Choi Hong Hi Interviews

Choi Hong Hi (9 November 1918 -- 15 June 2002), also known as General Choi, was a South Korean army general and martial artist who is a controversial figure in the history of the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Choi is regarded by many as the 'Founder of Taekwondo' most often by International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) organizations.

Choi Interview - Part 1

Choi Interview - Part 2

Choi Interview - Part 3

Choi Interview - Part 4

Choi Interview - Part 5

GENERAL CHOI HONG HI - Choi was born on 9 November 1918 in Hwa Dae, MyOngch'On county, in what is now North Korea, which was then under Japanese rule. At the time, the place was named Meigawa-gun (Myongchon-kun), Kankyo-hokudo (Hamgyong-Pukto), Chosen, as part of the Empire of Japan. Choi's father sent him to study calligraphy under Han Il Dong, who was also "a master of Taek Kyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting". Choi travelled to Japan, where he studied English, mathematics, and karate. In Kyoto, he met a fellow Korean with the surname Kim, who was a karate instructor and taught Choi this martial art. Choi also learned Shotokan karate under Funakoshi Gichin.

Just before he had left Korea, Choi apparently had a disagreement with a wrestler named Hu, and the possibility of a future confrontation inspired him to train; in his own words, "I would imagine that these were the techniques I would use to defend myself against the wrestler, Mr. Hu, if he did attempt to carry out his promise to tear me limb from limb when I eventually returned to Korea". Choi attained the rank of 1st dan in karate in 1939, and then 2nd dan soon after.

Choi combined elements of Taekkyeon and Shotokan 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.

ITF taekwondo organizations credit Choi with starting the spread of taekwondo internationally by stationing Korean taekwondo instructors around the world, and have consistently claimed that ITF-style taekwondo is the only authentic style of taekwondo, most notably in early sections of its textbooks. He was also the author of the first English taekwondo syllabus book, Taekwon-Do, published by Daeha Publication Company in 1965. In 1972, Choi went into exile in Canada and the South Korean government formed the WTF in 1973. He lived in Toronto until his death in North Korea in 2002.