In 1952, at the height of the Korean War, Republic of Korea President Seung Man Rhee, on his birthday, watched a half-hour demonstration by Song Duk-Ki, Tae Hi Nam, and other Korean martial arts masters that was organized by General Choi. Rhee was particularly impressed with Tae Hi Nam's breaking demonstration (he broke 13 roofing tiles with one downward punch). President Rhee pointed to his knuckle and asked General Choi, "Is this the part used to break the tile?" To which Choi replied, "Yes Sir," then the President turned toward the other generals in audience and said, "This is Taekkyon" I want to see of our soldiers train in this art. Rhee watched the demonstration with great interest and did not sit down once during the thirty minutes performance. He was so impressed that he asked for it to continue after the planned program concluded. Since nothing was planned, Nam Tae Hi and Han Cha Kyo (1934-1996) assembled materials and did a variety of breaks. The demonstration clearly distinguished Taekwondo from Japanese karate that had been introduced by the Japanese rulers. The President was so impressed with what he saw that he ordered Korean martial arts to be made a part of regular military training. This single act was to have a far-reaching effect on Korean martial arts.
While it is true that many of the other generals in the Korean Army did not want Choi to teach Tangsoodo to their soldiers, the president's declaration made it easier to introduce Tangsoodo to the rest of the Army. To do this, Choi needed to build an institute to train and produce martial arts instructors.
In June of 1954, the Fist Division left Cheju Island to become a part of the Second Corp, located in He Kang Won Province in Eastern part of Korea
- Next >>