NTA UK honour and promote the legacy of the Founder Grand Master General Choi Hong Hi 9th Dan ITF Taekwon-Do. This piece is found at http://itfofficial.org/?page_id=2178
General Choi Hong Hi was born in November 1918 (or December according to western calendars) in northern part of Korea before Korea became two nations. His early life was peppered with incidents that demonstrated his determination and rebellious nature against the occupying forces of the Japanese nation, one such example was his expulsion from school at age 12 for leading a protest against the Japanese. As a youth he was privileged to study Chinese characters, and calligraphy and was exposed to the Korean martial art of Taekyon through his calligraphy teacher. Ironically he moved to Japan to further his education where he learnt Karate and achieved at least a second Dan black belt, although there is some confusion about exactly what rank he finally achieved2 but there is independent verification that he taught Karate at a YMCA in Japan.
Towards the end of the Second World War he was forcefully conscripted into the Japanese army however he was then involved in a plot to overthrow the Japanese colonial government. Eventually the plotters planned to join what some called the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army and the efforts of Korean guerrilla warrior Kim Il-Sung, who rose to be a commander of their underground resistance and independence movement. He was high on the Japanese most wanted list. The success of this movement and Korean resistance army was aided by the availability to move back and forth across the borders of China and the Soviet Union that were located in this northeast region of Korea. Traitors who were Korean collaborators reported the plans and General Choi and others were jailed. He was fortunately released shortly before the end of the war and subsequently was instrumental in setting up the South Korean government advocating for democratic national control.
He enrolled in a military language school in 1945 which subsequently became the Korean Military academy and was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant in 1946. As a young junior officer he began teaching his soldiers Tang Soo Do (karate) and recruited other martial artists to instruct the growing number of soldiers under his command as he rose through the ranks in the fledgling army. He was also one of the elite few Korean army officers to undergo training in military strategy and intelligence in the United States. in 1951, now a brigadier general, he organized the Ground General School in Pusan as assistant Commandant and Chief of the Academic Department. Choi was appointed as Chief of Staff of the First Corps in 1952 and was responsible for the briefing General MacArthur during the latter’s visit to Kang Nung. At the time of the armistice, Choi was in command of the 5th Infantry Division. The year 1953 was an eventful one for the General, in both his military career and in the progress of the new martial art. He became the author of the first authoritative book on military intelligence in Korea . He organized and activated the crack 29th infantry Division at Cheju Island, which eventually became the spearhead of Taekwon-do in the military and established the Oh Do Kwan ( Gym of my Way) where he succeeded not only in training the cadre instructors for the entire military but also developing the Taek Kyon and Karate techniques into a modern system of Taekwon-do, with the help of Mr Nam Tae HI, his right hand man in 1954.