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Military officer becomes youngest taekwondo master

A military officer has become the youngest ever 8th-dan in taekwondo.

Lieutenant Colonel Choi Jeom-hyeon, 44, passed the test held by Kukkiwon, the world’s taekwondo headquarters.

Dan refers to level in the martial art. From the 6th level is usually referred to as “high-dan,” one which amateurs cannot usually reach. One must not only be the right age and fit but pass “poomsae,” breaking and combat. An interview and a theory evaluation is also part of the testing process.
Choi Jeom-hyeon
Choi Jeom-hyeon

Poomsae is a set of demonstrations including diverse moves such as kicking.

In order to be eligible to try for the 8th-dan, one must be at least 44 years of age.

Choi started learning taekwondo at the age of five. He majored in taekwondo at university, and eventually joined the army to become a trainer. His love of the martial art never ceased, with him writing books on the subject including “5000 Years History of Taekwondo.”

Promotion to the next dan would take at least 9 years, as the minimum age limit is 53. “I will stay fit in order to challenge the 9th-dan,” Choi said.

“I hope taekwondo can be applied more in the military to train soldiers,” he added.

By Kang Yoon-seung (
Korea Herald Youtube