Different accounts attribute the start of taekwondo in India to different sources:
- Some sources cite the March 1974 emigration of Jimmy Jagtiani from Vietnam to India as the start of taekwondo in India.
- Other sources cite the 1979 emigration of Seong Dong Chang to India as the start of taekwondo in India.
Various sources refer to either of these individuals as the Father of Taekwondo in India, though Jagtiani's claim predates Chang's claim by five years. See below for additional clarification.
Jagtiani was born and raised in Vietnam where he received a 2nd dan rank from the Oh Do Kwan Academy in Vietnam in 1970. In 1974 the Vietnam war was reaching its most brutal phase and Jagtiani emigrated to his family's homeland in India. Jagtiani settled in Lucknow, India.
In 1975 Jagtiani began teaching taekwondo to police personnel in India. This marked the first taekwondo instruction given in India by a resident of India. On 2 August 1976 Jagtiani formed the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) as the first national taekwondo association in India. The TFI marked its first anniversary with a ceremony at the K.D. Singh Babu Indoor Stadium on 2 August 1977. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries such as Korean ambassador Beom-Suk Lee, Babu Benasi Das, and K.D. Singh Babu. At the ceremony Jagtiani was awarded the Ambassador's Medal by Lee. Lee further committed to support the promotion of taekwondo in India and to sponsor Jagtiani's attendance at the World Taekwondo Federation in Korea to receive advanced training. Jagtiani traveled to Korea in 1978 to receive this training:
- "In Korea, I received rigorous training under Grand Master Seong Dong Chang from July 1978 to September 1979; [Chang] transformed me into a taekwondo expert; in February 1979 I qualified 3rd dan from Kukkiwon. I own immensely tribute to my Master Chang Seong Dong, who rendered me the most competent guidance and co-operation all [along] the way."
Formal recognition of the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI, originally formed in 1976) proceeded as follows:
- In 1978 the TFI was recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)
- In 1982 the TFI was recognized by the Asian Taekwondo Union (ATU)
- In 1985 the TFI was recognized by Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
- In 1988 the TFI was recognized by the Goverment of India (i.e., the Department of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India also granted recognition of the TFI as an apex judicial and autonomous national body of taekwondo in India)
- In 1996 the TFI was recognized by the Sport Authority of India (SIA)
As per the above, taekwondo was introduced by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), for the first time in the National (Olympic) Games held at New Delhi in 1985. The TFI arranged a special demonstration by Korean taekwondo experts in the premises of the Indian Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi on 17 March 1986. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was so impressed that promised to extended help to the Taekwondo Federation of India, resulting in recognition of the Taekwondo Federation of India in 1988 by the governmental Department of Youth Affairs & Sports.
In 1990 Jagtiani was elected Executive Member of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Asian Taekwondo Union(ATU).
At present the TFI has its affiliated member associations in 26 States/Union Territories in addition to Services Sports Control Board (S.S.C.B.), Army Sports Control Board (A.S.C.B.), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Taekwondo Academy of India (TAI), The Taekwondo Academy of India assigned to look after the technical matter such as promotion of Taekwondo philosophy, development of Techniques, Dan Promotion Test, Black Belt Degree, National Instructor Course and National Referee Course, as per the curriculum of Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarter, Korea. Approximately 2.50 thousand members, trainees are under the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI).