General Choi’s Communist Sympathy Seen Through ITF 

        If there are reasons not to train in the International Taekwon-Do Federation style of martial arts or join the organization, one is that General Choi Hong Hi (1918-2002), the so called “Father of Taekwondo” by ITF enthusiasts, was obviously a Communist sympathizer. Worse, he was a North Korean “Juche” style Communist sympathizer. This is apparent in his flight to North Korea to bring his martial art there to teach soldiers and others the ITF Taekwon-Do style. He was such a sympathizer that he thought it was absolutely necessary to create a mid rank black belt form called “Juche.” Wikipedia states:

“Juche (or chuch’e) is a Sino-Korean word which is hard to translate. Literally, it means ‘subjectivity’ or ‘agency’, and in political discourse has a connotation of ‘self-reliance’ and of ‘independence’.

The official line of the North Korean regime attributes the origin of Juche to Kim Il-Sung’s experiences in the ‘Anti-Imperialist Youth League’ in 1930 in his “Liberation struggle” against Japan. However, the first documented reference to Juche as an ideology did not appear until 1955, in a speech given by Kim Il Sung entitled On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work. The speech had been delivered to promote a political purge similar to the earlier Yan’an Rectification Movement in China.

Hwang Jang-yeop, Kim’s top adviser on ideology, ‘discovered’ Kim’s 1955 speech in the late 1950s when Kim, having established a cult of personality, sought to develop his own version of Marxism–Leninism into a North Korean creed.”

It is interesting that Juche was first publicly promoted in 1955, the same year Taekwondo’s formal name was established. Maybe Choi saw a revolutionary link between Taekwondo and Juche. The official website of North Korea, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, explains Juche:

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is guided in its activities by the Juche idea authored by President Kim Il Sung. The Juche idea means, in a nutshell, that the masters of the revolution and construction are the masses of the people and that they are also the motive force of the revolution and construction.

The Juche idea is based on the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything. It is the man-centred world outlook and also a political philosophy to materialize the independence of the popular masses, namely, a philosophy which elucidates the theoretical basis of politics that leads the development of society along the right path.

The Government of the DPRK steadfastly maintains Juche in all realms of the revolution and construction.

Establishing Juche means adopting the attitude of a master towards the revolution and construction of one’s country. It means maintaining an independent and creative standpoint in finding solutions to the problems which arise in the revolution and construction. It implies solving those problems mainly by one’s own efforts and in conformity with the actual conditions of one’s own POLITICS country. The realization of independence in politics, selfsufficiency in the economy and self-reliance in national defence is a principle the Government maintains consistently.

The Korean people value the independence of the country and nation and, under the pressure of imperialists and dominationsts, have thoroughly implemented the principle of independence, self-reliance and self-defence, defending the country’s sovereignty and dignity firmly.

It is an invariable policy of the Government of the Republic, guided by the Juche idea, to treasure the Juche character and national character and maintain and realize them. The Government of the Republic always adheres to the principle of Juche, the principle of national independence, and thus is carrying out the socialist cause of Juche.” (http://www.korea-dpr.com/juche_ideology.html)

All of that really says nothing. It is written in a confusing way and seems to be a lot of fluff. The deeper policies and beliefs of North Korea are not expressed well. There is not enough in those paragraphs to really differentiate Juche from what other nations do. It is obvious it has communist implications though. Even so, the above statements make Juche seem like such a nice, warm, and fuzzy belief system all Taekwondo people worldwide should embrace. Like it is just a great way to get everyone together in a country to solve problems and be creative and happy. Wrong.

The website “North Korean Christians” gives a truthful profile of Juche:

The idea of Juche, also known “Kimilsungism” after Kim Ilsung, is the religious, political, social and economic ideology of North Korea (“The Juche Idea”).

The Juche Idea was first introduce by Kim Ilsung in 1955 to distance North Korea from the Soviet Union, which at the time was undoing many of the Stalinist policies that Kim Ilsung liked.

Over time, Juche evolved, borrowing from Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism and Confucianism whatever Kim Ilsung and Kim Jongil wanted, as well as their own ideas, and in 1972 replaced Marxism-Leninism in the North Korean constitution as the country’s official ideology.

According to Juche, there is no god but Kim Ilsung, the country’s “Eternal President”, which makes North Korea the world’s only country governed by an embalmed dead body. Juche attributed divine powers also to Kim Jongil, the sole author, editor and interpreter of Juche. Whether his divine powers trickle down to Kim Jongun remains to be seen.

Juche espouses political independence and uses as justification the Korean peninsula’s long history of suffering as a vassal state or the battlefield for the region’s stronger countries. In reality, Juche produced an isolated state immune to international norms and laws, where the only rule of law is Kim Ilsung and his family.

Juche also espouses economic independence, but the reality couldn’t be farther from it. The Korean peninsula’s northern half, only 18% of whose mountainous terrain is arable, historically depended on the agriculture of the relatively less mountainous southern half of the peninsula for its food. When the peninsula was split north-south in 1953, North Korea lost access to its bread basket, and Juche’s disdain for international trade destined its people to hunger and starvation.

The North Korean economy has been kept afloat not by Juche but by massive food and fuel aid from the Soviet Union, China, South Korea, Japan, United States and the United Nations, as well as Juche’s sole export crop, opium, which annually earns an estimated $500 million to $1 billion.” (http://northkoreanchristians.com/juche-idea.html)

Juche is an excuse for the iron fisted rule of the Kim dynasty, which has left millions upon millions of North Koreans dying of starvation. The Kim’s live in luxury while their people die. Any defectors are thrown in prison camps and executed. Kim Jung Un has recently executed a lot of people with anti-aircraft guns, including his uncle. North Korea is basically a hellhole of horror and death. If a person dissents or says something negative about the leader of North Korea they and their entire family are thrown into prison labor camps to die of starvation. Many torture methods are used, and often times prison guards and police use ITF Taekwondo to beat up, and even beat to death, political prisoners. This should give one a better understanding of the reality of what Juche means, and what it meant for Choi Hong Hi to give honor to Kim Il Sung and his Juche philosophy.

General Choi’s imagination of Karate moves was out of control…

General Choi’s martial arts experience and training history was said to be in Japanese Karate where he earned the rank of 2nd dan black belt in Shotokan Karate under Master Gichin Funikoshi. This is debatable though as there are claims there is no documented evidence of him actually testing or being certified. Choi often trained alone. The official Kukkiwon stance is that Choi never actually earned a black belt when he tried to take over the KTA and run Taekwondo for himself. That was another issue that angered kwan leaders. Before the KTA he never earned any serious black belt rank which would give him credence as a master of martial arts. This is why I believe that much of the ITF forms are ridiculous and not based on logic. Oh, there are a few which are good and I can honestly admit I once in awhile practice some, but these forms are ones probably developed mostly by Nam Tae Hi, his #1 physical performer who was actually a skilled martial artist. Choi developed the Juche tul in the 1980s which is a very showy form made to impress with flying kicks and other stylish movements. If there is any actual combat application I would like to know it, but it seems it was created just to show off and look flashy. It seems Choi’s imagination was out of control. This is displayed in his imaginative moves for his tul (forms in ITF are called tul, they do not use the term poomsae). For example, this is a serious application for a double block standing on one leg:

Now what are the actual chances of such a block being utilized in a real combat situation? I say slim to none. And more so, what are the chances of 2 guys doing high flying jump kicks at you at the exact same time in a real combat situation? Of course it could happen, but even if it did, wouldn’t it be smart just to duck or move out of the way? I doubt two forearm blocks like that would be strong enough to keep the flying kicks of two attacker’s full body weight coming at you full force while you are standing on one leg. It is not a logical move for defense. It is not plausible to explain the above photo by saying it was just to be fun, or cute, or even a joke. It is an absolutely serious photograph. A grandmaster of a martial art would not take a photo to show off like that unless he thought the moves he was posing in were actually profound. It is absolutely a silly photo.

The greatest thing about Korean Taekwondo, the Kukkiwon style, is that applications to movements are some of the most simple, common sense,  and easy to perform and pull off techniques, that can be realistically applied in a self defense situation. Of course the average student who is not advanced enough cannot see the multiple applications for moves, but when one finds out the applications from his instructor the student will see the movements are not ridiculous as in the photo above. At least they shouldn’t be.

Now back to Choi’s communist sympathies….

Choi was the first president of the KTA, then he briefly stepped down to do government duties in Malaysia. Later, in 1965 Choi acted as the 3rd president of the Korean Taekwondo Association after he was elected again. Even so, Choi caused a lot of strife within the Korean martial arts community and annoyed most of the early Korean martial arts leaders with his despotic attitude. He used his status and position as a general in the military to influence and intimidate people and get what he wanted done. Since he was in a position of power he could easily control people. The KTA members did not approve of General Choi’s behavior and did not agree with his desire to control Taekwondo. He was told to step down as KTA president in 1966. He was given the blessing by Lee Chong Woo to start his own ITF organization. This was simply a compromise to hurry the stepping down of Choi to get him the heck out of the KTA so they could progress. It is stated in A Modern History of Taekwondo:

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 International Taekwon-Do Federation, but we wanted him to resign immediately and get out of the Korea Taekwondo Association‘” (p. 25) emphasis mine

Since Choi Hong Hi was literally kicked out of the KTA and lost his control, and most importantly, his respect in the Korean Taekwondo community his ego was bruised and his pride was damaged. Being the egomaniac he was, he wanted to get revenge or snub the Korean Taekwondo Association members by claiming his International Taekwon-Do Federation martial art was the only true Taekwondo in the world. He quickly made huge efforts to spread the ITF worldwide ahead of the KTA. The KTA which later built the Kukkiwon facility, and developed the organizational structure of national Taekwondo, and the World Taekwondo Federation sport organization was slower at spreading Taekwondo to other nations. This made the world see Choi’s ITF first and gave it popularity. It was a power play and a smart move. A little later the KTA sent out many instructors worldwide to promote the Kukkiwon and WTF sport. There were disputes and conflicts here and there all over the world between the ITF and Kukkiwon instructors. It seems that since the Kukkiwon and KTA were linked with the nation of Korea and its government it gave them credibility and strong support. Foreigners training in the KTA/Kukki-style of Taekwondo could feel secure in the fact their Taekwondo was the Korean cultural martial art. Taekwondo was a Korean martial art much like Karate is a Japanese style that has its roots in Japan. Choi had established his ITF headquarters in Toronto, Canada and registered it with Canada shortly after resigning from his presidency in the KTA. The truth is that ITF members can trace their linage to a man, and not a national or cultural martial art (unless they wanted to say they trained in Canadian Taekwondo, but obviously they didn’t want to say that). With the government of Korea accepting the KTA and the development of Kukki-Taekwondo (National Taekwondo) Choi wanted to have it be known that his ITF was the real Korean version and he was left wanting more to be desired to propagate his ITF. He had to figure out a way to give more weight to his Taekwondo style being linked to Korea, besides the fact he was a Korean who created it. Choi for years always wrote Taekwondo in a normal way, but later he changed the spelling of “Taekwondo” to “Taekwon-Do” to differentiate his style from the KTA. He then began to claim this is the only true way to spell Taekwondo that it had to have a hyphen separating “Taekwon” from “Do.” This is why you always see ITF people spelling Taekwondo like “Taekwon-Do.” Many ITF members get upset if you spell it the normal way. The truth is Taekwondo is a Korean word and Koreans use Hangul to write words. In Hangul there is no hyphen or necessary separation of words. Literally translating the actual hangul with a hyphen is grammatically incorrect and makes no sense. So the original spelling of Taekwondo of the KTA is the true way to spell it in English.  Unless Choi wanted to claim that Taekwondo was an English word and not a Korean word. How would you translate the hyphen in other languages such as Arabic or Chinese that does not use hyphens either? So the whole hyphen emphasis is illogical. Choi not only wanted to be known as the sole creator of Taekwondo in it’s current ITF form at the time, but also claim that his “Taekwon-Do” of his ITF, was a true, historic, Korean martial art accepted by Korea. It can be said that Choi wanted to take Taekwondo to North Korea so he could claim a “Korean national” connection. To claim his ITF style is from Korean soil. He basically defected to the North.

In 1972 he betrayed Korea by having a soft view of the North Korean regime led by the despot Kim Il Sung (the “living god and father of all Koreans,” and “The Eternal President” according to North Korean mythology) by bringing his ITF Taekwon-Do to North Korea.

*an interesting side note is that the ATA mcdojang organization, which actually was an offshoot of the ITF, was founded by H.U. Lee who claimed he was the Eternal Grandmaster of ATA Taekwondo. It is obvious he got that idea from the Kims. The only difference is he did not have his body embalmed to be viewed in glass at the ATA headquarters for “eternity” after his death like communist dictators did*. 

Choi and his remaining loyal students performed demonstrations for Kim Il Sung, and his top instructors taught North Korean soldiers the ITF style. He became friends with Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jung Il and found nothing wrong with what they were doing to North Koreans by their iron fisted rule. If he actually did find something wrong with what they are doing he probably wouldn’t have went there or became friends with such people. Unless, he kept his mouth shut and ignored the atrocities because he realized he benefited a lot out of the relationships for his own agenda. That would tell you a lot about his person, but it is more plausible to assume he did not find anything wrong with the Kims.

Linking up with North Korea and taking them martial arts, his Taekwon-Do style, was the ultimate insult to those in South Korea who he feels slighted them. He not only slighted the Korean Taekwondo Association, Kukkiwon, and the World Taekwondo Federation, he insulted his former nation and government by betraying them. After he made the trip to Korea, and after developing his ITF organization in Canada for several years he decided to tour North Korea and do demos and create relations with North Korea in 1979. Later in 1982 Choi left Canada with his family in early 1982 to live in Pyongyang. North Korea than headed he ITF. Therefore during the 80’s the idea that ITF is North Korean Taekwondo was spread by martial arts students worldwide who wanted to understand the difference between the ITF and what was then known as the “WTF style,” which people called South Korean Taekwondo.

Choi’s son states:

“the relationship became unnecessarily deep. In 1979, Choi Seung-chol of the United Front Department visited us in Canada and promised support for our family and the ITF. He proposed that my father visit the North. Soon after, the Choi Hong-hi Taekwondo Demo Team gave its first performance at Pyongyang Stadium in September 1980.” (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2894692&ref=mobile)

Ahn (2008) explains, “According to Choi, North Korea established pro-North, anti-South organizations around the world with the taekwondo masters that it has dispatched through the ITF. Such organizations were launched in Germany, Canada, the United States and other countries, he said.”

Choi’s son, Choi Jung Hwa, also claims his father had pro-North Korea policies which he did not agree with. He claims ITF used Taekwondo to send masters around the world who were actually North Korean agents who would be used for assassination attempts on South Korean officials and the president. He even admits that he was also trained to assassinate then South Korean president Chun Doo Hwan

Choi did not really flee South Korea because of a dictator…

Keep in mind that South Korea had a history of dictator rule as well. Syngman Rhee was the first elected president of South Korea and a staunch anti-communist. He was largely responsible for Korean independence against the Japanese and the promotion of Korean nationalism. But he eventually became an authoritarian regime leader and had people executed who were against him and kept power outside the rules of the Korean constitution. He also suppressed many communist activists. General Choi was in the military under this president and seemed to like him. He not only fought in the Korean War under this president against the communist North, but he introduced the first Taekwondo demonstration in Korea for him in 1954. It was during this demonstration that President Rhee was impressed with the idea of Taekwondo and decided that Taekwondo would be a good name for a unified Korean, national martial art. It was during this demo that Nam Tae Hi (Choi’s #1 man) famously broke a large amount of bricks with his bare hands causing President Rhee to express his desire for all of the military in Korea to learn Taekwondo. Of course the martial arts they were performing were basically Karate as Taekwondo was not officially named until the next year, and no special forms were created yet, as they still practiced Japanese Kata. In 1960 Rhee was ousted by a student led protest. Eventually this led to military coup d’états  that were very short lived and led to Park Chung Hee being elected president. General Choi actually supported the coup d’état, but was upset Park was then elected president. This is because Choi along with others in a military court voted to sentence Park to death for being a communist leader of a cell in the Korean constabulary in the late 1940’s prior. This is ironic since Choi defected to North Korea later in his life and shows his hypocrisy. The accusations were unfounded and Syngman Rhee commuted his sentence. When Park became president it caused problems for Choi because Park extremely disliked him. I would say it is rightly so after being voted to die by him. Anyone would resent someone for that. Choi was asked to resign from the South Korean military in 1962 and given the assignment of ambassador to Malaysia. This would no doubt have made Choi hate Park even more. This is where Choi developed most of his tul, on Malaysian soil. In 1964 he flew to Vietnam to introduce his tul to the Korean soldiers who were already training in Taekwondo. He wanted to make sure his forms would be spread and accepted by the military. He had help with his #1 man, Nam Tae Hi of course. It is very interesting Choi would be supporting the effort against communism in this way, serving South Korea, but later defecting and becoming a communist sympathizer.

After his first term, Park Chung Hee was reelected again and later became a dictatorship through various means. He angered North Korea a lot and was vehemently against communism. North Korea tried to assassinate him a few times but failed. Interestingly enough he was assassinated in 1979 by a Korean CIA director who wanted power, you know typical stuff that happens with men who desire power and control. The point of mentioning this is that many ITF proponents will express that Choi was exiled out of South Korea by an evil South Korean government run by a dictator. If Choi was such a great guy who wanted freedom from dictators why was he cool with Syngman Rhee? Choi stuck around with South Korea for long enough before leaving in 1972. He tolerated Park’s disdain for him and served as ambassador to Malaysia. He even had Taekwondo taught to Korean troops and the South Vietnamese Army in the Vietnam War, along with U.S. special forces. During this time both KTA and Choi’s ITF were being mixed and taught in Vietnam, there was much crossover. This is the era of Taekwondo in Korea that had much overlap from KTA and ITF since Choi at this time had already stepped down from the KTA. So Choi fully supported the fight against communism, against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong rebels. What a contrast from fighting in 1 war against North Korea, to support anti-communist struggles in Vietnam, to then turn around and support North Korea and the Juche ideology.

I don’t think the real reason Choi left Korea was because he somehow was forced. He did it on his own free will. ITF proponents will claim he spoke with dissent towards President Park and was forced to leave, but this is not true since Park tolerated him and gave him a position as ambassador to Malaysia. I would like to know exactly what public statements he made in history that would get him kicked out of Korea or executed. Also they will say that South Korea was run by a “brutal dictatorship.” President Park may have done some mean and nasty things that cannot be justified, but they are nowhere as evil or brutal as what was going on in North Korea with Kim Il Sung. Also Park did a lot of great things like boosting the Korean economy and making it progress and become a strong player in Asia (a tiger economy). Believe it or not sometimes dictators do good things and not only bad. And sometimes these dictators are worth supporting over another evil such as what North Korea and China would have done to South Korea if it won the war. If Park’s regime was so brutal you would think General Choi would have been tortured and executed, but he wasn’t. It seems evil dictators were not the real reason Choi left Korea. It seems he left simply because he was mad at the KTA an wanted to start an international movement of Taekwondo led by himself, to be the boss he wanted to be, to be seen as an important Korean figure, and control Taekwondo in the world. His attitude is very much like the dictators ITF proponents say threatened him. It also gives understanding possibly as to why Choi admired evil communist dictators in North Korea. He would probably be just like them if given such power.

Choi willingly promoted his Taekwon-Do to a truly brutal dictatorship in North Korea under Kim Il Sung. So historically ITF positively embraced evil. This is unlike the KTA and Kukkiwon which simply existed in Korea and did not willfully choose to be under dictatorships, it simply just survived and was allowed and promoted. It was after all Korea’s national martial art and sport, so why would a South Korean, nationalist president want to get rid of it? There is no dictator philosophy in Kukki-Taekwondo, but there are traditional Korean philosophical and cultural ideas promoted in it and martial arts philosophy of fighting. This cannot be said for ITF which literally has a communist dictator philosophy promoted in it of Juche. Also, much of the names for ITF forms are silly and named after historic Korean figures and things. It is kind of like if the United States made a martial art and named forms after George Washington or Paul Revere. Could you imagine that? “I will now perform The Midnight Ride Poomsae of Paul Revere! Seejak!! Most martial arts name their patterns after combat concepts, and philosophical ideas that apply to martial arts. ITF seems to have just been a way to be ultra nationalistic. At least in the Kukkiwon Taekwondo poomsae are full of philosophy and still distinctly Korean and display Korean,  national pride while still being relatable to foreigners. What foreigner literally cares about a guy named Dan Gun, or Toi Gye? Yes Dan Gun founded Korea in 2333 BC, and Toi Gye was the pen name of the scholar Yi Hwang who was a Neo-Confucianist scholar in the 16th century, but what the hell does that have to do with me learning to fight? I prefer the philosophy of Taegeuk, something that could be applied to anyone in any country and still is distinctly Korean. I do not prefer to embrace Juche and Kim Il Sungism in my Taekwondo.

2 kinds of Taekwondo existed but people did not understand that yet…

Before people understood the various separate styles and political organizational differences of martial arts the ignorant masses assumed Taekwondo was simply Karate. Karate was the buzzword for all martial arts in the West. In the early days of Taekwondo the term Karate was used all over the place to advertise Taekwondo gyms and much of that improper identification is still used today in various martial arts advertisements and signage. Lots of people all over the world trained in Karate in 50’s-80’s. During this era popular culture did not take into account the various styles of Karate, or that some martial art styles were in fact not even Karate, but were Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, or Kempo etc. Karate was also used interchangeably with Kung Fu when the popularity of Hong Kong Kung Fu fighting movies reached its height. Later, when people found out that there was a kind of “Karate” from Korea called Taekwondo, people assumed there was only one kind of Taekwondo in much the same way as people made no difference in their minds about different Karate styles and organizations. People assumed Taekwondo was just Taekwondo and did not understand there was an ITF and WTF which were not affiliated together or even the same styles. This was because both WTF/Kukkiwon and ITF would count all the people who claimed to do Taekwondo around the world regardless of organizational affiliation so that they could claim extremely large numbers of people training in Korea’s national martial art. They would add up both the ITF practitioners and WTF/Kukkiwon practitioners all over the world to claim that all of these people were training in the one style of Taekwondo with no differentiation of organizations. It benefited both sides and gave glory to Korea which was a common goal. For example if 2 million people in one country were training in ITF Taekwon-Do, and only 1 million people in the same country were training in WTF Taekwondo the WTF would state, “Over 3 million people train in the art of Taekwondo” in said country. Likewise, the ITF would claim that “3 million people trained in Taekwon-Do” as well and vice versa. Both ITF and Kukkiwon groups included memberships from both groups together to claim they are all doing the same martial art, or more accurately all of the numbers of people counted were training in Choi’s martial art if it was ITF propaganda, and if it was KTA/WTF/Kukkiwon propaganda they would simply say it was their style that had the numbers. Sometimes ITF may be in one country and WTF not in that country yet, but the WTF would act as if their Taekwondo is in that country by including ITF people in their worldwide numbers.

Even the lesser known groups at the time who branched off from the ITF and WTF to form their own organizations and the various large mcdojang groups advertise and claim numbers of practitioners the same way today. It is not uncommon for groups like the ITF, ATA and other mcdojang chains to claim that during the summer Olympics the Taekwondo event represents their martial art. An example is in Choi’s obituary in The Guardian which states: “…he and his students spread taekwondo across the globe, and saw it become a medal sport in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics” (http://www.theguardian.com/news/2002/aug/09/guardianobituaries.northkorea). Choi had nothing to do with the Olympics and his Taekwon-Do is a completely different style than WTF. They do not even use the same rules in their sport sparring. ITF sport is not in the Olympics. Only WTF sport is. Yet that is an example of propaganda making no differentiation of styles or organizations.

The reality of the population of the world training in Taekwondo was that some were training in ITF style and others in WTF style (just as it is today which now includes various smaller organizations and commercial chain schools). It benefited both sides to make the single martial art of Taekwondo seem like it was trained by billions of people. It was actually split up, but possibly the ITF in the early stages had more members and countries, but with the excitement and possibility of Taekwondo being an official Olympic sport in the 1980’s the majority then became Kukkiwon practitioners. Before the Olympic dreams, in the 1970’s, the ITF and Kukkiwon/WTF tried to unify and accept each other by giving opposite organization leaders honorary positions in each organization to create peace, but of course it did not work. It was very short lived. Even so, this also had an influence on the census of Taekwondo practitioners worldwide to keep being counting as one Taekwondo population instead of separate ITF and Kukkiwon populations. Koreans really wanted to take pride in that Taekwondo was “the worlds most popular martial art.”

There was also overlapping of instructors who liked both groups at the same time, or had training history in each group. I personally had a 9th dan black belt instructor who had training history in both ITF and Kukkiwon and was ranked in both. He was officially ranked as 9th dan in the Kukkiwon and ended up supporting the WTF. Over time such instructors either took full sides to either ITF or Kukkiwon. This especially became true when people heard about Choi’s trip to North Korea, and even more when he moved there. Many Koreans chose to distance themselves from him because of his support for North Korea. The majority of Korean master instructors began to support the Kukkiwon and join in the Olympic pursuit.

It was not long that pretty much everyone understood there were 2 kinds of Taekwondo, one was Choi’s ITF, and the other was Korea’s Kukkiwon. People were led to believe that ITF was from North Korea even though it came from Canada. Since Choi made claims that his ITF was the true Korean Taekwondo and he claimed “corrupt politicians” and “dictators” in South Korea cheated him, the North Korean connection of ITF, according to Choi, would then establish North Korea as the true nation of Taekwondo, not the South. This only promoted North Korean propaganda.

North Korean propaganda poster of ITF Taekwon-Do.  It says, “Let’s show the world our bravery and power!”

The funny thing is, not one ITF dojang that I know of has the guts to fly a North Korean flag inside, and always flies a South Korean flag at the head of the gym. This is ironic since South Korea does not acknowledge ITF as an official Korean martial art and ITF rank is not accepted by the Korean government. The only way you could truthfully declare Taekwondo as North Korean is if you believe the ITF propaganda, that the ITF is the true Taekwondo style, and Choi created Taekwondo himself. You would have to ignore the fact Choi created the ITF in Canada, outside of Korea. Before this he had developed his ITF forms (the tul) in Malaysia when he served as Korean ambassador there. So he developed the techniques in Malaysia and established ITF in Canada. Not Korea. Since you would be following a man, Choi, you could say he was born in North Korea and only went back to his homeland in Myongchon County, North Hamgyong province, North Korea, and this is the rightful place of Taekwondo, Choi’s birthplace. Except for the fact that when Choi was born in 1918 this area of Korea was simply part of the regular country of Korea. It was called “Meigawa-gun, Kankyo-hokudo Chosen” (Japanese words) as North Korea did not exist yet. Even more, this area was ruled by the Japanese Empire and considered part of their nation. Is Taekwondo Korean, or is it Japanese? You would have to ignore these facts to label North Korea as the true nation of Taekwondo.

Military Taekwondo, Traditional Taekwondo, Korean Taekwondo, North Korean Taekwondo, Traditional Korean Taekwondo, using various titles to make their Taekwondo sound better than yours…

When I started training in Taekwondo in the 1990’s people would explain that the difference between ITF and “WTF style” was that ITF was North Korean and “WTF style” was South Korean. Also, since Choi developed the Oh Do Kwan (the military kwan of South Korea), people would say that they trained in “military” Taekwondo and it is somehow more tough and hard. Groups claiming military Taekwondo were of course the ITF, but also the ATA (at least in the 80’s and 90’s). This made no sense, since South Korea used, and still uses, Kukkiwon Taekwondo in their military. This would also make “WTF style” (the Kukkiwon) military Taekwondo. But yes, North Korea teaches its military ITF Taekwon-Do. Another propagation was that ITF was “traditional” Taekwondo. That ITF was the traditional martial art of Korea, the first Teakwondo. This was before the MMA and Reality Based Self Defense caused a rift between what are termed “modern” martial arts and the older “traditional” martial arts such as seen from Asia. The term “traditional martial arts” was not a buzzword back in the 70’s to early 90’s and did not have the same meaning. The term “traditional” was often used by martial arts groups implying their organization or way of teaching a martial art is the traditional way or style as opposed to a newer version. As in the original way of training and the original style. So often times you would hear, ITF people claiming they do “Korean Taekwondo,” or “Military Taekwondo,” or “Traditional Taekwondo.”

Truthfully the Kukki-Taekwondo style is the style the military in Korea trains in. That would make it military Taekwondo. Yet civilians do not train in he same methods exactly as military, so no average citizen in any country can claim they are training in a military martial art unless they are a soldier in South Korea logically. Kukki-Taekwondo is also the traditional martial art of Korea, that would make it traditional Taekwondo. It is also the true Korean (as opposed to North Korean) style of Taekwondo. That makes WTF/Kukkiwon true Korean Taekwondo.

Choi gave legitimacy to North Korea…

With Choi claiming his Taekwon-Do was the true Korean Taekwondo, (as opposed to the south Korean Kukki/WTF not being Korean Taekwondo) he was giving North Korea legitimacy as the true Korea. The ITF has spread North Korean acceptance and sympathy through Choi’s teachings. This is immoral. With all of the human rights violations and suffering North Korea has dealt on its own people with its despotic dynasty supporting North Korea or trying to be diplomatic with them is a shameful thing. Choi’s spread of Juche love in his ITF also brings unnecessary and wrong criticism of South Korea and its policies as well as the United States. It gives North Korea the benefit of the doubt and tolerance. This can be seen in all of the “love fests” that are the diplomatic meetings and demonstrations in which a group of Americans (most often Taekwondo Times Magazine) petition for the North Korean Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team to come to their tournaments. I have also found out a local master instructor who is actually ranked in the Kukkiwon and runs a very large mcdojang in a city I used to live in invited the North Korea demo team as well. Of course large ITF tournaments invite them as well as if they are a special entity. The North Korean Demonstration Team is treated much like how the Korean Tigers or the Kukkiwon Demo Team is treated in the Kukki/WTF circles.

I believe there is absolutely no reason to support or try to be nice with North Korea because…they are evil! Acknowledging them gives them legitimacy and that is wrong. When I say “they” I don’t mean all of the peasents and starving people dying and those tortured to death in prison camps, I mean the North Korean elite and the leaders and brutal people in positions of power who have caused the deaths of untold millions and continue to threaten the peace and safety of South Korea and the entire world with threats of nuclear destruction. Also, the North Koreans are brainwashed to believe the Kims are gods. Asking for their demo team to perform at your event says that such ideology and brainwashing is acceptable.

Choi had tons of respect for both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il…

Choi Hong Hi had a lot of respect for Kim Il Sung. So much respect that he decided it was absolutely necessary to create a black belt form with the unique Communist philosophy and ideology of “Kim Il Sungism.” He called the tul “Juche” and established it in 1986 in the official ITF curriculum.

Choi on the left holding hands with “the real Dr. Evil,” Kim Jung Il. It is so obvious Choi was a communist lover

Here is what the high ranking black belt form called Juche looks like. It is performed by a “super master world champion sine-wave lord”:

The Juche pose is the ready stance at the start and end of the form.

A side note…

Now on a side note, you know why I mentioned above how flashy this form was. Ridiculous flying scissor kicks, full leg-spin kick-extension, and balancing twirls etc…(can the average martial art student even perform these feats? Does being a black belt only qualify super athletic people without any physical disabilities?) A great thing about the Kukkiwon’s WTF approved poomsae creations are that they are techniques that the average person can do, or will be able to do with practice and they take in account the fact students may have disabilities or physical limitations. The moves are advanced enough to show serious skill, yet are not over the top and remain a basic concept for self defense at the black belt level and for the average person who obtains high dan rank. In WTF/Kukki-Taekwondo flashy kicks and twirls are reserved outside of poomsae and displayed by the physically gifted black belts, and it does not nullify the abilities of lesser gifted black belts. It is not a requirement to do a flying scissor kick or ballet twirls for rank, (but if you can do them then great, it is extra credit and desirable), but it seems that the ITF tries to make it a qualification for dan ranks by making such forms mandatory to learn for rank, yet the average ITF student I have seen cannot do these movements very well at all (now I know where the ATA got their ideas for their ridiculous looking forms, because the founders of the ATA were former ITF masters).

Another Side note, it is interesting that the form Toi Gye also contains the Juche stance/pose in the middle of the form, with the feet together close instead of shoulder width, but it is essentially the same thing and hands are placed in the same fashion. Apparently Choi was giving credence to Kim Il Sung before he ever created the Juche tul. Here is a video of the form look for the Juche pose at :25:

The communist Juche ideology in ITF…

Now if you look closely at the ready stance (chunbi stance) you will notice the pose has the fists on the waist and elbows stuck out. This stance is performed at the start and ending of the form. Here is a photo of General Choi posing in the Juche stance:

What is the reason for this stance? Is there a combat application? Absolutely not! It is simply thrown in there to honor Kim Il Sung, who is seen in many paintings, statues and other depictions in this position. Apparently, Kim Il Sung stood this way often and showed his strict authority and dominance as the leader of North Korea. Below is a painting of Kim Il Sung with his son (the real Dr. Evil) Kim Il Jung:

Left: Kim Il Sung in his Juche stance Right: Kim Jung Il (Dr. Evil)

 

   Left: Kim Jung Il         Right: Kim Il Sung in his Juche stance

It is the Juche stance! There are also 1 arm variations of this stance seen in large statues:

Kim Jung Il also is depicted like his father in a Juche stance:

So you get the point. Choi taught this way of standing at ready position for the Juche tul. It is exactly how Kim Il Sung and then his son Kim Jung Il stood often. They are depicted in propaganda and art to display power, dominance, confidence, and control. Choi, calling his tul Juche and making the ready stance before you start with the hands placed in this way, is a direct reference to Kim Il Sung. It was put in the form so that he will be honored by all ITF black belts. Choi wanted to honor the dictator, fully supporting his Juche policies that have left North Koreans starving and dying for more than half a century. With Choi Hong Hi’s influence and the spreading of ITF Taekwon-Do all over the world he has spread communist sympathies and interests. The references of this evil in the ITF are absolutely clear and cannot be denied.

Now we have dorky ITF ranked white guys in America who think they are cool posing in the communist dictator’s stance in front of South Korean and United States flags:

 

Because it makes sense to stand in a communist pose in front of 2 flags representing democracy, freedom, liberty, and capitalism. As if the South Korean flag represents ITF…

Any freedom loving patriots of America, Korea, or other democracies should not be practicing and promoting a martial art style that supports communist dictators. A lot of ITF practitioners ignore the truth, or are too prideful to drop the ITF and join the Kukkiwon. A lot of it has to do with not being a master, or keeping their rank if they leave to the Kukkiwon. But if someone wants to participate in the true Korean martial art, wants to be enriched by true Korean culture, and wants to stop doing crazy flashy tul and more reasonable poomsae and be better at self defense, and stop supporting evil North Korean dictators and the millions of dead caused by them, they should join the Kukkiwon. The absolute least thing they should do beyond that is to quit practicing Juche, which at least 1 or 2 ITF groups (there are 3 separate ITF groups due to ego-maniacal, in-fighting between leaders after Choi’s death) have either quit teaching Juche, or simply renamed it. But for the one who renamed it, hopefully they also stopped the “Juche pose” and replaced it with a standard chunbi stance or something else.

The majority of martial arts enthusiasts who train simply want to work on technique, stay in shape, and learn to fight better. The problem with the ITF is they keep politicking and have become a cult of personality for Choi Hong Hi. He is kind of like the original dictator of ITF. Choi seemed to be more concerned with “his style” being represented the way he wanted it, to make sure his forms were performed his way, and to make sure everyone acknowledged he is the god of Taekwondo. The Oh Do Kwan which he founded in the South Korean military literally means “School of My Way” as in Choi’s way. This says a lot! He literally did express that his name was “Taekwon-Do” which was given to him by God. So God gave him the name Taekwon-Do and we have to recognize it. He was always concerned with people following him and doing what he says. At the end of his life he was quoted on the ITF website stating that he is the man with the most followers in the entire world. ITF is all about politics and being part of an organization. It is not so much as training to be a martial arts expert and knowing how to fight. The most important thing to most in the ITF is if you believe in Choi, not so much as being good fighters or self defense experts. If they were concerned about combat techniques they wouldn’t be as closed minded as they are and would keep progressing in various techniques and concepts. It seems once Choi died that is as far as ITF will go. Unfortunately as Choi got older he not only fully embraced North Korean communism, but added ridiculous theories such as “sine-wave” in his style. It made ITF Taekwon-Do worse. With his death basically everyone in ITF basically will not change much. Stances in forms won’t change, self defense ideas won’t change much either. Heck their uniforms really haven’t changed either! It’s like they are stuck in the late 70’s. Choi never seemed to allow individual freedoms within ITF. In the WTF/Kukkiwon of course uniforms most of the time are “WTF approved” yet there are so many styles and brands you can buy. The ITF basically has isolationist policies within martial arts much like North Korea. It is no wonder. The Kukkiwon allows for individual freedom, dojang liberty and constantly progresses and develops technique for better training as knowledge and science increases. Taekwondo is about fighting, to train as a martial artist and develop yourself. ITF is always about Choi and whatever of the 3 ITF groups you belong to want to promote. ITF exists for itself and Choi and not for martial arts as a whole or the individual. This is wrong. True Korean Taekwondo as promoted by the Kukkiwon is about self defense and the individual to develop as a martial artist in their own being. This is the way it should be and this is why Taekwondoin should affiliate with the Kukkiwon and not ITF.

It is 100% clear that Choi and the ITF embraced the axis of evil that is North Korea. It cannot be denied that ITF Taekwondo supports North Korea. ITF is offensive in its sympathetic view of North Korea and tolerance of Juche communism. Many American and South Korean soldiers died defending Korea and trying to suppress communism in Asia in one of the most pointless conflicts Kim Il Sung started which was the Korean war. Only a maniacal and evil person would cause such a war only to not gain anything from it but death. It was much like the result of Saddam Hussein’s war with Iran where nothing was gained but death. No land was gained or any resources in the Korean war. At least America made sure the original land was regained or else the entire peninsula would be ruled by the Kims today. South Korea is a nation of progress and freedom and this should be expressed in Taekwondo.

 

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Comments
  1. dobokdude says:

    Hey good article. you made some good points. Also from what i read in a killing art Choi got his 1st black belt in 2 years in Shotokan. Also what is your opinion and grandmaster hee il cho and the AIMAA?

    • White Dragon says:

      There is unmistakenly clear evidence that Choi was someon who supported what was evil in this world. He does not deserve much respect in my book, except he has to get credit for a few beginning things in Taekwondo such as influencing the name and promoting Taekwondo in Korea’s military. Besides that he was a major asshole and not very good at fighting.

      Now Hee Il Cho is a real badass an a man of respect. He may not be involvd with Taekwondo in Korea such as Kukkiwon, but he oes the Taegeul forms as well as ITF forms. He mixes it up. But he is clearly a legitimate martial arts master and a great fighter. His son is pretty good too. Hee Il Cho has influenced me a lot personally from reading one of his books and hearing his philosophy.

    • Sam says:

      As with what dobokdude said above, if you haven’t already, you should read “A Killing Art.”

  2. Josh says:

    Good summary of why Choi was not as great as everyone says. I’d like to point out on the ATA end that H.U. Lee was bestowed the crazy title “Eternal Grandmaster” posthumously, as a term of endearment, by the masters council (his students essentially). I think this was because the ATA at that time was built as a sort of cult of personality around their patriarch champion, H.U. Lee, but they had to have another Grandmaster — so this was how HU Lee stayed more important than all the leaders even though someone else was now in his position.

    Before he died, Lee was simply Grandmaster. I joined the ATA right after he died, and it was a while after that that he was bestowed a 10th dan and the title Eternal Grandmaster.

    On another note, I read recently in MA Success Magazine that the ATA just elected their first white Grandmaster. I guess the Lees no longer run the ATA. I was quite surprised, because there are senior Korean masters on the masters council. Or at least there were when I still used to get ATA magazines 8 years ago. I suppose it is fitting, though. They’ve almost abandoned anything Korean but the name “Taekwondo” and their poomsae names.

  3. Wow what a bunch of biased BS . You obviously do not know the whole facts of the matter nor history. There were many contributors that came together to form Taekwon-Do. Your information is totally bogus and from the former regime of South Korean propaganda. If you actually had a clue as to what really happened you would be embarrassed by the total inaccuracies that you have posted here. There are ITF schools in South Korea and have been for a number of years. The ITF ranks are recognized in South Korea. You have been spoon fed misinformation and are running rampant like a rabid dog. Many of the GrandMasters that are still alive are telling the story of what was truly happening during the early years. General Choi wanted Korea to be united as one again and that is why he did the things he did. Not for someone like you to blow BS up the skirt of some new impressional student who wanders into your business, I’ve met and talked to many of the Masters who were sent around the World to spread Taekwon-Do. The goal was to spread it EVERY WHERE regardless of race, religion, or political views. That is why neutral countries were used as it’s bases. All you have to do is get on Facebook and many of the early Masters are on there. I talk to them on a regular basis and they post pictures and facts of the early years. Yes there were disagreements and there was a lot of lies and threats being thrown around but the Grand Masters today are setting the story straight as to who did what. I love the comment “Dorky White guys” gee that right there discredits anything you say to insult people you do not even know. Do you honestly believe that if you are not Korean that you are incapable of learning or teaching Taekwon-Do. You are about 40 years behind times in your ideas. It seems you have a personal vendetta for some reason, could it be you come from a MCDogo and are trying to hide the truth from your students by sowing the seeds of lies, hate, and discontent. There should be only one Korea but it was split apart in an under the table deal between the Communist and the United States. Please update your research and get the truth from the ones who were there. No one said General Choi did it all by himself, He was just the driving force to try to give something to the Korean people they could call their own instead of having so many different names. I knew the man and broke bread with him on a number of occasions and not once did he ever try to promote anything but Taekwon-Do and the Unification of Korea.

  4. Kevin says:

    Hey there!, I’m really interested on Choi’s true history. Your article is amazing. I’m training both ITF and WTF. I has always believed the ITF side of the story. My WTF school recognizes Choi’s as the TKD’s founder, but they barely mention him.
    I tried really hard to find as much information as I can, but I can only find mixed points of–and sides of view. Nothing precise that only leaves me with my own judge.
    Is there any documentary, movie or book I can learn more about?. TY.

    • White Dragon says:

      Your WTF school is wrong to recognize him as the founder of Taekwondo. He was only ONE of the founders, not THE founder. He simply came up with the Taekwondo name at one point. He does not deserve all of the mention he gets by ITF people because so many other better masters and influential people were a part of early TKD who never get talked about much. It is a shame.
      You should read A Modern History of Taekwondo which is a pdf file from an iy league university written decades ago by some of the early Taekwondo masters who tell the true story.

      • Jasmine Choi says:

        Wow. Just wow. I cannot believe the garbage I’m reading. You are extremely uneducated about ITF and about General Choi. Imbeciles like you should need to concentrate on whatever “art” you are doing and stop obsessing about someone that is deceased. And you stating General Choi holding hands with Kim Jung Il is ABSURD!!!!!!!! Maybe you need your eyes checked or you’re really that delusional clearly they are not holding hands. Get a life and continue training whatever art you practice I saw the photo of you,you look like I would be able to beat you in sparring. Not sure if you were bullied in highschool but you definitely have small man syndrome. In the martial art as a whole we address other Grandmasters and Masters either by Grandmaster,Master,etc.. or at LEAST Mr whether they are your enemy or not. It’s standard protocol. You have no respect and are spreading this nonsense to guilable readers. Such a lengthy garbage article you must have a lot of time on your hands. Who are you anyway??? Who gives you the right to write this slandering article?! Also,if someone has a photo standing beside someone means they are best friends?!? Politicians that are enemies take photos together so what?! You are extremely juvenile and I’m convinced you are a pink belt of whatever martial art you are taking up. Let my grandfather rest in piece you disrespectful little keyboard warrior.

      • White Dragon says:

        You are welcome to have a sparring matc with me. You will find me capable.

        How about instead of being emotional and insulting me you actually try to prove your case through logical reasoning an evidece to support your claims. Please tell me how I am wrong about ITF and Choi instead of being immature an insulting me.

        If you are the grand daughter of Choi you seem to have inherited his rotten attitude and anger. Grow up.

      • White Dragon says:

        I know you want to deny photo evidence but it is obvious they are holding hands. You are the one who needs their eyes checked.

        In Korean culture men often who are good friends hold hands. You should know Jasmine Choi…

      • Daniel Hickey says:

        An uneducated rant from a disrespectful person. I wonder if you have even met Gen Choi. So under your logic – anyone who has ever visited or stayed in a communist country must be a communist…seriously – sounds like something out of the 50s! By the way – the moves you discuss as being ineffective – work; including the ‘twin elbow’ strike (not a communist pose). I will be careful not to put my hands on my hips from now on in case people think I’m a North Korean sympathiser! By the way, I practice ITF Taekwon-Do (spelt correct as Gen Choi coined the word therefore can spell it the way he wants) so I must be evil! Back to the word ‘Taekwon-Do’…it is undisputed that Gen Choi coined this word to describe his ‘style’…at the time called Chang Hon, and now referred to ITF Taekwon-Do. So why does every other style call themselves Teakwondo/-Do then? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery! There were other Kwans – only one Taekwon-Do…it’s like Volkeswagon calling their cars BMW – same country of origin…but different!

      • White Dragon says:

        No I have not met General Choi. I don’t have to have met him to show what is true. That is a logical fallacy. Do you know personally all of the people General Choi hated?

        You are straw manning so hard. This is ridiculous.

        You may or may not be evil, but you are the only one being disrespectful here. But the Juche stance is obviously a pro north korean communist pose to pay tribute to Kim Il Sung.

        Choi only spelled it Taekwon-Do later after he was spelling it the real way of Taekwondo. In Korean language there is no hyphen or grammatical reason for it. The true way to spell Taekwondo is in hangul. You need to really learn something.

      • White Dragon says:

        General Choi did not originall spell it Taekwon-Do.

        Here is some evidence:

        The back of the dobok says TAE KWON DO with no hyphen.

      • Mitch says:

        I rather doubt that any of the Kim family stood around in a parallel stance with twin side elbows.

      • White Dragon says:

        Really? Have you not seen the photos and paintings and the sculptures of them? Are you blind? Do you not know how to read my article?

      • “Only a maniacal and evil person would cause such a war only to not gain anything from it but death”.
        The above statement from your “Rant” might quite perfectly be used to describe George W Bush’s and DICK Cheney’s war on Iraq. What was gained – thousands of dead, US and Iraqi. Oh, and the greatest legacy of that war is the unleashing of terrorism throughout the world (and the death continues). There was one more benefit – a load of money for Halliburton, Cheney and the war machine.
        With respect to General Choi: I lived with him for 2 weeks in Quebec Canada in the 80’s while he traveled and taught seminars, traveled with him to other seminars and visited him and his family countless times with my family.
        I have been practicing I T F Taekwon-Do for well over 40 years, I’ve seen and been involved in a lot of things.
        General Choi was a politician. Without political ability very little gets done on a large scale in the world. General Choi had strength. He would travel about 300 days of the year promoting Taekwon-Do throughout the world – more than any other martial artist of his day or since. General Choi, I’m sure, had a strong ego (although he always treated people with respect and humility) because without strength he would not have accomplished what he did, spreading Taekwon-Do. Did General Choi have flaws and a dark side, like everyone else, I’m sure he did. Does General Choi deserve to be remembered for his leadership role in developing Taekwon-Do to what it is today? Definitely.
        General Choi was not a person that hid behind his keyboard making comments, he went out and got things done.
        If you want more first hand information contact me.

      • White Dragon says:

        George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have nothing to do with Taekwondo so please stop making a decoy. I will not argue U.S. Politics with you or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those wars were completely different than the Korean War. What the Kims did to North Korea is 100 million times worse than anything in the US led wars in the Middle East. You also seem to be a conspiracy theorist. Stay on topic.

        I agree Choi sould be remembered for his founding role in early TKD history. I never once denied that. But he should be remembered correctly. I like how you agree with e that Choi had a dark side and flaws. I am simply talking about them in my article. Can you tell me where I am wrong in my article?

        His leadership role for TKD ends when he created the ITF. His leadership role then solely applied to the ITF and not Taekwondo as a whole. So yes he did a lot for Taekwon-Do but not for Taekwondo.

        I also am not hiding behind a keyboard. I am openly stating everything and if anyone of you wanted to correct me in person go ahead. I am available.

    • Peter Marshall Thompson says:

      Kevin while it is true that many people were instrumental in the development of Taekwon-Do General Choi Hong Hi is recognized as the Father of Taekwon-Do as if it were not for his driving force and persistence to spread Taekwon-Do to Every Nation regardless of politics that led to fragmentation for many years and the division from political lies and manipulation. General Choi’s only wanted to bring Korea back to one country which is why he named the last Pattern Tong-Il which is Unity or to Unify in Han Gook. Please do research to find out the whole story. If you are on face book send me a Message and friend request to Peter Marshall Thompson. There are many of the Master’s that are still alive and was there throughout the development of Taekwon-Do.and they will be glad to answer your questions. While it is true that General Choi took Taekwon-Do to North Korea he also took it to many other countries also. He organized and paved the way for many instructors to be spread through out the World. You must remember when General Choi was born Korea was one not two and where he was born fell onto what is now North Korea. He was not North Korean He was Korean as in one Korea. The division came about as politics from other countries got involved and divided it up. Please do not believe the biased ramblings of a youth that has gone to Korea to train.to make himself seem important. His writings are biased and he manipulates the facts to try to elevate his status as some authority on the subject. Please just send me a friend request as I said on face book and you will see many Korean Grand Masters there telling stories of the past. They were there and they will correct any misconceptions that people spread. They are not all I.T. F. but many were involved. Have a great day and Thank You for your interest in finding the truth. Remember there has been a LOT of Politics played through the years. Have a great day and keep practicing.

      • White Dragon says:

        All you spouted was propaganda. Choi was all about politics and spreading his own fame. He didn’t care about unifying Korea until he could use it to cause conflicts to South Korea and the Kukkiwon because he was mad he got kicked out of the KTA. Nobody recognizes Choi was the Father of Taekwondo except ITF cultists like yourself. He was not THE FATHER, but simply ONE OF THE father’s of Taekwondo. But he later branched off and did his own thing instead of trying to stay within the KTA. He wanted full control but the other fathers of Taekwondo did not want to give him full control. Taekwondo has always been a group effort.

        He was also a General who fought for South Korea and was friends with Sygman Rhee. He only started being annoying about South Korea because he hated President Park. Choi was all about politics.

        I went to Korea to train for myself, not to make myself feel important. Don’t be an idiot.

  5. Peter Thompson says:

    Actually the truth be known Sygman Rhee was beginning to use Taekwon-Do as a Political tool and that is what angered General Choi and caused him to speak out against Sygman Rhee. when he was out of the country. I assume you know that when it came time to choose who would be President that General Choi was offered the opportunity however he and several more of the group chose not to so that they would be in a position to assure the New President had the best interest of the Korean people forefront. I am not trying to be insulting but as I have stated before you are judging from from your personal experience and from various sources that have influenced your opinion.. Congratulations on your Sadan while it is true that WTF considers a Sadan ( 4th Degree Black belt) as a Master that is wonderful for you. ITF considers a Sadan an Instructor and is required to take the International Instructors course then when you reach 7th Degree you are called a Master. Different ideologies can be good. What not good is not knowing all the facts from the men who were there then making a decision based upon your limited sources. You are entitled to your opinion however i would welcome you to come to face book with an OPEN mind and listen to some of the original people who had a hand in developing the techniques. You may be surprised at how open they are about the good and bad during the early periods. My face book page is Peter Marshall Thompson and you are welcome to send me a friend request. As I have stated I have many friends in WTF and we treat each other with respect. I am invited to sit in on testings and referee at various tournaments. My history originally comes from H.U. Lee’s ATA when some of the Instructors broke away and formed various organizations due to a difference of opinions, so I trained with USTA who President was Young Sun Kang for a number of years, then GM Kim Bok Man when he was in Denver. When he relocated his school, I joined KATU under Now GM Hwang Kwang Sung, who was Head of the Merger Committee at General Choi’s request, Yes I am ITF but I having trained since 1983 I have been most fortunate to meet, talk to, and learn a lot of the information from many different people. As with any large or small group of people there are various stories and how they are remembered or perceived. I am quite aware that when people form an opinion it is extremely difficult to change that opinion. People do not like to be told they are wrong on any subject. What one must do is go in with an open mind and listen to what is said then ask questions to obtain more if possible. Do I agree with everything General Choi did, of course not, I don’t even like some things I have had to do but they had to be done for the good of the group. General Choi could be harsh but he truly loved Korea and wanted only to try his best to encourage a unification however he had to do it. From the times I was fortunate enough to spend with him he was most gracious and had a bit of a sense of humor. He treated me with respect more than I felt I deserved and was complimentary on occasion. He was old school Korean forged under the Japanese Occupation where you had to pretend to play the game to survive even though you were undermining the Japanese control. The Korean people had their cultured raped and pillaged during this time. The results created a nearly insurmountable realm of distrust among the people . Much of their historical artifacts were destroyed and they were forced to take Japanese names if they wanted to have an advanced education. They were not allowed to speak Han Gook out in the open for fear of retribution. Many who survived felt the only way to take care of their family was to either join the gangs or manipulate who they could anyway they could for money. I have seen this many times over and the culture has trickled down to some organization across the World where unscrupulous people take advantage of their students.
    It was a very difficult thing to do to even get the Kwans to meet let alone agree to use just one name. Some such as GM Hwang Kee chose to go their own route without joining the others. This did not make him a bad man he was quite remarkable but very strong willed as General Choi was.
    My point is not to win you over you have made your decision but I would request to broaden your horizons and embrace the knowledge of some of the Greatest Grans Masters alive. No one ever agrees on everything with everyone it is an impossibility given human nature. We all say things in the heat of the moment when someone says something we do not agree with. I offer a hand to let you know there is more to the story than you have acquired .
    I thought maybe I should use a paragraph as I notice my ramblings have covered such a large segment. I know Jasmine Choi and yes she is General Choi’s grand daughter make no mistake. She is very passionate and loves her Grand Father immensely as she does so many things, She is one of the kindest, gentlest, loving generous people I have ever known but like her Grand Father she is very passionate in her beliefs and very protective of her family as a Mother Lioness is. It is a difficult thing to stand by while someone speaks unpleasantly about someone you loved so much. I am sure you would most likely be the same if someone made comments about your Mother, Father, or Grandparents. I can honestly say there are some things jasmine and I don’t totally agree on 100% but that does not deter from the fact my feelings for her and her family. GM Choi Jung Hwa has always been very accommodating when we have been together though it has been a few years as was his Father. i had just about given up many years ago from some of the dealings I had with a few Korean Masters that I felt were manipulating there students for personal gain. What is so interesting is the ones you would expect to be the least likely to talk to a colored belt I saw time and time again make the colored belts feel they mattered and were actually given more attention than the Black Belts at numerous seminars that I either attended or assisted with. The emphasis was on compassion not money and that is why I have so much respect for these men. I have trained with a Sargent, a Master Sargent, Captain of the ROK Army and sporadic Seminars, dinners, and talks with General Choi. Many of these men used Taekwon-Do in hand to hand combat with having unheard of kill ratios under less than ideal situations. Many times outnumbered and out gunned yet they speak with kindness and respect. I hope we can have an open discussion and possibly once sometime in the future you may soften your tone a bit when you realize the forum you have should be to guide in a gentle way as you would a child when someone ask you a question such as Kevin did. I am the one who pointed your forum out to Jasmine not to create discourse but so you can see how words can harm others when spoken too harshly. Again she is a spitfire but once you get to really know her you will think of her a little differently even if you disagree, Thee will be a lot of arrows shot from both sides. You have the opportunity to create not destroy. I relate sparring to the game of Chess where strategy and manipulation of the enemy is what wins the game. General Choi attended and was trained by the best Military school in the United States and was a Master at the game. Take time to contemplate why he would risk so much by going to North Korea and other Communist countries not just the so called free countries that were run by multiple facets of political ideology. You do not accomplish much going headstrong into the encampment of the opposition but you choose your steps wisely and offer some sort of gift however large or minute it may be to accomplish your goal. This he did well and he succeeded where other so called diplomats failed. He slowly opened the doors for others to have the opportunity to make change.
    Now for the last subject I promise as an old man here is getting tired and has not eaten yet today. I felt it more important to offer an olive branch to open the doors in a more civilized manner. Can I be gruff, blunt, to the point and sometimes even cruel if I choose, of course but such is life . Now I will speak on the question of General Choi’s rank as you brought it up. Many of the Kwans came from studying some other Martial art as most of the writings, history, or documentation of the Korean Arts were destroyed by the Japanese and the Koreans were forbidden to practice but Karate under certain circumstances. None of the Kwan founders and I well could be wrong but here i say as this is what I believe as you believe what you do. Again I say None of the original 5 Kwans founders that I have found documentation were Grand Masters in a Japanese style. Think about it. They all trained some, some more than others but they took what they learned and created their own style however similar or different they may have been. This being said and I’m sure someone will correct me with some documentation they found under a rock somewhere left these men to form their own schools and either promote each other either from the different schools or self promote. When the end of the day comes the one that did the research and studied , and developed that style will be it’s Grand Master as only he knows what he is going to teach and how. There are many styles that have been developed through the years through the military training or modifying existing styles of Martial arts. Every country has multiple styles and each says their’s is the best. The best Martial Artist uses what is best at that particular moment and no more. It’s like the old saying you don’t bring a knife to a good fight. In coming to the close of this rhetoric I have been weaving in and out of. I hope you will realize that through the research and the aide of many great friends and instructors General Choi developed his own style like I said not by himself but with the aide of others and pushed it to the fore front more than any Martial Art has ever been. He in the whole scope by many of the ones who worked with him on the techniques all agree he was a Grand Master just as the other Kwans founders were maybe even more so as he put forth the effort that very few of them did to promote what he was a major part of. So even though the stings everyone is going to feel even you admit some of His contributions to the whole but it is the Grand Masters of today that recognized his Rank, Title, and contributions. The reason for so many years there were only 8th degrees and no other 9th is the fact that to the 8th’s it would have been a sign of disrespect to be the same rank as your Master. This is why General Choi removed himself from the Ranking system so that the 8th degrees would accept their 9th degree. Have fun training and hopefully we can shift the discussion to a more Gentlemanly tone for the betterment of all for the last resort of a Gentleman’s disagreement in the olden days was a duel. LOL For a peace offering I will give you a present of a
    PERSIMMON PUDDING RECIPE
    Now what do you do with those persimmons? Make persimmon pudding! This is a baked dessert with the taste of pumpkin and the texture of gingerbread. (Yum!)
    This persimmon pudding recipe is from the “Indiana Nut Growers Cookbook” (1995), courtesy of the Indiana Nutgrowers Association.
    Ingredients:

    2 Cups persimmon pulp
    2 Cups sugar
    3 small eggs
    ½ stick (4 Tablespoons) margarine
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ Cup buttermilk
    1-¾ Cups sweet cream (or milk)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 Tablespoons additional persimmon pulp
    1-¾ Cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    • Mix together the persimmon pulp, sugar and eggs.
    • Mix baking soda with buttermilk and add to mixture in bowl.
    • Melt margarine in baking pan and add to mixture.
    • Sift flour and baking powder together and add alternately with cream or milk. Add cinnamon and mix well.
    • Fold in the additional 2 Tablespoons persimmon pulp.
    • Pour into 13 x 9-inch metal pan and bake at 350 °F for 55-60 minutes. Be careful not to over bake.
    Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!

    Persimmons can also be made into breads, dried fruit, canned into jam, and even alcohol.

    • White Dragon says:

      I appreciate your polite tone which is more than I can say about the grandmaster’s granddaughter.

      Anyway, why did Choi make a form called Juche, why did he hold hands with Kim Jung Il (a murderous dictator god king), and why did he insist he created Taekwondo himself and is the sole founder?

      Choi was not a true 4th dan and the other kwan leaders were. I never said they were “grandmasters” but they were legitimate masters of Karate and Kung Fu. They had sills. Choi was a low rank if he even had a black belt at the time. Why does he get so much credit for things and the others do not?

      I wrote this blog because of the vehemence and insults from ITF people who have constantl bad mouthed the Kukkiwon and WTF and people who train in this style. Abuse after abuse and trash talk after trash talk but when someone writes a blog wit supporting evidence all you can do is insult people and name call. YOu did not in this pot but others and Jasmine Choi did. How can you let her off the hook for that? Don’t be hypocritical and don’t show favoritism.

      It’s great you have been in Taekwondo circles since 1983. Good for you and you have seen a lot. But that doesn’t mean I have to give General Choi undue credit or assume ITF is the truth of Taekwondo. Don’t even get me started on the atrocity that is the ATA.

      I also do not personally care if someone did ITF r is in ITF. If I meet any ITF or a gym owner of ITF so be it. I don’t care and will not tell them to quit. Heck I may even work with people if it benefited us both who are ITF if there was some function or tournament. Back in the day we had open tournaments in the 1990’s and all kinds of organizations came. I believe people in the WTF Kukkiwon style are much more kinder and open to working with ITF than ITF is about working with us. ITF is always angery and bitter and constantly insulting and also making excuses for North Korea. As an AMerican I cannot support that. Yet, Kukkiwon and WTF is always diplomatic trying to unify or work with ITF and nothing ever happens. Yet ITF people constantly insult others and say we don’t do real martial arts and that we only do a sport while at the same time promoting ITF sport tournaments. It is all nonsense.

      Also, there is no excuse for the sine wave and it makes no sense. There is a lot wrong with ITF but it doe snot mean I don’t think they have some people who are good fighters.

      I have ver right to criticize Choi and write about historical things that I learned by research and as taught by Korean grandmasters in person. I even provide links to articles and photos to prove my point. If you don’t agree then try to provide evidence and address the points instead of name calling. ANd then claiming my disagreement is disrespectful and I am not a true master.

      You may be nice in this post but I SAW what you posted on Jasmine Choi’s page and how you mocked me. You need to be real with me and not a fake. I saw what you said because a friend showed me.

      The points I made in my article should be addressed by you guys and not just name calling and calls for peaceful discussion.

      How was Choi NOT a North Korean Juche Comunist sympathizer? HOw is it okay he went to North Korea and was friends with the Kims? Why is this acceptable?

  6. Peter Thompson says:

    If you remember I also said we all make comments in the heat of the moment and I never once claimed I did not make any such comment. Now that out of the way. I magnified the photo you mentioned and the position of Kim’s hand is a closed fist and if you look closely you can see General Choi’s hand is positioned with the potion of his right hand the web between the thumb and index finger pointed forward.. Now is there anyway to hold hands like that, possibly if Kim had Choi’s finger holding it in his fist. I sent you a friend request and asked you to send me one so that you can see exactly what I say. I see that you do not care for the theatrical put to music competitions at some organizations tournaments. I detest them also. I am very traditional in training techniques , however I also will incorporate modern technology. Regardless of what martial art one practices that person will only be so good as his natural ability and hard work will allow them to be. There will always be someone who is a better fighter, better at patterns, etc. no matter what style. I teach a little different than some instructors, not that my ways are better or worse just different. Yes I can talk trash with the best of them just as most Martial Artist who are confident in their ability or style. The difference is I will take something I see someone else do if it is a reasonable effective technique and use it if possible. As I said before trash talk aside my offer to discuss and maybe trade ideas is still open when you come back to the States. We actually don’t live that far apart. you are just a little North of Montgomery and I am across the bay from Mobile so let me know when you make it back and we’ll have lunch rather than type all the crap. I have nothing to hide and welcome the commentary. I can be as real as you want, the few people I would have at my back in a bar fight banter back and forth but in the end they are there when no one else has the balls to be.. As far as the sine wave your opinion on that is just the same as some others. My point is if you don’t like it don’t use it. During actual applications it is not as exaggerated as it is when doing patterns. Some styles believe kicking above the waist is ridiculous but it is prominent in other styles and used successfully. There are many schools of thought on techniques and how they should be utilized. A point I like to throw out is my belief that a mediocre technician with an instinctive fighting ability will defeat a person of great technique with no instinct for fighting. A great read and I am assuming you have read it and if not is The book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. One must be able to understand the difference between no thing and nothing. What ever technique is done should be without thought and fluid. The subject of General Choi being a Communist sympathizer is always going to be a debate and there will be people who want to try to point out certain acts to prove a point. Sometimes you have to act or react to a situation differently than your heart desires to achieve a higher purpose and this is what I believe he did from my research and the small amounts of hours I spent with the man. I am not saying he made decisions that I would have but I in no way feel from my experience feel in my hear that he preferred Communism over freedoms. we can discuss it more if you would like when you get back to the States where we can talk face to face rather than continue as we have done. Heck I might even spring for the lunch. LOL Anyway when are you planning to come back home? I see you are going some place else now I believe is that correct ? TTYL Peter

    • White Dragon says:

      All right then. I accept your apology if that is what you are doing.

      Okay find if you want to believe Choi was not into communism (maybe e was not) that is fine. I don’t care. But even so what he did is show sympathy for North Korean communism. You don’t ave to be an outright commie to show sympathetic attitudes to it. If he did have a good heart behind what he did by going to North Korea he made a very, very, very, very, very bad judgment call. Him being Korean should know how the other Koreans would take it. I really believe Choi wanted to slight the WTF so hard and even South Korea’s government because he hated the president Park.

      Even so whatever. Be ITF, rank up do whatever. But me personally cannot support that.

      I am just glad General Choi’s son has recanted his support for North Korea and even openly claime doposition toward his dad’s pro-North Korean stance. He at least admits there was something between his dad and North Korea…too bad his daughter Jasmine cannot see these obvious facts as well and instead has to name call me and act immature. She should at east admit these truths too. If someone’s grandpa was a megalomaniac or acted like a jerk to people they should admit it. Doing what he did does not discount his early part in the KTA or for Taekwondo even though he changed to Taekwon-Do (his own martial art and not Korea’s martial art). People need to get over it.

      Put this stuff to rest and let Kukkiwon or Korea or whoever do whatever. We have ever right to not like certain things. Just as ITFers have a right not to like WTF or Kukkiwon. BUt if ITF will insult us and say “ohh you are just a stupid sport and don’t even punch the face” people like me WILL respond and defend it and speak the truth. We are not a sport, we are a martial art and we DO punch to the face and will. WTF is the sport and even I don’t care about it much but simply show my respect for what it is. It is simply a small part of my training and that is it.

      Nbody has to worship Choi or be forced to believe he was something he was not. People like your buddies, especially those who write for magazines seem to live their life completely dedicated to General Choi and that is all they care about as if he is the lord and savior of Taekwondo and their lives. I find it a bit strange and pathetic. I believe people follow a man, nt a martial art system. Whereas Kukki Taekwondo people simply follow a martial art and a way, a Korean cultural martial art. Not one person.

  7. EX-ITF says:

    ITFers worship General Choi as a God, who really only created his own style of martial art, therefore is the president of ITF not TAEKWONDO as an art. Although the art does have some positive aspects, overall it’s a useless style certainly in comparison to other arts.
    Choi was a blackbelt in karate! I hardly believe it was Gichin Funakoshi who taught him, most likely a student of his who taught Choi and sadly to say ITF is living off from Japanese karate as if Choi hadn’t learnt some karate he wouldn’t have been able to form ITF.
    Choi promoted many black belts to higher ranks when they never deserved it, he just wanted ppl to practice ITF.

    • White Dragon says:

      It is said there is no real evidence he actually earned a black belt in Karate and yet was trying to take over all Taekwondo.

      Then he decided since no one followed him he has to change the spelling to Taekwon-Do to be different. Then later added the sine wave. In early photographs you can see ITF people wearing doboks that say Tae Kwon Do (the oldschool spelling from the 50’s and 60’s) and it was only changed later by Choi and there is no grammatical reason to add the hyphen at all. They alays have to drink the kool aid and believe there is.

      • Ex-ITF says:

        Very true White Dragon!
        I also want to say if Choi was a black belt in karate where is the evidence?
        Take Mas Oyama he was a tough karate fighter who created Kyokushin, he proved his style effective. Choi would never stand a chance against him and he himself never proved his style to be effective. Breaking boards and jumping up and down in your patterns isn’t the answer. Anyone can create patterns but if doesn’t work it’s pointless and waste of time…

      • White Dragon says:

        Choi never fought anyone. He claims he did but there is no proof. He made it all up as far as I am concerned. No witnesses and refusal to prove it an fight others. All he had to do was fight other Taekwondo masters and prove ITF as superior but he didnt.

  8. ITFKicker says:

    I have found a supporting article that doesn’t seem complete yet, but the author says the article will be done by 11 April 2017 via Facebook (Taekwon-Do birthday)at
    http://www.kidokwan.org/taekwon-do-%ED%83%9C%EA%B6%8C%EB%8F%84-%E8%B7%86%E6%8B%B3%E9%81%93/taekwon-do-and-the-dprk/

    • White Dragon says:

      Interesting. I am not sure if the author of that thinks it is positive or negative to be associated with North Korea.

      There are still the other 3 or whatver groups claiming ITF, or from Choi, who have their own presidents including the Canada group which is run by Choi’s actual son.

      Hopefully ITF will just die out, I would never participate in ITF because it supports communist ideology and we are already going through tons of crap in America right now in our cultural climate. Hopefully ITF in the USA is not connected to Vienna to North Korea but at least through Choi’s son who has turned against communism after being a former “North Korean assassin.”

  9. Trev Hill says:

    I find your description of the three different ITFs (megalomaniacs etc) a little childish. Part of the reason for the split was because two of the groups did not want to be governed by North Korea (as you probably know, Choi Hong Hi wanted ITF HQ to move to NK).

    • White Dragon says:

      Oh really? It is not childish if it is true. You really think it was 100% because Choi’s son and the other ITF leaders were noble and did not like North Korea and it had absolutely nothing to do with ego and desire to control ITF? Come on get real. You are the childish one.

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