Grand Master Rho was featured on the December 1995 Taekwondo Times cover as shown with Master Brett Rigdon, World Martial Arts Academy's School Director.
Grand Master Rho's TKD Times article is below. Click on the TKD Times graphic to view a larger picture of the Taekwondo cover.
Young Chul Rho
By Mary Meyers Dexter
Dedicated to the Memory of Robert "Eric" Meyers
It is the finely tuned balance between body and spirit, the disciplined mental, emotional, philosophical, and spiritual portions of the art of Taekwondo that can set one master apart from another. Only then is the master worthy of mentoring, worthy of loyalty and providing inspiration and the giving and receiving of great respect. Grandmaster Young Chul Rho practices and livers this entire Taekwondo philosophy of life. It shows in his family, personal and business life, a life that has been continually dedicated to pursuit of excellence in its highest form. Considering all aspects of this popular form of fitness, Master Rho especially respects its important mental centuries old, with deep rotted cultural traditions that are not just physical in nature. Yet, Grandmaster Rho radiates accomplishment in the physical and technical side of Taekwondo achievement as well.
Holder of the highest rank--ninth degree black beltGrandmaster Rho was on of 40 masters chosen by the WTF to be involved in its first team of international referees at the First, Second, Third and Fourth World Championships. He is internationally certified as a first-class referee, examiner and master. From this sprung his certification as an International Olympic Delegate, Master Demonstrator, 1985 Master of theYear at the World Martial Arts Federation, 1988 United States Olympic Delegate for the Taekwondo team, 1989 Head of the First International United States Junior Olympics, and many other very admirable difficult to attain and honorable accomplishments which enhanced his already outstanding reputation, both nationally and internationally.
Born in Kwangju, in the southern-most part of Korea, Grandmaster Rho moved with his family to Seoul at a very young age. There he began training in the martial arts with his older brothers, achieving black belt status after only a few years of study. During that period of Taekwondo history, there were not separate performance levels for junior black belts and he was tested and evaluated with the same exacting standards as the adults Unlike the experience provided within todays modern, comfortable dojang, Grandmaster Rho often trained on rough, cold dirt or concrete floors. Sometimes he helped with clearing a space on the hard , snow-covered ground within the Korean mountains or adjacent countryside, training barefoot in the bitter cold. This had to make do instead of a formal dojang because none was available.
He followed a difficult road to excellence for many years, and when his formal high school and college education were completed, he chose to teach Taekwondo in Seoul. His reputation became so outstanding that his school became well-known throughout Korea as one of the finest ever. Other countries learned of his accomplishments, and many of those countries sought his expertise in teaching their people.
Grandmaster Rho does not brag about his accomplishments, however. To do so would reflect the dangers of over-confidence and a degree of superiority not akin to his philosophy or that of Taekwondo. He gleams with self-confidence, not arrogance.
"Respect" could be his middle nameit radiates back and forth between him and his students and shown in his cooperative spirit toward others.
From Korea to the United States and eventually to 22 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, Grandmaster Rho worked tirelessly to promote the merits of Taekwondo throughout the entire world! He feels that the unique system of grace and fluidity, linear power, speed, renewed vigor and vitality inherent from the physical study of Tea Kwon Do creates an "emerging and maturing mental and spiritual growth." The controlled, disciplined movements merge with a renewal of positive mindset, expanding confidence, discipline and focus. This brings with it a genuine respect for others as self-respect grown. He sees Taekwondo as more than forms, kicking and striking techniques, point-sparring, self-defense and breaking techniques. He feels that if the philosophy of the art is not itself part of the sport, the whole person will not be developed. Character development must be as on with the sport! Talking philosophically, he says, "Belief in God and active practice of the positive thinking of Tae Kwon Do, can help everyone find true happiness!"
While teaching Special Forces in Korea, Europe and Hong Kong, Grandmaster Rho came to believe that Taekwondo, as representative of all of the martial arts, could serve as a helpful vehicle to move all of mankind toward a spirit of peace, happiness and genuine cooperation.
This spirit of cooperation, characteristic of Taekwondo, holds a prominent place in Grandmaster Rhos personal philosophy. The basic core of this philosophy is that practitioners of the martial arts must respect and care for their parents, their children, and maintain a love, admiration and loyalty towards their instructor and other superiors. Instructors and superiors are expected to reflect this respect toward their pupils; its a win-win situation! Another name for this is loyalty.
In Grandmaster Rhos world, perseverance and effort make all things possible. "Thinking positively and trying to do ones best will bring success in many forms." As founder of World Martial Arts Academy, Master Rho proudly offers nine locations. Seven are located in the greater St. Louis metropolitan areaat Chesterfield, Crestwood, Festus, Florissant, Hazelwood Olivette and St. Peters. Two more schools build minds and bodies in the Kansas City area. He is President of the Missouri Taekwondo Association, which is a state chapter of the United States Taekwondo Union. The Group appointed him "Head of Team" for the U.S. Collegiate Team while attending the Third World University Taekwondo Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also served as local Taekwondo coordinator of sports for the U.S. Olympic Festival, 94, held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee awarded Master Rho a citation from Dr. Un Yong Kim, President of the World Taekwondo Federation for his "outstanding contribution to the development of techniques and promotion of Taekwondo as a world sport." Another honor came as a letter of commendation from the Pan American region, based on Master Rhos contribution to the promotion of Taekwondo culture.
Concerning the attributes of World Marital Arts Academy, Mayor Thomas W. Brown of St. Peters admiringly stated that "Mr. Rho has been a meaningful contributor to the education and development of our youth. He has also initiated special programs for senior citizens. The operation of his studio, and its appearance, have always been very professional and well-managed."
There is no longer a typical martial arts student! Today, all ages from four years to seventy years and beyond, male and female, can benefit from the physical and mental fitness, the healthy body and strong mind cultivated by this art. The positive mental attitude, patience, confidence and "You can do it!" philosophy play an active part in the program, because it "exercises" the whole self. Students notice they are healthier, more limber, better able to deal with todays stresses, and more fit for our rapidly changing world. Greater self-respect and respect for others are an additional byproduct. All races, religions, walks of life can find value. In fact, approximately 20 to 30 million students of Taekwondo world wide are learning that mastering control of the body creates a release of the mind. This, in turn, affects everything from their own outlook to an inner calm that just wasnt there before training.
Family involvement and encouragement generate an advantage for speedier development. Mr. Brett Rigdon, 18-year student of Grandmaster Rho and Director of the St. Peters branch of World Martial Arts Academy, says that the support of parents, spouse or friends, and classroom teachers makes a significant difference in how fast a student can go through the ranks. Like Grandmaster Rho, his mentor, he was fortunate that his home helped provide extra motivation to succeed.
As a public school teacher I personally watched as many of my own students who studied Taekwondo became more self-confident and eager for educational challenges, willing to "go the extra mile." Thats and expression Mr. Rigdon uses to indicate the extra effort required to reach specific goals, both in the martial arts and in other areas of life. It has a lot to do with enthusiasm and positive attitude, a willingness of purpose. Its what the "I can do it!" and "You can do it!" philosophy is all about.
In his book, The Making of a Martial Artist, Grandmaster Sang Ku Shim noted that the ideal master "persuades rather than forces" and has the "charisma" to "draw out the best in the persons he works with by his ability and character." He describes the martial arts as providing "a way of life" and laments that so many people today are "so busy making a living, they have no time to live." Enrolling in a quality Taekwondo program can help them to live. Then they too can experience the joys of "Yes, I can!" And they can encourage a team spirit by promoting the spirit of "Yes, you can!"
About the author: For 26 years Mary Meyers Dexter, a retired educator, inspired and removed labels from Learning Disabled, Behavior Disturbed, Attention Deficit Disordered and "average" students, while also challenging Talented and Gifted students. She now has a second career as a published freelance writer and editor in the greater St. Louis area. Her only child, Eric Meyers, studied Taekwondo as a young adult, taking private lessons several times a week. He lived the Taekwondo "God for it!" philosophy of World Martial Arts Academy. Eric felt pure joy in mastering many challenges and led a very full life during his 28 years, achieving personal, physical, academic and corporate success. Eric drowned while sailing during a sudden, violent thunderstorm but managed to save another passenger.
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