Regardless of what some organisations in the UK may think , one man is responsible for the breakthrough of Taekwondo in the UK .
That man is Rhee Ha Ki , not only is he the father of UK Taekwondo but also Irish Taekwondo in the Republic of Ireland.
Grand Master Ha Ki Rhee is one of the original KTA 12 masters and a 9th dan appointed by Choi Hong Hi .
Rhee Ha Ki learned Martial arts from a young age from his father , who taught him Judo and a teacher at his school taught him Karate .
Master Rhee served in the Korean Military and this is where he met Choi Hong Hi and took up Taekwondo
Like many of the top Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do instructors at that time Rhee was one of those that taught the US Military Personel Taekwondo , but he also taught personel from the RAF from the UK.
When some of these personel went back home they invited Rhee to come and teach in the UK.
Rhee arrived in the UK in 1967 for what he thought was a extended stay . After establishing clubs in the UK he also was invited to come to the Republic of Ireland by some Taekowndo people who had learnt of another Master , Unfortunatly for them thier Master had to leave as he had other plans. .
They Invited Master Rhee who was a 5th Dan at the time to come and see them perform.
He was pleased wth what he saw and and went about establishing clubs there.
Master Rhee was promoted to 7th dan in 1973 .
1981 saw hime attain a 8th Dan and in 1997 he became the first to attain a 9th dan from General Choi Hong Hi.
Grandmaster Rhee was responsible for the setting up of the United Kingdom Taekwondo Assocoation in 1967
and the Republic of Ireland Taekwondo Association in the same year.
He also set up across Europe in 1979.
He Married in in the UK in 1969 , thus securing his stay in the UK as permanent.
His son Andrew Rhee is a 8th dan Master who runs operations in Sydney Australia.
I've been reading a lot on various forums about how Taekwondo in the UK came about and it's quite unbellievable that the stigma against ITF Taekwondo in South Korea has found it's way with in the UK Taekwondo comuunity .
Many World Taekwondo clubs in the UK seem to ignore the fact of Grandmaster Rhee's importance to British Taekwondo.
One of the worst offenders seem to be clubs associated with the Taekwondo Association of Great Britian. Who also happen to be surported by the Sports council in the UK.
Now from what I have read it's not all the clubs but quite a few see Grandmasters Rhee's name as unspeakable in terms of Taekwondo's origin in the uk.
But I did see that one of TAGB senior Instructors was failed four times from attaining his 4th dan by Grandmaster Rhee and this has been fueled to defame the Grandmaster.
There;s no doub't that the Father of British Taekowndo is Grandmaster Rhee Ha Ki. He was invited to the UK by British service men who trained under him in South Korea.
People that served their Country saw it fit to ask thier Martial arts Master to come to the UK because they had respect for him.
He left his homeland and did so.
And the one thing UK Taekwondo practioners should accept is Grandmaster Rhee is the Father of UK Taekowndo.
Grandmaster Rhee is a
9th Dan in Taekwondo appointed by General Choi Hong Hi of the International Taekwondo Federation.
A 4th dan in Judo .
A 2nd dan in Karate.
And currently resides in the UK.