The inception of Taekwon-Do as a modern martial art can be traced back to the post-liberation period of Korea, specifically to the year 1946. At this time, a young man named Choi Hong-Hi, who had just graduated from the 1st Military Academy, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and deployed to KwangJu. Choi kept a daily journal in which he documented the martial arts moves that he taught to the soldiers under his command. These moves were arranged in patterns, each named after significant historical events or figures in Korean history.
In 1959, Choi wrote the first ever book on Taekwon-Do, which he had named and received presidential approval for just a few years prior. The book was written in both Korean HanGul and Chinese HanJa, and contained the first 5 patterns in Taekwon-Do known as Hwa-Rang, Chung-Mu, Ul-Ji, U-Nam and Sam-Il. Unfortunately, the book was ordered destroyed by the military dictatorship after Choi, now a Major General, fled the country in 1972 due to his opposition to the dictatorship. However, a copy was preserved by one of Choi’s proteges, Lieutenant Colonel Kim Soo-Ryun, and is now on display at the Taekwondowon museum in MuJu, Korea.
In 1965, Choi authored a new book on Taekwon-Do, the first in the English language, and distributed it during his Kukki Taekwon-Do Goodwill Tour around the world. The book contained 16 more patterns, bringing the total to 20. The same year, the 1965 Korean edition served as the basis for the 1966 ROK Army Taekwon-Do Manual, which was used for soldier training until the mid-1970s.
In 1972, Choi wrote a 519-page textbook commonly referred to as the “bible of Taekwon-Do,” which contained his signature 24 patterns, along with the addition of Eui-Am, Yon-Gae, Moon-Moo, and So-San Tuls. The book was so popular that it had to be reprinted the following year, and went on to have 6 editions and 2 reprints from 1972 to 1986.
In 1983, Choi completed the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, an extensive documentation of the art in approximately 5,000 pages and 30,000 photographs. Despite pressure from the military dictatorship through the KCIA, the encyclopedia was eventually printed in 1985 with the help of Grandmaster Jung Woo-Jin. In 1988, a condensed version of the encyclopedia was also produced for students to bring to class and seminars.
Aside from his contributions to the development of Taekwon-Do, General Choi also worked tirelessly throughout his lifetime to promote Korean culture, history, and etiquette through his teachings and a Moral Guidebook, which compiled some of the wisest sayings and axioms from recorded time.