An Interview with Grandmaster C.K. Choi ~ Philip Hawkins [updated Jan 06, 2018]

Grand Master Choi Chang Keun

This interview with GM C.K. Choi, one of the pioneers in Taekwon-Do,was conducted some years back and this website is re-publishing it for several reasons as listed below:

  • He was one of the TKD pioneers who first taught in Penang, Malaysia in the early 1960s;
  • Some of the current TKD Exponents practicing in Malaysia were not even born yet when he was teaching in Penang;
  • General Choi was the then Korean Ambassador to Malaysia;
  • As the following interview has mentioned, Gen. Choi had good relations with the Malaysian Government under the premiership of the late Tunku Abdul Rahman. There was one Minister,the late Encik Khir Johari who was conferred the Hon. 3rd Degree(?) Black Belt by Gen Choi.
  • Some of us the Malaysia National Team ( under MTF at that time ) renewed our friendship when we met up with him at the 2nd ITF World Championship in Oklahoma City, USA in Sept 1978.

For many the name Grand Master Choi Chang Keun is unfamiliar to them, but in its abbreviated form of ‘Grand Master C.K.Choi’ it brings instant recognition to anyone who has truly studied TaeKwon-Do.

For those who either trained under him, or have witnessed any of his performances as part of the ITF Demonstration teams of the 1960’s and 1970’s, they describe him as a man of awesome ability. He is renowned for his array of powerful kicking and jumping techniques and has attained a fearsome reputation when sparring.

Grand Master Choi is open and approachable, he has an actively astute mind, is an articulate, genuinely friendly man, who talk’s openly with a wealth of knowledge on both the techniques and history of TaeKwon-Do. You are also aware whilst in conversation with him that he also has both an inner strength, and a steely self confidence.

Q: Can I start by asking when you first became interested in the martial arts?

A: I began to study TaeKwon-Do in 1956 whilst I was still in middle school in the city of Won-Ju, South Korea. The Dojang I originally trained at was affiliated with the Chung Do Kwan. However in 1958 I started to train under Master (Major) Woo Jong Lim (Director of Tae Kwon Do for the Korean 1st Army) who although serving in the R.O.K. Army was also teaching at the only civilian Oh Do Kwan gym in Korea at that time. All the other Oh Do Kwan gyms taught only military personnel. As you know General Choi Hong Hi had founded the Tae Kwon Do (Oh Do Kwan) in 1954 with the assistance of Master (Captain) Nam Tae Hi.

Q: Which patterns were you practicing at this time?

A: I practiced Tae Kwon-Do patterns created by General Choi Hon Hi along with Karate patterns (Katas) and sparring patterns designed by my Instructor; Master Woo Jong Lim, in the 1950’s and the early 1960’s.

Q: I believe you became a TaeKwon-Do Instructor in the R.O.K. Army how did this come about?

A: I had attained a 2nd degree in TaeKwon-Do whilst training under Major Woo Jong Lim. At this time in 1960 Master Woo was appointed to the R.O.K .Army training center in Non San from Won-Ju and became Chief of Staff to General Choi. It was here that he asked me to give a TaeKwon-Do demonstration along with Master Han Cha Kyo for a TaeKwon-Do educational film. General Choi; who at this time was commander of the R.O.K. Army recruiting center, was watching.

He wanted a Tae Kwon Do educational film made and sent to the United States so that Tae Kwon Do could be introduced to there. After the demo had finished he asked if I would be interested in joining the Army to teach Tae Kwon Do. After discussing this proposal with my parents I accepted and joined the R.O.K. Army in 1960, after which I taught Tae Kwon Do at the R.O.K. Army’s largest recruiting center in Non-San.

Q: You were young to be teaching in the R.O.K. Army. Did this cause you any problems?

A: I had gained experience teaching as an assistant whilst training under Major Woo Jong Lim. I was the first Korean Tae Kwon Do (Oh Do Kwan) Champion in Tae Kwon Do in 1962, in sparring and patterns. I also taught under General Choi’s order. Therefore this helped me gain respect from those I trained. I had to train very hard not to disappoint Master Woo and General Choi and I was promoted to 3rd Degree Black Belt in 1962 by Master Woo Jong Lim.

Q: You are renowned for your flexibility and kicking abilities. How hard did you have to work on this or did it come naturally to you?

A: Although I have always trained hard I did have a degree of natural flexibility, which in truth I was not aware of until I started to teach TaeKwon-Do. (Grandmaster C.K. Choi then, without any warm up, dropped straight into both front and side splits with ease. He is 64 years old!) As regards my kicking, Major Woo Jong Lim emphasized to me to practice both left and right equally. I also practiced extensively with a bag to improve both my power and technique. I also practiced my punching and striking techniques endlessly, as well as my standing and jumping kicks.

Q: How many hours daily did you teach in the R.O.K. Army?

A: I would teach for two and a half-hours in the morning and evening respectively -5 days a week – and for two and a half-hours on a Saturday morning. I must emphasis that the training in the military was extremely hard, as it should be. We would practice patterns, breaking and sparring. We also spent time on physical conditioning that included lots of running which helped create more power and improve our stamina. In addition we spent time conditioning our hands and feet. You can have beautiful techniques, but without the power it does not work for self-defense. This is what military TaeKwon-Do was all about. We would also practice defenses against bayonet and rifle attacks.

Q: I’ve heard it said that upon first meeting General Choi and joining the R.O.K. Army that he told you to go into a room and just practice TaeKwon-Do on your own. Is this correct?

A: Yes. He told me to go to the gym and practice Tae Kwon Do.

Q: Did you also train under Grandmaster Kim Bok Man at this time?

A: No, I did not. When I was teaching in the Korean Army Training Centre under General Choi and Master Woo Jong Lim, Master Kim Bok Man came to see me in 1961. I spoke with him for about 5 minutes. That was the first and last meeting with him in Korea. When I went to Singapore I met him and stayed with him for about a week before going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However my masters were General Choi and Master Woo Jong Lim (Master Lim became a Major General in the 1980’s)

Q: Could you tell us about your competition career in the early 1960’s?

A: In 1962 Master Woo Jong Lim created the Tae Kwon Do Championship in sparing, patterns, breaking and special breaking. Master Woo held the 1st championship in Won-Ju Korea with the assistance of Kim Jong Chan and others in February 1963. I won the first Tae Kwon Do (Oh Do Kwan) Championship in both the sparring and patterns.

This was the first Tae Kwon Do Championships ever held in Tae Kwon Do history. I won the second championship in June of 1963. I also won the first Korean Tae Soo Do (Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, and Kong Soo Do) heavyweight championship in the 3rd, 4th and 5th degree division in 1963. I was the smallest in the division, but quite fast so the bigger opponents found it hard to hit me. The rules used were similar to those used by the WTF today but we used more hand techniques. In that tournament 1st and 2nd degree were divided into light, middle and heavy, as were the 3rd 4th & 5th degrees. This was the first combined Martial Arts tournament in history.

Q: Why was it called Tae Soo Do?

A: There were Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do styles that wanted to affiliate with the Korean National Athletic Association under their respective names. Therefore the Korean National Athletic Association told them to come up with a unified name.

The two Tae Kwon Do representatives wanted to use the Tae Kwon Do name but the seven Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do representatives did not. The only name that could be agreed upon was Tae Soo Do. Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do Masters wanted to use the word Soo as it means hand. As a result the Korean Tae Soo Do Association was formed and affiliated with the Korean National Athletic Association.

Q: I think many readers will be surprised by the name Tae Soo Do.

A: The Tae Soo Do name was suggested by Tang Soo Do Master, Lee Jong Woo who became the Vice President of KTA, Kuk Ki Won and WTF. Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do Masters would eventually control the Korean Tae Soo Do Association which became the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association in 1965.

I should also make it clear that I have a problem with those who have helped to cause confusion in Tae Kwon Do. I had a personal experience with them after becoming the first Korean Tae Soo Do heavyweight champion. There were 6 champions and 6 runner-ups set to go to Japan to represent Korea, for the goodwill tournament in 1963. 11 were from Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do and only one was from Tae Kwon Do. I was supposed to go to Japan as part of this, but I was excluded from the team solely because I was the only Tae Kwon Do man

Now however they claim to represent and practice TaeKwon-Do. I would just like to know when they started to learn Tae Kwon Do. When I was practicing Tae Kwon Do in the late 1950’s early 60’s they certainly were not practicing Tae Kwon Do.

Q: Did you have any input into any of the patterns?

A: I was with General Choi from 1962 until 1981. At this time he was still creating the Tae Kwon Do patterns and I assisted him on the creation of the pattern Gae-Baek. When General Choi was appointed the Commander of the 6th Army Corps in 1961 I was invited many times to perform some new patterns that he created. After performing the patterns for him he would ask me “What do you think?” I then told him my opinions.

Q: How did the opportunity arise for you to go abroad to teach?

A: In 1962 General Choi asked me to go to Malaysia to teach (He was the Korean Ambassador to Malaysia) but at this time I was still in the R.O.K Army. After being discharged from the Army in 1963 General Choi invited me to come to Malaysia. I first met Master Rhee Ki Ha in Seoul. Korea in 1964 when we were both applying for our passports.

When we went to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get passports our passports the clerk at the counter told us that there was no such occupation as “Tae Kwon Do Instructor” listed. I asked what we should put down as our occupation on our passports. The clerk went away to consult with his superior. He eventually returned to us and said that we had been approved to have “Tae Kwon Do Instructor” on our passports. He told us we were the first Tae Kwon Do instructors recognized by the Korean government.

Q: In which country did you first teach?

A: I went to Malaysia in 1964 to teach Tae Kwon Do in Penang.

Q: How popular was TaeKwon-Do prior to your arrival?

A: Tae Kwon Do was already popular, as General Choi had started to teach there whilst he was the Korean Ambassador to Malaysia. However many referred to him as the Tae Kwon Do Ambassador as his goal was to teach everyone. General Choi was very friendly with the Prime Minister, Tunku Rahman, as well as many other Government officials.

We were asked to perform many demos like the one on Malaysian Independence Day when both the King and Prime Minister were in attendance. Tunku Rahman helped General Choi immensely.

Q: Were you now teaching the Ch’ang-Hon patterns?

A: I was teaching Tae Kwon Do patterns from Chon Ji upward. We did not use the term Ch’ang-Hon Patterns because there is only one Tae Kwon Do system; that which was founded by General Choi with the assistance of many Masters.

Q: You had quite a reputation at this time and yet many have said that both your appearance and demeanour were quite deceptive.

A: Yes this is true. My friends used to call me schoolmaster, as they said I had the appearance of one. But I have always had total confidence in my Tae Kwon Do ability. Once they saw my training they knew I was a good Tae Kwon Do Master.

Q: Did your students compete whilst you were in Malaysia?

A: Yes, many of my students were successful at the 1st Asian Championships held in Hong Kong in 1969. However, my teaching’s were not tournament based, but for self-defense. I used to tell my students that winning tournaments was fine, but if they were ever in danger they should also be able to save their own lives with the powerful techniques that they possess.

Q: Did you grade under General Choi at this time?

A: Yes. I did and I received 8th Degree Black Belt in 1981.

Q: How was your own training developing at this time?

A: I was always looking for better ways to train, especially with regards to power, speed, strength, stamina, flexibility and the application of techniques in sparring. If your body is flexible it is much easier to perform. This benefited my students greatly. Our objectives are to train our mind and body to achieve the highest level of physical fitness and mental discipline so that we can uncover the supreme person within each one of us. It is also important to practice the original Tae Kwon Do patterns to maintain the traditional Tae Kwon DO training system.

Q: Did you believe back in 1966 that TaeKwon-Do would achieve the global recognition that it has today?

A: Its beyond my belief that TaeKwon-Do has become as big as it has. Under the leadership of General Choi, many Pioneering Masters, instructors and supporters worked hard to teach and spread Tae Kwon Do all over the world. believe we all did our best to promote Tae Kwon Do and Korea.

Q: Were your current grades accepted by the ITF?

A: Yes. I think so. In 1981 I received 8th Degree Black Belt from the founder of Tae Kwon Do, General Choi. Who is not going to recognize that? Unless they are not a Tae Kwon Do organization. I was also one of the founding members of the ITF and received the No. 5 Recognition Plaque from the ITF.

Q: Do you think that the original pioneers of TaeKwon-Do receive the recognition that they deserve?

A: No. I don’t think so because the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association, Kuk KI Won and WTF, with the support of the Korean Government did not allow the teaching of the original Tae Kwon Do (ITF style) in Korea since 1973. The Korean government dissolved the ITF in Korea with the support of KTA and WTF because of General Choi’s opposition to President Park Jung Hee and his dictatorial regime. This is one of the reasons the original Tae Kwon Do Pioneers’ devotion and hard work has not been recognized by the Korean government.

It was wrong to ban and dissolve the original Tae Kwon Do in Korea because of General Choi’s personal political views. The Korean government officially approved Tae Kwon Do as Korea’s National Martial Art in 1965.

Since 1973 there has been no original Tae Kwon Do in Korea. Many people outside of Korea have more awareness of Tae Kwon Do’s history than the Korean people themselves. Unfortunately, there are people in Korea who tried to eliminate the truth for their own benefit and protection.

The Korean government is now in a position to recognize the original Tae Kwon Do, correct its history, and support its teaching in Korea again. This is the only way to honor all the Pioneering Masters and Instructors who have traveled the world to teach and spread Tae Kwon Do under the Korean name. They have been the real Korean patriots.

Q: How long was your stay in Malaysia?

A: I lived in Penang from 1964 to 1969 teaching Tae Kwon Do in Penang, Ipoh and Aloh Star. I had to teach in almost half of the country from time to time. I miss my old students very much. I hope to see them in the near future.

Q: Did you modify your teaching in any way from the way you taught in Korea?

A: The training method was the same whether you were in Korea, Singapore, Maylasia or Canada but I continued to develop modern training methods all the time. In my experience; when teaching, it is important to understand a beginner’s point of view. You do not want to train them too hard in the beginning. You do not train them as you would a champion.

Q: In 1973 you were chosen to be part of the ITF Demonstration Team that travelled the World. Could you please share with us any memories you have from this tour.

A: General Choi selected Masters Kong Young Ill, Rhee Ki Ha, Park Jong Soo and myself we were chosen to travel the world demonstrating, promoting and giving TaeKwon-Do seminars. We traveled for a total of 43 days. I have many happy memories of this tour. We performed in front of huge crowds in some wonderful stadiums. When we were giving a demonstration in Cairo, Egypt the stadium was full of people but they could not see from one end to another. We had to give four demonstrations, one on each side. They were impressed by our demonstrations and it seemed like we were treated like rock and roll stars. Our demonstrations were very popular everywhere we went.

Each host country provided our breaking materials. I recall on one occasion our boards had been soaked in water by a karate group to make the boards tougher, but we still broke them. On another occasion we (and our hosts) were embarrassed by a group of martial artists who gave a demonstration using, what I perceived to be tricks. I asked the MC to make a public announcement that I wanted to challenge anyone of the martial artists. It was out of character for me but I wanted to show them Tae Kwon Do’s power and skill. They quickly disappeared.

I also traveled frequently with General Choi in the late 1970’s. On one particular tour we traveled to Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia. This was the first Tae Kwon Do demonstration Team that ever visited communist countries. Some Korean Martial Art practitioners said that we were communist. However, the WTF invited these same countries to the 1977 WTF World Championships in Chicago and I was told they even paid for their expenses. So I was somewhat confused as to who was a communist and who was not. In 1979 I traveled throughout South America giving demonstrations and seminars, accompanying General Choi and Master J.C.Kim, and others.

Q: Who has impressed you most throughout your TaeKwon-Do career?

A: General Choi Hong Hi and General Woo Jong Lim. General Choi is the founder of Tae Kwon-Do. There was no Tae Kwon-Do prior to the 11th April 1955. I respected him immensely as he was both intelligent and creative. He devoted his life to create and develop Tae Kwon-Do with the assistance of Grand Master Nam Tae Hi and other Masters.

I would also like to mention General Woo. He had all the good qualities of a human being that any man would want to have. He taught me not only the best Tae Kwon Do techniques which allowed me to become the first Tae Kwon Do and Tae Soo Do champion but he also taught me values for life. I received Tae Kwon Do lessons and life lessons at the same time. Unfortunately General Choi and General Woo are not here with us now but I sincerely thank them for what they have done to make me who I am today. I would also like to thank all my Tae Kwon Do Pioneering friends who devoted their life to teach and spread Tae Kwon Do worldwide. You have been my good friends and my strength.

Q: I believe you were instrumental in the creation of the ITF emblem on the back of the Doboks. Can you tell us more about this?

A: General Choi asked me to develop a new Dobok for the ITF that was different from the karate style uniforms we were wearing. The emblem on the back of the ITF Dobok symbolizes a tree, which has continual growth. I designed this for everyone who practices Tae Kwon Do. It was not designed for profit. However, recently I have heard that people have tried to patent the design. I sincerely hope that this is not the case.

Q: When did you leave the ITF?

A: I had been with General Choi since 1960. He came to Vancouver in 1979 and General Choi and Grand Master J C Kim and I had discussions to go to South and North Korea to give tae Kwon Do demonstrations. We all agreed to do so but General Choi decided to go to North Korean only. I disagreed with General Choi’s decision to go to North Korea. I felt it was wrong at that time, as there was no dialogue or communication between the two Korea’s in the late 70’s early 80’s.

I parted from General Choi in 1981. Today however the climate is different and the two Governments are talking. Many of my fellow pioneering Masters felt the same as myself at that time and also left General Choi. General Choi lost most of his Senior Grand masters and Masters and was forced to re-organize with Junior Black Belt Instructors while saying that all Korean Instructors betrayed him, which was not true. In 1982/83 General Choi tried to contact me, but I was not ready to talk unless he could change his politics. Obviously, he did not. Prior to leaving General Choi, Master J.C. Kim and I were selected as ITF representatives to merge with the WTF. Both ITF and WTF representatives had three separate meetings in Vancouver, Canada and Seoul, Korea but we could not reach any agreement.

Q: How are you involved in TaeKwon-Do today?

A: I still train every day. I also regularly conduct seminars and promotional tests together with advice on how to run a successful Do Jang (school). Since General Choi’s death in 2002 I have been meeting with ITF’s Pioneering Grand Masters to find a way to unite the original Tae Kwon Do family under the leadership of the most senior Grand Master, Nam Tae Hi.

On August 16th 2005 in Vancouver, Canada we set up a committee to begin the formation of The Tae Kwon Do Pioneers Council with Grand Master J.C. Kim, Grand Master Cho Sang Min, Grand Master Lee Yoo Sun and myself Grand Master C.K. Choi. The objective of the Council is to help and support all Tae Kwon Do groups worldwide whenever they need assistance. The Council would like all the Grand Masters, Masters and Instructors to work together to support and unify the Tae Kwon Do family.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the various ITF groups what would it be?

A: I would like to see all ITF groups unite and put all of their differences to one side and work together to make the ITF stronger for the benefit of everyone concerned. I am willing to help any true Tae Kwon Do practitioners in the world. I am also currently writing the true history of Tae Kwon Do. If you have any historical information please feel free to contact me. e-mail address:

Thank you for giving such an interesting and informative interview Grandmaster Choi.


At the beginning of the interview General Woo Jong Lim is referred to as a Major. This was his military title at that time.

Philip Hawkins can be contact at

Grand Master C.K. Choi

Began training in Tae Kwon Do and Karate under Instructor [Army Captain] Hong Sung In and Instructor Kim.
Trained under Master [Major] Woo Jong Lim, Director of Tae Kwon Do for the Korean 1st Army.
Taught Tae Kwon Do at the largest Korean Army Training Center under Master [Lt. Colonel] Woo Jong Lim and General Choi Hong Hi and assisted Gen. Choi to create Gae-Baek Pattern.
Won the First Korean Tae Kwon Do Championships in Sparring and Pattern in Won Ju City, Korea. This was the world’s first championship.
Selected Member of First Korean Army Representative Team.
Won the First Korean Tae Soo Do [Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, Kong Soo Do] Full Contact Heavyweight Championship in 3rd, 4th,5th Degree Black Belt Division.
Won the Korean Tae Soo Do Representative Full Contact Heavyweight Championship.
Was invited by Malaysia Tae Kwon Do Association to teach Tae Kwon Do and became the First Professional Tae Kwon Do Instructor recognized by Korean Government.
International Tae Kwon Do Federation [I.T.F.] was formed and received # 5 Recognition Plaque.
Opened First Tae Kwon Do School in Vancouver, Canada.
Was member of I.T.F. Demonstration Team to tour the world In 1973, 1978, 1979, 1981.
Was Chairman of I.T.F. Umpire Committee.
Designed the I.T.F. Uniform Tree Logo.

Promoted to 8th Degree Black Belt by I.T.F.
Was one of two I.T.F. Representatives attempting to merge I.T.F. with W.T.F.
With deep regret, Master Choi dropped support for Gen. Choi because of his ties with North Korea. At this junction, South Korea was technically at war and had no diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Created Sparring Patterns.
Became 9th Degree Black Belt.
Published his book The Korean Martial Art of Tae Kwon Do and Early History. Was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Hall Of Fame in New York City.
2010 Revised the above noted book to include training guidelines, sparring patterns and a testing schedule.

A Discourse on the Heart Sutra, with Chi Kung by Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje (Part 1 – 4)

In this video clip, the incredible Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje demonstrates his internal chi to ward off and immobilize hand and leg attacks by a 3rd Dan Karate Champion.

This is truly amazing!. Click below and watch.

A Discourse on the Heart Sutra, with Chi Kung – Part1

Lama Dondrup Dorje gives a Discourse on the Heart Sutra Through the Manifestation Of Classical Chi Kung Practice.

A Discourse on the Heart Sutra, with Chi Kung – Part2

A Discourse on the Heart Sutra, with Chi Kung – Part 3

A Discourse on the Heart Sutra, with Chi Kung – Part4



PGTF Gallops to another historical 1.11.11 Honour Roll recognition night

1st Nov 2011 ( 1.11.11) marks another historical date that is to be cherished and remembered by members of the Pan-Malaysia Global Taekwon-Do Federation(PGTF) fraternity.

The momentous evening occasion was to honour the PGTF National Team and Officials who brought glory and pride to the nation by bagging 4 Golds, 4 Silvers and 3 bronzes under the various categories of events during the recent 8th GTF World Taekwon-Do Championship in Dundee, Scotland on July 5-12, 2011.

The Ministry of Youth & Sports, Malaysia hosted the Award Presentation dinner function which was graced by the Honourable Senator Gan Ping Sieu, Deputy Minister of Youth & Sports, Malaysia, held at the prestigious 5 star hotel, ‘ The Palace of Golden Horses,’ Kim Ma Restaurant, Mines Resort City. We wish to record our thanks to the Sports Ministry for recognizing the achievements of PGTF.

The PGTF Champions and and Officials (Squating –left to right, Cheong Yee Wai, See Kean Piew, Lee Chien Ming, Shiu Siew Yee, and Chan Pei-I). ( Standing left to right, Master Lee Hok Heng, Mr. Johnson Kong, Master Ngiaw Wee Sun, Honourable Senator Master Dato Andy Ng, Honourable Senator Gan Ping Sieu, Deputy Minister of Youth & Sports, Malaysia, Master Ng Hooi Lai, Master Dang Kok Wai, and Master Alex Lee Min Pong)

Here are the PGTF National Team highlights and category of events.

1. See Kean Piew (Perak) – Pattern: Gold, Free Sparring: Gold, Flying Kick Special Technique: Gold

2. Cheong Yee Wai (Perak) – Pattern: Silver, Free Sparring: Bronze

3. Lee Chien Ming (Selangor) – Power breaking: Gold, Couple Pattern: Silver, Free Sparring: Bronze

4. Chan Pei-I (Selangor) – Pattern Silver, Couple Pattern Silver

5. Shiu Siew Yee (Wilayah) – Pattern: Silver, Free Sparring: Bronze

Sin Chew Daily 3.11.2011.

July 13, 2011 also marks a significant date to be recorded in the PGTF history. On this day , the government Sports Authority, the Sports Commissioner’s Office (PPS), officially approved and issued the Certificate of Registration to the Pan-Malaysia Global Taekwon-Do Federation (PGTF), which is sanctioned as the National Governing Body to represent GTF interest in Malaysia.

The Honourable Senator Gan Ping Sieu, Deputy Sports Minister, presenting the Certificate of Registration to the Honourable Senator Master Dato Andy Ng, Deputy President of PGTF at the Palace of Golden Horses on 1.11.11.

The following States and Districts PGTF Affiliates were also presented with the Certificate of Registration by the Honourable Deputy Sports Minister:

i) PGTF Johor

ii) PGTF Negri Sembilan

iii) PGTF Pahang

iv) PGTF Pulau Pinang

v) PGTF Kedah

vi) PGTF Daerah Pekan, Pahang

vii) PGTF Daerah Bentong, Pahang

viii) PGTF Daerah Hulu Langat, Selangor

ix) PGTF Daerah Petaling Jaya, Selangor

x) PGTF Ancient Taekon-Do Club

Mr. Johnson Kong receiving the ASUS award for being the best Sports Organization in the KL Federal Territory. This carries a Trophy and a RM5,000.00 Cash Award. Standing beside is Mr. Ting Siew Chuan, President of Kuala Lumpur & Federal Territory TKD Association (GTF)
Selangor PGTF Business Executive Class Group Photo

ITF’s Ju-Che, sine wave and disowning sons by Alex gillis

I’ve jumped into chat groups that are reviewing my book. Most martial artists who post are anonymous, and the talks are as energetic as a punch in the arm, but the comments are thoughtful. One instructor posted my writing about the International Taekwon-Do Federation’s (ITF’s) pattern called Ju-Che. This tul has always been a controversial pattern, because it’s the name of North Korea’s ideology.

The following paragraphs are from chapter 12 of A Killing Art, a chapter set in the late 1970s, when Choi Hong-Hi was sick of the South Korean dictatorship and turned to North Korea for money and manpower:

“One gift that Choi gave to North Koreans was a new pattern of moves that he called Ju-Che… He did this to jettison the Ko-Dang pattern, which had been the pseudonum of one of Choi’s heroes, Cho Man-Sik, a Christian educator and an early North Korean leader until communists imprisoned the hero in 1946. Now that Choi’s friends were those same communists, Ko-Dang had to go. Expunging it and creating Ju-Che was a sell-out to the communists, even though Choi argued that the change was not political.”

“The term Ju-Che is nearly untranslatable in English: it means self-reliance and independence and, deeper, everything that makes Koreans Korean… Today, in gyms and championships around the world, we yell Ju-Che after the final technique of this pattern, saluting North Korea’s ideology whether we like it or not.”

“A more important gift to the communists, however, was a change to “sine wave,” a series of subtle movements that applied to all techniques. Good martial artists had always slightly bent their knees and rotated their hips before launching a technique (thereby creating more power), but Choi now wanted everyone to lower then raise the entire body with no hip rotation, so that they could use gravity while driving downwards with a punch for example… The differences sounded subtle, but, when put into action, they gave Choi’s Tae Kwon Do patterns a distinct style — a slower, more rhythmic, bobbing-on-the-sea look that dramatically distinguised it from Karate and Kim Un-yong’s [WTF] Tae Kwon Do.”

“Just as dramatic were Choi’s sudden announcements that North Koreans were practicing “pure Tae Kwon Do” (because they were doing a big sine wave) and that all the other instructors on the planet were “fakes.” The majority of Choi’s pioneers had disassociated themselves from him and his missions to North Korea, and Choi’s reaction was swift. As my instructor explained, Choi inserted a three-dimensional signature on the martial art (sine wave), handed it to the North Koreans and, in one move, disowned his wayward disciples, men who Choi viewed as disobedient and unfilial. In fact, disowning those surrogate sons was perhaps Choi’s chief goal with the sine wave…”

Face to Face Interview with Mr. Thung Jin Ping – Artist cum TKD Exponent (updated Oct 14, 2011)

“Painting in watercolor is like walking a tight-rope; one must find perfect balance between what the paint wants to do and what the artist wants to do, or all is lost.” – Mary C. Taylor

Taekwon-Do exponent Mr. Thung Jin Ping and his collection of watercolor paintings

When I first met Mr. Thung I only knew him as a TKD Instructor who holds a 4th Degree Belt commuting with his motor bike to the schools to conduct his TKD classes. Only upon further interaction did I find out that he is also an accomplished artist specializing in water color painting.

Water color Exhibition 94_MIA Gallery Taman Melawati 2














More than just a Taekwon-Do exponent, this soft-spoken and reserved artist cum martial artist has also won commendable awards over the years as listed below:

  • 1991 “Tingkatan 4-6 Pinkat Gansa” Pertadingan Melukis Dan Kaligrafi Peringkat Kebangsaan
  • 1994 MIA Financial Aid/Scholarship (Malaysia Institute of Art)
  • 1995 “Third Prize” National Horse Show 95 Art Competition. (STC Equestrian & Sports Centre and the Equestrian Association of Malaysia.)
  • 1996 MERIT in Recognition Of His Leadership Qualities and Involvement. (Malaysia Institute of Art)
  • 1996 In The Extra-Curricular Activities of the Institute. (Malaysia Institute of Art)

“A good piece of watercolor is expressed by heavy washes, calligraphic lines, forceful spirals, luminosity of colors, and chromatic freshness.” – Kwan Y. Jung


Date of Birth: 02 March 1972

1996-97 Certificate in Computer Application in Art & Design (Icon Computer Center)
1994-96 Diploma in Fine Art Major in Oil Painting (Malaysian Institute of Art)

1. Can you discuss your early experiences with martial arts, and Taekwon-do in particular? What were your first motivations to take up TKD?

My earliest encounter with martial arts goes back to my childhood when television was showing lots of martial art related programs and movies. To my delights, when I was in primary standard 4 (10 years old), a martial art class started at the badminton court in the community ground in front of our house at home. I did not know which type of martial art that the members were practicing in their uniform but I was very much attracted and wished to join them.

THUNG leading Black Belt class

However, it was not possible as my family could not afford the fee. Still I would watch them practicing each time through my window. Martial art came into my life since then.

The time came for me when Taekwon-do, karate and judo were implemented as extramural (curriculum) studies /activities in my secondary school at SMK Confucius with only a small fee. It was such a wonderful opportunity for me and my 2 brothers who also love martial arts. By that time I already knew about Taekwon-do and I joined the TKD class whereas my 2 brothers chose karate and judo.

My first motivation to take up TKD was simple. I saw it as a self defense physical training with good discipline.

2. Could you provide a brief overview of your training history and main instructors?

In 1987, our instructor Master Alex Lee Ming Pong (he was a black belt 3rd degree then, currently black belt 7th degree in 2011) taught us from all the basics , guided us and encouraged members to learn from each other through practicing together regularly. He led our team (the Confucius Boys TKD) to participate in various tournaments and presentations.

From 1989 to 1992, our TKD team won Overall Champions in different state tournaments (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak etc.) every year.

3. How has your pursuit of TKD enriched your life on the whole?

The pursuit of TKD has indeed enriched my life on the whole. I have also acquired the tenets of TKD: ”Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control , and Indomitable Spirit” to guide me through my daily life and as a person. At times of difficulties, I always remember the tenets and find strength and courage to cope and move forward. It also helped me to gain confidence.

4. What is your proudest moment in Martial Arts?

Mr. Thung Jin Ping performing a jumping reverse turning kick breaking 2 boards with eyes blindfolded.

The way I see my achievements in Martial Arts, there never occurred to me any proudest moment. It is simply because I felt each great moment will soon be shadowed by another. I generally do not get too excited over it.

5. You are also an accomplished artist who does painting work. Can you share with us how you got involved in painting?

Red Clogs in watercolor








I found my passion in art since I was small with the encouragement from my parents. I drew a lot until I got into secondary school when my art teacher Mr. Yong Look Lam taught me watercolor painting which I did very well.

6. Which came first, TKD or painting? Do you pursue any formal study in painting?

Both Taekwon-do and Painting/visual art mean a lot to me. As for painting, I enrolled at the Malaysian Institute of Art in Kuala Lumpur to study Fine Art after I completed my secondary school study.

During the 3-year study, I experimented in drawing, oil -painting, ink-painting, printmaking, design and mixed media work and even experimental studio with installations. I graduated in 1997 with a major in Painting, thus I am a visual artist who may be referred to as a painter. Fine art can be my profession. When I worked as artist designer at The Mines Resort (The Mines Wonderland Theme Park) in Kuala Lumpur, it was an occupation.

7. From the paintings that you have displayed, do you have specific preference on the medium that you use in your painting work?

Yes, I prefer water color as my medium in those close-up still life paintings that I have displayed.

8. Being both a TKD exponent and an artist, what kind of experiences you usually go through when doing your painting work as compared to executing your TKD movements or patterns?

When starting a painting, one generates from point to line and to form a dimension on a blank piece of paper or canvas. With the addition of color, every element in when working well together will take form into a piece of art work. Likewise, this principle is the same as in TKD, for every execution of movements and patterns such as jumping, rhythm and breathing should be performed smoothly, in coherence in order to achieve top form. To achieve form we must keep going practicing. There is no shortcut.

9. Did you host any art exhibition in the past and how was the response from the public? Did you take part in art competition? What was the highest price your painting works have so far fetched?

I had participated in various art exhibitions in the past. I am pleased to mention that sale of my paintings had helped me through my college fees and expenses.

Young Talents 96 Water World 2 Unit Muzium Matawang Bank Negara Malaysia

10. A painter uses paint, oils, acrylics, watercolors. An artist is a broader term. When you refer to yourself or talk about your artwork, do you call yourself a painter or an artist? Perhaps something else? Does it vary depending on who you’re talking to, or do you try to avoid using a label of any kind? Share your thoughts and experiences

I do not try to use or avoid any particular label in referring to myself as an artist. If any community uses different term or label, it is only out of their common knowledge. Surprisingly, the term fine art artist is not common in our society, but people will refer to painter in the arts as artists.

To me artists are more concern about sharing their art creations, less about how they may be called.

11. Given a choice to turn professional, which would you prefer to be – Martial Artist or Painter?

Since I love Martial Art as well as Visual Art, I would like to think that I may be able to make both professional. To me they complement each other, one being physical and the other spiritual.

12. Can you share your personal experience regarding what is going on your thinking process and the thoughts at that very moment when you are actually performing your brush stroke on the piece of art as compared to that of performing the ‘hyung’ movements?

In my case, the instance of executing the brush stroke or the performing of Hyung movement is an instinctive action or reaction excelling the basic steps and rules. It has to have a good flow. Of course this can only be achieved after the skill becomes a natural instinct, through many years of practice.

In the early years of practicing, every movement went through hesitation and decision, thus each action became a decision of a thought process and the end product was not convincing.

Building in Malacca




























“Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed, at its aspect everyone may create romance at the will of his imagination, and at a glance have his soul invaded by the most profound memories… Like music, it acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses… hearing can only grasp a single sound at one time, whereas the sight takes in everything and at the same time simplifies at its will.”
Paul Gauguin,c.1889-90


How Aware Are You of the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth? ~ Dennis Merritt Jones

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz

While sitting in a restaurant today I had a major league “ah-ha” that really whacked me upside the head, and I would like to share this realization with you. Perhaps you might be able to relate with it (or at least know someone who will ), because at first glance it appears to be a very innocuous form of behavior based on the fact that we all tend to “do it” on a regular basis. It seems to be inculcated in our culture. Perhaps for that very reason it is something to which we all need to pay attention because it affects the emotional (and thus physical) well being of all of us.

The “it” to which I am referring is gossip, and the mindless spreading of hearsay, comments and rumors. As I sat trying to mind my own business while eating my lunch, the people in the booth directly behind me were “having” someone by the name of Jane for lunch … and she wasn’t even there! I honestly did my best to dial it out, but the energy of their conversation was all pervasive. They were talking about her in such a disparaging manner that it was painful to hear.

It was in that moment that I became aware that I have also on occasion been a target of the same sort of mindless, groundless gossip and rumors. And yes, I too have also feasted on savory gossip and noshed on tasty unfounded rumors with others. In a microsecond, I understood that the pain I was feeling for Jane and those who were talking about her had became my pain because they were a reflection of me.

At some point or another in our lives we have all been the target of gossip and rumors, as well as participants in the spreading of them. It is insidious, toxic and yet, oh so juicy. Unless we are mindful and vigilant, it’s quite easy to fool ourselves into believing that what is coming from our minds, mouths and hearts is harmless idle chatter. That’s how gossip works.

It’s hard to detect when we are in the process of gossiping because it is provocative and seductive, but most of all, it is destructive. Why is it that gossip is so prevalent among us? Many people find some sort of power in gossip because it represents “inside” knowledge that not everyone else is privy to.

Some people find great comfort in knowing they can commiserate (in this context meaning “share their misery”) with like-minded people. Others may find gossip and the spreading of rumors a passive-aggressive way of dealing with their feelings of jealousy or envy, or perhaps their own insecurities and fears. For others it may mean that by putting someone else down (who is seldom present) it somehow makes themselves feel more important. The reasons we gossip are legion, however, not one of them justifies the activity.

This message is a reminder of how easy it is to jump into the stagnate pool of mindless gossip in our workplace, our church, the doctor’s office, the grocery store and even our own homes and neighborhoods. From a spiritual perspective, understanding we are all one, it means that when we gossip to others about others we are ultimately doing damage to ourselves as well.

Beyond the aforementioned spiritual reality is the fact that any person who will gossip with you about others will also gossip about you with others. I guess it’s an instant karma sort of thing. Any way you cut it, gossip and the spreading of rumors is counter productive to creating a healthy relationship with life. Speaking with integrity in our daily interactions is a conscious choice we get to make every day.

I invite you to join me in using this test before we unleash words that may be less than impeccable. Before speaking to or about another person, mindfully ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it true? Do I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I am repeating is accurate and true, or is it based on hearsay and assumptions that I or others have made without gathering all the facts from an impartial and reliable source?

2. What will I gain from repeating these words to others? Will what I am going to say be life affirming, productive and helpful to all involved? Will the world be a better place because I uttered these words? If not, why would I want to repeat them?

3. Is what I am going to say about another person something I would have the clarity, courage and commitment to say to their face, and if so, why don’t I do so?

4. Will what I am going to say be using the power of my word in the direction of truth and love?

Before we speak, or hit the forward and send button, it would do us well to pause and become witness to our thoughts before they become our word. It was a great reminder for me this week regarding the importance of being impeccable in our word. I invite you to join me in using the power of your word in an intentional and conscious manner.

Not just because speaking with integrity is the right thing to do, but because the world needs and deserves the absolute highest and best that we can bring to it. When we gossip and spread rumors we are declaring our own lack of wholeness. When we speak less than impeccably about others, we are affirming to the universe that hears our every word that we feel separate and apart from the whole of life.

When we are not impeccable in our word we participate in creating pain and suffering for others, and that is not why we have come to earth. When we use our word in the direction of truth and love we honor God’s presence by creating harmony and peace, and that is why we are here. What we think and say matters, so being impeccable with our word seems like a great place to start. Now that is worth repeating, so pass it on!

The Art of Being: 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life helps readers become inspired and stay inspired, with motivational and uplifting writings that can be read daily, supported by Mindfulness Practices, or action steps to make it simple. Ultimately, the understanding at which the reader will arrive is that spirituality, the art of being, is actually a lifestyle, a way of walking our sacred earth every day. The Art of Being is a user-friendly manual to guide you to become acutely aware of how to live more mindfully on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment basis and thus create more peace and happiness in your life and in the lives of those around you.

You are here on purpose …

“A Killing Art – the Untold History of Taekwon-Do” by Alex Gillis (updated Oct 25, 2011)

A Book Review By Wee Sun, Ngiaw – Special Correspondent, TKD Times Magazine.

Those who had received their TKD training in the 1960s and 1970s, this book provides an informative insight into the geo-political and military history on the development of Taekwon-Do, featuring the pioneer Instructors spearheaded by General Choi

And it will definitely make an interesting read for those had started learning TKD in the 1980s, 1990s, and right up to the present moment. This book entitled, “A Killing Art – the untold history of Taekwon-do” takes the form of narrative stories of struggle for power and domination punctuated with allegations of bribery, corruption, assassination and blackmail. Some of the names of Korean Masters mentioned in the book may be familiar to some of us who had had the opportunity to have been taught by them.

Written by Alex Gillis, a Canadian Instructor who received his training from ITF Korean Instructors, this book, as the author admitted, is partly biography, and partly memoir streamed together, giving a seemingly bizarre account of how General Choi, during his pre and post ITF era maneuvered his game plans in exploiting his Korean Instructors and dictating to his advantage, thus claiming authorship to the founding of the art, though there were several ‘founders’ of the various ‘kwans’ (schools)earlier before him. [His 4th Degree was awarded to him by one of the earlier seniors in Korea]

Even more grotesquely descriptive were the stories of the involvement of KCIA, CIA and the famous cult preacher Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church with some of the well-known pioneer Korean instructors in the United States. Plots and counter plots of assassination, and ‘gangsters’ ala mafia’ were treated as customary events during these turbulent times of Taekwon-Do’s historical development.

Some of the Korean Instructors [who are by now Grandmasters] are still alive to reminisce those tumultuous events, feeling morose at having had to experience such anguished moments of their lives. One of them is Grandamster Kim Bok Man whom I met recently in November 2008 with the assistance of a colleague who managed to trace him at his dojang in New Jersey

Grandmaster Kim had graded me in 1968 in Singapore YMCA where I received my early TKD training. And much to my surprise and awe, a picture of me in the group photo of the Grading test was found hanging on the wall of his dojang in New Jersey– after a lapse of 40 years!

Grandmaster Kim as some of you may know was considered the pioneer in introducing TKD in South East Asia. The book did mention that during the time when Gen Choi was the Korean Ambassador to Malaysia , Grandmaster Kim together with Master Woo Jae Lim ( now deceased) were instrumental in developing, formatting and refining the 16 original ITF patterns at the compound of the Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur under the starry eyes of Gen Choi.

Talking and listening to his stories after a lapse of 40 years was quite an experience, especially his emotional outbursts of lashing out at those who ‘betrayed’ him during those troubling periods.

The hard cover book comes with chapters creatively crafted under the headings of the tenets of Taekwon-do, such as indomitable spirit, courtesy, self control, and perseverance though the contents within this chapters may not lend credence to the spirit of this tenets, belying the scandalous and controversial series of events that had occurred since the introduction of TKD to the martial art world.

The changing of the guards under the helm of the Presidents of both the two world bodies of ITF and WTF was also marred with scandals and disgrace that were heralded as breaking news in the world of martial art, and TKD in particular.

In one of the chapters, the story was told of the Korean government officials raiding the residence of the former President of WTF and discovered millions of dollars in currency notes and expensive gifts and items being stashed away in the cupboards. It was reported that millions of government funds meant to be disbursed to the world body were kept by the former President. The rest was history as he was found guilty of corruption and CBT and was sentenced to jail. The current President of ITF was not spared either, as allegations of corruption and embezzlement of funds were reported in the inner circles of the TKD community.

For the past 5 decades or so, TKD has been tossed around as a political tool manipulated by the major players to forge their struggle for power, dominance and financial gain. The very fact that ITF has split into more than three world bodies bespeaks the lamented commercialization of the martial art. It was reported that WTF with its Kukiwon headquarters in Seoul, Korea, is also embroiled in such similar scandals.

When a question was posed to Grandmaster Kim Bok Man as to his purpose of pending visit to Seoul, South Korea in December 2008. he answered vaguely that he will be having some official discussions relating to TKD, about the condition of certificate issuance, inferring that another new TKD body might be set up.

On another piece of development, it was also reported Choi Jung Hwa, Gen Choi’s son, was in South Korea recently revealing some controversial information to the government officials accusing the current ITF President to be acting as a government spy for North Korea.

In light of such circumstances and development surrounding TKD, will the proposal for the unification of TKD ever become a reality or is it just an exercise in futility?

One thing is certain, there will be many steep mountains to climb, there will be more challenges to overcome, and last but not least, more concerted effort is needed in the ‘slaying of the beast’, and that is the EGO, if ever TKD is be free from the shackles of one-upmanship and territorial turf dominance.

For those serious TKD practitioners who nonchalantly continue to focus on the traditional and spiritual values of the art, making positive contributions in promoting goodwill and a sense of fellowship and camaraderie, there is still a beacon of hope to excel in the perfection of execution of techniques that this art offers.

Against the backdrop of continuing struggle for dominance and control for selfish gains, the serious practitioner has to be steadfast and disciplined, and diligently divorce himself from such temptations of ‘wheeling and dealing’. He has to come to terms with the realization that, viewed from spiritual perspectives, there exist the many dimensions of reality when one meditates and transcends the egoic self. He will then find the answers as to the much sought after secrets of happiness and life fulfillment

Some 2,500 years ago, a wise man became enlightened and preached to the world that LIFE in the relative world, there will be happiness and sorrow, love and hatred, richness and poverty, laughter and sadness, freedom and bondage, war and peace and all the dualities in living. In short, the wise man said, LIFE situation contains SUFFERING.

He further revealed the prognosis on the causes of suffering:

* Identification with a separate self;

*Attachment to the ego;

*Clinging to the permanency in life;

He then prescribed the cure for this suffering – in what we call the noble eightfold path.

Time constraint does not permit to go into details of this noble eightfold path, but perhaps one of the most important and cardinal concepts amongst them that, through the life long practice of TKD, one precept that one can cultivate and achieve is:

RIGHT MINDFULNESS – mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness.

Every movement and step that we execute in our TKD practice is consciousness in motion, to be totally focused in the present moment awareness – the witnessing self observing the martial artist performing the art. Practiced progressively over periods of time, the martial artist and the art converge and merge into one wave of consciousness – the martial artist becomes the art in motion. (The Rig Veda of India’s vedic science also mentions about the Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chandas having similar transcendental experience and spiritual understanding on the 3-in-1 consciousness)

Upon experiencing the transcendence on the boundaries of our thought, the many dimensions of reality give the notion that our body is just our re-cycled earth, our body fluids are re-cycled water, our breath is re-cycled air, and our thoughts are re-cycled information. Is there permanency in life that we need to cling so fearfully not knowing who we are, where do we come from, what is the purpose of our life?

One favorite past-time whenever traveling to places of sights and sceneries, is to visit the cemeteries and glimpse at the tombstones and the dash sign ( – ) in between the two dates. Therein lies the greatest revelation about our LIFE. Our lives are just a dash, pure and simple. We are mortal beings. And having realized this simple truth, we are a step closer to the secrets of happiness and the awakening to enlightenment.

For those who are interested in ordering the book, it is available at , now presently offering valuable discounts.

By: Master Ngiaw Wee Sun