The Oh Do Kwan (The gym of my way) was founded in 1955 by Choi Hong Hi, who also became honorary head of the Chung Do Kwan. The top instructors of the Oh Do Kwan were Nam Tae Hi and Han Cha Kyo. Choi is regarded by many as the "Founder of Taekwondo"—most often by International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) organizations. Choi had been forced to serve in the Japanese army during World War II, but was implicated in a rebellion and imprisoned, during which time he continued practicing martial arts. Following the war, in January 1946, Choi was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Korean army. From 1946 to 1951, Choi received promotions to first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, and then brigadier general. Choi was promoted to major general in 1954. Choi combined elements of Taekkyeon and Karate to develop a martial art that he called "Taekwon-Do", which means "foot, hand, the way" or "the way of hand and foot" and it was so named on 11 April 1955. Choi founded the Oh Do Kwan, and held an honorary 4th Dan ranking in the Chung Do Kwan. Due to accusations of dishonesty, Choi was stripped of his rank and position in the Chung Do Kwan. During the 1960s, Choi and Nam Tae Hi led the original masters of taekwondo in promoting their martial art around the world, though these would be only the first of many such endeavors. Choi is arguably the most controversial figure in taekwondo history.
In ITF-style taekwondo, Choi is widely celebrated as the founder of taekwondo.
In Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo however, Choi’s contributions to taekwondo history are somewhat more downplayed. When writing about the history of modern taekwondo, the two major styles of taekwondo (ITF and Kukkiwon/WTF) tell the story rather differently. Most WTF sources do not explicitly say that Choi did anything dishonorable (though that it sometimes intimated); instead they merely downplay his role.
Choi died of cancer on 15 June 2002 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Shortly after his death, the ITF split into three separate organizations (see ITF Taekwon-do for an explanation of the split).
Choi is listed in the Taekwondo Hall of Fame with various titles: "Father of Taekwon-Do," "Founder and First President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation," and "Founder of Oh Do Kwan." Choi’s obituary from the 8 August 2002 New York Times reads as follows:
Gen. Choi Hong Hi, widely acknowledged as the founder of tae kwon do, a martial art that began in Korea and spread rapidly to community centers and storefronts around the United States, died on June 15 in Pyongyang, North Korea. He was 83 and lived in Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto.
General Choi went home to die in Pyongyang after doctors in Canada determined his stomach cancer was inoperable, said Craig Stanley, an assistant to Jung Hwa, the general's son.
Tae kwon do was developed by General Choi in the 1940's as a combination of a Korean form, taekkyon, and the Japanese discipline karate. It is a method of unarmed combat intended for self-defense that engages the mind and the body.
General Choi's detractors, including officials in the South Korean government, say that the discipline is merely a repackaging of old Asian martial arts techniques. But even they credit General Choi with the name tae kwon do -- tae, meaning to kick with the foot, kwon, meaning to strike with the fist, and do, meaning art. He came up with it in 1955.
Choi coined the term Tae Kwon Do, and created Oh Do Kwan teaching it to the military, he was a student of Karate reaching the rank of 2nd Dan. The Chong Hon patterns were done in that style and when not done with sine wave you can see the Karate.
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