Grandmaster Young Pyo Choi

Grandmaster Young Pyo Choi is a well-rounded martial artist, an 8th Dan Master with over 40 years of experience. He is an expert in a number of areas of martial arts, including SongMooKwan and MooGongRyu styles of TaeKwonDo, SipPalGi style of KungFu, HapKido, TaeGukKwan style of TaiChi, and over 20 weapons, including swords and staffs. He is also a practitioner of KiMooDo healing arts. His emphasis as a Martial Arts master is the development of ourselves as human beings.


Young Pyo Choi was born in 1948 in the mountains of North Korea near Heung Nam. During the Korean War, his family migrated to South Korea. Over two million civilians were killed in the war, and after the war there was a lot of civil unrest and conflict. At this point, the young Choi learned that it took hard work and dedication to overcome obstacles and establish himself in life. This is when his uncle, black belt, began teaching his nephews basic martial arts skills to help them protect themselves.

Master Choi's career in martial arts took a profound turn when he began traditional training under Supreme Grandmaster Byung Jik Ro, the founder of the SongMooKwan (Pine Tree) tradition of TaeKwonDo. As his experience developed, Master Choi joined the ROK Marines as a martial arts instructor. Along the way, he encountered an expert in the SipPalGi style of KungFu, and the two agreed to teach each other everything they know about their own martial arts skills. They practiced consistently, sometimes outside in subzero temperatures. Eventually, Young Pyo Choi also gained the status of Master in this style of KungFu.

In 1971, his older brother, Grandmaster Joon Pyo Choi, moved to the United States to become a TaeKwonDo instructor. He wrote to Young Pyo, telling him to practice day and night, because Americans were serious students of martial arts and to survive as a young Master he had to practice hard. Following the lessons of his youth, Master Choi dedicated himself to pursuing a life in martial artists, continuously training hard to develop his skills sometimes five or six hours a day. With few resources, his trademark became a black uniform, sneakers, and a towel around his neck. Along the way he also sought out and developed expertise in HapKido and TaeGukKwan TaiChi, and he also gained experience with KiMooDo (the Way of Martial Arts Energy), which emphasizes holistic well-being in all areas of life. In addition, he has become an expert is a number of weapons, and over the years developed his own MooJung style of ChongBong (long staff) and KumBop (sword) techniques and forms. In fact, to other Grandmasters who know him, he is known as Moo Jung, the Honesty Style, a reference to his emphasis on Rightness and Correctness in the development of human character.

Those who know Master Choi are also aware of his artistic abilities. His schools and training materials are decorated with unique art graphics, and he has practiced the flute since his youth. His martial arts training has helped develop his concentration and coordination, which has enabled him to become a National Champion tennis player and currently a teaching golf professional.

Master Choi came to the United States in 1974 to join his brother, Grandmaster Joon Pyo Choi, who had opened a martial arts school in Columbus, Ohio. The two brothers, Grandmaster Ho Kim, and other masters formed the core of the Oriental Martial Arts College system, and the MooGongRyu (Guardian of the Peace) style as a branch of the SongMooKwan tradition. The OMAC system emphasizes development of ourselves as human beings, to become well-rounded and balanced individuals who work for a better society. Together, the Choi brothers have produced a number of national, Pan American, and Olympic champions.

Grandmaster Choi includes cutting a watermelon on the stomach of a volunteer student in many of his martial arts demonstrations. Grandmaster Choi has been named "Best Master's Demonstration" at many martial arts events, including exhibitions at Madison Square Gardens in New York city and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He has received many awards for his performances, including the Best Master's Demonstration by the Governor of Ohio at the Arnold Schwartzenager Battle of Columbus, and has appeared on a number of television shows. Grandmaster Choi is one of the few grandmasters to still being doing martial arts demonstrations.

In 1983, Master Choi moved to Indianapolis to establish a branch of the OMAC system. From a beginning where he first lived in his training school, he has worked hard to develop the MooGongRyu style, and currently oversees three schools with over 300 active students. He has produced a number of state champions. In 1985, he initiated the Battle of Indianapolis Open Martial Arts Tournament, which has grown over the years to become the largest martial arts competition in Indiana. Master Choi has consistently expressed interest in the benefits of martial arts for children, often saying that there are no masters or instructors without the new students to inherit our traditions. OMAC Indiana has sponsored a number of martial arts programs for children in local community centers and school systems. When children learn patience, persistence, self-control, and respect, then OMAC gives back to society by producing positive contributing members of the community.

In 1992, Master Choi married Nam Mi Park, a renowned gymnast from Korea. She won over ten national gold medals in gymnastics with her grace and agility, and has gone on to become a gymnastics instructor and head of the Physical Education program at KongJu National University in Korea. She is also the Director of the Korean Women's Gymnastics Association, and serves as an international gymnastics referee, including the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Over the years, Master Choi has developed a unique training style, with a focus on fostering the Martial Arts Spirit in our daily lives. He emphasizes that Moo Do is the way of not having to fight. Through martial arts training we nuture positive internal and external energy, so we can come in harmony and peace. His students practice TaeKwonDo, KungFu, HapKido, long staff and sword, TaiChi, ChiGong, and meditation.

Master Choi's teaching style is effective in developing martial arts mental and physical skills in his students. He demonstrates the correct standards himself, guides his students along step by step, and emphasizes discovering for ourselves. Master Choi is a keen observer of character, and his philosophy is often expressed in analogies rather than instant answers. He has said, "How can you explain to someone how salt tastes if they have never tasted salt?" He also talks about teaching someone how to climb a tree before calling on them to pick an apple at the top, so they will truly appreciate when they have done it for themselves. His message to his students is the goal and the idea about how to get there, rather than answering all the questions directly. With persistent practice, when students find the answers for themselves, they are truly their own. In the process, his students learn the centeredness and balance of martial arts as a way of life as they become more positive human beings.

Grandmaster Choi emphasizes martial arts as a means to develop ourselves as human beings, and continually strives to improve his skills and abilities as a martial artist and as a person. He strives to exhibit those characteristics of patience, persistence, concentration, and respect, that he would have his students develop. This focus as teacher who seeks to develop us as leaders in the martial arts sets the tone for OMAC Indiana, and those of us who are his students are indeed fortunate to have him as our Master to guide our mental and physical development in the Martial Arts Spirit .

Grandmaster Young Pyo Choi represents a well-rounded martial artist, both mentally and physically. This is seen in his own life and in the lives of his students. Indianapolis is indeed fortunate to have Grandmaster Choi as a valuable resource for our community, and the United States as a resource for our martial arts community.

Also, see Grandmaster Young Pyo Choi Photo Gallery (opens in a separate browser window)


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Young Pyo Choi

President (8th dan Black Belt)
• Produced National
  Champions & Olympian
• Life Achievement Award
  by UMAF
• Hall of Fame by WUMA
• Best Demo Champion at
  Arnold World Games
• Best Demo at Madison
  Square Garden
• US Team Coach Russia
  Goodwill Games
• US Team Head Coach
  for Shaolin in China
• Trained over 25,000

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