GM Choon Mo Yang Celebrates 40th Anniversary

by Andrew Lee Hinkle, Ph.D.

On May 2, 2010, Grandmaster Choon Mo Yang celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his arrival in Columbus, Ohio to teach Tae Kwon Do. He announced the year long observance at the traditional bi-annual practice at Hoover Dam Recreation Park, Sunbury Rd., Westerville, Ohio. This will continue throughout the year, with the Fall Hoover Dam practice on October 24, 2010 and all past and current students and families are invited to the Spring Hoover Dam practice 2011, day TBA for the conclusion of the Anniversary Year.

Grandmaster Yang was born Feb. 10, 1942 in a small suburb of Seoul Korea.  He begin by studying sword and later switched to Tae Kwon Do and earned his Black Belt under Master Chong Gil Hong in 1952  He was later a student of Law and also served on the Presidential Bodyguard Staff of Korean President Park.  On May 3, 1970, Choon Mo Yang arrived in Columbus, OH, unable to speak English and with $1.50 in his pocket.  But he had a vision of planting the seed of Tae Kwon Do here and was determined to do it.

 He started by teaching and living at the downtown Columbus YMCA and later moved to a room by Goodale   Park.  He eventually established a number of Do Jangs in various parts of town, the East Town Street location, two on Cleveland Ave., West Broad St,  and as his fame grew, was invited to teach at the Ohio University Creative Arts Program, Westerville Public Schools, several branch YMCAs all over the city , and through his Black Belt Instructors, The Continental Athletic Club, Northland YMCA, the Grandview Senior Center, The Eldon Ward Y,  the Harrisburg Community Center, The Powell Y, the Worthington Community Center, The Hilliard Y, The Pickerington Y,  The Groveport YMCA, and The Valley View Y  just to name a few. Today, he has numerous classes currently at over a dozen locations.

 He has conducted hundreds of outdoor training camps, every month of the Year, Hoover Dam assemblies, parades and hundreds upon hundreds  of demonstrations, breaking thousands of boards,  participated in numerous community events such as the Columbus Art Festival, Health fairs, the Columbus Asian Festival   and marched in the Hilltop Parade, the 4th of July Lincolns Village Parade, and Westerville Parade and the Memorial Day Parade at Grandview for over 25 yeas, and received many awards for Best Participation in the Parade..   He has appeared in Black Belt Magazine twice in 1981 and 1986, the National ADD Association Newsletter in 1994 and Traditional TKD magazine in 2000.   In 1999 an Award winning Documentary entitled the Master in the Mountain was finished and shown at the World Premiere in Columbus OH, later playing on education Television, reaching an estimated quarter million viewers.  He has received awards, certificates, and recognitions from State Governors, U.S. Congressmen, Columbus Mayors, and numerous dignitaries.  He has been show on television many times, on news shows, films of parades and various demonstrations. His picture and numerous news stories have appeared in the Ohio State University  Lantern, the Columbus Dispatch, the Westside Messenger, the North West News, the Arlington News, the USAsian, and others.  With all the classes and many starti on a quarterly system, it is estimated that he has about a thousand a year.  With more classes now, bigger enrollment, and 40 years of history,   the estimate now would be a total of at least 40, 000 students, touched by his hand, and probably more.

 Though many students study, attaining the rank of Black Belt is extremely difficult and of all these students only a few hundred have become 1st Degree Black Belts of higher.  He automatically became a Grandmaster, when his first 4th degree Black Belts were promoted to Master in 1990 in a Special Ceremony at Dusk with floating luminaries on the stream below Hoover Dam.  Now at nearly age 70, Grandmaster Choon Mo Yang, Kwan Jang Nim, Honored Teacher continues to be extremely active, continuing to hold  year round out door camps, teach classes, adding new students, giving public demonstrations, including jumping breaks and breaking bricks thrown in the air, leading parades, conducting tests, sometimes with two or three activities a day.   He is currently the longest continually teaching Tae kwon Do Grandmaster in Ohio and his students are proud to recognize his accomplishments and  salute his 40th Anniversary Year.

                40 Years Is a Long Time   

On July 20th, 1969, the space Module Columbia transported Neil Armstrong, an Ohioan native, to land on the moon.     Less than a year later, on May 3, 1970, Choon Mo Yang (CMY), from Seoul Korea, landed on Columbus, Ohio.   The next day, May 4th, the Ohio National guard opened fire on a student protest at Kent State University, killing 4 students.   One of the reasons GMY had come to the US besides teaching TKD, was to get away from student riots and government violence.  He wondered if he had come to the right place.

He conducts his first TKD class in the USA on Oct. 23, 1970.

In 1970, the   Beatles break up and computer floppy disks are introduced.  CMY lives at,  and begins teaching TKD at the Central YMCA  in Downtown Columbus  where he meets young body builder Arnold Swartzenegger.

In 1971, VCRs are introduced.

CMY opened his first studio on East Town Street in 1972

In 1972 pocket calculators introduced.

In 1973, US vice President Spiro  Agnew resigned but CMY does not.

In 1974 President Nixon resigned but CMY does not. He opens first of two Cleveland Ave studios.

Microsoft founded in 1975, 5 years behind CMY.

1976, the 200 year bicentennial observance of US held .   CMY is currently  1/5th    of the way  to 200 year celebration.

1977     Elvis found Dead.  CMY still alive.

1978   John Paul II becomes Pope,  CMY still head of GMY TKD Institute.

1979     Sony Walkman introduced. 

1980    Current Broad Street TKD Studio opened. 

19881   Assassination attempts on Pope Paul and President Reagan. No one attacks     CMY.

1982     CMY first appeared in Black Belt Magazine

1983     Soviets Shoot Down a Korean Airliner.  GMY still alive

1986     CMY Yang appears in Black Belt Magazine a second time.   Received Special     Recognition Award from Governor Celeste.

1987     Senator John Glenn presented America Flag to CMY

1988    Taekwondo was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. It was the first time that the sport was included in the Olympic program.  GMY had already been teaching it for 18 years.

1989   Berlin Wall Falls.   CMY still standing.

1990     CMY promotes first student to Master Rank and thus becoming a Grand Master, Grandmaster Yang (GMY).    The Ceremony was held at Hoover Dam where luminaries were floated in the water right below the field we are standing in.

1991     Collapse of the former Soviet Union.  GMY Still standing

1992      World Sun Bae Do federation founded by   GMY

1993    Over a 100 students attend Winter camp

1995     GMY 25th Year Anniversary Celebration   Received recognition from Governor     Voinivich, Columbus May Greg Latsuka, US Representative John Kasich, OH     Representative Mike Stinziano,

1998     President Clinton Impeached- GMY still standing

1999     GMY receives 9 page feature in March 1999 Tae Kwon Do Times.

May 2, 1999, World Premier of the award winning documentary about GMY entitled, The Man and the Mountain was held, and later broadcast on local educational Cable for several months reaching an estimated quarter of a million of viewers.

2000     New Century began.  TKD added to Olympics as an Official Olympic Sport.       GMY in 30th year.  Recognized by Governor Bob Taft and, Ohio Secretary of     State Kenneth Blackwell ,  Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and YMCA’s     of Central Ohio and Westland Area  Business Association just to name a few.

9/11/2001   World Trade Center attacked.  GMY Still standing

2003     Buckeyes win National championship

2004      Arnold Schwartzenegger invites GMY  to the Arnold Classic in Columbus Ohio     as a VIP Martial Artist

2005     GMY 35th Year Anniversary Celebration. 

2009       GMY Received Patriot Award Certificate of Appreciation
    and a Patriot lapel pin on behalf of the Department of        

Today, May 2, 2010 we are celebrating 40th Anniversary of GMY landing on Columbus. 

40 years is a long time.  But….

On May 3, 2020, everyone here today is invited to attend GMY 50th, half century, Anniversary Celebration.

Congratulations to Grand Master Yang !

Presentation  by Andrew Lee Hinkle, at kick off of 40th Anniversary Commemoration, Hoover Dam Recreation Park, Westerville, Ohio.

MAR. 31. 2011. TaeKwonDoTimes.