Choi Hong-hi: A Timeline

Choi Hong-hi was a pivotal figure in the development of Taekwondo, and is the founder of the Changheon-yu style of Taekwondo.

This page lists the events of his life in chronological order, with as specific dates as is known. This page will be edited and updated over time.


9 November 1918

Choi Hong-hi is born in 함경북도 hamgyeongbukdo – North Hamgyeong Province – in what is now North Korea, but which was then under Japanese rule. [1, 2, 3]


Choi travels to Japan to study English and Mathematics, and while there begins training in Karate. [1, 3]


Choi is promoted to first degree black belt in Karate.


Choi returns to Korea, where he is drafted into the Japanese army. [1, 2]

August 1945

Choi is freed from prison just days before being executed, having originally been imprisoned for treason after attempting to join the underground Korean Liberation Army. [1, 2, 3]

January 1946

Choi is commissioned as a second lieutenant in the newly-formed Korean army.

22 May 1951

Choi’s first son, Choi Jung-hwa, is born on 제주도 jejudo – Jeju Island.


Choi starts a Taekwondo training programme in the military. [2]


Choi is promoted to the rank of major general. [3]

11 April 1955

Choi takes part in the naming committee that decides upon the name ‘Taekwondo’ – a name he suggested – for the martial arts styles that he and others have been developing. [2, 3]


Choi and a number of high-ranking students begin touring the Far East to demonstrate Taekwondo. [3]

Choi publishes the first edition of his textbook on Taekwondo in Korean. [5]


Choi is sent to Malaysia as an ambassador. [2]


Choi publishes an edition of his Taekwondo textbook in English. [2]


Choi establishes the International Taekwon-do Federation. [1, 2]

May 1966

Choi publishes the Republic of Korea’s Army Taekwondo Manual – a book similar to his Taekwondo textbook, though his name is not printed anywhere in it. [4]


Choi emigrates to Canada after the South Korean government objects to his attempts to introduce Taekwondo to North Korea. [2]


Choi holds the first Taekwondo world championship in Montreal, Canada. [3]


Choi promotes Choi Chang-keun to eighth degree black belt.


Choi promotes Choi Chang-keun to ninth degree black belt.

15 June 2002

Choi dies of stomach cancer in 평양시 pyeongyangshi – Pyeongyang, North Korea – aged 83. [1, 2, 3]


  1. The New York Times, Choi Hong Hi, 83, Korean General Who Created Tae Kwon Do (29 June 2002)
  2. The Guardian, General Choi Hong-hi (9 August 2002)
  3. The Telegraph, General Choi Hong Hi (26 June 2002)
  4. History of Taekwondo, The 1966 ROK Army Taekwon-Do Manual
  5. History of Taekwondo, 1st Ever Taekwon-Do Book

See also