Toronto Canada was the adopted homeland of General Choi Hong-Hi, the founding father of Taekwon-Do. General Choi fled there for his safety to escape political persecution in 1972. He moved the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) there from Seoul Korea where it was formed in 1966. General Choi became a beloved Canadian citizen. He received many awards and honors from all levels of the Canadian government. General Choi was so well loved by Canada, for his work spreading of Taekwon-Do globally, with the ultimate of building a more peaceful world, one person at a time, that the nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Recently the Canadian Embassy in Seoul Korea named their employee gymnasium CHOI HONG HI HALL in his honor!
To again highlight how Canada feels about one of their favorite adopted sons, 2 Senators and 4 Members of the Canadian Parliament attended the banquet and made presentations of formal proclamations honoring General Choi’s life! Several of them addressed the gathering all making note of how worldwide was General Choi’s positive influence!
November marks the 100 anniversary of General Choi’s birth.
To honor his memory and commitment to building a more peaceful world, through his original, martial art based Taekwon-Do, approximately 200 faithful ITF students from around a dozen countries assembled in Toronto to celebrate his honorable life. He day began by a Masters Class led by his only son, Choi Jung-Hwa, who also serves as a President of the ITF. President Choi was assisted by Taekwon-Do Pioneers such as Grandmasters J.C. Kim (Jong-Chan), a founding member of the ITF, who served as the 1st Chief Instructor, Yu Hong-Sung, former Chairman of the ITF Promotion Committee, Han Sam-Soo, currently a Senior Advisor, and Jung Woo-Jin, the last of only 7 to be promoted to IX Dan, (9th Degree) by General Choi, who tasked him with the responsibility of continuing Taekwon-Do Diplomacy.
Covering this special event was a KBS TV film crew. KBS is a major, if not perhaps the most influential national television station in South Korea. They filmed the training seminar to show the Korean people ITF Taekwon-Do. The film makers also interviewed the Korean Pioneer Grandmasters about the true history of Taekwon-Do, the love and admiration that have for General Choi and his tremendous contributions. What may have been especially poignant was the interviews they conducted with General Choi’s Family, including his widow and two daughters. They all passionately put to rest the vicious rumors of General Choi being a communist traitor. They all spoke to his deviation to Korea, his obsession with Taekwon-Do and his diligent efforts to globalize it all over the planet, often at their expense as a Family.
Following is a transcript of her speech and a translation.
I would like to thank you and welcome you.
I am honored to be with you at this meaningful event. We are all here together, united by Taekwondo. Nowadays, people are talking about a 100-year life span. Since my husband would have been alive 100 years old today, it would have made this event even more happy if he was here today with us. Everyone is special to our Creator. I married a very special person and he lived an unusual life. Our children were raised differently than other families. It was a stormy life for us. My husband devoted his life to building, organizing and spreading TKD to the whole world, and to make peace with taekwondo. Everyday, all day long, he kept talking about Taekwondo, except when he was sleeping. Our family including me didn’t understand him. Now, when I recall my husband, my heart is full of regret and remorse since I did not help him 100%. Many people feel happiness and worth when the world recognizes their achievements. My husbands dream of having Taekwondo spread all around the world, was not completely accomplished. Fortunately, my son is willing to continue in his fathers unfinished path. After all, he has his fathers’ blood.My husband had an exceptional love and expectation for his only son. After my husband passed away, my son had a very hard time keeping and spreading traditional Taekwondo in the entangled Taekwondo society.When I watch my son, I feel sorry for him. He wished to fulfill his father’s dream. Please give my son Joong Wha Choi, your ongoing encouragement and the support he needs.Again, thank you for coming to this incredible event. I’m sure that my husband is smiling up there!
God Bless you!Thank you!
An indication of Gen Choi’s standing and the reverence that the people all over the world held him in as well as the people of Canada was the presence of dignitaries from the Netherlands, and representatives of Canadian Mounted Police, and Canadian military. Pictured below.