Select Page


A Life as a Taekwondo Lover – Dr. Kenneth Min of UC Berkeley

?? Dr. Ken Min visited TPF October 2011, and received a plaque of appreciation. From left Seung-Ho KIM(Director of Planning and Managing Bureau of TPF), Dr. Ken Min, Dae-Soon Lee(Former TPF Chairman), Jin-Hwan Lee(Secratary General of TPF), Tong-Woo Han(Director of Taekwondo Park development bureau of TPF).

Many people recognize the University of California at Berkeley as one of the most prestigious universities in the world in all academic disciplines. One top of its internationally renowned reputation, since 1969, the University of California Martial Arts Program (UCMAP) has been enhancing UC Berkeley’s reputation in national and international martial arts communities by starting taekwondo movements in the US.

From the inception to the present of UCMAP at the UC Berkeley, there have been lifelong commitments of Dr. Kenneth Min(Kyung Ho Min). With Dr. Min’s innovative instructional and programming methods and his qualifications, UCMAP has grown into an organization that is recognized throughout the world and becomes a model for other universities.

Made up of nearly 600 members and many more alumni, UCMAP has organized many successful teams, hosted a large number of tournaments, and is held in high regard as one of the top producers martial artists in the country. Berkeley’s taekwondo team regularly wins titles at the National Collegiate (28 out of 33 thus far) and Senior National Championships, and has sent many members to international events.

?? Dr. Kenneth Min.

Dr. Min was born in 1935 and grew up in Onchun, North Korea. He began his martial art career in judo, training throughout junior high school and high school. Later, he formally trained in taekwondo in the military, and became a member of the Korean Special Services during the Korean War.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Min came to the US to continue his graduate studies at the University of Georgia. After graduating from the University, he went to the University of Montana in 1966 and taught taekwondo, judo and wrestling. In 1969, Dr. Min headed to UC Berkely after having taught taekwondo at four colleges and universities.

In 1970, under Dr. Min’s leadership, UC Berkeley hosted the first UC Open, a taekwondo tournament that has become an annual event and eventually one of the largest taekwondo competitions in California and the oldest in the country. As the UC Open grew, the Berkeley campus became the mecca of sports taekwondo.

Dr. Min also had many accomplishments and helped taekwondo get recognized as an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1974. This triggered the World Taekwondo Federation’s globalizing efforts because the US was the second country that adapted taekwondo as official sport in the world after Korea.

Then, the University of California hosted the US National Collegiate Championships in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1992. It also served as the location for the 1st World University Taekwondo Championship in 1986, California State Taekwondo Championships in 1989. 
However, Dr. Min’s ceaseless passion for taekwondo did not stop there. In 1996, he ambitiously founded the International Martial Arts Research Institute (IMARI) to encourage strong mental and academic skills among taekwondoists. As part of its mission, IMARI has co-hosted a series of symposia with Taekwondo Promotion Foundation (TPF).

Followings are major topics of those symposia;
– "Educational Program Development for World Taekwondo Academy" in 2009
– "Educational Value of Taekwondo & University Taekwondo’s Future Direction" in 2010
– "Women in Taekwondo & the Para-Taekwondo Movement" in 2011

In recognition of Dr. Min’s outstanding achievements spreading taekwondo abroad, the Korean government invited Dr. Min, as an honorary member of the advisory board, to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Korean government in 2008.

Recently, Dr. Min donated all of his taekwondo related personal collections he gathered last 42 years to TPF. About 1,000 donated materials including books, documents, and visuals will be permanently displayed at the Exhibition Hall of Taekwondo Park from 2013.

By Seung-ho Kim(Planning and Managing Bureau Director of TPF)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *