Grandmaster Han

                                   GRANDMASTER HAN, CHA KYO

1934 – 1996

There are only a few ninth dan masters in the world. Han Cha Kyo was one of the great ones. Despite his international reputation and world renowned achievements, Grandmaster Han remained a humble teacher and could be found most days in the dojang, teaching Chung Do Kwan, traditional Taekwon-Do, to his students.

Han Cha Kyo was born in Seoul, South Korea on July 20, 1934. He was a student of the martial arts for most of his life. In Korea, Han Cha Kyo trained under three masters, including Grandmaster Nam Tae Hi. Master Han rose rapidly in the ranks. Together with General Choi, Master Nam and others, Grandmaster Han was instrumental in the development of modern Taekwon-Do as it is practiced throughout the world today. He offered a wealth of experience as an instructor, administrator and promoter of Taekwon-Do and health. Throughout his years of service, he continued to revise and refine his ideas about martial arts and health.  -Chris Barber, 4th Degree


All of us owe a great debt to those who have taught us and inspired us. We must always remember that without significant people in our lives, we will never grow well. With that truth in mind, those of us in the UTF’s Madison chapter must know that we are training well because of the vision of one man: Grandmaster Han Cha Kyo.

Although Grandmaster Han had legendary skill—he was the only man to knock over a full-sized bull with a side kick—his greatest contributions rest on the two tenets he introduced to the Taekwon-Do world: love and community service. He was a man of the greatest compassion, someone who embraced people of all abilities and encouraged them to reach their potential. He was a great master because he knew that Taekwon-Do is tied to the human spirit and exists for everyone, not just the young and the strong. These ideals are at the heart of the organization he founded—our organization—the Universal Taekwon-Do Federation.

Although he died in 1996, Grandmaster Han continues to live in our daily training and in our daily lives. If we are true martial artists, we understand the meaning that his life has for us—and we will be the type of people who train hard, serve others, and help our art to grow.

– Master James Langlas,

8th Degree

Co-President of the UTF

I was very lucky to happen to drive past Master Han’s dojang in 1972 when I was looking for a Taekwon-do school when I came to live in Chicago. But it was not luck that caused me to stay and train with him for 24 years.

I was teaching in public school at that time, but I learned repeatedly over the years that he was a far better teacher than I was. In all the time I spent as his student I also realized that he was a far better student than I was. He was always eager to learn, and often admonished us to keep our “white belt eyes” (large eyes open to see everything because you’re not really sure what is important yet). His example always taught me to be willing to look back and examine old learning whenever new information appears or whenever you have a new perspective – and if you are truly learning your perspective should always be enlarging. This was the “way” – not just in Taekwon-do, but for life.

Grandmaster Han was the best example of a teacher, and of a student, both in one person. He was a unique person who had a great influence on me, and whose way can serve as a model to everyone.

– Master Paul Irvin,

8th Degree

Co-President of the UTF