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DongKeunPark

Don Keun Park

DongKeunParkBreaking

Park breaking bricks simultaneously with left and right hands

DK Park Jidokwan

Dong-Keun Park (left) vs. Il-Shik Kim at Hankuk Gymnasium (Jidokwan) in 1964

PARK, Dong-keun (박동근; born c. 1941), also known as D. K. Park, is a South Korean Grandmaster of taekwondo. He is known as the Father of Thai Taekwondo. Park holds the title "Grandmaster" (9th dan) and was undefeated as a taekwondo fighter in more than 200 championship competition. Park introduced the martial art of taekwondo to Thailand in 1966, before settling in the United States of America, and was the taekwondo coach of both the US National Team and the US Olympic Team.

Park was born in Jeollado, Korea, during World War II. He was a member of the South Korean National Team from 1959–1966, and served as team captain from 1964–1966. He was the South Korean National Champion from 1962–1966. Park moved to Thailand in 1966 at the personal request of King Bhumibol of Thailand to teach taekwondo to the Thai royal family and US military forces.

In 1970 Park moved to Louisville, Kentucky. In September 1971 he founded the D. K. Park Tae Kwon Do School. Later that year, he appeared on television on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Park established the taekwondo program at New York University in 1973. In 1975, he became the first instructor to have two students (Gerard Robbins and Dennis Robinson) win official USA National Taekwondo Championships titles, and both of them competed in the 2nd World Taekwondo Championships in Seoul, South Korea. Park was the head coach for the US National Team in 1979 at the 4th World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1982, he was named Coach of the Year by the Amateur Athletic Union.

From 1982 to 1996, Park served as Coaching Committee Chairman of the United States Tae Kwon Do Union. He was the technical coach for the US Olympic taekwondo team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. This was taekwondo's inaugural appearance at the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport. Park became head coach for the US Olympic taekwondo team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In 1993, he was head coach for the US Team at the World Championships (1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze), and in 1994 at the Goodwill Games in Saint Petersburg, Russia, resulting again in 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.

In 1997, Tae Kwon Do Times magazine named Park as its Man of the Year. In 2006, his first book was published: Tae Kwon Do basics, techniques and forms: The indomitable martial art of Korea (co-authored with Allan Schein). On 6 April 2007, he was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame. He is a Life Member of USA Taekwondo. Park continues teaching taekwondo at his school in New Jersey.

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