Taekwondo Pioneers - The Grandmasters
General Choi Hong Hi |Hwang Kwang Sung | Chuck Sereff | Nam Tae Hi | Rhee Ki Ha | Park Jong Soo | Park Jung Tae
Charles "Chuck" Sereff
Note: C.E. "Chuck" Sereff was promoted to 9th degree black
belt and GrandMaster after this biography was written. He is the third highest
rank in ITF Taekwon-Do in the world, after General Choi Hong Hi, the Founder of
TKD, and GrandMaster Rhee Ki Ha. Master Sereff was promoted to Grandmaster (Sa
Sung) Sereff, A-9-1, on 12/8/97.
Original biography: (Source: USTF)
It takes 30 years to achieve the distinction of 8th Dan Black Belt. Master C.E. "Chuck" Sereff reached this goal in 1990, a few years short of his 60th birthday. Along the way to becoming a Master Instructor, his charisma and skill has helped hundreds of students from beginning white belts through to 5th and 6th Dan black belts, and some all along that way. Master Sereff was the first non-oriental to be classified as an International Instructor by the International Taekwon-Do Federation.
Master Sereff started martial arts in 1961. Two years later, he founded the first Korean-style school of self-defense in the Denver area. From a small storefront gym with six students, to President of a 15,000 plus student organization, the United States Taekwon-Do Federation, has been a long road! Master Sereff became associated with General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of Taekwon-Do and the ITF, in 1965 after bringing Moon Ku Baek from Korea to teach in the Denver area. In the meantime, Master Sereff had established Taekwon-Do clubs at the US Air Force Academy, the YMCA's in Denver, and at various recreation centers at the major colleges in Colorado and Wyoming. To date, his teachings spread throughout the world. The USTF was formed in 1974 at the request of General Choi. The Federation now consists of 11 regional directors and 35 state directors from Florida to California, Armed Forces classes, ambassadors in Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand and Papua, New Guinea. Master Sereff was elected President of the USTF in 1979 and currently still retains that position by popular vote.
Master Sereff's average travel of 30 weekends per year has helped spread General Choi's true Taekwon-Do tremendously. For example, a typical month near Master Sereff's 60th birthday had him traveling with Genreal Choi to Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand and finally Hawaii. Along the way, Master Sereff has also found time to coach the US team to victories at the ITF World Championships (1975, Montreal, Canada; 1982, Athens, Greece), and at the latest ITF World Championships in Malaysia in 1994, Master Sereff was appointed the new Vice President of the ITF.
Master Sereff has also encouraged cultural exchange via the annual summer Taekwon-Do camps held in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As the promoter of this camp, it went from 50 students in a small YMCA campground to over 400 at World Camp 1993 at Snow Mountain Ranch in Winter Park, Colorado. People travel the world from over 30 US states and from countries such as Scotland, Columbia, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Papua New Guinea to be with Master Sereff at these events, where a highlight is often the presence of General Choi himself.
In between and sometimes during these extensive commitments, Master Sereff likes to relax with some fishing, a pastime introduced to him as a boy and still a favorite. From Alaska to Florida, and from Malaysia to New Zealand, Master Sereff has always caught his limit!
Master Sereff sends this personal message (from his book "C.E. Chuck Sereff, Made in the USA"): "I think about all of the people I have taught and met throughout the world. If I had a photo journal of everyone who has touched my life, it would be a thousand pages. I once read a plaque which said -- A rich man is one whose children run to him when his arms are empty. My richest treasures are my two sons, their families including four of the most wonderful grandchildren a man could hope for.
It is with great anticipation that I look forward to the 21st century, when I hope to pass the torch of knowledge to my senior students. Teaching and being around young people, in mind and body, has helped me to stay forever young."