In an effort to elude foreign government officials, Grandmaster Park's parents escaped to the northern hills, dropping their son off at a Buddhist Monastery along the way, knowing that they could not properly look after their 8 year old while on the run. For the next decade, he learned ancient hand to hand fighting techniques, the tenets of which he used to form his special brand of TaeKwonDo that he used to dominate national and international martial arts. To this day, he remains the only undefeated TaeKwonDo champion with over 200 wins to his credit.
With South Korea finally free from foreign rule in the 1950s, the government constructed a variety of strategies to introduce itself to the world. One the strategies was bringing its national martial art, TaeKwonDo, to the masses. Grandmaster Park was integral to that strategy. After leading South Korea to an epic win in an international competition against rival Japan in 1965, Grandmaster Park was asked to go to America to help the superpower learn both the physical and spiritual beauty of their martial art. In the 1970s and 1980s Grandmaster Park helped to open a series of Dojangs in the New York/New Jersey area and in Florida. Grandmaster Park was so successful that, in 1992, he was asked to coach the USA TaeKwonDo Olympic team that competed in Barcelona, Spain, and won the gold medal. Amazingly, at the age of 80, he continues to train "future champions" from his home Dojang in Jersey City, NJ, as well as self-defense programs he teaches at both West Point and the Naval Academy.
Besides chronicling this incredible immigrant success story, we also wanted to do our part in highlighting the beauty of an Asian story. With the rise in Asian Hate crime happening in 2021, we are hoping to humanize Asian culture with this inspiring piece. And ideally get enough exposure via this Film Festival run to convert this short film into a full documentary feature.