Dong Keun Park

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Park Dong Keun
Bornc. 1941
Jeollado, Korea
Other namesD. K. Park
ResidenceKearny, New Jersey, USA
TeamSouth Korean National Team
Rank9th dan taekwondo
Years active1959–1966

Park Dong Keun (박동근; born c. 1941), also known as D. K. Park, is a South Korean Grandmaster of taekwondo. He holds the title "Grandmaster,"[1][2] the rank of 9th dan in taekwondo,[2][3] and was Korea's only undefeated taekwondo fighter in more than 200 International championship competition.[1] Park introduced the martial art of taekwondo to Thailand in 1966,[2] before settling in the United States of America, and was the taekwondo coach of both the US National Team and the US Olympic Team.[1]

Early life and career in Asia[edit]

Park was born in Jeollado, Korea, during World War II.[citation needed] He was a member of the South Korean National Team from 1959–1966,[2] and served as team captain from 1964–1966.[1] He was the South Korean National Champion from 1962–1966.[1] On his retirement, he was inducted into the Korean Amateur Athletic Association's Hall of Fame as the only undefeated taekwondo champion from more than 200 International matches.[1][2]

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,[2] specifically US Army Security Agency units in Bangkok, (83rd ASA Special Operations Unit,) and in Ban Non Song, (7th ASA Field Station.)

Career in North America[edit]

Park moved to Louisville, Kentucky, USA, in 1970, and on September 1, 1971, founded the D. K. Park Tae Kwon Do School, also the birthdate of his daughter, Jane.[2] Later that year, he appeared on television on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[2] Park established the taekwondo program at New York University in 1973.[2] 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.[1] Park was the head coach for the US National Team in 1979 at the 4th World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.[1] In 1982, he was named Coach of the Year by the Amateur Athletic Union.[2]

From 1982 to 1996, Park served as Coaching Committee Chairman of the United States Tae Kwon Do Union.[2] 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.[2]

Later life[edit]

In 1997, Tae Kwon Do Times magazine named Park as its Man of the Year.[2] 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).[4] On 6 April 2007, he was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame.[5][6] He is a Life Member of USA Taekwondo.[7] Park continues teaching taekwondo at his school in New Jersey.[3][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Grand Master Dong Keun Park: Pioneer of Taekwondo in Thailand Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m D. K. Park Tae Kwon Do: About us – Staff Retrieved on 27 April 2009; link updated on 7 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b Won Park Institute of Taekwondo: US TKD Grandmaster Society 1st annual Hall of Fame awards ceremony Archived October 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (22 April 2006). Retrieved on 25 January 2010.
  4. ^ Tae Kwon Do basics, techniques and forms: The indomitable martial art of Korea Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
  5. ^ a b The Official Taekwondo Hall Of Fame Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
  6. ^ Olympic and World Taekwondo Champions to be honored at 1st annual Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony (30 January 2007). Retrieved on 22 January 2010.
  7. ^ USA Taekwondo: Life members & application Retrieved on 25 January 2010.

External links[edit]