Looking for a Taekwondo mentor

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BaehrTKD

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Well sir I don't know how you define "Many" but General Choi taught 187 Multi Day Instructor courses as well as numerous seminars. I spent over 100 classroom hours with him during 7 courses (One of which I hosted) plus various seminars. Many of those who attended those courses did the same or more.

So he taught you every day from white belt to black belt?

Don't get me wrong, it's cool that you spent time with him in seminars. What I'm saying is that he taught my instructor from white belt to black belt back when he was in his prime. He would have been teaching every class over many years and demonstrating the techniques.
 
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BaehrTKD

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The late GM Park Jong Soo went to Canada in 1968.
It's a shame you did not make note of GM Oh's ITF Dan #s since I saw Han Cha Kyo's certificate # K-8-6 which was dated 1973 meaning there were 5 Senior to him . If K-8-1 was assigned to General Choi, that only leaves 4 and conjecture has been that those may have been assigned to Seniors like Nam Tae Hi - Probably #2 as well as CK Choi, and Kim Bok Man. Would be great to know for certain who had what numbers and in what order.

I believe Chung Oh opened his school in Kitchener, Ontario in 1973. (I'd have to double check the date.) So if we consider that he was already a high level black belt before he left Korea (and used to teach taekwondo to the Korean military as well before he left), I'd say he got his black belt long before 1973. He would have got his black belt in the 1960's.

Once he left Korea for Canada, his training was largely "complete".

Ironically, not all of the patterns were finished yet by then, and some have changed in subtle ways over the years. The way my instructor learned them was the way they originally were. Based on everything you've said, I'd say it's a given that Chung Oh was one of those five that were senior to Han Cha Kyo, especially if Kyo's certificate is dated 1973. Chung Oh was already living in Canada running his martial arts school by then. Chung Oh was probably 4th Dan black belt when his school first opened, in 1973.
 

auntlisa1103

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I dont want this to sound like Im trying to discourage you. But please do everything you can to go into this eyes open. Find out everything you can about actually running a school. My GM told me that the pandemic closed 60% of private martial arts schools in the US, and that only half of those reopened, because the former owners decided they liked actually having a life outside the school.

I am ALLLLLLLLL for going for dreams. Please just set yourself up for success by knowing what you are getting into.
 

Earl Weiss

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So he taught you every day from white belt to black belt?

Don't get me wrong, it's cool that you spent time with him in seminars. What I'm saying is that he taught my instructor from white belt to black belt back when he was in his prime. He would have been teaching every class over many years and demonstrating the techniques.
Suffice it to say if he taught your instructor from white Belt to Black Belt "every day" that would be a highly unusual situation for several reasons. 1. General Choi traveled extensively throughout the world during his lifetime and never had his own physical school. Did your instructor travel with him? 2. General Choi did not even teach his own son from white Belt to Black Belt. 3. You indicated that your instructor may have been one of the most senior in the ITF and all of the Seniors of that generation had martial arts training before joining the ITF or it's pre cursor under General Choi. 4. Original students of the Oh Do Kwan / 29th Infantry division were mostly chosen because they already had a Martial arts background and Nam Tae Hi was the hands on instructor. Only he and the most Seniors trained directly under General Choi. If your instructor 4th Dan in 1973 15 years earlier It would be interesting for him to have been among that group.


FWIW my history is well known among many Senior USA ITF people and they know I would never claim to have trained under him every day from White to Black Belt.
 
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Earl Weiss

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Ironically, not all of the patterns were finished yet by then, and some have changed in subtle ways over the years. The way my instructor learned them was the way they originally were. Based on everything you've said, I'd say it's a given that Chung Oh was one of those five that were senior to Han Cha Kyo, especially if Kyo's certificate is dated 1973. Chung Oh was already living in Canada running his martial arts school by then. Chung Oh was probably 4th Dan black belt when his school first opened, in 1973.
1. With the exception of Ju Che replacing Ko Dang later all patterns (with later refinements / corrections to appear in the 1983 Text) Appear in the 1972 Text so your statement about patterns not being complete by 1973 is for the most part incorrect.

2. If Chung Oh was 4th Dan in 1973, it is also incorrect that he would be Senior to Han Cha Kyo - not even close since the ITF Certificate numbering system Has the Country Designation letter, The Dan Number, and then the Sequence number for the person who has the certificate. Han Cha Kyo's 8th Dan Certificate was K-8=6 issued in 1973. So, by your account your instructor would have been a 4th Dan when GM Han was an 8th Dan.
 

HighKick

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I believe Chung Oh opened his school in Kitchener, Ontario in 1973. (I'd have to double check the date.) So if we consider that he was already a high level black belt before he left Korea (and used to teach taekwondo to the Korean military as well before he left), I'd say he got his black belt long before 1973. He would have got his black belt in the 1960's.

Once he left Korea for Canada, his training was largely "complete".

Ironically, not all of the patterns were finished yet by then, and some have changed in subtle ways over the years. The way my instructor learned them was the way they originally were. Based on everything you've said, I'd say it's a given that Chung Oh was one of those five that were senior to Han Cha Kyo, especially if Kyo's certificate is dated 1973. Chung Oh was already living in Canada running his martial arts school by then. Chung Oh was probably 4th Dan black belt when his school first opened, in 1973.
Many of the early and current military TKD instructors were/are 1st or 2nd Dan. Not uncommon at all.
 

HighKick

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It means you own the school. It doesn't actually have anything to do with rank. The -nim suffix is a sign of respect. The more familiar sabumnim means 'respected teacher', again with no relationship to any rank. Calling someone 'sabum' means teacher, but without the suffix it could even be seen as an insult.
Sadly, I am much more just a Kwanjangnim than I am a Sabumnim nowadays.
 

BaehrTKD

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Suffice it to say if he taught your instructor from white Belt to Black Belt "every day" that would be a highly unusual situation for several reasons.
All I know is that my instructor was one of General Choi's original black belt students. That was the official word given by Chung Oh's School on their website under his bio, and I believe it. The timeline fits.

If Taekwondo began in the mid 1950's (under the name Taekwondo) then General Choi must have had at least one school and must have had students he was teaching it to. Choi created his own pattern set and must have taught it to students during this time period. My instructor would have been in his 20's in the 1960's. They both lived in Korea at that time. Both of them would have lived through the Korean war that had just concluded.

Taekwondo gained peak popularity in the 1990's. My instructor was already teaching it in the 1970's! Imagine that. The Karate Kid movie would come out in the 1980's as a popular martial arts movie promoting Karate, not Taekwondo. Bruce Lee's movies promoted Kung-Fu in the 1970's. Taekwondo wasn't even on the radar screen of North Americans in 1970, that's how far ahead of the curve Chung Oh was.


3. You indicated that your instructor may have been one of the most senior in the ITF and all of the Seniors of that generation had martial arts training before joining the ITF or it's pre cursor under General Choi.
I don't know if the ITF even existed back then. To my knowledge, the ITF came later.

4. Original students of the Oh Do Kwan / 29th Infantry division were mostly chosen because they already had a Martial arts background and Nam Tae Hi was the hands on instructor. Only he and the most Seniors trained directly under General Choi. If your instructor 4th Dan in 1973 15 years earlier It would be interesting for him to have been among that group.
I'm just guessing on what his rank was back then. I don't know the progression. Once he came to Canada, I don't know who would have been training him unless it was General Choi himself, because nobody else was here to learn from.

Imagine being Korean in 1960. There's no internet, no YouTube. If you want to learn Taekwondo, it can only happen in a Taekwondo school, of which none exist in North America. General Choi fled Korea and brought his ITF organization with him to Canada. (That was why the WTF was created. They wanted an organization in Korea.) So now you've got General Choi living in Canada near Toronto, and there's a good chance my instructor came with him or followed him over.

Whatever rank my instructor had, he either had everything he needed before he left, or General Choi continued to teach him over here in Canada. According to my instructor, they didn't have 9 degrees of black belt when TKD started. They only had something like 4.

If Chung Oh learns TKD in the 1960's, he comes to Canada as a high level black belt in the 1970's, opens his school in 1973, and the rest is history.

FWIW my history is well known among many Senior USA ITF people and they know I would never claim to have trained under him every day from White to Black Belt.

I think my instructor was unique. Probably the right blend of being in the right place at the right time and being the right age.
 

Earl Weiss

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If Taekwondo began in the mid 1950's (under the name Taekwondo) then General Choi must have had at least one school and must have had students he was teaching it to. Choi created his own pattern set and must have taught it to students during this time period.
The history is well known and your assumption is incorrect. There was a martial art demonstration before before Pres. Rhee approx 1952. (Nam Tae Hi and Han Cha Kyo were among the demonstrators) After that General Choi was tasked with teaching, came up with the Name TKD which was accepted in 1955 and formed the 29th Infantry division where TKD was taught by Nam Tae Hi. GM Name and other seniors met with General Choi to refine their techniques and learn what he wanted taught and develop the patterns. This was all thru the 29th infantry division Oh Do Kwan which Taught and developed instructors an sent out Demo teams. General Choi did not have a school.
 

Earl Weiss

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Taekwondo gained peak popularity in the 1990's. My instructor was already teaching it in the 1970's! Imagine that.
This must have been area specific. My instructor opened his retail school in approximately 1973 or so (before that it was an evening program at the High School) and in the Chicago north side area there were other ITF affiliated including but not limited to those operated by KS Shin, Han Cha Kyo, Nam Tae Hi, Mac Newton, and others. Our Martial Arts boom seemed to be spurred by the Kung fu TV Show which debuted in early 1972.

Since I taught regular classes since 1974 or so, it is not hard to imagine.
 
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BaehrTKD

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The history is well known and your assumption is incorrect. There was a martial art demonstration before before Pres. Rhee approx 1952. (Nam Tae Hi and Han Cha Kyo were among the demonstrators) After that General Choi was tasked with teaching, came up with the Name TKD which was accepted in 1955 and formed the 29th Infantry division where TKD was taught by Nam Tae Hi. GM Name and other seniors met with General Choi to refine their techniques and learn what he wanted taught and develop the patterns. This was all thru the 29th infantry division Oh Do Kwan which Taught and developed instructors an sent out Demo teams. General Choi did not have a school.

Then my instructor must have been part of that 29th Infantry division. Somehow, some way he got a black belt from General Choi.

General Choi was in his 40's in the 1960's. My instructor would have been in his 20's.

It's highly unlikely that my instructor would have been one of the demonstrators in 1952. He would have been too young at just ~12 years old.

I don't know if Korea had a mandatory draft as a result of the war, but I suspect they probably did. Based on what you've said, my instructor's history with General Choi probably would have started with the 29th Infantry division, where he would have been at fighting age for military combat. I'm sure there are historical records that list the members of that division. I'd be fascinated to know if Chung Won Oh is among them. (His full name.)

According to Wikipedia:

"In 1972, Choi went into exile in Canada after the South Korean government objected to his introduction of the sport into North Korea, and the South Korea government formed the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in 1973[6] (renamed to WT in 2018)."

Based on the timeline, I think my instructor knew him from the Korean military and followed him to Canada (or came with him to Canada).
 

Earl Weiss

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Then my instructor must have been part of that 29th Infantry division. Somehow, some way he got a black belt from General Choi.
That is why it would have been interesting if someone had taken note of his ITF certificate number (s) . The ITF in Vienna has the records but it is not easy to get them to respond to requests for information. Not long ago I was able to get them to replace my lost 1st Dan Certificate from 1976.
As time passes these pieces of the puzzle will be tougher to assemble. With every camera being able to take a digital picture it becomes a little easier to archive stuff. Perhaps you know who has his paperwork. I still have slim hopes of accessing Han Cha Kyo's paperwork since his family is in the area.
 

BaehrTKD

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Incidentally, it's also worth noting that at Chung Oh's School, the uniforms had 5-point stars to indicate rank, a military convention:
 

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BaehrTKD

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1. With the exception of Ju Che replacing Ko Dang later all patterns (with later refinements / corrections to appear in the 1983 Text) Appear in the 1972 Text so your statement about patterns not being complete by 1973 is for the most part incorrect.
The fact that they haven't changed since 1972 doesn't mean my instructor wasn't learning them already in 1962, while they were still changing and being developed. That's all I'm saying.

2. If Chung Oh was 4th Dan in 1973, it is also incorrect that he would be Senior to Han Cha Kyo - not even close since the ITF Certificate numbering system Has the Country Designation letter, The Dan Number, and then the Sequence number for the person who has the certificate. Han Cha Kyo's 8th Dan Certificate was K-8=6 issued in 1973. So, by your account your instructor would have been a 4th Dan when GM Han was an 8th Dan.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would have the rank of 8th Dan black belt in 1973 for an art that was created in ~1955. There simply isn't enough time to gain such a ranking. Is he the one that was already a master level in a different art before starting Taekwondo? Otherwise it's just not possible.

By the ITF's own rules, they advocate 2 years for 2nd dan, 3 years for 3rd dan, 4 years for 4th dan, and so on. That's 2+3+4+5+6+7+8 = 36 years to reach 8th dan from 1st dan black belt. Not possible. General Choi couldn't have trained Han Cha Kyo from the beginning. It sounds like they were equals/partners more than anything.

So I agree, there's no way Chung Oh could have been senior to Han Cha Kyo, based on what you've said. It's impossible.
 

BaehrTKD

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This must have been area specific. My instructor opened his retail school in approximately 1973 or so (before that it was an evening program at the High School) and in the Chicago north side area there were other ITF affiliated including but not limited to those operated by KS Shin, Han Cha Kyo, Nam Tae Hi, Mac Newton, and others. Our Martial Arts boom seemed to be spurred by the Kung fu TV Show which debuted in early 1972.

Since I taught regular classes since 1974 or so, it is not hard to imagine.

Well surely you would acknowledge that Kung-Fu was the most popular martial art in the 1970's, Karate in the 1980's, and then Taekwondo in the 1990's. Since then it has been BJJ. Each decade seems to have a most popular martial art.

Now, due to the surge in popularity in North America, people wanted to learn anything that was Kung-Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, or whatever they could get their hands on. It was brand new and extremely popular. Great time to be running a martial arts school.
 

Earl Weiss

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I find it hard to believe that anyone would have the rank of 8th Dan black belt in 1973 for an art that was created in ~1955. There simply isn't enough time to gain such a ranking. Is he the one that was already a master level in a different art before starting Taekwondo? Otherwise it's just not possible.

By the ITF's own rules, they advocate 2 years for 2nd dan, 3 years for 3rd dan, 4 years for 4th dan, and so on. That's 2+3+4+5+6+7+8 = 36 years to reach 8th dan from 1st dan black belt. Not possible. General Choi couldn't have trained Han Cha Kyo from the beginning. It sounds like they were equals/partners more than anything.
You have incomplete information. First and foremost the times you specify are recent guidelines. For many years it was not the rank you were going for, it was the rank you were that equaled the minimum time in grade. For instance 2nd to 3rd was 2 years. Next, there were programs available that credited time for certain things like Instructor courses. This varied from a year credit to 3 months credit available once per year per course. Next, there was was not originally any time in grade for promotions to 8th or 9th. This is a recent invention. Lastly for this portion all the time in grade requirements seem to have been "Relaxed" for many of the pioneers.

As it pertains to Han Cha Kyo - he was part of the 1952 Demonstration known for his jumping and a Chung Do Kwan Black Belt at the time . I think he was a first dan at the Time and Nam Tae Hi was a 2nd Dan. General Choi specified that all Chung Do Kwan Black Belts retained their rank but those from other Kwans would have to test. Pissed off a lot of people.
 

Earl Weiss

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Well surely you would acknowledge that Kung-Fu was the most popular martial art in the 1970's, Karate in the 1980's, and then Taekwondo in the 1990's. Since then it has been BJJ. Each decade seems to have a most popular martial art.
Certainly not in this area. for the reason that there were Kung Fu few schools available. It was part of General Choi's plan to recruit instructors throughout the world to use his system and also encourage instructors to travel and teach throughout the world I expect that Koreans could more easily travel and relocate to the USA than perhaps the Chinese could under the government in place in the 1970's.
 

BaehrTKD

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Certainly not in this area. for the reason that there were Kung Fu few schools available. It was part of General Choi's plan to recruit instructors throughout the world to use his system and also encourage instructors to travel and teach throughout the world I expect that Koreans could more easily travel and relocate to the USA than perhaps the Chinese could under the government in place in the 1970's.

I suspect that is how and why my instructor came to Canada. The opportunity was there to earn a living being the first (or second) person into Canada to teach Taekwondo, and that's exactly what he did. His whole life was dedicated to TKD, and that was his living.

Once here, there would have been General Choi, my instructor (Chung Oh), and the guy in Toronto (I forget the name) and that's it. A pretty exclusive club. Not to mention ITF headquarters was moved here also. In effect, we were located at the home of Taekwondo. Not the birthplace of Taekwondo, but certainly its "home base" for the better part of decades.
 
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