The term The Original Masters refers to a group of twelve South Korean taekwondo masters who were assembled in the early 1960s by the Korean Taekwon-do Association (KTA) to promote taekwondo worldwide.
By the end of World War II, the practice of martial arts had all but died-out in Korea. With the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945, there was a quick resurgence of martial arts in Korea. The newly established martial arts schools (called “kwans”) came to be known as The Nine Kwans, each practicing its own martial arts style. At the urging of the government, the Nine Kwans came together in the form of the Korean Taekwondo Association to establish a single martial art that came to be known as taekwondo. The Korean government was keen to not only reestablish Korean culture after the occupation, but also to showcase Korean culture to the world. The goal of the Original Masters was to showcase taekwondo to the world.
Despite the name of their group, the Original Masters were not the masters of the original Nine Kwans. In fact, in many cases the Nine Kwans were still in the process of transitioning to the new martial art, taekwondo. These 12 practitioners then were considered original to the new martial art.
In alphabetical order, the Original Masters are: Choi Chang Keun, Choi Kwang Jo, Han Cha Kyo, Kim Jong Chan, Kim Kwang Il, Kong Young Il, Park Jong Soo, Park Jung Tae, Park Sun Jae, Rhee Chong Chul, Rhee Chong Hyup, and Rhee Ki Ha. See Wikipedia for more detail.
|Choi Chang Keun (최창근)||9th dan||c. 1940–||Vancouver, Canada||Tae Kwon Do Pioneers||ITF|
|Choi Kwang Jo||9th dan||1942–||Atlanta, USA||Choi Kwang-Do||Independent|
|Han Cha Kyo||9th dan||1934–1996||Chicago, USA||Universal Tae Kwon Do Federation||Independent|
|Kim Jong Chan (김종찬)||7th dan or higher||1935–||Vancouver, Canada||Jong Kim Martial Arts||ITF|
|Kim Kwang Il||9th dan||1939–2001||Germany||Kwang Mu Sul Taekwon-Do||Independent|
|Kong Young Il||9th dan||1943–||Las Vegas, USA||Young Brothers Tae Kwon-Do Institute||ITF|
|Park Jong Soo||9th dan||1941–||Toronto, Canada||Jong Soo Park Institute of Taekwon-Do||ITF|
|Park Jung Tae (박정태)||9th dan||c. 1943–2002||Mississauga, Canada||Global Taekwon-Do Federation||Independent|
|Park Sun Jae||7th dan or higher||?–||Italy||FITA||WTF|
|Rhee Chong Chul (이종철)||8th dan||c. 1935–||Sydney, Australia||Rhee Taekwon-Do||Independent|
|Rhee Chong Hyup||7th dan||c. 1940–||Melbourne, Australia||Rhee Taekwon-Do||Independent|
|Rhee Ki Ha (리기하)||9th dan||1938–||Glasgow, UK||United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association||ITF|
- Original Masters on Wikipedia
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