ITF-USA and ITF Taekwon-Do

About our Mission

Thank you for visiting the home page for the ITF-USA, the official governing body for the International Taekwon-Do Federation in the United States. Our mission, as a non-profit and democratically-structured organization, is to foster the teaching and art of traditional Taekwon-Do in the United States, as handed down by our founder General Choi, Hong Hi. Taekwon-Do has undergone tremendous evolution since its inception at the hands of General Choi in 1955 as he perfected the art while leading the 29 th Division of the Korean Army (also known as The First Division). In 1962, I started training under Master Nam-Tae-Hi, 7th dan and leader of the 1st group of Taekwon-do Masters to Vietnam. I later became a direct student of the General in 1967, and was fortunate enough to work with him to expand the art into Vietnam, as well as the United States. Throughout its evolution over the last 50 years, however, our art has remained true to its core principles: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit, as well as retaining a solid foundation in the core composition of Taekwon-Do: Conditioning, Fundamentals, Patterns, Sparring, Self Defense.

It is adherence to these roots that has kept the ITF strong throughout times of both growth and turbulence. Our objective is to provide a solid foundation and support system for our members, in the form of teaching, access to international resources, and a strong community in Taekwon-Do. We welcome the input and feedback of our members as we continually grow and adapt to the changing face of our times. I trust that you'll find the information on this site helpful, and return often to check for updates.

Grandmaster Van BinhPlease feel free to share your thoughts with us directly.

Grandmaster Van Binh

Taekwon-Do History

The Founder

General Choi Hong Hi was born on November 9th, 1918, in the Hwa Dae Myong Chun District of Korea.

At the age of twelve he started to study Taek Kyon, an ancient Korean method of fighting with the feet. Later, when he was studying in Japan, he met a Karate teacher who helped him earn his first degree Black Belt in less than two years. He then intensified his training, striving to earn his second degree. Around the same time, he started teaching.

Conscripted into the Japanese army during World War II, he was posted to Pyongyang where he was imprisoned. Wanting to maintain his good physical and mental health during his imprisonment, he practiced karate, alone at first, then by teaching it to the staff of the prison and the other prisoners.

Becoming an officer in the new Korean Army after the end of the war, he continued to teach his martial art to his soldiers as well as to American soldiers serving in Korea.

His beliefs and his vision of a different approach to teaching martial arts led General Choi to combine elements of Taek Kyon and Karate techniques to develop a modern martial art. He called it Tae Kwon Do, which means "the way of the feet and the hands", and this name was officially adopted on April 11th, 1955.

In 1959, General Choi was named President of the Korean Taekwon-Do Association. Seven years later, on March 22nd,1966, he created the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). As the Founder of Taekwon-Do and President of the ITF, he had the ability to share his art with students everywhere. Today, Taekwon-Do training is available around the world.

After a life dedicated to the development of Taekwon-Do, a modern martial art based on traditional values, philosophy, and training, General Choi, Founder of Taekwon-Do and President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, died of cancer on June 15th, 2002, in the country of his birth.


Taekwon-Do origins date back thousands of years. A mural on the wall of a tomb built in the Kingdom of Koguryo (37BC) shows two figures in Taekwon-Do stances and hand motions. The ancient martial art called Tae Kyon lasted until the 1900s. During the occupation of Korea by the Japanese, the practice of Tae Kyon was banned. With the occupation, Tae Kyon barely survived and in 1945, after the Japanese left Korea, the old traditions were revived.

Soon after the liberation of Korea in 1945, General Choi, Hong Hi was named as a founding member of the new South Korean Armed Forces. There, he was able to refine and develop new martial techniques, and have these evolve into a new martial art - Taekwon-Do. In 1955, the name Tae Kwon Do was coined by General Choi, Hong Hi. Taekwon-Do can be broken down into the following definitions - Tae = foot or smash with foot, Kwon = hand or smash with hand and Do = art or way . General Choi developed many of the modern techniques which were refined and tested in the Korean armed forces.

Taekwon-do is now the Korean martial national art of self-defense. Although its history spans back thousands of years into ancient systems of self-defense, it has been blended with modern day physics into one of the most powerful martial arts in existence. General Choi passed away in 2002, while still active as President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), the international governing body for traditional Taekwon-Do. General Choi is recognized in the Encyclopedia Brittanica as the founder of modern day Taekwon-Do.


ITF is the International Taekwon-Do Federation, founded on March 22nd, 1966, by General Choi Hong Hi, who developed Taekwon-Do, to promote the teaching of this martial art.

At that time, nine countries were involved: Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, USA, Turkey, Italy, and Egypt. Taekwon-Do is now taught in almost every country in the world, and General Choi is recognized as the Father of Taekwon-Do.

Year Event
1966 March 22 - ITF founded by General Choi Hong Hi, the Father of Taekwon-Do
1969 First Asian Tournament - Hong Kong
1972 ITF headquarters moved - Toronto (Canada)
1974 First World Championships - Montreal (Canada)
1976 First European Championships - Amsterdam (Netherlands)
1979 First Pacific Championships - Wellington, (New Zealand)
1982 North American Federation created
1983 Central American Federation created
1985 ITF headquarters moved - Vienna (Austria)
2002 June 15 -death of General Choi Hong Hi; Mr. Russell McClellan became Acting President
2003 June 13 - election of Master Trân Triêu Quân as President of the ITF at the 14th Congress of ITF, Warsaw (Poland)
2007 June 1-re-election of Master Trân Triêu Quân for second mandate as President of the ITF at the 16th congress of ITF, Quebec City (Canada)
2010 January 12-death of Grand Master Trân Triêu Quân; Grand Master Pablo Trajtenberg became Acting President