Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee began learning Tae Kwon Do (known then as Tae Soo Do) in late 1954. A training hall had opened in Taejun city (approx. 200 kilometres south of Seoul) and impressed by the physical prowess of the students there, he sought his father’s permission to join. Two hours per night, five nights per week, he trained under the diligent instruction of Genral Choi’s personal secretary, Lieutenant Colonel Nam Tae Hi.
In March 1961, Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee entered the Korean Military Academy with an aim to becoming an officer in the Korean Army. During his time at the academy, he recalls being exposed to extensive and rigorous methods of physical training. Going for long runs in the snow without wearing a shirt and standing entirely on his head without the aid of his arms were just a few of the exercises he was subjected to. Known as “Beast Training”, it was specially designed to toughen the soldiers, cultivating their strength of character, perseverance and fighting spirit. He graduated the academy as an Intelligence officer in 1965.
In October 1966, a team of Korea’s 10 best instructors was selected to travel internationally, spreading Tae Kwon Do across the world. While his two brothers were sent to Malaysia and Australia, Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee (a Lieutenant at the time) was deployed to Vietnam. During his station, he taught Special Forces personnel, Advisor Groups and member of the Vietnamese Military Academy. In evenings, he also supervised the training of civilians. The art was an instant sensation and upon his return, he was awarded medals from both the South Vietnamese and Korean Governments for his achievements.
In 1975, Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee retired from military service, a Major in the Korean Army, and moved to Australia in January of the following year. By that time, Rhee Tae Kwon Do was firmly established thanks to the efforts of his two brothers, Master Chong Chul Rhee and Master Chong Hyup Rhee, and he quickly took to supporting them and the growth of the club.
Over the last thirty years, Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee has worked tirelessly toward promoting Tae Kwon Do in Australia. Having taught thousands of students and performed in countless demonstrations, the art remains as popular as ever and the club continues to go from strength to strength.
In recent times, Grand Master Chong Yoon Rhee was awarded his Ninth Degree (the highest rank in Tae Kwon Do). He still actively runs his own classes locally, oversees the regular revision of the club’s instructors and conducts the school’s gradings four times per year. In the future, he aspires to the production of his own textbook, recording his experiences and knowledge for the future generations of Rhee Tae Kwon Do students.