Hello.

Not wanting to start up another ITF-WTF debate, and I realise that ITFunity was merely commenting on the anniversary of a particular date, presumably without wider connotations, but I couldn’t resist it ...

General Choi is widely known as the “father of TKD”. This is based largely on the assumption that he came up with the name (others contend this) and his aggressive *political* control via his military influence, his KTA presidency and the ITF. His *demonstrable* martial arts qualification was largely based on having a 1st or 2nd dan black belt in Shotokan from Japan, and having trained for some time at the Chung Do Kwan, where he was awarded an *honorary* 4th Dan for political reasons (later revoked). He co-founded the Oh Do Kwan with Nam Tae Hi, who was generally considered the real martial arts technician of the two.

Previously, between 1944 and 1946 five Kwans had been founded, most of them by masters who had equal or greater martial arts rank than Choi. Choi’s Oh Do Kwan was one of several new Kwans founded during or after the Korean War, all of them offshoots of the original five. All the Kwans taught similar arts, largely Karate-based, some with a certain degree of Chinese Quan Fa influence. The Oh Do Kwan was no exception, basically teaching Chung Do Kwan TSD/KSD.

Choi and Nam composed the Chang Hon patterns, some of which were used in several Kwans up to about 1967, and which were adopted in international ITF schools exclusively of other patterns when Choi split from the KTA. The bulk of the patterns used by all the Kwans were Okinawan katas, however, and after 1967 most switched to the Palgwes/BB-patterns and later the Taegeuks.

Choi was generally considered a troublemaker with his own self-serving political agenda, and was effectively thrown out of the KTA presidency in 1965 or ’66. He then established the ITF, where he could follow that agenda and let the rest of Taesoodo/Taekwondo get on with life.

I have no wish to be antagonistic or to detract from Choi’s achievements in terms of the expansion of TKD. However, I do have difficulty accepting this widely-held assumption that he was the one true father of the art, and that this art was born in 1955, since this effectively excludes the contribution of at least five major masters who preceded him and innumerable others who contributed significantly to the art. I would honestly be willing to re-evaluate the above appraisal if anybody can give me contrastable information (i.e. not hearsay or “party line”) to indicate otherwise.

Cheers,

sjon
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