In 1979, the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame, an international organization based in the USA was created to preserve the history of Taekwondo, and honor all persons who contributed in an extraordinary way to the creation, development and promotion of Taekwondo. The organization is headed by Gerard Robbins its President and Founder. Robbins, a student of legendary Korean national champion GM Dong Keun Park, was a member of the first official USA National Taekwondo Team which competed at the 2nd World Taekwondo Championships held in South Korea in 1975, and winner of a gold medal at the first Pan Am Taekwondo Games held in Mexico City, Mexico in 1978. Robbins also won the Grand Championship at the All-American Championships held at Madison Square Garden in 1978, the same tournament won by Chuck Norris in the mid 60’s.
Since its creation, the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame has honored persons from more than 60 countries which include Afghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curacao, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador Egypt, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Netherlands, North Korea, Philippines, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Tasmania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, USA, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. This has never been done in the history of Taekwondo.
The Taekwondo Hall of Fame board of directors is comprised of Continental and National Directors as well as Technical Advisors who are themselves senior members of all major organizations including WT, ITF, Global Taekwondo and WTA. They include pioneering instructors, leaders, International Referees as well as national, world and Olympic players. It is the responsibility of the board members to conduct research, and using a strict set of criteria and guidelines, nominate qualified persons for honors under the various primary categories shown below:
(1) Humanitarian, (2) Lifetime Achievement, (3) Pioneer Instructor, (4) Literary Excellence, (5) Excellence in Leadership, (6) Outstanding Referee, (7) Pioneer Competitor, (8) Outstanding competitor, and (9) Youth Excellence (citation only)
2007 INAUGURAL TAEKWONDO HALL OF FAME CEREMONY HELD IN THE USA
While many notable practitioners were posted in the website which began in 1997, the first official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony was held in the United States of America on August 6, 2007. In that inaugural ceremony and others that followed, numerous pioneers were honored including Grandmasters Kim Bok Man, Nam Tae Hi, Rhee Ki Ha, C.K. Choi, Cho Sang Min, Dong Keun Park, Young Il Kong, Kim Pyung Soo, Chong Soo Lee, WTF President Dr. Un Yong Kim, ITF President Prof. Chang Ung. Grand Masters who were posthumously include General Choi Hong Hi, Park Jung Tae, Ki Whang Kim, Peter Chong, KI Chung Kim and GM more recently who was honored posthumously.
WORLD WIDE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Over the years, the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame has received letters of praise and acknowledgement from many of the most prominent figures in Taekwondo including WT President Chungwon Choue, Great GM Chung Woo Lee, Dr. Un Yong Kim, GM Jhoon Rhee, GM Sang Min Cho, GM Young Il Kong, GM Tran Trieu Quan, and others. Dr. Chungwon Choue president of World Taekwondo wrote:
“Gerard Robbins a 3 time national champion and founder of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame is to be commended for his cornerstone achievement”.
Prior to the creation of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame which has attained official registered trademark status, no other organization had received such acknowledgement. Furthermore, no similar ceremonies were previously conducted. As a result of the above, the Taekwondo Hall of Fame is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious organizations ever formed in the history of Taekwondo. Additionally, it is the only organization where the leaders of all major competing factions are members of the same organization.
2011 OFFICIAL TAEKWONDO HALL OF FAME CEREMONY AT KUKKIWON IN KOREA
Following the 2007 and 2009 ceremonies in the USA , the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame held its third and groundbreaking ceremony at the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul, Korea on August 25, 2011. That ceremony is considered to have been the most historic ceremony in the history of Taekwondo.
GM Dong Keun Park (l) and Professor Kook Hyun Jung (r)) named Korea’sall time greatest national and world Champions at the historic ceremony held at Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Hqts. in 2011
Similarly to the inaugural ceremony, leaders, champions and pioneers from all parts of the globe and every major organization were honored under the unifying umbrella of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame. Subsequent ceremonies were held in Canada, Iran, Croatia, Russia, North Korea as well as a second ceremony in Seoul, Korea. To our knowledge, no other “Hall of Fame” of any type has conducted ceremonies in multiple countries which in itself were a monumental achievement.
Below is a list of countries where the ceremony has been held.
April 7, 2007
Secaucus, New Jersey, USA
April 10, 2009
Teaneck, New Jersey, USA
August 25, 2011
Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters
October 18, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
February 24, 2014
April 11, 2015
May 8th, 2015
Chelyabinsk and St Petersburg Russia
September 25, 2015
March 1, 2016
Muju, South Korea
September 22, 2017
New York, USA
June 17 22, 2018
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
“STARS OF THE HISPANIC DIASPORA BRIGHTLY ILLUMINATE
THE GLOBAL LANDSCAPE OF TAEKWONDO”
2017 TAEKWONDO HALL OF FAME® CEREMONY HILTON HOTEL IN NEW YORK CITY
The Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame as previously stated has honored persons from more than 60 countries. As this article focuses on the tremendous contribution to Taekwondo that have been made by persons in the Hispanic diaspora we have presented a partial list of those who have been honored below:
Grand Masters and Masters, Chacon Zumbada (Costa Rica), Noemi Prone (Argentina), Fernando Jaramillo (Ecuador), George Kahakajian (Venezuela) Maria Andrea Mancuso (Argentina), Ramon Smith (Dominican Republic), Jose Ramon Reyes (Dominican Republic), Maria Nelly Chacin (Venezuela), Ruben Ayala, (Puerto Rico), Inneabelle Diaz Santana (Puerto Rico), Oskar Posada (Colombia), Armando Chavero, (Venezuela), Carlos Hernandez/citation journalist (Venezuela), Michael Vazquez (USA), Nelson Brizuela Cortes (Costa Rica), Cecilia Jimenez (Bolivia), Carlos Vásquez (Venezuela), Miguel Ferrera (Honduras), and numerous notables from Mexico alone include Ramiro Guzman, Javier Mayen Mena, Isiais Duenas Riestra, Manuel Jurado, Williams De Jesus, and Pilar Leguel
As the two major factions of Taekwondo are WT (World Taekwondo) and ITF (International Taekwondo Federation), the president of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame has appointed two persons to serve as Directors of the South and Central American and the entire Pan Am regions.
Grand Master Porfirio Alvarez originally from Colombia, has been involved in Taekwondo for more than 45 years and served as a Special; Assistant to the former President of the PATU (Pan American Taekwondo Union) Dr. GM Cha Sok Park. In addition to being a member of the Referee Committee of PATU from 2006-2008, he served as Referee Chairman of the New York State Taekwondo Federation. In 2013, GM Alvarez was inducted into the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame where he currently serves as the South and Central America Director of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame representing honorees affiliated with World Taekwondo (WT) formerly called World Taekwondo Federation.
Grand Master Alvarez recently wrote: “Gracias al Salón de la Fama de Taekwondo por ser una organización inclusiva y por permitir que los representantes de Taekwondo que son líderes y referentes mundiales sean reconocidos por su gran contribución a la humanidad. Como director de las regiones de América Central y del Sur (WT), me siento extremadamente privilegiado de ser parte de una institución tan prestigiosa”.
– Grand Master Porfirio Alvarez
GM Osvaldo Rios Olivero
Grand Master Osvaldo Rios Olivero from Argentina, a student of the late General Choi Hong Hi, President of the ITF Pan Am Council was inducted into the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame® in 2009. He currently serves as South America Director of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame® representing honorees affiliated with the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). Grand Master Osvaldo Rios Olivero recently wrote:
“I, GM Osvaldo Rios Olivero, President of PANAM Taekwon-Do Council am proud to serve as Director of the Taekwondo Hall of Fame® representing South America (ITF). I affirm that the Taekwondo Hall of Fame an international organization created by you which is recognized world-wide as being the one and only Taekwondo Hall of Fame in the world. I will do my best to support the goals and visions of the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in its effort to preserve the history of Taekwondo and honoring those who have dedicated their lives to the development and promotion of Taekwondo in an extraordinary manner.”
-GM Osvaldo Rios Olivero, President
Panam Taekwon-Do Council ITF
Below are written statements received from several distinguished Hispanic honorees from the Pan Am regions of Central and South America.
GM Nelson Brizuela Cortes
“The Taekwondo Hall of Fame is important because from thereon we can keep the essence from the best Taekwondo performers in the world.”
-GM Nelson Brizuela Cortes , WT International Referee, Costa Rica
GM Ruben Ayala
“It’s an Honor and Privilege for me as a Puerto Rican Hispanic to be inducted in the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame as an Olympic Coach and International Referee with so many honorable Grand Masters, Masters, Coaches, Athletes and Referees from all around the World.”
-GM Rubén Ayala, Puerto Rico
GM Oskar Posada
Como un hispano orgulloso de ser hijo del hermoso país de Colombia y practicante del Taekwondo, fue para mí un gran honor el haber sido inducido al Salón de la Fama del Taekwondo Mundial. El Salón de la Fama es un invaluable reconocimiento para aquellos que hemos dedicado nuestras vidas al servicio del Taekwondo y el haber sido escogido para quedar inscrito en el, entre los millones de practicantes y Maestros que hay en el mundo, es un verdadero orgullo y una gran satisfacción que solo los pocos que hemos llegado ahí podemos sentir y valorar.
Mis sinceros agradecimientos a todos los miembros de la organización del Salón de la Fama y en especial a uno de sus integrantes que es un motivo de orgullo para mi país, pues también es un hijo de nuestra querida Colombia y el es el Maestro Porfirio Álvarez, que hoy en día reside en los Estados Unidos, pero sigue siendo orgullosamente Colombiano.
-G.M. Oskar Posada Rios, Colombia
GM Maria Andrea Mancuso
“It is a great honor to have been inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame. An unforgettable moment in my career as a Taekwondo master. This award reaffirms the continued commitment to the spreading of our beloved sport around the world and the contribution of its growth without barriers in the American Region.”
-Maria Andrea Mancuso, International Referee, Argentina.
“In my opinion, the Taekwondo Hall of Fame seems important because it honors and recognized the work of great personalities and athletes , who have dedicated many years and effort to this discipline, making them immortal in the history of Taekwondo. I admire the initiative of the creation of the Taekwondo Hall of Fame, since it has achieved a great impact in the Taekwondo community. Finally I want to thank the Taekwondo Hall of Fame for honoring me with such a distinction.”
-GM Maria Nelly Chacin.
Founding member of the Venezuelan Taekwondo Federation
First Female Poomsae International Referee in Venezuela
First Female Kukkiwon Dan Holder in Venezuela
First Venezuelan to serve as a referee at a World Championship (1993)
While the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame is proud to have received acknowledgement in writing from the our honorees located in the Panam countries we are equally as proud to receive acknowledgement from other parts of the world as in the sample of a portion of a letter shown below which was recently received.
“May I commend your (Taekwondo Hall of Fame) hard work and efforts to fairly represent all of Taekwondo. I wish the Hall of Fame a long and successful future while continuing your honest efforts to represent and honor our art.”
Master Tom Stammer
Secretary General, Commonwealth Taekwondo Union
President, Koryo Taekwondo Clubs, UK
PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER
Student of Grand Master Dong Keun Park,
Korea’s All Time Greatest National Champoion
9th Dan (Jidokwan #317) First person of African descent to receive 9th Dan from Korea
Founder / Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame®
First Taekwondo Black Belt named “All American” by Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (’75)
2007 Director Inaugural Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony – USA
2009 Director 2nd Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony – USA
2011 Director 3rd Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony – KUKKIWON – Seoul, Korea
2013 Director 4th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony Las Vegas, USA
2014 Director of 5th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony – Tehran, Iran
2015 Director 6th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony in PyongYang, North Korea
2015 Director 7th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony in Toronto, Canada
2015 Director 8th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia
2017 Director 9th Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame Certemony New York City, USA
– PARTIAL COMPETITIVE HISTORY –
Grand Champion, Penn Taekwondo Championships, Norristown, PA, (’72)
2nd Pl. Breaking , Richard Chun Universal Open Taekwondo Championships, (’72)
Grand Champion, Pu Gill Kwons Universal Championships, Atlantic City, NJ, (’73)
Grand Champion, Mahn Suh Park Taekyun Championships, (’73)
First Place Heavyweight, Mahn Suh Park Taekyun Championships, (’73)
1st Place Forms U.S. Open United Taekwondo Championships, Cincinnati, Ohio
1st Place Forms, Kyong Lee College Championships, Toronto (’74)
Member of USA Team “Battle of Champions” USA v Canada – Montreal (’75)
Grand Champion Nam Son Paek’s Championships (’75)
Grand Champion Brooklyn International Championships (’75)
Grand Champion Ik Jo Kang’s Taekwondo Championship – NY (.75)
Grand Champion Howard Lee’s Taekwondo Championships (’75)
Grand Champion Won Keun Bai’s Taekwondo Championships (‘750
Member USA Team “Battle of Champions” USA v Canada – Montreal, Canada (’76)
Gold Medalist 1st USA National AAU Taekwondo Heavy Sparring (’75)
Gold Medalist 1st USA National AAU Taekwondo Championships Poomsae (’75) Competed in 2nd World Taekwondo Championships Seoul, Korea (’75)
Grand Champion Ki Chung Kim’ s Championships (Master’s Division) (’75)
1st Place Forms Worley’s Mid America Championships (’86)
Competed in 1st Pre-World Taekwondo Games Seoul, Korea (’78)
First Place Heavyweight, Henry Cho’s All American Open Championships, (’78)
Gold Medalist National Taekwondo Championships (’78)
Gold Medalist 1st Pan Am Taekwondo Championships – Mexico City (’78)
Grand Champion All American Open Championships – NY (’78)
2nd Forms All American Open Championships – NY (’78)
Grand Champion West Coast Open Championships – Los Angeles CA. (’78)
Grand Champion 1st Caribbean Taekwondo Championships (’78)
1st Place Poomsae 1st Caribbean Taekwondo Championships (’78)
Grand Champion 2nd Caribbean Taekwondo Championships (’79)
Silver Medalist AAU National Taekwondo Championships (’79)
Grand Champion Won Keun Bai’s Taekwondo Championships (’81)
First Place Heavyweight, Won Keun Bai’s Championships, (’81)
First Place Heavyweight, Henry Cho’s All American Open Championships, (’81)
Grand Champion Atlantic Open Karate Championships (’82)
Grand Champion Suk Jun Kim’s U.S. Open Taekwondo (’82)
Bronze Medalist Suk Jun Kim’s U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships (’83)
Gold Medalist 2nd New Jersey State Taekwondo Championships (’83)
Grand Champion Eagle Cup Taekwondo Championships (’84)
Grand Champion Y. B Choi’s 12th Annual Taekwondo Championships (’86)
Gold Medalist Garden State Games – Taekwondo Division (’86)
Gold Medalist Garden State Games – Karate Division (’86)
1st Place Forms Worley’s Mid America Championships (’86)
Silver Medalist Keystone State Championships (’87)
Grand Champion Ki Yun Yi’s Taekwondo Championships (’88)
Bronze Medalist U.S.T.U New Jersey State Games (’88)
Featured in numerous martial arts publications including Taekwondo Times,
Traditional Taekwondo, Black Belt Magazine, Karate Illustrated, and Official Karate.
Member – The Korea Society/ New York
Member- Korean Business Central
International Advisor -Korea Martial Arts Society
To see complete profiles of our honorees listed above, learn about the leadership and structure of the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame as an organization, including the selection process go to: www.taekwondohalloffame.com