Taekwondo, sometimes called Korean Karate, has been traced as far back as 37 BC in carvings and murals. The art of Taekwondo was passed from father to son and from generation to generation. The Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was formed in 1965 in Seoul, South Korea, and in May 1973, 20 countries formed the “World Taekwondo Federation.” Taekwondo was officially accepted as an Olympic sport in 1988 and is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America today.
Prior to official recognition of the sport, Grandmaster Wok Kuk Lee (born April 13, 1907) first taught what was known as Tang Soo Do in 1944 in a church, in Seoul, Korea. This is known as the “birthplace” of Chung Do Kwan. Shortly after independence, the government pulled any support for the teachings of Tang So Do (pronounced as Tung Su Do) because of criminal gangs misusing it. He was arrested, but released in 1950. Because things in Korea were still tense, he and his wife fled to Japan.
Grandmaster Lee returned to Korea and taught his martial art, which was then given the name “Tae Soo Do Chung Do Kwan”, up to 1960. At this time, due to the popularity of Chung Do Kwan, he was declared a living national treasure by the Republic of Korea. One of his students was US army General William Westmoreland who was instrumental in helping him eventually settle in the USA, in Arlington, Virginia, in 1976. He lived there until his death on Feb. 2, 2003.
In 1955 the future of Chung Do Kwan was passed on to his successor, Senior Grandmaster Uoon Kyu Uhm. Senior Grandmaster Uhm was president of the Kukkiwon from 2004-2008 and World Chung Do Kwan President. Grandmaster Uhm was Grandmaster Lee’s top student. Senior Grandmaster Uhm is known worldwide as being the highest ranked living black belt on this planet – his traditional title is “Won’ Jang” meaning “world leader” – Grandmaster Uhm helped devise the current rules governing modern Taekwondo free sparring and is one of the pioneers responsible for the formation of modern Taekwondo. He also played a large part in the formation and development of the World Taekwondo Federation and the Kukkiwon. As one of Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee’s first students, Grandmaster Uhm remains a link to the earliest days of Taekwondo. He was also a well-known competitor and coach in Taekwondo’s early days and a Special Instructor for the South Korean Military. As head of Chung Do Kwan and President of the Kukkiwon, he spent decades ensuring that Kukkiwon Taekwondo retains the power, etiquette, and high technique that make it one of the world’s pre-eminent martial arts. Grandmaster Uhm passed away in June 2017.
Senior Grandmaster Hae Man Park was for almost 50 years Senior Grandmaster Uhm’s top student and close aid – he is currently the president of the World Chung Do Kwan Association. Grandmaster Park was on the committee to create the new Taeguek poomse started in 1965 and by 1972 the new poomse was introduced. Senior Grandmaster Hae Man Park served as the editor on this committee.
Grandmaster Park was the instructor of Grandmaster Edward B. Sell from 1973-2014. He was responsible for training Grandmaster Sell over the years on his way to his 9th Dan Kukkiwon, confirming his long-acclaimed world title as the highest ranked non-Korean in the world in Taekwondo. Grandmaster Park continues to work closely every year with Grandmaster Grandmaster Brenda Sell. In 2012, she was awarded her 9th degree black belt by Hae Man Park (under the Chung Do Kwan Association), and in 2017, after a battle with cancer, she was awarded her 9th degree black belt by the Kukkiwon High Dan Testing Board at a special, historical testing in Denver, Colorado. She has been named the highest ranked American female in all of Taekwondo, and only the second female to ever attempt a 9th degree Kukkiwon black belt. Although Park has now retired, he now travels all over the world updating Taekwondo standards.
The system of teaching Chung Do Kwan as we know it today was created by Senior Grandmaster Edward B. Sell. Senior Grandmaster Ed Sell was stationed in Pyung Teak Kun, Korea, in 1960 while serving in the United States Air Force at Osan AF Base, as an Air Policeman. One of the first things he did was sign up for Tang Soo Do lessons and would attend classes on every waking moment when he wasn’t on duty. Immediately upon returning from two separate tours of duty in Korea. Grandmaster Sell refined his Chung Do Kwan teaching system and maintaining old traditions with new ideas, created the system they use today. Grandmaster Sell began living his dream to create an American-owned and operated national Chung Do Kwan Association. His first school was open for business in Trenton, Michigan, on August 17, 1967. His vision by this time was already way beyond one school. He already had it in his mind the organization that would become the United States Chung Do Kwan Association. In 1979 Senior Grandmaster Sell and Grandmaster Brenda moved themselves and head office of the USCDKA to Lakeland, Florida, where it is today. In 1981, the Sells founded the Evangelistic Taekwondo Exhibitions, which would eventually be renamed “The Sell Team Ministry.” This team used Taekwondo to teach their Christian faith to places like schools, fundraising events, prison ministries, West Point Academy, etc. The Sell Team Ministry was a non-denominational Christian demonstration team. Senior Grandmaster Sell promoted thousands of black belts in his career including four grandmasters, and likely brought many to Christ, before his passing in February 2014.
Senior Grandmaster Sell contributed his success and his appointment as America’s first Taekwondo Master and first Kwan Jang, to his near half-century practice of loyalty to his heritage which is four generations from the top:
1944: Senior Grandmaster Won Kuk Yi (Lee) – The true founder of Chung Do Kwan which is now officially declared to be the first Taekwondo teaching system created.
1955: Senior Grandmaster Woon Kyu Uhm – Appointed to Chung Do Kwan Kwan Jang, President of the Kukkiwon from 2004-2008, World Taekwondo.
1965: Senior Grandmaster Hae Man Park – Most loyal student and dedicated assistant to GM Uhm, President of World Chung Do Kwan Association, Seoul, Korea, Global Traveler as Kukkiwon Ambassador.
1967: Senior Grandmaster Edward B. Sell – Founding Kwan Jang of the US Chung Do Kwan Association and only non-Korean to obtain a 10th Degree Black Belt from the Kukkiwon.
2013: Senior Grandmaster Brenda Sell – Appointed President of the US Chung Do Kwan Association, 9thdegree black belt awarded by Kukkiwon High Dan Testing Board in Denver, Colorado, highest ranked American female in all of Taekwondo.
2001 Master Dean Siminoff – Founded Kootenay Christian Martial Arts in Nelson, B.C., 6th Dan.
2012: Master Gary Voysey – Founded Swift Current Christian TKD in Swift Current, SK, 4th Dan.
Master Gary Voysey trained under Master Dean Siminoff from 2008-2011 (up to 1st Gup). At that time, he was called by God to open a Taekwondo school in his home province, SK. With permission from Senior Grandmaster Edward B. Sell, Master Voysey opened a Taekwondo school under the US Chung Do Kwan Association. Under Grandmaster Sell, Voysey obtained his first and second Dan. With Grandmaster Edward Sell’s passing in 2014, he came under Grandmaster Brenda Sell’s tutelage from 2015-16, obtaining his third Dan.
In 2017, the prayerful decision was made to break away from the US Chung Do Kwan Association and join the membership of Saskatchewan Taekwondo and Taekwondo Canada, to ensure his students could compete in Canadian tournaments and adopt techniques that are practiced on a provincial, national, and world stage.
Gary Voysey has since obtained his 4th Dan (aka “Master”) from Master Terry Webb of SK and is Kukkiwon certified to teach. He is an NCCP Level A and B Coach, is Assistant Instructor (AI) and Dojang Coach (DC) certified through Taekwondo Canada, and has his Safe Places Certificate, and CPR/AED Level C.
Taekwondo Essay for 3rd Dan
Submitted by Carrie Voysey