Grandmaster Kim Bok Man

One of the original pioneers of Taekwon Do
The founder of Chun Kuhn Taekwon Do

Taekwon Do is considered one of the oldest martial arts in the world — estimated at over 2,000 years old. Taekwon Do literally means the “art of hand and foot fighting.” It is one of the most successful martial arts today, due in part to the efforts of Bok Man Kim, a 10th Degree black belt who has pioneered the international development of traditional Taekwon Do. Black Belt magazine once called him the “father” of Taekwon Do and he has been instructing for the past 53 years. Over the course of his career he has taught and performed for presidents and royalty in Southeast Asia and Europe.

In 1941, at age 7, Bok Man Kim was introduced to the ancient Korean foot-fighting techniques of To-San, forerunner of Taekwon Do.

In 1950 Kim joined the army. During his army years he honed his fighting skills. Rising to the rank of Sergeant Major he began teaching unarmed combat techniques to other servicemen.

In 1959 Kim visited Saigon at the invitation of the South Vietnamese government to popularize and promote Taekwon Do to members of the police, military and paramilitary establishments. In Taiwan, also upon government invitation, he performed before the Formosan Police Contingents and members of the National Armed Forces.

Kim retired from the army in 1962, after which he devoted his life entirely to Taekwon Do.

In 1963 he arrived in Malaysia with other high-ranking Korean instructors, performing demonstrations throughout the Malaysia peninsula, including command performances for the King of Malaysia and the Prime Minister. Kim organized the Malaysian Taekwon Do Association. For the first time, Kim brought Korean instructors abroad under the name of Taekwon Do. During that same year Kim traveled to Singapore. Through public displays he and six other black belts organized a strong following, which led to the birth of the Singapore Taekwon Do Association. In 1965 Kim returned to Korea and revamped the entire structure of Taekwon Do.

In the following years, 1966-1969, Kim based himself in Hong Kong and traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe. During those years he organized the International Taekwon Do Association, the Hong Kong Taekwon Do Association and the Brunei Taekwon Do Association. He also helped the infant Thai Association in Bangkok get off the ground. Outside of Asia he established Taekwon Do Associations in the United Kingdom, France, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Uganda, Kenya and Australia.

In 1970 Kim went to the Philippines at the invitation of President Marcos. After the first demonstration of Taekwon Do in the Philippines, Kim founded the Philippines Taekwon Do Association.

In 1971 Kim returned to Hong Kong and in 1972 the First Hong Kong Taekwon Do Tournament and demonstration was held.

In 1973 Kim went to Sarawak at the invitation of their government. After successful demonstrations, he organized the Sarawak Taekwon Do Association.

In 1975 Kim was again invited to Sarawak by the Governor for the Sarawak Open Taekwon Do Championships. Traveling back through Southeast Asia he checked on the growth and development of his Taekwon Do Invitation Game. He was also invited to Chicago for the Third Taekwon Do Championships.

In 1979 Kim was invited to the Fourth World Taekwon Do Championship in Munich. From Munich he traveled throughout Europe giving lectures, demonstrations and instructing. Returning to Asia, Kim continued to help the growth of Taekwon Do.

In 1990 Kim came to the United States and opened his first American school in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1994 Kim then opened a school in Denver and later in Federal Heights.

Mr. Kim has written three books on the subject of Taekwon Do and is now in the process of creating a new federation, the World Chun Kuhn Taekwon Do Federation.

Kim deserves the utmost admiration for his experience, skill and knowledge. His students have the greatest respect for him as a person and instructor.