Passing of a Champion

A Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster pioneer and champion who helped bring the Korean Martial Art to the United States has died. In the last photo of this gallery, the Greater New York City area Tae Kwon Do community gathered one last time right before the Grandmaster’s passing.

From the eulogy delivered by his daughter Jessica:

“My father was a historian. Looking back at his life, it is easy to see where he left his own mark for the history books. His undefeated Tae Kwon Do championship titles in Korea, his work as the Chairman of the 1993 World TKD Championships at MSG that directly impacted the IOC’s decision to adopt Tae Kwon Do as an official Olympic Sport. He was a torch bearer as part of the relay that brought the Olympic flame to Seoul in 1988. He lived an impressive life. But it is the man behind these honorable mentions who I knew as my father - a kind, generous, and sincere man who impacted and improved the lives of so many. A true Tae Kwon Do giant, he was from a pioneering generation who brought the sport around the world, creating community, and paving the path for generations of masters and thousands of students behind him. To me, he was a man of few words, but his spirit, guiding principles, and strong presence in my life made me who I am today. A fiercely loyal man. In many ways a gentle, soft man with a huge heart that contradicted the fighter image he had been known for. In our house, he was the yin to my mother’s yang. I absorbed his energy and felt the love that he had for me and Andy. I will always remember him this way. But it was in his final years that I came to truly understand the kind of man my father was. Courage and strength in the the face of unspeakable challenges. When his elite athlete’s body began to fail him, it was his spirit that endured. My father fought on, rarely complaining - even smiling at hospital staff as if he was just fine. It was in these years sitting with him in hospitals all around NY & NJ, that I truly understood that my father was an extraordinary man unlike any other. I will think of him every time I see TKD athletes as flag bearers during the Olympics, when I see the YH Park TKD school thriving in a new generation with my cousins Eddie and Elliot, and through the lasting impact he has had on my mother, brother and me. Respect, Humility, Perseverance, Self-Control, Honesty, Sir. He is with God now, may he Rest In Peace.”

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