Grand master Jhoon Rhee is a seventh degree black belt and one of the first widely known
karate instructors in the world. Master Rhee came to America as a member of the
Korean Army Officer Training Program in 1956. In order to earn extra income while attending college at
San Marcos Southwest Texas State College and University of Texas in Austin, Master Rhee started offering classes in the
martial arts. The excellence of his training methods soon attracted a large following and set the stage for the rise of karate as a sport in the United States. Allen Steen, a student in one of Master Rhee's first classes, went on to found the famous Blood-N-Guts karate style.
In 1962 Master Rhee moved to Washington, DC and attracted many government officials to his school, including
Senators and Congressmen. On Capitol Hill, he organized karate tournaments between
republicans and democrats.
Master Rhee is credited with the introduction of the protective gear now commonly worn by martial artists to prevent injuries. He also started the practice of performing martial arts
kata (forms) to music.
Jhoon Rhee started the wave of popularity for the martial arts and the Korean art of self-defense known as
Tae Kwon Do that persists today. In 1976 Rhee was named the "Martial Arts Man Of the Century," by the Washington D.C.
Touchdown Club, and in 1999 Black Belt Magazine named Grand Master Rhee as one of the 10 most influential martial artists of the century.
Rhee's enthusiasm and accomplishments earned him the title of "Father of U.S. Tae Kwon
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