Our Leaders

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FOUNDER & GRANDMASTER DR. RHIN MOON RICHARD CHUN, Ph.D.

 

Richard Chun began studying Taekwondo at the age of 11 under two highly respected teachers in Seoul, Korea: Chong Soo Hong and Ki Whang Kim. He progressed to 9th Dan by Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Federation) and Moo Duk Kwan after more than fifty years of study, establishing him as one of the highest-ranking master instructors in the United States. (9th Dan by Kukkiwon in 1989 and by Moo Duk Kwan in 1981).

Grandmaster Richard Chun (Rhin Moon) passed away at home on 15 November 2017. He was 82 years old. Grandmaster Chun was born 22 February 1935 in Seoul, South Korea. The author of five books about the martial art of Taekwondo — Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Art of Self-Defense (1974); Beginning Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do: Korean Art of Self-Defense Vol 1 (1975); Intermediate Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do: Korean Art of Self-Defense Vol 2 (1975); Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art (1976); Karate for Beginners (Audiobook LP & Cassette) (1977); Advancing in Tae Kwon Do (1982); Taekwondo Spirit & Practice: Beyond Self-Defense (Biography) (2002); and Black Belt Poomsae: Koryo & Original Koryo (2013) — Grandmaster Chun began training at the famous Moo Duk Kwan in Seoul, South Korea when he was 11 years old under the supervision of Chong Soo Hong and Ki Whang Kim, two highly respected teachers. Grandmaster Richard Chun earned his first dan black belt at the age of 14.

Grandmaster Chun was ranked 9th Dan by the Moo Duk Kwan in 1981 and the Kukkiwon in 1989, establishing him as one of the highest ranked instructors in the United States. He graduated from Yon Sei University in Seoul in 1957, where he organized and served as team captain of the Taekwondo Club. He immigrated to the United States in 1962.

 

In 1964, with the assistance of past-WTF president Dr. Un Yong Kim, he officially established the Richard Chun Taekwondo Center in New York, cultivating champions, such as Joe Hayes, and catering to movie stars and sports figures including Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid) and dancer/actor Gregory Hines, to name only two. The Richard Chun Taekwondo Center has since been a mecca for many practitioners both locally and worldwide. With the help and support of General James Van Fleet, he created and organized the first Annual Universal Taekwondo Open Championships. Grandmaster Chun also earned an M.B.A. in marketing from the School of Business Administration at Long Island University, and a Ph.D. in Education. Dr. Chun has served as a Professor of Health and Physical Education at Hunter College City University of New

York.

In 1973, Dr. Chun was appointed head coach of the U.S.A. Taekwondo team for the first World Taekwondo Championships, hosted in Seoul, during which the World Taekwondo Federation was founded. He established the United States Taekwondo Association in 1980, whose mission is to promote the ancient and evolving art of Taekwondo, serving as its President. Dr. Chun assisted in the organization of Taekwondo as a demonstration event in the historic 1988 Olympics, and served as Senior International Referee for championships and the Olympics. In the fall of 1999, Dr. Chun was appointed as a Special Assistant to the President of the World Taekwondo Federation, Dr. Un Yong Kim. Grandmaster Chun was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame by Black Belt Magazine in 1979.

Grandmaster Chun’s legacy lives on in the U.S.T.A. and his senior instructors — such as Grandmaster Fred Kouefati, Master Pablo Alejandro, Master Doug Cook, Master Gary Stevens and Master Richard Conceicao to name only a few.

Grandmaster Richard Chun, a 9th dan black belt began his formal martial arts education under the direction of Ki Whang Kim and Chong Soo Hong at the famed Moo Duk Kwan or “Institute of Martial Virtue” in Seoul, Korea. By age fourteen, he received his first dan black belt.

Then on June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded the South, and civil war erupted. To protect to protect his family Chun moved from Seoul to the port city of Incheon. During the bitter-cold winter of 1951, the Chun’s and two other families fled south in search of a warmer climate. Three weeks later and still packed into a small wooden boat, they finally reached their destination: Cheju Island.

As life slowly returned to normal fears of not being able to continue his taekwondo training without his master started to crop up in Chun’s mind. While attending high school at a refugee facility he opted to practice alone in the mountains. ln numerous occasions when the locals sought to abuse those taking refuge from the war, his sense of justice and indomitable spirit were tested.

In 1954 Chun returned to Seoul and enrolled in Yonsei University and graduated in 1957. While there he continued his martial arts training and served as captain of the taekwondo club and participated in several competitions. After graduating in 1957, he worked for Air France for five years. He then relocated first to Washington D.C. and then to New York City — a move that would change the complexion of taekwondo in the United States. Entering the United States in 1962 as a student, he lived in Washington, DC and began studying for his Master’s Degree in Business and Marketing at George Washington University. Chun eventually earned his MBA at Long Island University and went on to obtain a Ph.D. That enabled him to become a professor of health and physical education at Hunter College in New York City.

Chun was perhaps the most educated of all the American taekwondo pioneers who emigrated from South Korea. He wrote nine books in all, including some of the earliest works in English, on his art. He was reportedly one of the few authors to admit that taekwondo grew from Japanese and Okinawan roots.

Dr. Chun played a major role in organizing taekwondo as an event in the Olympics and has served as Senior International Referee at international championships and Olympic competitions. For his many achievements in promoting taekwondo within the borders of the United States, he received the Presidential Award from the president of Korea. In 1999, following a training and cultural tour of Korea, he was named Special Assistant to the president of the World Taekwondo Federation. He has also received many citations over the years from the Moo Duk Kwan and World Taekwondo Federation.

Grandmaster Chun shares his knowledge of taekwondo through the written word with five best-selling books to his credit, all of which have been translated into several foreign languages. All are used as reference guides by thousands of practitioners and schools worldwide. Dr. Chun has also produced a number of instructional DVDs on self-defense, sparring, and forms, available through the United States Taekwondo Association website and YMAA Publication Center of Wolfeboro, NH.

Richard Chun has been a member of the Lions Clubs International for more than four decades where he has served as District Governor of New York. He was appointed Ambassador of Goodwill by the Lions Clubs International Association for his humanitarian services worldwide and has been repeatedly honored by the president of Korea for the same. With two children both pursuing successful careers of their own, Dr. Chun has been happily married for over thirty-five years.

Master Chun was a repository of ancient wisdom, a vessel filled to the brim by great martial artists of the past. Today my colleagues and I are fortunate to be recipients of that knowledge. We regard grandmaster Richard Chun’s techniques as a priceless inheritance.  

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GRANDMASTER FRED KOUEFATI

PRESIDENT OF RICHARD CHUN TAEKWONDO HEADQUARTERS

Grand Master Fred Kouefati, President of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters, has a distinguished and eminent history of martial arts background.  He spent most of his life under the personal tutelage and guidance of Grand Master Rhin Moon Richard Chun (more than 45 years with Master Chun and over 50 years studying and teaching martial arts) and will continue to carry on the tradition of “Moo Duk Kwan,” Tae Kwon Do.  Master Fred Kouefati, one of Grandmaster Richard Chun’s most senior and valued instructors, is featured in the award-winning book and DVD, Taekwondo Black Belt Poomsae – Original Koryo and Koryo.

  

Grand Master Fred Kouefati, was selected by Grand Master Chun to succeed him before his passing.  He is today's president and distinguished presiding leader of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters.

Master Fred Kouefati started martial arts training at the age of 10 years.  He achieved the coveted 1st Dan Black Belt at the age of 14.  As a Junior black belt he continued his training receiving the adult black belt.

At the age of 12, Grandmaster Kouefati started taekwondo training in Ji Do Kwan and Chung Do Kwan, Taekwondo.  Ji Do Kwan and Chung Do Kwan are two of the original five Kwans and “Root to the birth of modern Taekwondo.”  Master Kouefati changed to Moo Duk Kwan (another of the original five Kwans) when he met the famed Master Rhin Moon Richard Chun at the age of 17.  He continued on under the mentorship and leadership of Master Chun until his passing in November 2017.

At the age of 18, Master Kouefati founded the “Tae Kwon Do Academy & Spirit.”  The club first opened in Sacred H. Arminian Church in Patterson, New Jersey.

1980 – Master Rhin Moon Richard Chun founded the United States Taekwondo Association (USTA) and appointed Master Kouefati as Team Coach.

1989 – Master Fred Kouefati was named Special Assistant to Master Chun, the President of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Center and headquarters of the United States Taekwondo Association.

Master Kouefati traveled extensively with Master Chun to visit other membership schools, attend general member promotions, specialty seminars, advancements for high ranking activities, and preparing for higher promotions.  Master Kouefati and Chun were brothers in the martial arts until Master Chun passed.  Master Kouefati conducted extensive training throughout New Jersey and New York during this period.

1990 – Master Kouefati was designated president to the National Martial Arts League.  Under his supervision and coaching, many of his students won many Olympic Medals and Grand Champion Trophies.

During this period Master Kouefati became President of the Fred Kouefati Taekwondo Center.  The Fred Kouefati Taekwondo Center was certified by the Richard Chun Taekondo Center and the Moo Duk Kwan of Korea.

2016 – Master Kouefati was designated President of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters by Grand Master Rhin Moon Richard Chun.

After waiting a respectable period Master Kouefati announced his presidency and leadership of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters, and his commitment to continue the Richard Chun legacy for all time.

Today Grand Master Fred Kouefati continues to travel extensively visiting membership schools of good standing with the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters.  Additionally, attending general membership promotions, headquarters sponsored seminars and other specialty seminars, conducting advanced training for selected headquarters members, and developing the plan for the future of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters.

2020 – With the passing of Grand Master Jae Kyu Chon, and the acceptance of the Moo Duk Kwan Presidency by Grand Master Jong Kwan Lee; Master Kouefati finds his connections with the Moo Duk Kwan of Korea only strengthening.

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chon had a powerful vision of: rebuild the Kwan, open global communication, modernize its business operations, put in place standards for the future, establish a global organizational structure by appointing officials representing regions of the world and to do this using modern technology.  Of critical importance to him was the credibility of Taekwondo Moodukkwan rank and participation in examinations.  This vision of Grand Master Chon’s was indeed aligned with that of Grand Master Kouefati.  And Master Kouefati totally supports the future of the Moo Duk Kwan and Grand Master Jong Kwan Lee.

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CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER 

MASTER TAREK ALNATUR

Master Tarek Alnatur began his Taekwondo training in 1993 with The Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters under Grandmaster Fred Kouefati and Jimmy Nouri in Paterson New Jersey.

Master Tarek earned his 1st Dan Black Belt in 1998 and continued competing at a national level Olympic style sparring and Poomsae.

He has been teaching Taekwondo for the past 23 years and adopted a teaching style focusing on children's four stages of development, emotional, social, intellectual, and physical.  

Master Tarek Currently Holds:

  • 5th Dan Black Belt with the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters

  • 5th Dan Black Belt in Moo Duk Kwan, 4th Dan in Kukkiwon

  • State Director under The Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters in the state of New Jersey.

  • State Director under The Korea Taekwondo Moodukkwan Association in the state of New Jersey

  • Chief Operating Officer for The Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters

VICE PRESIDENT

GRANDMASTER STEFANO CRACOLICI

Grandmaster Cracolici started teaching and established his own school named, “Stefano Cracolici Taekwondo” in Garfield, NJ in 1986.  He has been a student with Grandmaster Fred Kouefati for 45 years.  He serves as Vice President of “Tae Kwon Do Body & Spirit” for more than 35 years with Grandmaster Kouefati. 

Served as “Team Coach” of the National Martial League for 28 years.  Grandmaster Cracolici has performed as coordinator and Tournament Master for many tournaments and other events throughout the Metropolitan area.   Additionally, he coordinates the planning and conduct of seminars and events for the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters.

  • 7th Dan Black Belt under the Richard Chun TaeKwonDo Headquarters

  • 7th Dan Black Belt under the Korea TaeKwonDo Moo Duk Kwan Association

  • 6th Dan Black Belt under the Kukkiwon

  • Vice President of the Richard Chun TaeKwonDo Headquarters

  • Senior advisor to Grandmaster Fred Kouefati, President of the Richard Chun Taekwondo Headquarters

Moo Duk Kwan Grandmasters

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GRANDMASTER JAE KYU CHON, PRESIDENT OF THE MOO DUK KWAN ASS0CIATION IN SOUTH KOREA.  

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chun, President of Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association and President of the Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan/Hae in passing, designated Grandmaster Jong Hhang Lee as his successor.

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chon, President of the Korea Taekwondo Moodukkwan Association will be missed by so many everywhere.  

Grandmaster Chon was a powerful leader and visionary.  He led the Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association through trying times and set the standards for the future of the organization.

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chon had a powerful vision of rebuilding the Kwan, opening global communication, modernizing its business operations, putting in place standards for the future, establishing a global organizational structure by appointing officials representing regions of the world, and to do this using modern technology.  Of critical importance to him was the credibility of Taekwondo Moodukkwan rank and its issuance to individuals without meeting requirements or participation in examinations.  

His successor Grandmaster Jong Hwan Lee.  

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GRANDMASTER JONG HWAN LEE, PRESIDENT OF THE MOO DUK WAN ASS0CIATION IN SOUTH KOREA.

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chun, President of Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association and President of the Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan/Hae in passing, designated Grandmaster Jong Hhang Lee as his successor.

Grandmaster Jong H. Lee, for his many years of dedication, service, and selfless promotion of Taekwondo, was inducted into the UWTA Hall of Fame at the UWTA Grand National Testing and Tournament in October 2012.  

Grandmaster Jae Kyu Chon had a powerful vision, and he has now passed this vision to Grandmaster Lee of rebuild the Kwan, open global communication, modernize its business operations, put in place standards for the future, establish a global organizational structure by appointing officials representing regions of the world and to do this using modern technology.  Of critical importance to him was the credibility of Taekwondo Moodukkwan rank and its issuance to individuals without meeting requirements or participation in examinations.