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Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the “Father of American Taekwondo,” died Monday morning after a long illness.
Jhoon Rhee was a 10th-degree black belt credited with popularizing taekwondo in the United States, after emigrating from Korea in the 1950s. He opened his first taekwondo school in Washington, D.C., in 1962. Produced the National Karate Championship which was one of the most prestigious titles in Martial Arts since 1964. By the 1980s, Rhee had 11 schools in the Washington area. Rhee was the keynote speaker at the first Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame ceremony which was held in 2007.
Chun Rhee said funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized. He said information about a memorial service will be posted later this week.
Young Master Jhoon Rhee top photo 3rd from left.
Various Korean forms of martial arts have existed but in the early 20th century, Taekwondo became a combination of those forms. In 1955 a group of Korean martial arts leaders chose Taekwondo as the definitive Korean martial art in an attempt to promote its development worldwide.
In 1973, the Korean government recognized the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) as the legitimate governing body of sport Taekwondo, and the first World Championships were held in that year. Taekwondo became a demonstration sport in the 1992 Olympics and a Medal sport in 2000.