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association was Choi Hong Hi (Oh Do Kwan), Vice Presidents (Bu Hwe Jang) were Ro Byung Jik (Song Moo Kwan) and Yoon Kwe Byung (Ji Do Kwan), Chief Director (E Sa Jang) was Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan), Standing Directors (Sang Im E Sa) were Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), Ko Jae Chun (Chung Do Kwan/Oh Do Kwan/Chung Ryong Kwan), Hyun Jong Myun (Chung Do Kwan/Oh Do Kwan), and Lee Yong Sup (Song Moo Kwan), Directors (E Sa) were Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan), Bae Young Ki (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), and Chung Chang Young (Moo Duk Kwan). Testing Committee members were Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan), Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan), Hyun Jong Myun (Chung Do Kwan/Oh Do Kwan), and Chung Chang Young (Moo Duk Kwan).
However, in the process of gathering all the Kwans and organizing the Association, again the unified name became an issue. When Hwang Kee seceded from the Association, the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association became another historical monument to the unification of Taekwondo.
Black figures (complainers) later spoke ill of the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association. Some said, “With the Chung Do Kwan and Oh Do Kwan’s power, Choi Hong Hi fulfilled his aspiration for his own personal Association.”
Section 5: Hwang Kee and the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association
As the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association was collapsing in April 1960, Hwang Kee took advantage of the disruption and chaos during this period. When the huge demonstrations against ROK President Rhee Syng Man’s corruption broke out, Hwang Kee used a powerful man in politics to finish registering the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association with the Korea Amateur Sports Association at the Ministry of Education.
The members of the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association were upset and petitioned the Ministry of Education to protest what they considered a wrong doing. At the time, every representative from each Kwan said Hwang Kee’s unilateral behavior was a misdeed.
The following is part of the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association petition against the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association:
“We, the Korea Taekwondo Association, cooperate with the national rebuilding committee’s policies, but we must petition the registration of the gangster’s (gangpae) hotbed, the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association (Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan). Soo Bahk Do’s official discipline is to train both body and spirit, but in reality, it is just an unsportsmanlike school. The evidence is as follows: (1) In Kwang Ju, Soo Bahk Do trainees beat up students of Kwang Ju High School and gave rise to public criticism, so much so the Ministry of Education stopped Tang Soo Do training, (2) In Taejon, Soo Bahk Do trainees fought with another gangster group in the street, (3) The high ranking leaders of a Soo Bahk Do school beat up the workers of the Taejon Theater when they were not given free tickets, (4) One military soldier was stabbed and injured by a Soo Bahk Do trainee and now the trainee is in jail.
This kind of behavior is happening all over the country. There are numerous other incidents of misconduct we cannot mention. Furthermore, Dan certificates were given recklessly, with the Soo Bahk Do Association charging a large amount of money for the certificates to fulfill their desire and greed, which in effect, amounted to the selling of rank. Using these bought certificates, Soo Bahk Do trainees quietly threatened people and bilked restaurants by refusing to pay their checks. . . . Soo Bahk Do caused a big social disruption and was once banned by the Ministry of Education. So how can the Soo Bahk Do Association be officially registered as a legal (sa dan bup in) Association? As a matter of course, the registration must be stopped and the Association must be eliminated.
Korea Taekwondo Association
After the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association petitioned the Ministry of Education and the Korea Amateur Sports Association, it requested sanctions against the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association, but the Ministry of Education said it could not stop the freedom of the Association. However, the Ministry of Education requested the registration of a new Association because it couldn’t recognize two different Associations in one sport. In the meantime, General Park Chung Hee carried out a coup de tat on March 16, 1961.
Section 6: 1961 Unification Conferences and the different perspectives of the Kwan leaders
The May 16, 1961 Military coup de tat greatly affected all aspects of the Korean nation’s society, economy, and culture. Of course, Taekwondo was not an exception. The Supreme Council for National Reconstruction announced Decree No.6, and consequently, the Ministry of Education obeyed the order to re-register Taekwondo and hurried to unify the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association, the Korea Taekwondo Association, Kong Soo Do Chang Moo Kwan, Kong Soo Do Song Moo Kwan, Kang Duk Won Mudo Hwe, and the Han Moo Kwan Choong Ang Kong Soo Do Jang on July 12, 1961. However, it was not successful because of many different arguments and perspectives from various sides. Since the process was being obscured, Lee Chong Woo, who was a “observer” at that time, suggested to unify freely with a time limit, with the results being reported to the Ministry of Education.
Since then, the representatives from each Kwan finally decided to gather to have a Unification Conference at the Korean National Sports Auditorium on September 14, 1961. Participants of this Conference were Yoon Kwe Byung (Ji Do Kwan representative), Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan representative), Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan representative), Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan representative), Ro Byung Jik (Song Moo Kwan representative), Nam Tae Hi (Oh Do Kwan representative), Park Chul Hee (Kang Duk Won representative ), and Lee Kyo Yun (Han Moo Kwan representative). Also in attendance were Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), Lee Byung Ro (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), Ko Jae Chun (Oh Do Kwan) and Lee Young Sup (Song Moo Kwan).
At that meeting, there was a conflict with regard to the naming of the art, and Taesoodo was chosen because of the efforts of Lee Nam Suk, Uhm Woon Kyu and Lee Chong Woo in arguing that the name should be Taekwondo.
After the name was chosen, the Unification and Creation Committees which had seven members, was created. Here is a summary of some of the high tension discussions [from the notes of Conference Secretary Lee Byung Ro]:
Ro Byung Jick: I need to hear about the attendee’s right to speak and right to vote. [Note: The attendees were Lee Chong Woo and Lee Byung Ro (Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), Ko Jae Chun (Oh Do Kwan) and Lee Young Sup (Song Moo Kwan) who were present, but did not represent their Kwan at the meeting.]
Participants: The decision was that attendees had a right to speak but not a right to vote.
Ro Byung Jick: I prefer Yoon Kwe Byung be the Chairman of the Conference.
Yoon Kwe Byung: No, I do not want to be Chairman.
Result of voting: YUN Kwe Byung (5 votes), Uhm Woon Kyu (1 vote), two abstentions. YUN Kwe Byung was elected.
Yoon Kwe Byung: I nominate Lee Byung Roh (Ji Do Kwan) as Secretary of the Conference.
All Kwan Representatives: We agree.
Yoon Kwe Byung: I will ask about a quorum and a provisional resolution.
Lee Nam Suk: I prefer at least 2/3 of all participants.
Ro Byung Jick: I prefer at least 2/3 for a quorum, and more than half of the participants for a provisional resolution.
Hwang Kee: I agree.
Lee Nam Suk: Not consented, rediscussion.
Yoon Kwe Byung: I declare that the rediscussion is passed. I need to pick the Creative Committee members. Please tell me the number of committee members and the method of selection.
Lee Chong Woo: I propose that we gather every teacher from every different school in regions and villages, and then pick a certain number of best players to be representatives.
Park Chul Hee: I agree with Lee Chong Woo’s proposal.
Lee Nam Suk: How about only 8 dojangs to be picked?
Lee Chong Woo: We will send an Examinee Commission to visit.
Hwang Kee: I agree.
Ro Byung Jick: Rediscussion
Yoon Kwe Byung: If there is no objection, I declare it as is. Please say the number of people.
Ro Byung Jick: 7 members.
Park Chul Hee: I agree.
Hwang Kee: Rediscussion.
Nam Tae Hi: How about 11 members?
Lee Kyo Yun: I agree.
Yoon Kwe Byung: Consented. So who should the members be?
Lee Nam Suk: Seven members such as Yoon Kwe Byung, Hwang Kee, Uhm Woon Kyu, Ro Byung Jick, Park Chul Hee, Nam Tae Hi, and Lee Kyo Yun.
Lee Kyo Yun: I wish to opt out. Please put in Lee Nam Suk instead.
Lee Nam Suk: No, I wish to be excluded.
Lee Chong Woo: I agree that Lee Kyo Yun should be excluded, which is what he himself said.
All Kwan Representatives: Everyone agrees.
Yoon Kwe Byung: Therefore the Creative Committee members are Park Chul Hee, Nam Tae Hi, Uhm Woon Kyu, Lee Nam Suk, Yoon Kwe Byung, Ro Byung Jik and Hwang Kee. Now we have to pick the
Foundation Committee members. Please give me the method of selection and the number of members.
Nam Tae Hi: I suggest 3 members.
Park Chul Hee: I agree.
Yoon Kwe Byung: No objections? There I declare that the Foundation Committee will have 3 members.
Lee Nam Suk: I suggest that we exclude Hwang Kee and include Lee Chong Woo because Lee Chong Woo is neutral between the Foundation and the Creative Committees.
Park Chul Hee: I agree.
Uhm Woon Kyu: I agree. Any suggestions or objections?
Yoon Kwe Byung: Since there is no objection, I declare that Lee Chong Woo, Lee Nam Suk and Uhm Woon Kyu be the members of the Foundation Committee.
The above minutes was taken from the records of Lee Byung Ro, who was an instructor at the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan, dated September 1961. As the Secretary of the meeting, he took the minutes and was also present at the
The main discussion of September 16, 1961 was held at the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan conference room and centered around the 7 Creative Committee members. There was a lot of anger regarding the selection of the number of committee members. Uhm Woon Kyu asked “Why 7 members?” and Ro Byung Jick answered “The reason why Lee Chong Woo declared is because of my suggestion.” Because of the tension at the time, Ro Byung Jik decided to withdraw from the Creative Committee.
Yoon Kwe Byung: Ro Byung Jik is going to withdraw. Any suggestions from Park Chul Hee and Hwang Kee?
Hwang Kee: If everyone agrees, I will withdraw too.
Park Chul Hee: We picked the Committee members from the best. If things get worse, I will withdraw too but not at this time.
That day, the conference ended without Park Chul Hee, who stepped out during the conference.
After that, Yoon Kwe Byung asked about organizing staff members based on personal qualification or quality of dojang. Nam Tae Hi agreed but Hwang Kee had a different view. Hwang Kee supported Lee Nam Suk’s suggestion about including five members of the original five Kwans (Gigan Dojang: Chung Do Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan) plus one additional member from the military dojang (Oh Do Kwan). Nam Tae Hi also suggested that 6 of 12 members be elected from the Korea Amateur Sports Association.
Uhm Woon Kyu recommended as members Yoon Kwe Byung, Hwang Kee, Ro Byung Jick, Nam Tae Hi, Lee Nam Suk, and Uhm Woon Kyu and this was passed. It took 6 days to reform the group.
The next issue was the naming of the art, which was very important at the time. Nam Tae Hi (thinking about the old 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association) suggested the name of the art be Taekwondo, and Uhm Woon Kyu agreed. But Lee Nam Suk (thinking about his own Kong Soo Do Chang Moo Kwan) suggested Kong Soo Do, and Hwang Kee and Ro Byung Jik agreed with this. On this particular day 11 Vice Presidents were elected.
Section 7: The Korea Taesoodo Association: The Entity of Unification
Ro Byung Jik led the meeting which was held at the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan on September 19, 1961. However, because there were arguments on the elections and the naming of the art, the meeting did not go smoothly.
Another meeting was held the next day to discuss the same topics. Attending the meeting were: (1) Yoon Kwe Byung (Ji Do Kwan representative), (2) Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan representative), (3) Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan representative), (4) Ro Byung Jik (Song Moo Kwan representative), (5) Nam Tae Hi (Oh Do Kwan representative), and (6) Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan representative). Also attending were (7) Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan/Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan), (8) Lee Kyo Yun (Han Moo Kwan), and (9) Park Chul Hee (Kang Duk Won).
Yoon Kwe Byung suggested that everyone be elected except the Inspector position and also suggested a verbal naming. Hwang Kee suggested that Vice Presidents, a Chairman and a Vice Chairman should be nominated and elected. Uhm Woon Kyu agreed with Hwang Kee’s suggestion. The following are portions of the dialog at this meeting:
Yoon Kwe Byung: I would like to help my friends since Hwang Kee, Ro Byung Jick, Choi Hong Hi, and I have resigned from this position.
Hwang Kee: I agree.
Nam Tae Hi: I would like to express my concern since the four of you are excellent and should remain in office.
Yoon Kwe Byung: We are not leaving forever.
Hwang Kee: I agreed to Nam Tae Hi. We did not do anything constructive at all and instead have been troublemakers. We are not avoiding the situation and we are going to help as much as we can.
Lee Nam Suk: The problem is whether the younger generation can handle the situation after the older generation leave. Why don’t you give us a little bit of time so we can discuss this.
Hwang Kee: I suggest that the Chairman should come from the younger generation.
Lee Nam Suk: I would like to suggest that we just leave the Chairman position open for now and exclude these four people who resigned. That way, the committee has the authority to select the Chairman candidates.
Hwang Kee: No suggestion or comment.
Yoon Kwe Byung: I suggest that the younger generation have the authority to select the Chairman candidates but must exclude those four older generation group.
Hwang Kee: I agree.
Ro Byung Jick: I also agree, and so that will be it.
The result of the voting (six voters) was Rediscussion for was 3, Opposed was 3, and Agreement was 3, Opposed was 3. So the final result was rediscussion.
Lee Nam Suk became a Vice Chairman with the coordination of Yoon Kwe Byung and the meeting continued to select its committee members.
Yoon Kwe Byung suggested 13 members, but Nam Tae Hi suggested 17 members. Yoon Kwe Byung suggested 11 members in response and Hwang Kee agreed to this. However, Uhm Woon Kyu suggested that 2 out of the 6 people be nominated and Nam Tae Hi agreed to this. So Yoon Kwe Byung had to give up on his decision and Uhm Woon Kyu agreed to it and the 6 person committee had compromised. Since then, the list of names was posted:
Ro Byung Jick, who was Chairman, announced the names of the 11 members of the 6 person committee: The names were: (1) Oh Se Joon, (2) Park Chul Hee, (3) Lee Chong Woo, (4) Lee Kyo Yun, (5) Lee Young Sup, (6) Song Tae Hak, (7) Kim Soon Bae, (8) Hyun Jong Myun, (9) Uhm Woon Kyu, (10) Nam Tae Hi, and (11) Ro Byung Jik (Chairman).
Soon the selection of the Judging Committee began and Chairman Ro Byung Jick asked the question of whether the position of Judging Committee will be a plural office or independent. Lee Nam Suk and Uhm Woon Kyu agreed on a plural office. Ro Byung Jik continued with the Judging Committee selection method and the 6 people Committee method passed with 100% agreement. Ro Byung Jik announced the 6 people who had been selected to the Judging Committee: (1) Bae Young Ki, (2) Hong Chong Soo, (3) Lee Nam Suk, 4) Uhm Woon Kyu, (5) Song Tae Hak, (6) Lee Young Sup.
The next part was the most sensitive topic of the meeting, which was the naming of the art. Nam Tae Hi said “I strongly suggest that the name has to be Taekwondo because the name Taekwondo was passed when the meeting had been held in 1959.” Uhm Woon Kyu agreed with Nam Tae Hi but Yoon Kwe Byung said: “We agreed on the name Taekwondo unanimously because the Ministry of Education decided on the name Taekwondo, so it was not agreed unanimously.” Yoon also said, “And so we suggest Kong Soo Do be the name.” Yoon Kwe Byung was serious and his idea was that the name Kong Soo Do (Karate Do) was the name recognized internationally, which was his strong argument. Ro Byung Jik and Lee Nam Suk agreed with this. Because Yoon Kwe Byung realized that the situation was going to messed up, he suggested Tae Soo Do, which came from Tae (Taekwondo) and Soo (Kong Soo Do). After the voting, the result was Taesoodo, which had 4 votes for and 2 votes abstention.
The next conference meeting was held at the Chang Moo Kwan on September 22, 1961. Present at this meeting were: (1) Lee Nam Suk, (2) Lee Chong Woo, (3) Lee Kyo Yun, (4) Park Chul Hi, (5) Oh Se Woong, (6) Lee Young Sup, (7) Song Tae Hak, 8) Kim Soon Bae, (9) Hyun Jong Myun, (10) Uhm Woon Kyu, and (11) Ko Jae Chun. At this conference, the participants suggested that a Chairman be selected from the Ministry of Education and it was passed. It was agreed that the Chairman should be internationally famous and flexible, and the Vice Chairmen should be selected depending on his ability to be famous internationally and nationally. Selected as Vice Chairmen were Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu. After that, they selected the Secretary General of the committee, a Vice President and Inspector.
On this day, the decision was that the Chairman must be selected by the Ministry of Education but according to Park Chul Hee’s suggestion, the Ministry of Education should decide a Chairman out of three people suggested by Lee Nam Suk (Vice President) and Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu (Vice Chairmen).
Since then, the Korea Taesoodo Association submitted and reported the documents to the Ministry of Education through the Unification Conference Meetings up to September 22, 1961. The names below were submitted to the Ministry of Education:
Elected Officials of the Korea Taesoodo Association:
Chairman: Choi Myung Sin
Vice Chairmen: Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu
Executive Committee (Directors): Ko Jae Chun, Nam Tae Hi, Lee Yong Woo, Lee Young Sup, Oh Se Joon, Ko Hong Myong
Vice President: Hyun Jong Myun, Lee Kyo Yun, Park Chul Hee, Ko Jae Chun, Song Tae Hak
Inspectors: CHA Soo Young, Lee Hui Jin
Section 8: Unification of the Dan Promotion Test and Hyung (Poomsae)
Now we are going to look at the system of Dan Promotion Test (Kong In Seung Dan Shim Sa) of the Korea Taesoodo Association. At the time, Taekwondo used different names such as Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, and Taekwondo, and the Kwans used different poomsae (forms) and kyorugi (sparring). The Promotion Test system conflict was the most problematical issue at the time because each Kwan promoted those who were not really qualified in order to expand their Kwans and show themselves as the best.
The first Korea Taesoodo Association president, Choi Myung Shin, stated: “The biggest problem we had was the Promotion Test System, which needed to be set and formalized. What we did was set up an Inspection Team to get rid of the differences in Hyung (poomsae), Daeryun (free sparring) and Kyokpa (breaking) that existed between each Kwan.”
The first Promotion Test was held at the Kuk Min Hwe Eui Dang on November 11, 1962. The Korea Taesoodo Association supported the event, along with the Korean Amateur Sports Association (KASA), the Daehan Jaekeon Kukmin Un Dong Bonbu (political party) and the Dae Han Ilbo Sa (Korea Newspaper Company). There were 25 judges and they included: Choi Myung Shin, Lee Nam Suk, Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu, Park Chul Hee, Lee Young Sup, Hyun Jong Myun, Hong Jong Pyo, Kim Soon Bae, Kim Soo Jin, Lee Byung Ro, Ko Jae Chun, Lee Kyo Yun, Baek Joon Ki, among others.
At the event, Choi Myung Shin said: “The Korea Taesoodo Association did not improve because of the many conflicts between the many opposing sides. However, we are now in a good position to change that due to the May 16, 1961 Coup de tat. In the past, we promoted people without due consideration, but I’m so glad that we are now doing the right thing and can determine and extract the real martial artists.”
The following is the actual procedure for the first National Promotion Test (Jun Kuk Seung Dan Shimsa Dae Hwe) of the Korea Taesoodo Association:
1) Opening, (2) Courtesy, (3) Revolution Public Pledge, (4) Opening remarks by Promotion Test Chairman Choi Myung Shin, (5) Performance of test and judges consideration, (6) Review and Comment of Judges, (7) Dan Certificate award ceremony, (8) Manse Sam Chang (Korean version of Banzai: “Manse! Manse! Manse!”), (9) Closing of the Promotion Test.
One thing that was special about this first Promotion Test was the inclusion of the Revolution Public Pledge, because South Korea was under a military regime at the time.
Hong Jong Pyo (72 years old in 1999) kept the paperwork for the event and stated: “For 3rd Dan promotion and higher, the three areas tested were Hyung (poomsae), Taeryun (sparring) and Nonmun (written examination). The 1st Dan candidates were required to perform hyung from the 5 Pyong Ahn Hyung, Chul Ki Chodan Hyung (Chul Ki #1), Naebojin Chodan Hyung (Naebojin #1), Ja Won Hyung, and Hwarang Hyung.”
At the time, the promotion test consisted of Hyung (poomsae), Shihap (sparring) and Nonmun (written examination). The Sparring portion of the Promotion Test was conducted under the following rules: (1) Hogu (chest protector) must be worn on the upper body, and gloves must be worn on both hands, (2) The judges consisted of one Center Referee, four Corner Judges, and two Jury members. The Center Referee has the responsibility to determine the winner and is in charge of the contest. The Corner Judges were placed at each corner of the ring and scored points using red and blue flags. The Jury’s responsibility was to calculate and tabulate the scoring of the Corner Judges. (3) The size of the competition area is 8 x 8 meters, (4) The length of the competition was one round of three minutes.
With respect to the Hyung (poomsae) portion of the examination, the examinees chose two forms from the following group:
2nd Dan forms: Balhan Hyung Dae, Chul Ki E Dan Hyung (Chul Ki #2), Naebojin E Dan Hyung (Naebojin #2), Kima E Dan Hyung (Kima #2), Choong Moo Hyung.
3rd Dan forms: Ship Su Hyung, Pal Sae Hyung, Yon Bi Hyung, Dan Kwon Kyung, No Pae Hyung, Ge Baek Hyung, Ul Ji Hyung.
4th Dan forms: Chul Ki Sam Dan Hyung (Chul Ki #3), Naebojin Sam Dan Hyung (Naebojin #3), Kima Sam Dan Hyung (Kima #3), Ja Un Hyung, Jin Soo Hyun, Am Hak Hyung, Jin Dong Hyung, Sam Il Hyung, Jang Kwon Hyung.
5th Dan forms: Kong Sang Kun Hyung, Kwan Kong Hyung, Oh Ship Sa Hyung, Ship Sam Hyung, Ban Wol Hyung, Pal Ki Kwon Hyung.
At the time, the Hyung (Poomsae) were adapted from Karate as was the Daeryun (Kyorugi). In the 1950’s, Choi Hong Hee’s Chang Hon Ryu forms Ge Baek and Choong Moo used at the Oh Do Kwan was included in this promotion test. Hong Jong Pyo criticized Choi Hong Hi and the Chang Hon Ryu: “Choi Hong Hi is a historical figure, and he was brave, but at one time, he had a strong connection with former ROK President Rhee Syng Man and tried to kiss up to him with those forms. He also made the Eui Am Hyung.”
Candidates for 3rd Dan and above also had a Nonmun, or written examination requirement. The 1st Exam question was “Please explain the importance of the unification and standardization of the different Hyung.” As the question shows, the biggest problem of the Korea Taesoodo Association was the unification of the different Kwan methods. However, as time went on, the written examination was taken out of the testing requirements.
During this time period, the main focus of every Kwan was to foster the attitude of the martial artist, as well as develop the basic techniques, movement and philosophy of each Kwan. The training of Hyung was from Karate, and Daeryun or sparring techniques and specialties varied depending on each Kwan’s specialty.
Section 9: Founding the Korea Taekwondo Association
Park Jong Tae, who was the 2nd president of the Korea Taesoodo Association, was unable to use his authority as President. Instead, Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu handled the internal affairs of the Taekwondo organization. Around this time, Choi Hong Hi returned to Korea after completing his tenure as ROK Ambassador to Malaysia. Choi Hong Hi’s return came as a shock to Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu and Lee Nam Suk, the leaders of the Korea Taesoodo Association.
Choi Hong Hi complained because the name of the art had been changed from Taekwondo to Taesoodo. This meant that the name of the art would become a big issue again between Choi Hong Hi and the three leaders. Choi Hong Hi put much effort in the sports (Che Yuk) community and also Taekwondo so he could become the 3rd President of the Korea Taesoodo Association in January 1965.
The Moo Duk Kwan had the most trouble internally with respect to the unification efforts. The Ji Do Kwan also had internal conflicts, so much so that Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo almost separated, but it was not as serious as in the Moo Duk Kwan. The reason why the Moo Duk Kwan had so much trouble was because Hwang Kee was concentrating solely on his own Korea Soo Bahk Do Association.
On March 18, 1965, there was a Unification Declaration Ceremony held at the Korea Amateur Sports Association auditorium. Moo Duk Kwan’s Hwang Kee was there and agreed to the declaration at the time. However, the very next day, Hwang Kee stated that the Unification Declaration was invalid.
Moo Duk Kwan’s Hong Chong Soo, who advised Hwang Kee for 36 hours straight on this issue, stated: “The day after the Unification Declaration Ceremony was held, Hwang Kee told me that the declaration was invalid. I could not understand Hwang Kee and told him ‘Why do you say that? You are one of the most famous martial artists in the country and you should not say that the Unification Declaration is invalid.’ I advised him a lot to try and get him to change his position. Finally, he asked me to call Choi Hong Hi for him. When I gave Hwang Kee the telephone, he told Choi Hong Hi that the declaration was invalid and he hung up the telephone before Choi Hong Hi could respond.”
The relationship between Hwang Kee and Choi Hong Hi was bad. Hwang Kee objected to Choi Hong Hi being the president of the Korea Taesoodo Association because he said the art and organization would not develop with Choi Hong Hi in charge.
After much discussion and argument back and forth over the issue, Choi Hong Hi changed the name of the art from Taesoodo to Taekwondo, which led to great hostility from Lee Chong Woo and Lee Nam Suk. Choi Hong Hi attempted to establish his authoritarian dictator style but he could not continue to lead because no one would follow him. After one year, Choi Hong Hi was forced to resign the KTA presidency by Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu. Choi Hong Hi begged Lee Chong Woo to allow him to remain as President for six more months, but Lee Chong Woo said no.
Lee Chong Woo comments on the issue: “Choi Hong Hi was like an authoritarian dictator so Uhm Woon Kyu and I had to kick him out. One morning we went to visit him at his house in Hannamdong (near Yong San) to ask him to resign, but Choi Hong Hi begged us to allow him to remain as KTA President for six more months. We told him he would have to choose between three things: Money, Position or Honor. We told him that if he chose Honor and resigned, we would help him make his own private International Taekwon-Do Federation, but we wanted him to resign immediately and get out of the Korea Taekwondo Association.”
Choi Hong Hi finally resigned as KTA President because he could not overcome the hostility of the Kwan heads (Kwan Jang) in Taekwondo. In March 1966, the ITF was created at the Choson Hotel with nine participating countries such as West Germany, USA, Turkey, Italy, etc. But because he had too much desire and because of his authoritarian ways, he was forever labeled the “permanent troublemaker” in Taekwondo.
Ro Byung Jik (founder of the Song Moo Kwan) became the 4th President of the Korea Taekwondo Association and he tried hard to promote Taekwondo such as creating the President’s Flag Championships. He ran the Seoul Song Moo Kwan Central Dojang (Seoul Song Moo Kwan Chung Ang Dojang) and taught Taekwondo to police officers. However, Ro Byung Jik still had a strong love of his own Kwan and he felt that Dan certification must not be issued by the KTA, but instead by the Kwans. The irony was that Ro Byung Jik was President of the KTA, but he loved his Song Moo Kwan more than the KTA.
Section 10: Trouble between the First and Second Generations in Taekwondo
The people who put the efforts into the unification through the establishment of the Korea Taesoodo Association were not Hwang Kee, Ro Byung Jik or Yoon Kwe Byung (first generation practitioners), but rather were the second generation practitioners such as Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu, Lee Nam Suk, Lee Byung Ro, Park Chul Hee and Song Tae Hak. Since the late 1950’s, the first generation practitioners were moving away from Taekwondo, and were being succeeded by second generation practitioners such as Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu.
One of the main issues of the time was how to narrow the gap between the first and second generation. The first generation felt they were losing their power, and the second generation knew this was happening, which led to some hostility between the two groups.
On July 12, 1961, Government Decree #6 announced that Taesoodo had the potential to be a strong sport in the future and also accepted and acknowledged the unification efforts in Taesoodo. However, Hwang Kee and Yoon Kwe Byung were against the unification efforts and what was being accomplished.
The four first generation practitioners who agreed to resign from the Foundation and Creative Committees of the Korea Taesoodo Association, Yoon Kwe Byung, Ro Byung Jick, Hwang Kee and Choi Hong Hi, began making requests to become permanent lifetime members of the Jong Sin Je Che Ko Shim Sa Eui Won (National Supreme Board of Examiners and Promotion) so that they could reorganize the dan examination system. This issue was the turning point of the conflict between the first and second generation. The request came mainly from Hwang Kee and Yoon Kwe Byung.
The Korea Taesoodo Association knew that they could not agree or honor this request, but also realized that the situation could become worse if they did not give something to the first generation members. Lee Chong Woo, Lee Nam Suk and Uhm Woon Kyu decided that instead of giving permanent or lifetime appointments, that they would give a term in office of a limited duration. However, the Committee did not accept this idea from the three members, and so the limited term idea had no meaning or weight, because the Committee stated the three did not have the independent authority to make such a proposal to the first generation. The KTA Committee did not know what the solution was for this issue and the decision was still up in the air.
In the meantime, the first generation made plans to seek out the most powerful people they could appeal to, such as the head of the Ministry of Education and the President of the Korea Amateur Sports Association (KASA), but their efforts were in vain because the Ministry of Education and KASA looked instead to the KTA Committee to make such decisions. After that, Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo went to Japan for a visit and the KTA committee meeting was postponed.
A few days later, Hwang Kee wrote a letter to Lee Nam Suk on July 20, 1962, and the following is an excerpt from that letter: “We tried to coordinate with you in the spirit of the May 16 revolution, but now we see that the opposite is occurring on the issue of unification. We believe that this action leads the martial arts spirit in the wrong direction. We went to see the Committee on this issue, but we were not given any satisfactory answer. Yoon Kwe Byung received a message from the Committee that we would get an answer within 5 or 6 days, but we have still not heard anything. Could you please respond by August 3, 1962?”
On July 23, 1962, the Korea Taesoodo Association response to Hwang Kee included the following: “It is not clear whether your letter was an official request or a private one. We decided that your request was private and reply in the following manner: (1) You requested to be excluded from the Committee, but we have still not received any formal letter of resignation from you. (2) There is a difference of opinion between Vice President Lee Chong Woo, Yoon Kwe Byung and yourself as to the issue that is being addressed, and there was no intent on the part of Lee Chong Woo to make any promises. Lee Chong Woo spoke with the Committee for a long time about the situation of Ro Byung Jick, Yoon Kwe Byung and yourself. However, we are not clear from your letter what issue you are speaking about. Could you please write us a formal letter stating your intentions? (3) When Lee Chong Woo stated that he was going to resign from the Committee, I believe it was your position that Lee Chong Woo not resign at the moment, but instead you would be resigning. We have been waiting for you formal letter of resignation, but we have not yet received it. Again, what is your intention and position on this matter?”
With respect to Decree #10, the Korea Taesoodo Association was against Hwang Kee because he did not respond to their request for a statement of his intentions. It was the Korea Taesoodo Association’s position that they could not respond to Hwang Kee until he stated his intentions. At the same time, the Korea Taesoodo Association was waiting for Lee Chong Woo to return from Japan. When Lee Chong Woo came back to Korea, he made a call to Hwang Kee, but Hwang Kee refused to meet with him. After that, Lee Chong Woo, who was attempting to prevent Hwang Kee and Yoon Kwe Byung from resigning, finally gave up.
Hwang Kee was not the only one who was against the formation of the Korea Taesoodo Association in 1961. Uhm Woon Kyu and Lee Chong Woo were the main forces behind the unification efforts, but the Ji Do Kwan had some slight problems, because the members who followed and supported Yoon Kwe Byung (82 years old in 1999, and not in good health) did not want the Ji Do Kwan to join the Korea Taesoodo Association.
The following is the Resignation Letter of Hwang Kee and Yoon Kwe Byung:
For the following reason, we resign from the Moo Duk Kwan and Ji Do Kwan:
1. The doctrines and operational systems are totally wrong in the way of
martial arts ideology.
August 29, 1962
Moo Duk Kwan Jang Hwang Kee
Ji Do Kwan Jang Yoon Kwe Byung
According to public opinion, Yoon Kwe Byung and Hwang Kee did not like the younger generation juniors who were in their early 30’s at the time because they were only concentrating on the decision making with regard to organizing the Korea Taesoodo Association, and they, the first generation, lost power because of this. Because they were losing their power, Hwang Kee and Yoon Kwe Byung established a close relationship and later ran the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association together, an organization created by Hwang Kee.
According to Lee Ho Sung, a reporter who lived in the USA: “Hwang Kee established the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association and had it registered in 1960. But the public was more for the Korea Taesoodo Association. After the May 16 revolution, the Korea Taesoodo Association flourished. What upset Hwang Kee was the Ministry of Education dissolved the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association, and so Hwang Kee fought with the Ministry of Education, which led to the downfall of the Moo Duk Kwan.”
Hwang Kee’s refusal to participate in the Korea Taesoodo Association created a conflict within the Moo Duk Kwan. The Ji Do Kwan was also affected by Yoon Kwe Byung’s decision not to participate, and this created a conflict between Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo. They did not have an answer for this and it led them to establish a system such as “Kwan Jang Yoon Kwe Byung and Dae Pyo (Representative) Lee Chong Woo” for their temporary hierarchical order, which was very unusual. There was no favorable resolution and finally Lee Chong Woo began to lead the group of people who were attempting to establish the Korea Taesoodo Association.
The second President of the Kang Duk Won, Park Chul Hee, recognized Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu as the best people in the Korea Taesoodo Association. He states: “Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu came and told me to ask Hwang Kee, Ro Byung Jik and Yoon Kwe Byung to participate in the Association. I went to them a number of times, but Hwang Kee said that if Choi Hong Hi becomes the President, there will be no good at all. Hwang Kee was against it but Ro Byung Jik participated.”
Choi Hong Hi established the 1959 Korea Taekwondo Association with the assistance of the Liberal Party (Ja Yu Dang). He was a famous and politically strong man before the May 16 revolution. He was commander of the ROK 6th Army Corps, a commander of a combat operation, Director of Intelligence for the ROK Army, and commander of the 2nd Nonsan training facility. However, the May 16 revolution was hell for him. General Choi was hated by ROK President Park Chung Hee and as a result was forced out of the military and sent to Malaysia as Ambassador. Because of these reasons, he could not do things as freely as when he was a member of the Liberal Party.
The following is a quote from General Choi Hong Hi: “When I was in Malaysia, I completed the Tul (forms), which are the most important part of Taekwondo. However, when I came back to Korea, there was no Taekwondo, but instead there was Taesoodo.”
The Korea Taesoodo Association was created in May 1961, but there was no President of the KTA until December 1962. Lee Chong Woo and Uhm Woon Kyu put a lot of effort to choose the right person as President. The second generation did a lot of things during that time, but it was without a President. However, they knew that they needed an influential person who could assist the Korea Taesoodo Association.
Vice President Uhm Woon Kyu wanted Choi Myung Shin to be KTA President. Choi Myung Shin was Chairman of the ROK military Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he had a deep relationship with Uhm Woon Kyu through the military. There were many Chung Do Kwan graduates in the military and it gave them an easy time to set up various projects. Also, when Choi Myung Shin was commander of the ROK 1st Army in the late 1950’s, he put an effort in to popularize Taekwondo.
There was not much conflict for General Choi Myung Shin to be KTA President, and he was approved by the Korea Amateur Sports Association as KTA President on December 28, 1962. Taesoodo became the 28th official sport of KASA, followed by soccer, baseball and swimming on February 23, 1962. The Korea Taesoodo Association moved its offices to the KASA building, Suite 323, on May 1, 1963, and the following was a list of KTA officials at the time:
President (Hwe Jang): Choi Myung Shin
Vice President (Bu Hwe Jang): Hyun Jong Myun, Lee Chong Woo
Executive Director (Jun Moo E Sa): Park Chul Hee, Uhm Woon Kyu
Executive Council (Chong Moo E Sa): Lee Byung Ro
Executive Official of Game (Kyong Ki E Sa): Woo Jong Lim
Director (E Sa): Lee Yong Woo, Choi Ki Yong, Jung Jin Yong, Lee Kyo Yun, Kim Soon Bae, Baek Joon Ki, Lee Young Sup, Lee Byong Keon
Inspector (Kam Sa): Kim Bong Sik, Lee Ryong Hong
Head Official (Sa Moo Jang): Kim Wan Soo
Since the Korea Taesoodo Association was in good standing, it participated in the National Sports Games in October 1963. Park Jong Tae, who was a member of the Democratic Republican Party and National Assembly member, was elected as the 2nd President.
Chapter 3: Emergence of Kukki-Taekwondo
Section 1: The 5th President Kim Yong Chae: Developing Taekwondo
If the first and second generations of Taekwondo initiated it, then Kim Yong Chae was the one who actually developed Taekwondo. In 1999, Kim Yong Chae was the Vice Chairman of the Jaminryun (United Liberal Democrats political party) of Korea, whose Chairman is ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil.
Kim Yong Chae became the 5th KTA President in January 1967 and had a good reputation because he pushed for the development of the hogu for competition, was the first to send KTA Instructors to foreign countries, reformed the rules for Tournament competition, and built the Central Dojang (Chung Ang Dojang) which became the Kukkiwon. Taekwondo needed a lot of work at the time because it had just gotten out of a lot of troubles and conflicts, and Taekwondo did not have much support financially. However, Kim Yong Chae used his reputation as a past member of the National Assembly, and his great achievement was building the Kukkiwon with a budge estimated at 20,080,000 won. Kim Yong Chae raised the 20,080,000 won needed to build the Kukkiwon through his fund raising efforts.
According to head official Kim Wan Soo: “Kim Yong Chae was a powerful man. He was a founding member of the Jaminryu (United Liberal Democrats) which was the dominant party at the time and he was also a member of the National Assembly. Because of this, he could raise the 30,000,000 won needed for the budget. For these reasons, Lee Chong Woo recommended that Kim Yong Chae become the next KTA President because Taekwondo needed a powerful man to support Taekwondo.”
So how did Kim Yong Chae become the 5th KTA President? Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu and Park Chul Hee played the main roles in making Kim Yong Chae the President in 1967. These three were the main players in Taekwondo at the time, and when Ro Byung Jik resigned his position as KTA President after only one year of service, the KTA needed to have a new person. Kim Yong Chae was picked because he was a founding member of the Jaminryu (Republican Party) and also worked for the Youth Association (Chung Nyun Bun Hwa) as well.
Kim Yong Chae was from the Kang Duk Won and had a close relationship with fellow Kang Duk Won members Park Chul Hee (68 years old in 1999, residing in the US) and Lee Kum Hong (63 years old in 1999, current Secretary General of the World Taekwondo Federation). Before he entered politics he was trained well in Taekwondo and he participated in the 2nd Japan Karate Exchange in 1965. Because of this, Lee Chong Woo approached Lee Kum Hong to ask Kim Yong Chae to be KTA President. Kim Yong Chae accepted without reservation and said he could start immediately.
Later Kim Yong Chae stated: “I’m the one who supported and gathered the necessary funds to build the Kukkiwon, but it seems like Kim Un Yong did all that and got all the credit, and I feel sad about it.”
Kim Yong Chae’s contributions to Taekwondo are often overlooked, and in 1971, Kim Un Yong became the next KTA President.
Section 2: The 6th President Kim Un Yong: Rehabilitating Taekwondo
On January 17, 1971, there was a meeting within the Korea Taekwondo Association whereby a Special Committee (Jun Hyung Eui Won) was created and consisted of five members: (1) Lee Chong Woo, (2) Uhm Woon Kyu, (3) Lee Nam Suk, (4) Hong Chong Soo, and (5) Chun Il Sup. These committee members was entrusted with setting up the Reorganization Plan and the new KTA budget for 1971.
The Special Committee also had several meetings to select a new KTA President. On January 23, 1971, Kim Un Yong (then serving as Deputy Director of the ROK Presidential Protective Forces) was selected as the new Korea Taekwondo Association president. Also the KTA Special Committee was reformed and an additional inspector (Kam Sa) was chosen.
Kim Un Yong, who is the most important person in Taekwondo, was said to have been chosen in this fashion: He was a diplomat who had a clean background and record, and when he was first approached to be KTA President, he declined because the Taekwondo system at that time did not have a clean and correct way of doing things. In a 1998 MBC TV documentary called “Successful Generation” (Sung Kong Shi Dae), Kim Un Yong stated: “I accepted the position of KTA President because the Korean government told me to correct the way Taekwondo was at that time.” He was indirectly saying to the Korean public that he accepted because he had no choice.
There were some threats to Kim Un Yong to not accept the KTA President position from outsiders. However this was before the KTA Special Committee chose Kim Un Yong to be President. However, once chosen, Kim Un yong jumped in and became KTA President without consideration for those threats, and he was welcomed as KTA President by the Korea Taekwondo Association on January 29, 1971.
At his inauguration, Kim Un Yong emphasized building the Taekwondo Central Dojang (Jung Ang Dojang) which was to become the Kukkiwon and stated: “We are going to have to promise that Taekwondo must become our national sport, as well as become an international sport which represents Korea.” He strongly emphasized that the Kukkiwon was to become the center of Taekwondo in the world, and that when people think about Taekwondo they would simultaneously also think about the Kukkiwon and Korea. He also emphasized the globalization of Taekwondo and stated that “We must build on the efforts of the KTA Past Presidents to make this strong.” His plan was to build the Kukkiwon Taekwondo center and develop the new plans for the coming year.
His main focus and motivation for Taekwondo the first year was building the Kukkiwon. Kim Un Yong: ” As far as I know, the Ministry of Education is willing to donate 30,000,000 won to build the Taekwondo Center. However, this is not sufficient and we have to raise at least 200,000,000 won to actually build it. We will plan the budget, look for the land and do whatever else needs to be done to make this happen.” Kim Un Yong’s intention was to build the Kukkiwon in two phases. He planned to have 3000 pyong of land, with 500 pyong allocated for the building itself.
The building of the Taekwondo Central Dojang (Jung Ang Dojang) was the most important project at the time, and the general consensus was that Kim Un Yong was elected KTA President because everyone believed that he could help build it. Also the public acknowledged that Lee Chong Woo was the one who helped Kim Un Yong become President.
When Kim Un Yong became President, the Korea Taekwondo Association reorganized the KTA Executive Committee as follows:
Vice President (Bu Hwe Jang): Uhm Woon Kyu, Lee Nam Suk, Chang Jae Sik.
Managing Director (Jun Moo): Hong Chong Soo
Director (Chong Moo): Lee Byung Ro
Tournament Committee Chairman (Ki Hoek): Kim Soon Bae
Facility Director (Shi Seol): Hong Jong Pyo
Director (E Sa): Lee Kyo Yoon, Lee Yong Woo, Kim Sun Ku, Kim In Suk, Chung Chang Young, Hyun Woo Yong, Park Hae Man, Choi Dong Hee, Lee Do Yoon.
Inspector (Kam Sa): Lee Kye Kwang, Kim Chul Hee
At that time, Uhm Woon Kyu was Chung Do Kwan Kwan Jang, Lee Nam Suk was Chang Moo Kwan Kwan Jang, Lee Byung Ro was Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan Transferred Sabum (Chun Im Sabum), Hong Chong Soo was Moo Duk Kwan Permanent Advisor (Sang Im Ko Moon), Lee Kyo Yoon was Han Moo Kwan Kwan Jang, Lee Yong Woo was Jung Do Kwan Kwan Jang, Chung Chang Young was a Director of the Railroad Union, and Hong Jong Pyo was an instructor at Seoul National University.
Section 3: A Leap in Kukki-Taekwondo
There was a Kukki Taekwondo population of about 1.3 million members when Kim Un Yong (Deputy Director of the ROK Presidential Protective Forces) assumed the position of 6th KTA President in 1971. At about the same time, ROK President Park Chung Hee designated the name “Kukki-Taekwondo” which was officially proclaimed as Korea’s National Sport.
Since 1966, the International Taekwon-Do Federation created by Choi Hong Hi flourished and was strong. There were also about 60 different Kwans derived from the Original Five Dojang (Ki Kan Dojang) which were the Chung Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, and Song Moo Kwan.
In 1968, the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association presented its World Championships and 5th Asia Tang Soo Do Championships in Seoul. In 1969, Hwang Kee and the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association went to the Philippines to help popularize their style.
Thus, the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association and other groups attempted to block Kukki Taekwondo and served as obstacles but there was no good legal means to suppress these efforts. Said Kim Un Yong: “In reality, there is no legal action to stop other Martial Arts from advertising and promoting their own style, however Kukki Taekwondo will not lose its power because of these efforts.” Kim Un Yong was confident and he was not afraid of the potential threats these other Martial Arts groups posed to Kukki Taekwondo. Instead he went forward with his plans.
Kim Un Yong did raise the 200,000,000 won needed to build the Kukkiwon, which proved how motivated he was. Kim Un Yong promised to hold International Events at the Kukkiwon which would help upgrade Korea’s image through Taekwondo. In addition, he promised to publish Taekwondo periodicals and a Taekwondo Textbook (Taekwondo Kyobon) in order to help train and educate beginners. However, he did not have a good answer to the issue of the ITF, which caused big trouble since the mid 1960’s.
In April 1971, the Korea Taekwondo Association organized the Scholarship Committee to give out scholarships to good players. The scholarship system selected 16 people from 7th Grade middle school up through 3rd Year college students and awarded them 20,000 won every year.
The KTA also began having Taekwondo Award Ceremonies, and gave out Distinguished Service Medals to Lee Byung Ro and Kim Soon Bae, with Leadership Medals given to Chun Il Sup and Kwon Young Moon. Lee Byung Ro received the Distinguished Service Medal because he did many things for the KTA since its creation in 1961. Chun Il Sup was awarded the Leadership Medal because he was the President of the Cholla Buk Do Taekwondo Association and produced many champions since 1961.
The Taekwondo Kyegan magazine was special because it was the first successful magazine produced by a member of the Korea Amateur Sports Association. Basketball and other sports tried to produce similar magazines, but did not succeed like the Taekwondo Kyegan, which was a good source of fund raising for the KTA.
On December 23, 1971, Kim Un Yong promised that he will popularize Taekwondo internationally and told the instructors living overseas to get ready because he will publish an English versions of Taekwondo materials that will include both history and training concepts, to be distributed in foreign countries. (Source: Chosun Ilbo Newspaper, December 30, 1971).
Kim Un Yong also promised that he would set up the World Taekwondo Championships and expand the Scholarship Program to non-Taekwondo people as well. Because of all these efforts, Taekwondo began to popularize internationally.
Section 4: The Discussion regarding the Elimination of Old Teaching Methods and Restrictions on the Transfer of Kwan Membership
The Technical Committee of the Korea Taekwondo Association met on July 1, 1971 to discuss the reformation of the Taekwondo teaching methodology in order that leadership in Taekwondo could be improved. Lee Chong Woo was Chairman of the KTA Technical Committee and other members who attended included Uhm Woon Kyu, Hong Chong Soo, Lee Byung Ro, Hyun Woo Young, Lee Kyo Yoon and others. The following is a portion of the minutes of the meeting:
Lee Chong Woo: Shall we discuss the methods of Taekwondo leadership being used in dojangs presently?
Uhm Woon Kyu: We have to think about how leadership affects the young students.
Hong Chong Soo: The methods that we have used so far have to be reformed.
Hong Jong Pyo: Sabums first have to study. I think they have to study more both physically and mentally.
Hyun Woo Young: The leaders (Ji Do Ja) must study and be properly trained first. As for teaching methodology, the leaders must understand how to teach scientifically and systematically.
Uhm Woon Kyu: In addition to Hyun Woo Young’s comments, I would like to add that leaders must know the science of Taekwondo in order for them to teach scientifically and systematically.
Lee Kyo Yoon: Then we must understand how to analyze the aptitude and abilities of the students as well.
Lee Byung Ro: As far as I know, there are statistics in every dojang regarding how to analyze the student’s aptitude and abilities.
Uhm Woon Kyu: I understand that reformation with regard to the subject we have just discussed is important. However, I think that discipline and motivation of the leaders is important as well.
Lee Kyo Yoon: I think the linking up of instructors (Sabum), students (Kwanwon) and family (Kajung) is important too.
Lee Byung Ro: I agree. In that way, leadership will be better and the reputation of both students and the dojang will be better.
Lee Chong Woo: In order to make a better Taekwondo environment, we need to develop new techniques, educate new leaders who have to be disciplined, as well as discipline the students. The Technical Committee must provide new methods of teaching, and we also need to speed the establishment of the Taekwondo College (Taekwondo Dae Hak) which is in the planning stages.
Hong Chong Soo: We also need to focus our attention on education, since we all know that education is very important.
Lee Chong Woo: The next topic of discussion is recruiting new students.
Hyun Woo Young: We must think about how Taekwondo will contribute to society. We have to think about how Taekwondo affects people, how to make Taekwondo interesting to its practitioners, how Taekwondo improves its practitioners in what areas, and so forth.
Uhm Woon Kyu: We have to think about how Taekwondo contributes to the student’s growth and how to make Taekwondo interesting so that parents and guardians of students will trust and believe in Taekwondo’s contribution to their lives.
Towards the end of 1971, the Korea Taekwondo Association had a conference to discuss the issue of removing restrictions on members transferring from one Kwan to another. The restriction was removed by the KTA because of the idea that restriction on Kwan transfer was an old useless way of doing things. Some agreed and others did not.
At the time, there were 14 Kwans throughout Korea such as the Chung Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan and Song Moo Kwan, and once someone joined a particular Kwan, it was very difficult to transfer to another Kwan. When someone wanted to transfer to another Kwan, his original Kwan Jang had to authorize and approve the transfer, but in reality the Kwan Jang usually threatened the member using authoritative means in an effort to persuade the potential transferee to not leave. This was a critical issue in those days.
Thus, the conference and meetings on this issue were held with KTA unification in mind, but in reality the issue was far removed from the KTA. Most everyone opposed the idea of free transfer because it would interfere with the expansion efforts of each Kwan. Hong Jong Pyo stated: “In reality, the transferring from one Kwan to another for the high dan members was impossible because it interfered with Kwan expansion and recruitment. Also, if someone transferred from one Kwan to another, he would forever be branded as a disloyal betrayer to his original Kwan.”
Section 5: The Year 1971
1971 was a golden year for Taekwondo in Korea, and there were a lot of things happening nationally and internationally. In February 1971, the Ministry of Education required “Private School” permits for Taekwondo dojangs, which subjected Taekwondo dojangs to government regulations. There were 350 dojang in Seoul and 80% or 270 dojang did not meet the new Ministry of Education size, suitability and usage regulations required for a permit.
According to the Korea Taekwondo Association, only 79 dojang in Seoul could comply with the new Ministry of Education regulations, and the others either could not or did not obtain the necessary permit. The Seoul branch of the Ministry of Education required Taekwondo dojangs to have a certain level of financial ability, such as minimum size and equipment requirements, and many Taekwondo dojang had a hard time to fulfill these. Kim Wan Soo, who was the head official (Samujang) of the Seoul branch of the Ministry of Education, said: “The Seoul Ministry of Education required all Taekwondo dojang to comply with Private School regulations, but there were no cases of dojang going bankrupt or closing as a result of these new regulations. However, there were many conflicts between the Sabums because there were so many dojangs within a close distance of each other and it was very competitive.”
Kim Un Yong, on the matter of registration and regulation of Taekwondo dojang as Private Schools, stated: “I think that gymnasiums must not kill or suppress each other’s businesses, but instead should coordinate with each other as well as cooperate with the public and ordinary people. Thus, I will make a proposal to the Ministry of Education on this issue. In addition, it will take a long time to unify all the different factions such as the Soo Bahk Do Hwe, but I will do my best on that issue as well.”
On October 29, 1971, the first Taekwondo dojang to pay taxes was in the Chung Ryan Ri area of Seoul. The Tong Dae Moon Tax Office collected taxes from Kim Soon Bae, who was running the Chang Moo Kwan Seoul Headquarters (Chang Moo Kwan Seoul Bon Bu) located at Junnong 1 Dong. The amount of tax was 12,840 won per quarter. Ten other dojang such as the Moo Duk Kwan and Choong Moo Dojang in the Chung Ryan Ri area paid taxes as well. But the voices inside Taekwondo argued against the tax, saying that “It didn’t make sense because the government should exempt taxes for gymnasiums which are operated for the public’s health and benefit.”
Because of the complaints from Taekwondo-in, the Korea Taekwondo Association submitted a proposal requesting a tax exemption for gyms to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance and the National Tax Office with regard to Paragraph 23, Section 4187 of the Presidential Decree.
In that same year, KTA instructor Yoon Kum Joong (32 years old in 1971) was assassinated in Malaysia. Yoon Kum Joong suffered fatal gun shot wounds to his chest and abdomen on October 18, 1971 at his home. Yoon Sabum had arrived in Northern Malaysia ten months earlier and was teaching Taekwondo to young people when he was murdered for no apparent reason.
Section 6: An Entanglement of Suffering
“Taekwondo is not just for self defense (hoshinsul) but must also be used to straighten up humanity as well as set the discipline for an upright and honest society.” – Kim Un Yong
The Korea Taekwondo Association’s President, Kim Un Yong, in a December 1971 interview in the Dong A Ilbo (Dong A Newspaper), stated: “All the major and minor problems and troubles created during the early development of Taekwondo will be resolved through the efforts of people who are quietly looking into the matter.” This statement was made in reference to the hostility that existed between Kim Un Yong and International Taekwon-Do Federation President Choi Hong Hi. Kim Un Yong added: “There were a number of shameful acts outside of Korea which diminished the reputation of Taekwondo, but the situation is improving due to the efforts of the new Sabums teaching internationally.” (Source: Dong A Ilbo, December 13, 1971).
The Korea Taekwondo Association and the International Taekwon-Do Federation attempted to get rid of the hostility by appointing Choi Hong Hi as KTA Honorary President (Myung Ye Hwe Jang) and appointing Lee Nam Suk as ITF Secretary General (Samu Chong Jang). However, there was no improvement in the relationship between the two organizations because both sides concentrated instead on expanding their power and influence against each other.
Also, since the beginning of the creation of the KTA, there were a lot of problems because the Kwan Jangs gave out dan certificates to recipients without consideration of their qualifications. Later, this created even more problems because these dubiously qualified practitioners began recommending their own candidates for promotion. All that was required for dan promotion was a recommendation and the Kwan Jang would immediately approve the promotion on the word of the recommending instructor. The Korea Taekwondo Association attempted to fix this problem slowly, but the dan certification dilemma was too widespread to easily fix, due to the ambition and desire of the Kwan Jangs to expand the power and influence of their individual Kwan.
Chapter 4: Kukkiwon – The Mother Body of Rehabilitation
The Korea Taekwondo Association needed a Central Dojang (Chung Ang Dojang) to help popularize and globalize Taekwondo and also to help unify the Kwans. Taekwondo was to be a symbol of Korea, and because of this, the Central Dojang needed to be built on a mountain top rather han on flat ground to show its spirit.
The Central Dojang was finally built through the efforts of a lot of people, especially Kim Yong Chae and Kim Un Yong. It was located in Yuk Sam Park, at 635 Yuksam-dong, Kangnam-gu in Seoul and named the Kukkiwon.
The Kukkiwon was known as the Korea Taekwondo Association Central Dojang (Dae Han Taekwondo Hyop Hwe Chung Ang Dojang) until February 6, 1973, when the name was changed to the World Taekwondo Headquarters (Sae Gye Taekwondo Bon Bu).
Section 1: Early Steps in Building the Central Dojang
Initiation of the building of the Central Dojang began when Kim Un Yong became KTA President. However, the planning started when Kim Yong Chae (Vice Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party “LDP” or Jaminryu in 1999) was KTA President, and he raised 30 million won for the building fund.
From 1970, the KTA began to plan building the Central Dojang for its 1.3 million members. An architect was retained to come up with the initial perspective views and blueprints, with the idea that the central dojang would symbolize Korea in its image to the world.
Lee Kwang No, who was a Professor at Seoul National University, took charge of the architectural plans and Bosung Industrial Company, Ltd became the general contractor. Construction began on November 19, 1971 at San 76, Yuksam-dong, Seongdong-gu in Seoul. Kangnam-gu was called Seongdong-gu at the time. The government contributed 150 million won for he initial building costs.
Many famous people attended the groundbreaking ceremony on November 19, 1971, including Min Kwan Sik (ROK Minister of Education), Son Yo Chan (President of Inchon Steel Industries, Ltd.), Won Kyong Soo (President of Pyung Jip – News Office), Yoon Ik Kyun (Executive Director of he Seoul Newspaper Company), various Korea Amateur Sports Association officials as well as officials from the US.
During his congratulatory speech, Min Kwan Sik said: “Taekwondo is already a famous sport in the world and soon we will have the Central Dojang, so please work hard and put all your efforts into promoting Taekwondo.”
The KTA Central Dojang was completed in one year and ten days and consisted of grounds space of 2300 pyong (of which 1189 pyong was used for the building). There were three floors above ground, as well as a basement level, 227 pyong devoted to the competition area, as well as an additional 2000 pyong for spectator seating, lecture rooms, clerical offices, restaurants, shower rooms, and locker rooms.
The Kukkiwon opening ceremony was held on November 30, 1972 at 2:00 pm. Those in attendance included Kim Jong Pil (ROK Prime Minister and Honorary Chairman of the Jaminryu LDP Party), Yang Tae Sik (Mayor of Seoul City), Shim Chang Yu (Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Education), Kim Tae Soo (President of the Korean Amateur Sports Association) and Kim Un Yong (President of the Korea Taekwondo Association).
In a special speech, Kim Jong Pil said: “Korea is now the best in Taekwondo in the world, and now we have the Central Dojang. I would now ask that all 1.3 million Taekwondo-in unite to develop everyone’s health so that we can popularize and globalize Taekwondo.”
Kim Un Yong added: “I will invite 40 foreign Taekwondo teams in May 1973 to compete at the 1st World Taekwondo Championships. The central dojang will function as the unifying force for Taekwondo throughout the world so that instructors (Sabum) from all over can come and train hard.”
The Kukkiwon’s purpose is as follows: (1) To develop techniques (Ki Sool), (2) For Poom and Dan promotion and to train Sabum in terms of techniques so that they can be strong leaders, (3) To promote the quality of Sabum inside and outside of Korea, (4) To host tournaments and events nationally and internationally, and (5) To promote the health of all Koreans and promote the spirit of Taekwondo.
The Kukkiwon had several special features. It has a traditional Korean type roof, an exterior of the building symbolizing the traditions of Korea, a statue of a martial artist, and the symbolic Pagoda which shows the Korean spirit and philosophy. In addition, the color of the Kukkiwon is Yang (Yang as in Um & Yang), with the blue color of the roof symbolizing the East, and the set of eight poles in the front of the building symbolizing the Palgue.
Since 1996, the Kukkiwon has undergone additional construction, which included one additional shower facility, three clerical rooms, two lecture rooms, two locker rooms, one file room, and three conference rooms. The Kukkiwon President’s office was also renovated.
The front gate of the Kukkiwon was built on September 2, 1974 through the support of Song Yo Chan (President of Inchon Steel Industries, Ltd.). The hanging board with the calligraphy characters “Kukkiwon” on the front gate was written by Kim Jong Pil. The front gate’s special characteristics show the beauty of Korean traditions with the Korean images of circles.
The Korean traditional eight sided resting place (Palgakjung) was built by Chang Ik Ryong (President of Jinro, Ltd.) on August 20, 1975. The Palgakjung was named “Yoon Gok Jung”, which is a pen name of Kim Un Yong. This place became famous through its use by foreigners who take pictures there.
In the Kukkiwon building itself, there are administrative offices, the International Taekwondo Academy, and the WTF administrative offices. It has been 26 years since the Kukkiwon was born and it has been the venue for many Events and tournaments during that time. There were about 2000 Events held there so far, including the 1st and 2nd World Taekwondo Championships, the 1st Asian Taekwondo Championships, Training Courses for foreigners, International Referee courses, and Leadership courses. In addition, the Kukkiwon was the site for the organizing discussions for the GAISF and CISM in 1975 as well as the Asian Games in 1986.
The Kukkiwon Demonstration Team was created on September 6, 1974, with approximately 700 performances since then, promoting Taekwondo and performing for various people, including the Presidents of any foreign countries as well as several committees of the IOC.
The Kukkiwon logo was changed on February 1, 1976. The new logo was created by Lee Chong Woo, Vice President of the WTF. The ideal of the logo come out of the concepts of Heaven, Earth and Man in relationships to one another. The meaning of this is that Taekwondo, through the Kukkiwon, will spread throughout the world to all the different races and languages, with the round earth having the position of Santul Makki. The official english name of the Kukkiwon is World Taekwondo Headquarters.
Section 2: Producing Elite Taekwondo-in
The first official Korea Taekwondo Association Dan Promotion Test was held on November 11, 1962. Up until 1979, the Korea Taekwondo Association was responsible for conducting Dan Promotion Tests. However, on December 28, 1979, at the Korea Taekwondo Association General Assembly meeting held at the Korea Amateur Sports Association conference room, it was suggested and agreed that the responsibility for conducting Poom and Dan Promotion Tests as well as the issuing of Poom and Dan certificates would be transferred to the Kukkiwon. On February 5, 1980, the Kukkiwon officially took over responsibility for the issuance of Poom and Dan certificates from the Korea Taekwondo Association.
There are approximately 3.6 million Poom and Dan holders throughout the world. The primary mission of the Kukkiwon today is to work in coordination with the World Taekwondo Federation, functioning as the center of Taekwondo worldwide.
The objective of the Kukkiwon is to promote Taekwondo as a means of general exercise for the benefit of public health as well as to spread Taekwondo as a symbol of Korea and its traditions.
Those who possess the instructor’s license (ja kyok jung) can issue guep, poom and dan rank. Originally, an instructor could promote students up to the rank of 4th Dan within the dojang, but for 5th Dan and above, candidates were required to test at the Kukkiwon. Later, this was amended so that 6th Dan or above candidates were required to test at the Kukkiwon.
In the case of instructors in foreign countries, Sabum who possess the Kukkiwon 4th Dan or higher can promote students to Kukkiwon Poom and Dan ranks. The Promotion Test Committee meets twice a month to review and approve promotion recommendations. Candidates who serve in he ROK Army must also have the recommendation from someone in their chain of command.
The Kukkiwon Promotion Regulations have been amended seven times since its adoption by the Korea Taekwondo Association on March 1, 1972. For example, candidates who wish to be promoted to 8th and 9th Dan are required to go to Korea and test at the Kukkiwon in person.
On November 4, 1996, the Kukkiwon received an upgraded information and computer system from Samsung Industries, and can now process 4000 Poom and Dan certificates per day, up from its previous capacity of 1000 Poom and Dan certificates per day.
Section 3: The International Taekwondo Academy
Since 1972, the Korea Taekwondo Association was responsible for conducting educational programs. These training programs were held at he Kukkiwon starting on November 1, 1976. The Kukkiwon assumed responsibility to teach these educational programs from the Korea Taekwondo Association in 1980, starting with the 28th Instructor Course. The Taekwondo Academy at the Kukkiwon was sanctioned through the Ministry of Culture and Sports, pursuant to Chapter 22, Section 2 of the Law of Public Health (Kuk Min Che Yuk Huel Bup) on November 29, 1983. Previously, the Coach Academy at Han Kuk Chae Yuk Dae Hak Gyo (Korean National Physical Education University, Chae Dae for short) taught these courses for 44 sports, but Taekwondo requested and was granted an exception, so that it could teach its courses at the Kukkiwon.
On February 24, 1990, the Ministry of Culture and Sports changed the name of the education programs to “Sahoe Che Yuk Jidoja Yonsuwon” and unified the Instructor Course with the 3rd Class Coach Course. Those candidates who complete the 9 day training course at the Kukkiwon Jidoja Yonsuwon receive the Instructor License and 3rd Class Coach certification, and then they are able to open their own dojang or Cheyukkwan in Korea. The unified training was started at the 72nd Instructor Course and presently there have been more than 100 such courses taught.
The following is a sample of the areas of study covered by the Instructor Course: Theory of physical education, taking care of health, the role and discipline of a leader, biology of physical education, methods of training, sports psychology, sociology of sports, theory of recreation, safety and evacuation, and theory of Taekwondo techniques.
More than 25,000 Taekwondo instructors have been trained through these courses, which are open to those who possess the Kukkiwon 4th Dan or higher. The name of the institution that conducts these courses used to be “International Taekwondo Academy”, but since 1996, the name was changed to “World Taekwondo Academy” in order to globalize Taekwondo.
Section 4: The Taekwondo Museum
The Taekwondo Museum opened on November 19, 1991, commemorating the Kukkiwon’s 19th birthday. Present at the opening ceremony were Kukkiwon President Kim Un Yong, United States Taekwondo Union President Ahn Kyong Won, Jewoo Industries President Kim Hyon Woo, and 150 other people associated with Taekwondo. The museum has been open to the public since that day, allowing people to view the many items related to Taekwondo and the Olympic Movement. Included are items from Kim Un Yong’s personal collection relating to his IOC activities. More than 50,000 people have visited the museum, including IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, many IOC Committee members, GAISF President Thomas Kelly, and many ambassadors from foreign countries. The museum is located behind the corner of the Kukkiwon, with a floor size of 50 pyong, in a two story building. It took one year and ten months to build the museum, with a budget of 50 million won.
The museum contains 364 posters, 40 trophies, 155 medals, 147 plaques, 270 other souvenirs, 400 video tapes, 171 periodicals, 28 official newspaper articles, 30 other newspaper articles, 250 official books, and 335 other books. In addition, there is a system where anyone can watch WTF international competitions. There is also a display dedicated to Guiness Book of World Record holder Chung Kuk Hyun’s dobok and pictures.
Section 5: Kim Un Yong’s Efforts in Retrospect
Kim Un Yong, who is an IOC Executive Committee member, President of Korea Amateur Sports Association, President of the Korean Olympic Committee, President of the World Taekwondo Federation, and President of the Korea Taekwondo Association, talks about the situations and atmosphere of the time when the Kukkiwon was built in his book:
Every organization needs a headquarters, such as the Blue House for Korea or for the legislature it is the National Assembly Building. Taekwondo’s headquarters is the Kukkiwon.
The Kukkiwon had to be built. We needed a central gymnasium for Taekwondo training and also for the development, management and unification of all Taekwondo gyms throughout the world. Building a Central Dojang was the goal of all Taekwondo-in at the time.
Before the Kukkiwon was built, our Dan Promotion Tests were held in the gym of the Hansung Women’s High School and our National Championships were held on the volleyball court at Seoul Stadium. It was really shameful that we did not have a Central Dojang at the time that foreigners could visit and train in, while other countries already had many gyms. In my first interview right after I became President of the Korea Taekwondo Association, I let my idea be known to the people, not only in Korea, but throughout the world. This was part of my interview:
Press: “We heard that you are planning to build a Central Dojang for Taekwondo. Is that true?
Kim Un Yong: “Yes.”
Press: “How much do you think it will cost?”
I suddenly got confused. I had always thought that “where there is a will there is a way” and if I wanted to do something, I could, but I did not give much thought about the budget at all. This might have been because I came
from a rich family, but I couldn’t let this affect me. So I quickly glanced over at Lee Chong Woo and he handed me a note under the desk which said “300,000,000 won”.
I said “I think we need no more than 200,000,000 won.”
I gave a smaller amount than what Lee Chong Woo told me. I did this because people did not understand the potential of Taekwondo, and if I gave such a large number, the public might oppose the project.
The next day, the newspapers reported in their headlines that 200,000,000 won would be needed to build the Kukkiwon. However, we only had a plan but no specifics about how to make it work. First, we needed a place to build it, and after looking at every place in Seoul that was owned by the government, I went to see the mayor of Seoul. The mayor of Seoul at that time was YANG Taek Shik, who was one of my closest friends.
Kim Un Yong: “We need about 2000 pyong to build the Kukkiwon. If possible, please rent us a site.”
YANG Taek Sik: “How about the Chamsil area?”
Kim Un Yong: “I think that a mountain top would be better.”
I took out a map to explain the results of our research.
Kim Un Yong: “Chamsil would be a magnificent place for a stadium, but only 2000 pyong would be enough for us to build the Central Dojang.”
YANG Taek Sik: “I do not understand why you would want to build on a mountain top, and not on good land on a perfect plain.”
Kim Un Yong: “Well, because I want to see if a miracle can happen.”
The mayor seemed suspicious. It might be a coincidence, but the site the Mayor preferred was the very place in Chamsil that the Olympic Stadium was later built.
My idea was that the Kukkiwon would be a monumental symbol of the Nation, as the Central Dojang for Taekwondo. In order to do that, it would be better if the Kukkiwon were built on a mountain top that could be seen from anywhere, instead of on low flat ground. My plan for the perfect location was someplace that did not have skyscrapers.
The construction for the Kukkiwon came mostly from non-government sources. Samsung, Oriental Express (Tongyang Gosok), Taenong, OB, Jinro, and Tongyang Textile (Tongyang Bangjik) all supported the project. Thanks to these businesses and corporations, we were able to raise enough money to build the Kukkiwon.
Another problem was securing the necessary building materials. However, Ssan Yong helped us with the cement, Inchon Steel with the ferro-concrete, Dong A with the lumber, Pyoksan with the roofing material, Hankuk Yuri and Dongkwan Yuri with the glass.
I wanted to build the Kukkiwon in the traditional Korean style as much as possible so that it would look familiar and to give the impression of tradition, like the Korean Palaces for instance, or the magnificent homes of the Confucian high officials. Because of this, I had the roof covered with the Korean traditional roofing tiles (Kiwa), especially the blue Kiwa.
While the Kukkiwon was being built, the Oil Crisis began. In the early 1970’s, we had the most severe economic crisis and it seemed like we might not be able to continue construction. We had originally planned to finish construction within one year, but there were some people who suggested that we should proceed in a slower fashion and delay if for about 2 years. But I felt that it would be more difficult to finish the construction if we let the process go loose and slow. So instead, I tightened up the plan to proceed.
“Opportunity knocks only once.”
I was determined to proceed as firmly as possible. I encouraged the people around me to not give up and to continue to work hard. We put the mobile telecommunication system to full use and dug wells and laid the electrical power lines. The electricity did not work until the day before the Opening Ceremony, and when the electricity finally kicked in, everyone who participated in the construction shouted for joy and was yelling like crazy.
The Kukkiwon was finally completed on November 30, 1972. The building bore every drop of sweat and every bit of effort from all of the people who had taken part in its construction. In the end, the Central Dojang stood magnificently on a mountain top south of the quiet city. The whole construction might have gone to nothing if we had delayed construction due to the Oil Crisis. “Everything is done in its own time.” I think this saying is definitely true. We often understand this saying as meaning only waiting, but I think that it also means the we are better off if we achieve our goals within the specified planned time.
Once the Kukkiwon was built, I set upon another goal, which was the globalization of Taekwondo. Over the last 25 years, the Kukkiwon has hosted various types of events such as tournaments, educational programs and Promotion Tests for Koreans and foreigners.
One of the first things we did at the Kukkiwon was the formation of the World Taekwondo Federation, which has been playing the most significant role in Taekwondo’s globalization. The Kukkiwon has also hosted the World Championships, Asian Championships, WTF International Referee Courses, Instructor and Leadership Courses, Promotion Tests, various types of domestic events, special training courses for foreigners, Yun Moo Shibum (Military Exercises) every year. These events have all helped to develop Taekwondo throughout its history.
In addition, the Kukkiwon helped get the WTF affiliated with the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in 1975, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1974 and the Counsel International Sportive Militaire (CISM) in 1976. More than that, it also played a main role in helping Taekwondo be chosen as an official sport in the 1986 Asian Games and 1987 Pan American Games, as a Demonstration Sport at the 1998 Seoul Olympic Games and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and finally as an official medal sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Vice Presidents Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu and Hong Chong Soo willingly helped me every time I ran into problems, to which I am grateful.
The Kukkiwon will remain a shining Mecca of Taekwondo throughout history. It will never stop working hard to improve itself and will remain dear in the hearts of all Taekwondo-in all over the world.
Chapter 5: The Process of Kwan Unification
From 1945 to 1960, there were 40 Kwan throughout Korea which were competing with each other, and this prevented Taekwondo from developing into a unified famous martial art. The Korea Taekwondo Association consolidated those 40 Kwan into 9 Kwan in 1974. At that time, there were about 3000 dojang under those 9 Kwan, with more than 100,000 dan holders (yudanja).
The Korea Taekwondo Association attempted to eliminate the old concept of the Kwan in order to unify Taekwondo. Although there were objections to the elimination of the Kwan system, the Korea Taekwondo Association earnestly began seriously working towards that goal in beginning in 1974. On May 20, 1976, the Korea Taekwondo Association eliminated the names of the Kwans and replaced them with numbers. The following are the Kwan name and their number:
Kwan #1: Song Moo Kwan
Kwan #2: Han Moo Kwan
Kwan #3: Chang Moo Kwan
Kwan #4: Moo Duk Kwan
Kwan #5: Oh Do Kwan
Kwan #6: Kang Duk Won
Kwan #7: Jung Do Kwan
Kwan #8: Ji Do Kwan
Kwan #9: Chung Do Kwan
However, the Moo Duk Kwan had members who were separated from their Kwan, and so Moo Duk Kwan members were under both Kwan #4 (Moo Duk Kwan) as well as Kwan #10, which was designated as the Administrative Managing Kwan (Kwan Ri Kwan).
Section 1: Formation of the Kwan Driving Committee
The real efforts towards Kwan Unification began in 1977. The Korea Taekwondo Association had several meetings in 1976 and 1978 to unify the Kwans, and it was decided that the ten Kwans would be united by the end of July, 1978.
Kim Chul Hui stated: “Let’s unify all the Kwan in order to be one.” However, other members objected to the suggestion, stating that unification at the present time was premature. However, it was decided which Kwan would participate with the unification and the list was submitted to Kim Un Yong.
In addition, the Kwan Unification Committee (Choo Jin Eui Won Hwe) was created on February 23, 1977, composed of five members. The Committee members agreed in principle to give up the concept of Kwan in order to unify. In addition, the Chong Bon Kwan was created to eliminate all of the negative aspects of Taekwondo. The following people were members of the Chong Bon Kwan:
Kim Un Yong (Chong Bon Kwan Jang)
Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu (Bu Kwan Jang)
Lee Nam Suk (Samu Chong Jang)
Lee Byung Ro, Kang Won Sik (Kam Sa)
Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu, Lee Nam Suk, Kang Won Sik
Kwak Byung Oh (Se Chik Shim Eui Won Hwe)
Kim Un Yong and Lee Chong Woo initiated the efforts to unify the Kwans right after the creation of the Chong Bon Kwan, but little was done. An office was set up at Eulchiro 6 Ga in Seoul, but the Committee did nothing since everyone thought that Kwan Unification was impossible.
After six months the Chong Bon Kwan did recommend some Taekwondo-in for dan promotion and also expanded the Committee’s focus nationwide. However, the Chong Bon Kwan’s efforts were not going well and it was difficult for the Committee to gather positive suggestions and ideas on this difficult subject.
In July 1978, the Chong Bon Kwan announced that unification would take place in the southern provinces and rural areas first, to be followed by unification in the urban areas of Seoul and Kyungki Do. The Chong Bon Kwan also announced that Kwan Unification is not a problem. In addition, all Kwan Jang (Kwan Presidents) would be informed beforehand so that they could minimize the complications involved in unification. The Chong Bon Kwan’s actions confirmed that the unification efforts would go forward.
Section 2: Final Realization of Taekwondo’s Deep Rooted Enmity
August 7, 1978, can be considered a historical date for Taekwondo because it was on this day that the Kwans finally compromised and closed the Kwan system with a Proclamation signed finalizing Kwan Unification. The following people signed the Proclamation on behalf of their Kwan:
Kwan #1: Chun Jung Woong (Song Moo Kwan)
Kwan #2: Lee Kyo Yoon (Han Moo Kwan)
Kwan #3: Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan)
Kwan #4: Choi Nam Do (Moo Duk Kwan)
Kwan #5: Kwak Byung Oh (Oh Do Kwan)
Kwan #6: Lee Kum Hong (Kang Duk Won)
Kwan #7: Lee Yong Woo (Jung Do Kwan)
Kwan #8: Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan)
Kwan #9: Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan)
Kwan #10: Kim In Suk (Kwan Ri Kwan)
Lee Byung Ro and Kang Won Sik (both members of the Chong Bon Kwan) signed the Proclamation as well.
The following is what the Proclamation stated:
“Taekwondo will strive hard to unify and will eliminate the different Kwan of the last 30 years.
Since 1972, we unified the Taekwondo terminology and poomsae in order to minimize the differences which existed between the different Kwan. With respect to Dan Promotion Tests, the Sabum in the individual dojang will recommend the candidates for rank advancement. We will do our duty to treat everyone as equals and to work towards a clean administrative procedural system. Because Taekwondo is our National Sport we promise to be good leaders and unify all Taekwondo-in throughout the nation. We will close all Kwan offices and the Chong Bon Kwan will instead coordinate with the Kukkiwon so that we can keep our administration clean. We promise to do our part to unify Taekwondo.”
The Proclamation was seen as a turning point because Taekwondo could now work earnestly towards a meaningful unification. Lee Chong Woo, Lee Byung Ro and Kang Won Sik were the people who worked hard and did a good job for Kwan Unification, but there were many more problems to solve.
Section 3: Aftermath of the Unification of the Kwans
Taekwondo faced many new problems and challenges in the aftermath of Kwan unification. The main issue was how upset the Kwanjangs (the Kwan heads) were when they lost much of their ability to oversee Dan promotions.
Originally, the Dan promotion test fee was divided as follows: 30% to the recommending instructor (Il sun sabum); 25% to the instructor’s Kwan Headquarters (Chung Ang Bon Kwan); 10% to the province Taekwondo Association (Do Hyop Hwe); and 10% to the instructor’s Kwan province headquarters (Do Bon Kwan). However, after the Kwan unification, the Korea Taekwondo Association revised the test fee division as follows: 40% to the Kukkiwon; 40% to the city or province Taekwondo Association (Shi/Do Hyop Hwe); 15% to the Association Headquarters (Chung Ang Hyop Hwe); and 5% for administration costs. Further, the Kukkiwon required that the promotion test recommendation come directly from the Sosokjang which became the Hyop Hwe Deunkrok Kwanjang.
This new arrangement, which became effective in December 1978, caused a lot of trouble because instructors (sabum) now went directly to the Kukkiwon, bypassing their Kwan (Bon Kwan).
Some Kwan members were very upset because the new arrangement took the Kwans out of the Dan promotion system without compensating the Kwans. Some said: “When the government condemns houses, they pay compensation to the owner. But when the Kwans were eliminated, there was no compensation paid”.
The Korea Taekwondo Association was unsympathetic to those Kwan voices. Their response was: “Even though you sacrificed much for Taekwondo it is wrong for the Kwans to ask for compensation for their sacrifices. We need to give up the old idea of Kwans in favor of the new system, for the purpose of standardization”.
Even though Kwan unification achieved much, including the standardization of Taekwondo, today there are still those who attempt to address or solve the problems caused in the aftermath of the Kwan unification, with the spirit of the Kwans still alive, especially in the countries outside Korea.