The Oh Do Kwan Was founded by General Choi Hotig Hi and Major Nam Tae Hi. Both of these men were advanced military officers in the newly formed army of liberated Korea. Their classes were originally taught at the Korean Third Army Base, Yong Dae Ri, Korea. Choi Hong Hi was born into a prominent Korean family. He moved to Japan in his adolescence to further his education, while there, he studied Shotokan karate and earned a black belt. At the point when World War II broke out, he was forced into the service of the Japanese military. After World War II and the defeat of the Japanese occupying forces, he became a pivotal figure in the newly formed Korean military. Nam Tae Hi became a student of Chung Do Kwan immediately after Korean independence. He quickly mastered the art and began teaching at the Korean Army Military Signal School in 1947. During the same period, Nam Tae Hi met Choi Hong Hi. This laid the foundation for the birth of the Oh Do Kwan.

As the years progressed, in no small part due to General Choi's senior position in the Korean military, Oh Do Kwan became the main martial art taught to the Korean Army. Many individuals already possessed a black belt by the time they were inducted into the Korean armed forces, but due to General Choi's influence, the rank of black belt was only accepted and transferable from students of the Oh Do Kwan and the Chung Do Kwan. Those practitioners who held black belts from other Kwans had to be retrained and retested to be considered for official black-belt status. This regulation was questioned by many practitioners of the modern Korean martial arts, but it was, nonetheless, the impetus that brought the various schools of the Korean martial arts together under the banner of Tae Kwon Do.

Written by Conrad Howard — November 21, 2012

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