Taekwondo Times Magazine




Pioneer of the Year 2015


Congratulations to Grandmaster Hee Il Cho -- Taekwondo Times Magazine's 2015 Pioneer of the Year!

Grandmaster Hee Il Cho

Pioneer of the Year: Grandmaster Hee Il Cho

Taekwondo Times Magazine, January, 2016

A true martial artist, one who has given inspiration to thousands of students for countless years, is none other than Grandmaster Hee Il Cho. Grandmaster Cho has devoted his life to the philosophies of his art as well as enhancements in techniques for nearly 50 years. His walk in martial arts began at the age of 10 when he was left in humiliation after brutally being beaten up by a local gang. This early incident triggered his determination to never be unable to defend himself again.
Continuing diligently and training daily, Grandmaster Cho received his black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 13. Training was much more disciplinary and required arduous hours of overcoming both physical and mental barriers. Grandmaster Cho was beaten black and blue several times before the experience of defeat became obsolete. Grandmaster Cho achieved fourth dan black belt when he was 21 and was selected to train the Elite Special Forces of the Korean National Army. He was also recruited to train the Army Special Forces of India.

Grandmaster Cho was soon actively participating in many competitions and international championships, including martial arts and boxing. He quickly gained a reputation as a fierce fighter and forms competitor and won more than 30 national and international tournaments.

In 1968, Cho immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago. He spoke very little English and the only thing he knew about the city was the name of it’s one time gangster King, Al Capone. He didn't know much more about the rest of the country either. But he learned quickly. After a year he moved to South Bend, Indiana; then Milwaukee; then New York City; usually working during the day and teaching Taekwondo in the evening before spending the night at the studio. Finally, in Providence, Rhode Island, he opened a small Taekwondo school and used the last of his meager savings to take out a small ad in the local paper. A couple of days later, he had 50 students. He never looked back. Within just a few years, Cho had opened eight schools throughout New England.

Twelve years after the United States became Grandmaster Cho’s new found home, he founded the Action International Martial Arts Association (AIMAA), in hopes of creating a unified body of martial artists pursuing the peace and harmony of the art. Grandmaster Cho’s contributions to the martial arts have taken on many forms throughout the years constantly adding to his already enormous list of achievements. Working day and night, Grandmaster Cho produced the most extensive and innovative training library known to the martial arts world. He is author of 11 books, producer of over 70 videos, and featured martial artist on over 70 magazine covers. In addition, Grandmaster Cho has lead nearly 300 seminars, been inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, and has also appeared in the films Fight to Win, Best of the Best, Bloodsport II and Bloodsport III.

His sincere dedication and humility clearly reflect in the classes that he continues to teach daily at his own school in Honolulu, Hawaii. Grandmaster Hee Il Cho is undoubtedly one of the most important ambassadors in martial arts, and continues to bring about changes and ideas that help to improve the many aspects of the art.





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Congratulations to Grandmaster Hee Il Cho, Taekwondo Times Magazine's Pioneer of the Year!



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Action International Martial Arts Association