United States

Jhoon Rhee, ‘Father of American Taekwondo,' Dies at Age 86

Jhoon Rhee was a 10th-degree black belt credited with spreading taekwondo in the U.S.

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the "father of American Taekwondo," has died at the age of 86.

His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died Monday after a long illness in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of the nation's capital.

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Jhoon Rhee was a 10th-degree black belt credited with spreading taekwondo in the United States, especially around the nation's capital, after emigrating from Korea in the 1950s. He opened his first taekwondo school in Washington, D.C., in 1962. By the 1980s, Rhee had 11 schools in the Washington area.

Rhee became friends with legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee and appeared in a 1973 movie titled "When Taekwondo Strikes."

Chun Rhee said funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.

Rhee's TV ads are remembered by locals for its jingle, "nobody bothers me."

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