CHOI, Kwang-jo (born March 2, 1942) is a former South Korean national champion in taekwondo, and is one of the twelve Original Masters of taekwondo. Following a career in the South Korean military, he emigrated to the United States of America in 1970. Choi is the founder and head of the Choi Kwang Do international martial art organization, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Choi was born in Daegu, Korea, which was under Japanese control at the time. He started training in the martial arts at the age of 12 because his father was concerned—he wanted his small, physically weak son to be able to protect himself in the war-torn streets. Choi's first master was Dong Ju Lee. During his military service, Choi became a chief Instructor in the 20th Infantry Division and came into contact with General Choi Hong Hi when the military began to use taekwondo for unarmed combat.
Due to injuries sustained from his martial arts training he sought medical attention in the United States, moving in 1970, and began to study different physical therapy techniques. As a result, he began to study anatomy, physiology, and human-movement sciences.
In 1987, Choi incorporated everything he had learned into his own martial art system called Choi Kwang Do, which translates as “the art (or method) of Kwang Choi.” Choi maintains that Choi Kwang Do is free from the mysticisms of traditional martial arts, yet he advertises that his art practises yoga-based stretching. Choi heads the Choi Kwang Do organization from Atlanta and was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Times magazine's Hall of Fame in 2006. One notable critic of Choi is Roger Koo. Since resigning from the post of Vice President under Choi's organization in 1991, Koo has remained a staunch opponent. Koo dedicates a large portion of his website to disparaging Choi and his organization. Choi is listed as a pioneer in Asia (1950s and 1960s) and Canada (1970s) in Chang Keun Choi's list of taekwondo pioneers.
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