Eternal life along with national martial art
Choe Hong Hui, former president of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, can be claimed to be a man who lived a life for the creation and development of Taekwon-Do, orthodox martial art of the Korean nation.
Born in Myongchon County, North Hamgyong Province, in 1918, he learned calligraphy and thaekkyon, a traditional martial art training game of Korea, in his childhood on the advice of his parents.
One day during Japanese military rule, he happened to hear a news about the anti-Japanese armed struggle organized and waged by General Kim Il Sung with other “student soldiers”. He made up his mind to go to Mt Paektu together with them, but unfortunately, the secret was unlocked and he was jailed.
Choe who had had keen interest in martial arts since his early years taught thaekkyon to other prisoners and guards, as a result, the whole prison bubbled with the zeal for learning the martial art.
This motivated him to be determined to find out and further develop the traditional martial arts of the nation.
Choe buckled down to the technical development of a new martial art in 1946, a year after Korea’s liberation, and completed it in April 1955 and named it Taekwon-Do, thus declaring its creation to the world.
In the term Taekwon-Do, tae signifies jumping and treading on something with the feet, kwon means striking something with fist or destroying it and do is following the correct road paved by ancient sages, that is, mental training.
In the meaning that a day consists in 24 hours and the 24 hours keep going by to form the whole life of man, Choe created 24 patterns for Taekwon-Do and strived to incorporate national spirit, soul, history and culture in all the elements of the patterns.
He named the patterns and set the number of their movements after contemporary facts or prominent figures of history, selected the colour of Taekwon-Do uniform as white symbolizing the traditional clothing colour of the white-clad nation and saw that the uniform was inscribed with “Taekwon-Do” in Korean.
He also defined Korean as the refereeing terms in international games.
He established the International Taekwon-Do Federation in 1966 to spread the martial art worldwide and became its first president.
His cherished desire was to disseminate across the world the martial art associated with the national spirit.
His wish could be fulfilled only after he came to the embrace of the DPRK.
The DPRK put forward Choe, who created and developed the orthodox martial art of the nation all his life, as a patriot and gave unstinting support for him to achieve his dreams.
In the DPRK he published the 15-volume Taekwon-Do Encyclopedia associated with his lifelong pains and a scene of Taekwon-Do was included in the mass gymnastic display, which was performed at the opening ceremony of the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, as he wished.
The Taekwon-Do Hall and Taekwon-Do Holy House were built splendidly on Chongchun Street of Pyongyang and films about him were produced as part of multi-part feature film The Nation and Destiny which is known as a world masterpiece.
The DPRK awarded him Order of the National Flag 1st Class, Order of Labour, National Reunification Prize and other high official decorations.
That was why Choe Hong Hui unbosomed his feelings in front of Taekwon-Doists:
“Because of Taekwon-Do, my life was replete with many troubles and adventures and I confronted unimaginably many enemies and was compelled to live in exile. But my dream to leave eternal footprints in history came true thanks to the great President Kim Il Sung and the respected General Kim Jong Il. I also attained the goal of diffusing Taekwon-Do to the whole world by transcending the differences in religious creed, ideology, border and race and it is regrettable that I cannot fully express my satisfaction and happiness as a human being. Indeed, thanks to the President and the General, there can be Choe Hong Hui and Taekwon-Do as they are now.”
THE PYONGYANG TIMES