Copyright © Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame, 2006
General Choi Hong Hi
Founder of Tae Kwon Do
November 1918 – June 15, 2002
Choi Hong Hi, born November 1918, also known as General Choi, was a South Korean army general and martial artist.
Choi is the 'Founder of Taekwondo'.
In 1937, Choi traveled to Japan for further study. In Kyoto, he met a fellow Korean with the surname Kim, who was a karate instructor and taught Choi this martial art. Choi attained the rank of 1st dan in karate in 1939, and then 2nd dan soon after.
Choi had been forced to serve in the Japanese army during World War II, but was implicated in a rebellion and imprisoned, during which time he continued practicing martial arts.
Following the war, in January 1946, Choi was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the South Korean Army. From 1946 to 1951, he received promotions to first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, and then brigadier general. He was promoted to major general in 1954.
Choi stated he combined elements of taekkyeon and karate to develop a martial art that he called “Taekwon-Do”, which literally means, “kick, punch, art”, and it was so named on April 11, 1955.
Taekwondo organizations credit General Choi with spreading taekwondo internationally by stationing Korean taekwondo instructors around the world. He is also the author of the first English Taekwondo syllabus book, entitled “Taekwon-Do” in 1965.
In 1971, the South Korean government refused Choi permission to teach Taekwondo in North Korea; as a result, Choi went into exile in Canada and the South Korean government formed the World Taekwondo Federation.
General Choi died on June 15, 2002 in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Canadian Jiu Jitsu Pioneer
In 1958, Ronald Forrester transferred from Frank Hatashita's Judo class to Henk Jansen's Jiu Jitsu class.
In 1962, he formulated the Canadian Jiu Jitsu System, changing Jiu Jitsu from solely a grappling martial art to a comprehensive martial art, encompassing all combative techniques with emphasis on striking techniques.
To increase the technical efficiency of the newly formed system and to make it the best it possibly could be, professional world champions and world renowned instructors were brought to Canada to infuse their knowledge and skills into the system – names like Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Dan Inosanto, Prof. Wally Jay, Richard Kim, Jim Arvanitis, and police instructor George Sylvain were but some of these masters.
In 1963, assisted by Frank Hatashita, Hal Batke and Bruce Stanton, he founded the Canadian Jiu Jitsu Association, holding the positions of president and chief instructor until he resigned in 1994. He then founder the Canadian Ju Jitsu Council to carry on his ideals.
In 1984, as a result of his proposal, the first World Jiu Jitsu Championships were held at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and the World Council of Jiu Jitsu Organizations was formed where he was unanimously elected the first Chairman.
Grand Master Ron Forrester is, without a doubt, one of our greatest martial arts pioneers and his contribution to Canadian Martial Arts is unprecedented. We all appreciate his undaunting efforts to develop martial arts in Canada.
Kendo Master • Good Will Ambassador
Lawrence Michizu Nakamura, born in Vancouver, British Columbia, is currently a healthy 86-year-old residing in Tokyo, Japan, with his spouse and diplomat daughter who is assigned to the Embassy of Canada in Japan. He has lived in Canada for over 50 years but has also spent many years in Asia, including in Hamhung, Seoul and Tokyo.
Nakamura retired from practicing kendo in May 2008 after spending close to five decades teaching Kendo and Asian philosophy in Canada, United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Through Kendo, he has dedicated his life to increasing people-to-people exchanges particularly among the youth of Asia and North America.
Nakamura successfully organized numerous good will kendo missions in both directions by engaging senior representatives of governments in Canada, Republic of Korea and Japan, including the late former Prime Minister Hashimoto of Japan, who was also an avid kendoist. His achievements have undoubtedly played a significant role in raising awareness, not only in Canada and the United States, but in Asia as well, of the benefits – both physical and mental – which can accrue through participation in Asian martial arts.
His contribution to deepening the understanding between the people of Asia and North America is being recognized today.
Jean Yves Theriault
Jean Yves Theriault began his martial arts training in 1972, achieving blue belt status in jujutsu. He won his first kickboxing competition in 1976 after only six months of training under the direction of John Therien, and subsequently became Canadian Middleweight Kickboxing Champion two and a half years later.
In 1980, he won the title of the World Middleweight Kickboxing Champion, and held the championship for a record 15 years. He was referred to as “The Iceman”, a nickname given to him by Rodney Batiste due to his intimidating icy stare and cool demeanor in the ring. Since he became a champion, Thériault has worked with many groups and charities, such as Big Brothers, Children's Wish Foundation, Laucan.
Since his retirement on December 1, 1995, Jean-Yves still trains five days a week and teaches classes in Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing. A humble man, he is a role model for all, he is honest and down to earth. He is a devoted father and a friend to all of his students.
Today, Jean-Yves has also become a world-class promoter for the sport of kickboxing. He is a true ambassador for the sport, giving back so other ambitious athletes can realize their dreams.
Jean-Yves Theriault finally obtained his Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu in early 2008. His professional record still stands as one of the amazing in the world of martial arts, 76 fights: 69 wins (61 knockouts), 6 losses, 1 draw.
Father of Canadian Aikido
Takeshi Kimeda is credited with introducing Yoshinkan Aikido to Canada on his arrival in 1964 in Toronto, Ontario. Hence, he is considered the Father of Aikido in Canada.
Kimeda, presently ranked 9th dan, systematically built up a network of dojos in the Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor areas.
Historically, this group has had close links with the Aikido Yoshinkai Association of North America and the Yoshinkan Aikido Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. In 1980, AYANA and Aikido Yoshinkan jointly hosted the second trip of Gozo Shioda to North America, that included a visit and demonstration to Toronto's Japanese Cultural Centre.
The organization grouping together Aikikai-affiliated dojos is the Canadian Aikido Federation that was established circa 1976. It presently comprises some 40 dojos throughout Canada that are organized on the provincial level.
Master Kimeda is undoubtedly one the finest Aikido technicians in the world and combining that with his pleasant character he is not only a credit to Aikido world-wide but a credit to Canadian martial arts.
We are all very proud to have him as our first Aikido inductee into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame.
The Voice of Canadian Martial Arts
Monty Guest began his karate training in 1961 under the Father of Canadian Karate: Masami Tsuroka, who he still calls Sensei. Sensei Guest was the Head Instructor of Tsuroka Karate in the mid-1960s.
Monty and his brother, Nathan, began karate under Sensei Tsuroka, along with many others in those early days of karate in Canada. His dojo brothers included Shane Higashi, Benny Allen, Quoy Wong and Dave and Tony Chong, to name but a few.
He ran one of the most successful tournaments ever in Toronto and became known as the voice of Canadian Martial Arts, as he worked diligently for the development of sport karate in Canada. He was the announcer, the organizer, and always known as the voice of reason when it came to heated discussions.
His pleasant and cordial personality lead Sensei Guest to the development of Kai Shin karate, one of the largest organizations in Canadian karate today. Kai Shin was first started in 1967.
Known for quality karate and the development of not just the technical karate ka but also the character of his students, he most certainly practices the age old maximum of the founder of Japanese karate, Gichin Funakoshi: “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the perfection of character of its participants”.
We are sure that his Sensei, Masami Tsuroka, is standing and applauding him as we induct Master Monty Guest into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame.
Father of Canadian Goju
Robert M. Dalgleish (November 6, 1942 - July 6, 1978) introduced Goju to Canada and is considered to be the Father of Canadian Goju.
Sensei Bob Dalgleish started his initial training in 1959 under the guidance of Master Masami Tsuroka, 10th Dan and Father of Canadian Karate.
Over the next several years he trained with the best of the best in North America: Gosei Yamaguchi, Richard Kim, Gonnohoy Yamamoto, Steve Armstrong, Master Jung, Peter Urban, Hidetaka Nishiyama, Robert Trias and, even Master Gogen Yamaguchi while in Hawaii.
In 1965, Sensei Dalgleish taught in Vancouver, B.C. and was elevated to the level of 3rd degree black belt by Master Masutatsu Oyama of the Kyo Ku Shin Kai style while training with Ron Sitrop. When he returned to Toronto after his extensive travels, he introduced his new knowledge to the students of Eastern Karate Club, which included names like Wally Slocki, Ted Marton, Don Warrener and Tony Facetti.
Between the years of 1965 and 1967, Master Dalgleish journeyed from Toronto to New York several times to learn Japanese Goju style under Master Peter Urban. He returned to Toronto and introduced the Goju style to the same students at Eastern Karate. His long time friend Benny Allen was the chief Instructor.
Master Bob Dalgleish traveled to Sudbury, Ontario, where he took up residence in 1970 to establish the Sudbury Goju Kai Karate Dojo until his death in 1978. His students in Sudbury included Israel Segarra (Yogi), Don Gauthier and Don Benoit, who, as of today, continue to teach the karate they all learned from their Sensei.
Master Bob Dalgleish is the reason we call Goju in Canada “Canadian Goju”.