Dear Grandmasters, Masters, Instructors and Country Representatives!
With this, my fourth message, I want to speak about our ITF Presidents and to honour and show my respect to them for their hard work and contribution to develop the International Taekwon-Do Federation all over the World. Many facts from below you can read on the ITF website and different publications but I added some.
I do not claim that my information is complete. I just want to say “Thank You”!
Please understand that I cannot go into every detail because this would stick out. Especially when I talk about General Choi – one book would not be enough to honour his life work.
We at least have the chance to keep his legacy alive and teach it to the next generation.
General Choi (TKD Founder)
General Choi was the 1st ITF President (1966 to 2002 = 36 years)
By the way 3 + 6 = 9 = the favourite number of General Choi!!
He was Born on November 9th, 1918
He was a founding member of the ROK Army.
He taught Korean Martial Arts under the then popular Tang Su Do label to soldiers under his command since 1946
He 1953 formed the 29th Infantry “Fist” Division on Jeju Island in 1953 using Korean Martial Arts to build character, strength, fighting skills and in still “esprit de corps”.
He obtained the official authorization from the 1st ROK President Dr. Rhee Syngman,
1955 (April 11) after conceiving the Taekwon-Do name
He led the Military Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team to Vietnam & Taiwan on March 1959
He wrote the 1st book ever on Taekwon-Do on October 1959
He personally introduced Taekwon-Do to Malaysia when assigned there as the 1st Korean Ambassador in 1962
He was elected as the 3rd President of the Korean Tae Soo Do Association in January 1962
He wrote the 1st English language book on Taekwon-Do 1965
He led a ROK Government sponsored Kukki Taekwon-Do Goodwill Tour around the world 1965
He introduced Taekwon-Do to C.I.S.M. as the Chief Delegate for Korea at their meeting in Paris, France 1968
He received the Korean (ROK) Government Sports Award 1968
He moved the ITF Headquarters to Toronto Canada, 1972
He hosted the 1st ITF World Championships in Montreal Canada, which was the 1st ever World Championships outside of Korea in 1974
He completed the 15 Volume Set of Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do 1983
1985 he relocated the ITF Headquarters to Vienna Austria, 1985
He published a Condensed Version Single Volume Book of his previously published Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do 1988
He was named “Man of the Year” by Tae Kwon Do Times Magazine 1989
He received Honorary Doctorate Degree awarded by the State Central Institute of Physical Education of Russia in Physical Education, 1992
He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Canada, his adopted homeland 1999
He formed the International Martial Arts Games Commission in Argentina, 1999
Honorary Doctorate Degree awarded by the D.P.R. Korea State Commission on Academic Degrees & Titles in Sports Science 1999
He wrote Moral Guide Book 2000
He published a 3 Volume Set of Memoirs titled Taekwon-Do and I, 2000
Honorary Doctorate Degree awarded by Moldova State University in Philosophy 2001
He received numerous other awards and honours for his global work on Taekwon-Do & for teaching Taekwon-Do for decades to everyone, regardless of political ideology, national boundaries, race, religion or creed & as a vehicle to reunite his beloved Homeland of Korea
2009 he was honoured posthumously by the Official Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame 2009
He was honoured by the Canadian Government by having the gymnasium hall at Canada’s Embassy in Seoul Korea named Choi Hong-Hi Gym 2014
Without General Choi Hong-Hi, there would be no Taekwon-Do. All students of Taekwon-Do, be they ITF, WTF or independent should follow the many examples of General Choi.
Master Russell McLellan
Master Russell McLellan (a former Premier and Canadian Member of Parliament) was the 2nd President of the ITF from June 2002 until June 2003. After the passing away of General Choi he became the acting President of the ITF according to the Constitution until the democratic election of Grandmaster Trân Triêu Quân on June 13th 2003 at the ITF Congress in Warsaw, Poland.
He had bad luck for his short term being the President because ITF was in turmoil and split into three parts. He went through tough times and realized that only teamwork could lead to success and started this process.
Grandmaster Trân Triêu Quân
Grandmaster Trân Triêu Quân (an engineer) was the 3rd ITF President from the time of his democratic election at the ITF congress in Poland, 2003 until his tragic death in Haiti in January 2010. He was re-elected in 2007 at the Congress in Quebec City, Canada.
He was a former President of the Canadian TKD Federation (1985 – 1989) and the Pan American Continental Federation (2001 – 2003)
He hosted the World Champs in Montreal 1990 and Quebec City 2007
He started the martial art of Taekwon-Do when he was twelve years old.
He worked closely with General Choi conducting seminars around the world
Grand Master Trân was very proud of the vision he and his team implemented for the ITF in the years following his election. This vision is that Taekwon-Do must be fully developed in all four facets: Taekwon-Do is a sport and a martial art, but also a way of life and a tool for social development. This motto has a lot of substance and power from my point of view to specify our TKD!
After General Choi Hong Hi’s death, there were conflicting claims by various groups, each claiming to be the legitimate leaders of the ITF. Therefore, the direction team = ITF Board of Directors worked hard to clarify the legal status of the ITF and to bring harmony among the associations and members of the ITF.
Under Grand Master Trân’s leadership, the ITF structure has become a more efficient and democratic operation. The technical aspect and the administration of the ITF now work independently of each other. This formula has been very successful in terms of efficiency and productivity. As a result, membership has increased significantly. There have been positive repercussions on the standardization of ITF Taekwon-Do techniques around the world, especially since the new structure was introduced for the International Instructor Courses.
Since Grand Master Trân’s election as President, the ITF has become more service oriented than ever. It has set as its first priority to increase the number and the quality of the services offered to ITF associations, clubs, and individual members. There is more emphasis on consultation with the members, to be able to create innovative services to suit their needs.
Working with a team of experts, Grand Master Trân developed the Basic Program for Teaching the Do, the ITF philosophy. The ITF is the only International Taekwon-Do Federation to offer such a program.
In December 2008, Grand Master Trân was promoted to 9th degree by Grand Master Van Binh, Chairman of the ITF Masters Promotion Committee, and one of only seven promoted to Grandmaster level by Gen. Choi.
Grand Master Trân Triêu Quân was a leader and a builder. He worked very hard to further the best interests of the ITF and its members. As ITF members we were inspired by his creativity and his dedication and work in harmony to build a better world.
Grandmaster Trân tragically passed away during the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. We endeavor to carry on his vision and continue to develop and grow the ITF using many of the principles and structures he inspired.
Grandmaster Pablo Trajtenberg
Grandmaster Pablo Trajtenberg became acting President according to the Constitution after GM Trân passed away in January 2010 and is the 4th President of the ITF.
He was elected at the Congress in Wellington (New Zealand) in March 2011 and re-elected in Jesolo (Italy) on May 2015.
He was President for 9 years and this means that he has the second longest presidency in our ITF.
He supported very much the development of our ITF Taekwon-Do for Kids and the elder generation = Harmony programme.
With respect to all ITF Presidents! GM Paul Weiler