Nam Tae-hi

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Nam Tae-hi
Born19 March 1929
Seoul, Korea
Died7 November 2013(2013-11-07) (aged 84)
Garden Grove, California, United States
Teacher(s)Won Kuk Lee
Rank9th dan taekwondo
Notable studentsHan Cha Kyo, Jhoon Goo Rhee

Nam Tae-hi (남태희; 南太熙; 19 March 1929 – 7 November 2013) was a pioneering South Korean master of taekwondo[1][2][3][4] and is known as the "Father of Vietnamese Taekwondo".[1] With Choi Hong-hi, he co-founded the "Oh Do Kwan" and led the twelve original masters of taekwondo of the Korea Taekwon-Do Association (KTA).[1][5]

Early life[edit]

Nam was born in March 1929 in Seoul, Korea,[1] during the period of Japanese occupation. He began training in the martial arts in 1946, training after school for five nights each week.[6] Nam's training continued in the Chung Do Kwan under Lee Won-kuk.[6] It has been claimed that Nam introduced Bok-man Kim (a pioneering master and one of the technical founders of taekwondo, working with Choi) to taekkyeon in 1948,[7] but other sources indicate Nam did not meet Bok-man Kim until 1954.[8]


While a captain in the South Korean military forces, Nam met Choi,[1] and acted as Choi's second-in-command in the early days of taekwondo. Nam was pivotal in the development of taekwondo, and was called Choi's "right hand man" in the latter's official biography.[9] In 1954, at the rank of 2nd dan, Nam participated in a military demonstration of martial arts for the president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, and broke 13 roof tiles with a downward punch; Rhee was reportedly so impressed that he subsequently ordered all Korean military personnel to undergo training in martial arts.[3][6][10][11]

In March 1959, Nam was a member of the first Korean taekwondo demonstration team to travel overseas, demonstrating his martial art in Vietnam and Taiwan.[1] Around this time, he was appointed president of the Asia Taekwon-Do Federation, and was also one of the founding directors of the KTA.[9] In 1962, Nam was appointed as Chief Instructor of taekwondo for the Vietnamese army, and came to be known as the Father of Taekwondo in Vietnam.[1] Nam designed the Chang Hon taekwondo patterns Hwa-Rang hyung, Chung-Mu hyung, and UI-Ji hyung.[1]

Later life[edit]

Nam moved to the Chicago area in 1972, opened a dojang in 1973, and then later lived in Los Angeles.[1] He appears on Chang Keun Choi's list of taekwondo pioneers.[12] In 2007, he was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame.[13]

After being admitted to hospital due to pneumonia, Nam died on 7 November 2013 in Garden Grove, California, USA.[14][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i World Taekwon-Do Alliance: Grand Master Nam Tae-hi Archived 2010-01-19 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 22 February 2009.
  2. ^ Grandmaster Van Binh Nguyen, IX degree Archived 2010-01-17 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 8 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b Burdick, D. (1990): A history of Taekwondo Retrieved on 8 January 2010.
  4. ^ Van Binh Self Defense Academy: History of Taekwon-Do Archived 2010-03-08 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 8 January 2010.
  5. ^ A tribute to the original masters Archived 2010-05-25 at the Wayback Machine (c. 2007). Retrieved on 13 June 2007; link has expired, as at 1 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Weiss, E. (2000): Nam Tae-hi: Chung Do Kwan's quiet man Tae Kwon Do Times. Retrieved on 20 January 2010.
  7. ^ Archer, P. (1973): "Three stages of Tae Kwon Do." Black Belt, 11(7):28–32.
  8. ^ Anslow, Stuart: Supreme Master Kim, Bok-man Interview, Totally Tae Kwon Do, 27:11-23.
  9. ^ a b Park, S. H. (1993): "About the author." In H. H. Choi: Taekwon-Do: The Korean art of self-defence, 3rd ed. (Vol. 1, pp. 241–274). Mississauga: International Taekwon-Do Federation.
  10. ^ History of Chang Moo Kwan Retrieved on 20 January 2010.
  11. ^ Vitale, G. (2009): A history of Taekwon-Do demo's (sic) Totally Tae Kwon Do, 5:41–45.
  12. ^ Choi, C. K. (2007): Tae Kwon Do Pioneers Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 15 March 2008.
  13. ^ Taekwondo Hall of Fame: Awards ceremony and banquet (6 April 2007). Retrieved on 22 April 2010.
  14. ^ Kido Kwan Martial Art International: Passing of Nam, Taej-hi (sic) (7 November 2013). Retrieved on 12 November 2013.
  15. ^ Tae Kwon Do Times: Colonel Nam Tae-Hi (1929–2013) (8 November 2013). Retrieved on 12 November 2013.
  16. ^ World Taekwondo Alliance Archived 2013-11-12 at the Wayback Machine (November 2013). Retrieved on 12 November 2013.