World famous Tae Kwon Do grand master visits Luverne

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005

Jhoon Rhee, Grand Master of Tae Kwon Do was in Luverne last week giving seminars at the SMART plant and Luverne High School where he expressed his philosophy of fostering a link between martial arts, education and life.

Rhee, 73, was born in 1932 and raised in South Korea. He rose to international fame as the most well known grand master of Tae Kwon Do in the U.S. and became a professor in the country he was born and raised.

He started studying Tae Kwon Do at age 13, behind his father’s back. Tae Kwon Do had a very low social image in Korea in the 40s and 50s so he set his goal to introduce Tae Kwon Do in America. He made a commitment to change its public image and his belief that anything that happens in America, good or bad influences the world.

Currently living in Washington, D.C. with his second wife who he married in 1997, Rhee moved to America in 1959. He befriended the legendary Kung Fu star Bruce Lee in the 1960’s teaching Lee the Tae Kwon Do kicking, while in return Lee taught him the use of hands in Martial Arts.

Rhee has over 60 affiliated Tae Kwon Do studios in the United States and 65 others worldwide. Some of his high-profile students included Muhammad Ali, Jack Anderson, George Allen Sr., Bob Livingston, Tony Robbins, Jack Valenti and over 300 U.S. Senators and House of Representatives.

Rhee’s Philosophy is defined through the “Lead By Example Action Philosophy”.

“A picture is worth a thousand words; an action is worth a thousand pictures,” he said. “Let us teach our children not by words as alone, but through our actions. Three basic human qualities we emphasize to our students is knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart and strength in the body. I have been encouraging everyone to set a life goal, 100 years of wisdom in a body of a 21 year old.”

Rhee is also an advocate of the link between Martial Arts and Education. He explained that Hollywood focuses on the physical half of Martial Arts as a violent activity.

“There is a positive side. A person must first develop self-discipline,” he said. “The word discipline can be broken down into two basic ingredients: Attention and respect and this is especially emphasized in the Martial Arts training”.

He then added the three basic human qualities to balance the development of a truly confident and happy child: the mind, body and spirit which builds self-confidence, self worth, a drive to succeed and a level of accomplishment.