Choi Hong Hi

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Choi Hong Hi (9 November 1918 – 15 June 2002), also known as General Choi, was a South Korean army general and martial artist who is a controversial figure in the history of the Korean martial art of taekwondo.[a] Choi is widely regarded as the 'Founder of Taekwondo'—most often by International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) organizations.[1][2][3][4] Others, such as World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) organizations, portray Choi as either an unimportant or a dishonorable figure in taekwondo history, whether by omitting him from their versions of taekwondo history[5] or through explicit statements.[6]


Early life

Choi was born on 9 November 1918 in Hwa Dae, Myŏngch'ŏn county, in what is now North Korea, which was then under Japanese rule.[7] Choi's father sent him to study calligraphy under Han Il Dong, who was also "a master of Taek Kyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting" (Park, 1993, p. 241).[7] Choi travelled to Japan, where he studied English, mathematics, and karate.[7][8] In Kyoto, he met a fellow Korean with the surname Kim, who was a karate instructor and taught Choi this martial art.[7] Choi also learned shotokan karate under Funakoshi Gichin.[9] Just before he had left Korea, Choi apparently had a disagreement with a wrestler named Hu, and the possibility of a future confrontation inspired him to train; in his own words, "I would imagine that these were the techniques I would use to defend myself against the wrestler, Mr. Hu, if he did attempt to carry out his promise to tear me limb from limb when I eventually returned to Korea" (Park, 1993, p. 242).[7] Choi attained the rank of 1st dan in karate in 1939, and then 2nd dan soon after.[7][b]

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