How and when did taekwondo come to the United States?

  • 1949+ Korean Army soldiers begin visiting the U.S. to train at U.S. Army camps. While not opening formal schools and teaching formal classes, these soldiers would put on exhibits and provide informal instruction to the American counterparts.
  • 1954+ U.S. Army Soldiers who trained in Korea and then returned to the U.S.
    • 1954: Atlee Cheetman (Atlee Chittim) taught Tang Soo Do in Texas after returning from serving in the Korean War
    • 1960+ Returning servicemen and others begin opening Tang Soo Do studios in U.S. including: Dale Drouilard (#757) in Wyandotte, Michigan / Robert Thompson (#1791) in Dayton Ohio / Lawrence Seiberlich(#1815) in St.Paul Min. / John Butterwick(#2277) Military / Robert Cheezic (#2278) Waterbury, CT., Carlos ‘Chuck’ Norris (#2819),Torrance Ca. / Frank Trojanowicz (#13333) / Joe Weeks(#3596),MagnoliaAr. Lynn Jackson(#3597) Oberlin, Ohio / James Ruston(#4130) Military / Russell Hanke (#4137)Detroit Mich., Robert Sohn (#6037) New York. / James Cummings(#4493)Military / Robert Shipley (#4825), Honolulu, Hi., David J. Praim(#3593), Mt. Clemems, MI, / Robert Beaudoin (#5657) Waterbury, CT. / Jong Hyan Lee (#1885), San Diego Ca. / Lynn Jackson (#3597) , Lorain Ohio / Ki Whang Kim (No Dan Bon) (Washington D.C.) / Shim Sang Kyu (#180) Wyandotte, Mi. / Ahn Kyong Won (#1763) Cincinnati, OH
  • 1956+ Korean college students begin coming to the U.S. to study at U.S. colleges
    • 1956 July 25 - December: Captain Jhoon Rhee attended aviation training at Gary Air Force Base in San Marcos
    • 1957: Now out of the Army, Jhoon Rhee returns to the U.S. to study at Texas College in San Marcos. He teachs "Korean Karate" at a martial arts club (reportedly located in nearby Austin at 3403 Guadalupe Street)
    • 1958: Jack (Sae-Jin) Wang
    • 1962: Richard (Rhin-Moon) Chun and Shin Hyun-Ok
  • 1960: Choi Hong-Hi visits the U.S. and convinces Jhoon Rhee to call his martial art *taekwondo*.
  • 1962 February: Si-Hak (Henry) Cho opens the first commercial Korean martial arts school in the U.S. in New York City.
  • 1962 June: Jhoon Rhee relocates to Washington D.C. For a short time he teaches at a local karate schools, then opens his own taekwondo school located at 2013 K Street NW in Washington, D.C.
  • 1965: Chung Suk-Jong relocates to Chicago; may have been the first person to formally teach ITF teul in the U.S.
  • 1969: Haeng Ung Lee relocates to Omaha, Nebraska where he opens his own school, founding the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) style.

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