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The STKDG history dates back to 1961 when Taekwondo was first introduced to Singapore by Master Kim Bok Man after his spectacular demonstration. The Gymnasium situated at the then Gay World Amusement Park was registered with the Registrar of Societies in 1962 as the Singapore Tae Kwon-Do Association (STKDA)with a full compliment of Management Committee presided over by its President Mr Cheung Won Sang, a Korean businessman residing in Singapore (registration was approved in 1964). The STKDA was popularly known as the “Main Gym” till today and set the stage for the eventual island-wide promotion of Taekwondo throughout Singapore. Over the years we have engaged various Korean Instructors and they have strongly emphasized the practice of the 5 tenets of Taekwondo: Etiquette. Modesty, Perseverence, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit. These have kept us in good state and would continue to serve us well in years to come. The early growth of Taekwondo was attributed to the numerous black-belters graded and promoted by the Korean Masters. Subsequently, they went forth to set up the numerous clubs associated with the Main Gym. Interest in the Art grew, so did the number of clubs island-wide. To further promote the art, the first All-Korean Demonstration Team took place in Singapore at the former National Theatre, King George Vth Park in 1963.

  • The Associationparticipated in many regional and international tournaments and won honours for Singapore:
  • 1st Asian Taekwondo Championships 1969, Hong Kong
    –9 golds, 5 silvers and the Overall Team Championship
  • 2ndAsian Taekwondo Championship 1971, Malaysia
    –11 golds, 5 silvers, 8 bronzes and the Overall Team Championship

The following are Korean Instructors that have been with the Association from early 1962 to 1973: Kim Bok Man, Rhee Ki Ha, Lee Byong Moo, Lee Joon Jae and  Han Cha Kyo, (Lee Sung Soo, Kim Yong Ho). In early 1973, the Association helped formed the ‘Federation’ and thereafter a decision was taken, not without great pain to change our name of ‘Association’ officially to ‘Gymnasium” in 1975. Following the last departure of the late Master Han Cha Kyo, local instructors have taken over as instructors in the Gymnasium till today. However, we still receive Korean Masters and foreign Taekwondo practitioners and enthusiasts visiting the Gymnasium whenever they pass through Singapore. Two major fires broke out in 1981 and in 1983 at our Gay World premises. In 1981, the fire broke out next door to the Gymnasium causing minimal damages. In 1983, another fire broke out where pile of wooden poles were stored next door to the Gymnasium and spread to our premises. Fortunately, this happened during the night where we had our monthly meeting and we were able to inform the Fire Brigade on time to put out the fires.

For some time we continued training under hurricane lamps and candle lights. Money was raised to re-build the Gym. Over the years, the Gymnasium faced difficulties with the officials of the national body, all this we took to stride. The Gymnasium on 19 November 1991 decided to severe ties with the national body and from then on become autonomous. It was a difficult decision and in doing so we realize that for us to succeed we must have international contact and recognition. Our mission to Korea was made in the New Year of 1992 under the leadership of the Gym’s President Stephen CL Koh and members; Alan Cheang (1stVice President), Roger Tham (Secretary), Ooi Tiong Chye (Treasurer), Philip Choo, Mr and Mrs Tan Kok Seng. The delegation arrived at Kimpo Airport in the early morning of 02 January 1992. We renewed old ties with the Korea Tae Kwon-Do Chung Do Kwan Association in Seoul in the presence of Grand Master Park Hae Man, Vice President of Korea Chungdokwan on 08 January 1992. We also visited the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) officials at Kukkiwon and explained our actions. The Gymnasium is now a Life Member of the World Taekwondo Chungdokwan Hq, Seoul, Korea.

The Singapore Martial Arts Control Unit (MACU) then the governing body for all martial arts granted the Gymnasium approval to conduct its own grading. The first grading tests took place in March 1992. This was the first step and we have since updated our constitution which was approved by the Registrar of Societies in 1994. Three attempts were made with the national body for reconciliation without success. in 2001 after being urged by the Grand Master Uhm Un Kyu, then Vice President of Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). initiation through Mr Ryu Kwang-Sok, the Korean Ambassador to Singapore in 2004. Initiation through Mr Teo Ser Luck Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Community Youth and Sports (MCYS), and the Singapore Sports Council, Singapore, in January 2008 and re-initiation in December 2008. We can not conform to the conditions laid down by the national body which runs contrary to our Constitution.

Despite some challenges, our Instructors currently conduct classes in more than 42 centres across Singapore. The Gym also conduct grading tests for its members every three-four months. The grading syllabus and tests was approved by the then Martial Arts Control Unit (MACU) Singapore. We also conduct Referee and Instructors Courses and seminars periodically. Our senior Instructors obtained their international certification through the International Instructors Course conducted by the World Taekwondo Academy, Kukkiwon, Seoul. Updating of Poomsae patterns were conducted by our Grand Master from Chungdokwan biennially. Taekwondo Chungdokwan Hq also conducts the International Referees’ Course periodically. The Gym will continue to strive to impart the teachings of Taekwondo Tenets: etiquettesmodestyperseverance,self-control and indomitable spirit to its members so as to build a robust and disciplined society in line with out national goal. We will to the best of our abilities keep the spirit of our founding body status alive as entrusted to us by our pioneers.