Australian History of Taekwondo

Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee and Andrew Sands
Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee
with Andrew Sands

Although no official documentation could be found, Taekwondo began in Australia in the late 1960’s. Many claim to be the first instructors in Australia and therefore it is very difficult to appoint this honor to any one individual.

The Australian Taekwondo Association was formed in 1974 by 6 dan masters lead by Sung Soo Lee. This was was soon recognised by the Australian Government as the official Taekwondo body for Australia. It’s vision was to hold tournaments to collect monies to fund further development in Taekwondo. As a democratic society, the senior instructors had equal voting rights. Unfortunately the vision was not being adhered to and monies were not managed effectively. Therefore in mid 1980’s, the Australian Taekwondo Union was formed by again, the leading masters in Australia and again lead by Sung Soo Lee. By 1990 the Union was clearly the most populated Taekwondo organisation in Australia with over 800 competitors in the Australian Titles of that year.

When the IOC formally announced that Taekwondo was to be introduced as official competition in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the Australian Olympic Committee began steps to organise the event. At this time, the Australian Taekwondo Association was still recognised by the Australian Government. But the main population of competitors were linked to the Australian Taekwondo Union.

Thus, the “TKD Australia Inc” was formed to unite the two bodies. This new body was then recognised by the Australian Government, the Australian Olympic Committee and the Korea Taekwondo Kukkiwon as the the only official body of Taekwondo in Australia.