FGM Rhee Ki Ha
First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha
A first-generation student of General Choi Hong Hi, the Founder of Taekwon-Do, Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha’s was described by General Choi as the “greatest ever student of Taekwon-Do”. Master Rhee still teaches the martial art of Taekwon-Do with the same approaches and rigor he learned from the Founder of Taekwon-Do and perfected through continuous practice of the art.Grand Master Rhee is steadfastly focused on promoting Taekwon-Do and General Choi’s legacy.
Born in Seoul, Korea in 1938, Grand Master Rhee started his Martial Art training at a young age. He studied Judo and Sumo from his father as well as Karate from his primary school teacher. Korea was governed by the Japanese Empire and there was no Taekwon-Do at that time” recalls Grand Master Rhee. “I began to learn Karate from my teacher at primary school; I was about 7 or 8 at the time.
Grand Master Rhee joined the 35th infantry division of the Korean army in 1956 and soon after became the Taekwon-Do instructor to the Special Forces and American military personnel. In 1964 Grand Master Rhee was invited to teach in Malaysia as one of three instructors sent by the Korea Taekwon-Do Association.
In 1967, Grand Master Rhee took the bold step of leaving his homeland and family to come halfway across the world to the UK in order to spread the art he loved. The Main stay of his operation was the Royal Air Force. Service men who had learned the Art in Singapore invited Grand Master Rhee to teach in the UK and the classes proved to be very popular.
During the months of November and December 1973, Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha accompanied General Choi Hong Hi as part of a specially selected I.T.F. Demonstration Team. They, along with other ITF Masters, toured Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Far East. A total of 13 countries were visited and new I.T.F. branches established in 5 of these countries. The tour was an overwhelming success with a total of more than 100,000 people watching the demonstrations in Egypt alone. At each stop, the Demonstration Team was hosted by ranking representatives of the local governments.
In May of 1978, Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha toured Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa with the Founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi. In that same year Grand Master Rhee was part of the 5th International Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team that toured Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia. In 1979 Grand Master Rhee accompanied General Choi to Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, France and England and then to Argentina as part of the 6th International Taekwon-Do Demonstration Team.
In July of 1997, Master Rhee was promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt by the Founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi.