Nam Tae-Hi, the second man in ITF Taekwondo


Nam Tae-hi, also known as the "Father of Vietnamese Taekwondo", was a pioneering South Korean master of taekwondo who played a significant role in the development and promotion of the martial art. Born in March 1929 in Keijō (Seoul), Korea, Nam began his training in the martial arts in 1946 under the guidance of Lee Won-kuk at the Chung Do Kwan. He continued to train diligently, dedicating five nights a week to his practice.

Nam's pivotal moment came when he met Choi Hong-hi, with whom he co-founded the Oh Do Kwan and led the twelve original masters of taekwondo of the Korea Taekwon-Do Association (KTA). Nam was instrumental in the development of taekwondo and played a key role as Choi's second-in-command. In 1954, he demonstrated his extraordinary skill by breaking 13 roof tiles with a downward punch during a martial arts demonstration for President Syngman Rhee of South Korea. This demonstration impressed Rhee so much that he ordered all Korean military personnel to undergo training in martial arts.

In 1959, Nam was part of the first Korean taekwondo demonstration team to travel overseas, showcasing his martial art in Vietnam and Taiwan. He was appointed as the President of the Asia Taekwon-Do Federation and became one of the founding directors of the KTA. Nam's influence extended to Vietnam, where he was appointed as the Chief Instructor of taekwondo for the Vietnamese army, earning him the title of the Father of Taekwondo in Vietnam. He designed several taekwondo patterns, including Hwa-Rang hyung, Chung-Mu hyung, and UI-Ji hyung.

In 1972, Nam relocated to the Chicago area, where he opened a dojang in 1973 before eventually settling in Los Angeles. He was recognized for his contributions to taekwondo and was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in 2007. Nam's legacy continues to be honored by practitioners of taekwondo around the world.

After battling pneumonia, Nam passed away on November 7, 2013, in Garden Grove, California. His dedication, skill, and leadership have left a lasting impact on the world of taekwondo, and he will always be remembered as a true pioneer of the martial art.