Than-Phong Martial Arts was founded on December 20, 1966, by the late Viet Nam Air Force General Luu Kim Cuong at Tan-Son-Nhat Air Force Base in Saigon, South Viet Nam. General Luu Kim Cuong, Commander of the 33rd Than-Phong Special Flight Squadron, named the school “Than-Phong” Martial Arts Academy after the flight squadron.
Than-Phong Martial Arts was one of the priority programs of the Division of Air Force Training, consisting of Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, and Shaolin Kungfu. The programs were taught to Air Force Officers, personnel and their families. The Korean Armed Force played an important role in the development of Than-Phong Taekwondo Academy from 1966 to 1973 during the time they based in South Viet Nam.
The system of Than-Phong expanded to two additional civilian dojos: one located in the premises of the Civil Aviation of Tan Son Nhat Airport (1971), and the other in the 4th District of Saigon (1972). The number of Than-Phong disciples amounted to several tens of thousands. All three schools closed down and ceased operation in April 1975 when the change of regime took place in South Viet Nam.
After 1975, several Than-Phong Masters settled in the United States (USA) and the first Than-Phong school was established in 1976 in San Antonio, Texas, by Instructor Lac Van Tran. Subsequently, a number of Than-Phong schools were set up in various states in USA, including California (Hayward, Orange County, San Jose, Santa Clara, Oakland, San Diego), Texas (Houston), Virginia, Michigan, Washington State (Seattle), and Florida. In 1992, the Than-Phong system was expanded internationally to Australia, France, Switzerland, and Canada.
In 1994, the first Than-Phong school was established in Ha Noi (North Viet Nam). In 2008, the communist regime in Viet Nam officially allowed Than-Phong schools to re-operate in Saigon (South Viet Nam).
Various names of Than-Phong Martial Arts have evolved since 1975 in accordance with the development of the system. It was originally named Than-Phong Martial Arts Association and officially registered in northern California on November 4, 1977, by Instructor Truong Nguyen Thuan when he established the first Than-Phong school in Hayward. In 1992, Grandmaster Duc Phan changed the name to Than-Phong Intercontinental Martial Arts Federation when the Than-Phong system expanded internationally. In 2000, Grandmaster Duc Phan renamed it Than-Phong The Planet Martial Arts Federation.
On December 10, 2011 the name of Than-Phong International Martial Arts Federation was officially adapted at the Than-Phong International Convention and the 45th Anniversary of Than-Phong Martial Arts in Houston, Texas, with the participation of 35 Grandmasters, Masters, and Instructors from Vietnam, Australia, Canada, and various states in the USA.
Achievements & Highlights
Under the dedicated guidance of many renowned Korean Masters, Than-Phong Taekwondo became widely known among all the Vietnamese Taekwondo systems with many victories in many Black Belt and Brown Belt Individual and Team Competitions.
- 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1973 (no participation in 1972), at the Annual National Taekwondo Championship and the Annual Vietnam Armed Force Taekwondo Championship (alternately each year): Four Grand Champions in the Team competitions, numerous Gold medals in the Individual competitions, and two National Champion Flags Awards awarded by the Korean Armed Force.
- 1971, at the Second SEA Games in Malaysia: Gold medal in the Team competition, Gold and Silver medals in Individual Black Belt competitions, and Bronze medal in Breaking.
- 1975 to present, Than Phong disciples continue the winning tradition and have won many States and National Championship Awards in Australia and in USA.
Missions of Than-Phong Martial Arts
- Before the fall of South Viet Nam, before April 1975: “The mission of Than-Phong Martial Arts Academy was to build an elite team, well trained in all facets of physical and mental fitness, and moral education to uphold the spirit of ‘Brotherhood of solidarity to the service of the homeland.”
- After the fall of South Viet Nam, after April 1975, Than-Phong disciples were scattered all over the world. Master Truong Nguyen Thuan and several ex-Than-Phong instructors rebuilt the system with a new mission statement:“To provide the highest teaching quality by implementing and utilizing martial arts tradition, expertise, and the culmination of the knowledge of Than-Phong Grandmasters and Masters from around the world who value and train in traditional martial arts in order to bring the mind, the body, and the spirit together.The quality of Than-Phong schools and instructors comes from the inheritance, from generation to generation, of the excellent practice of traditional martial arts, which teaches proper self-defense and personal fitness, and instills in the student the maturity, discipline, balance and strength required to be a highly successful and strong person both in Taekwondo and in life.”
Korean Masters at Than-Phong Martial Arts Academy
In 1966, President Pak Chung Hi of the Republic of Korea assigned and sent Master Major Kang Dong Kil to Viet Nam to help develop Taekwondo in Viet Nam and support Than-Phong Academy in its early years. Many renowned Masters came from Korea to train Than-Phong disciples, including Masters Chung Tae Kap (Chief of Staff of the Korean Army in Viet Nam), Lieutenant Colonel Kim Bong Sik, Major Lee Sha Un, Captain Kim Byung Woon, Captain Cho Sun Taik, Sergeant Cho Hyung Ho, Sergeant Her Man, Sergeant Kang Ho, Sergeant Shu Jung Do, Sergeant Lee Keun Tae, and Kim (BatMan)…
Than-Phong in USA
- San Antonio, TX, 1976: Instructor Tran Van Lac
- Hayward, CA, 1977-1981: Instructor Truong Nguyen Thuan
- Houston, TX, 1981-1983: Chief Instructor Truong Nguyen Thuan
- San Jose, CA, 1983-1989: Chief Instructor Truong Nguyen Thuan
- Santa Clara, CA, 1984-1986: Chief Instructor Truong Nguyen Thuan
- Oakland, CA, 1988-1991: Master Truong Nguyen Thuan
- San Jose, CA, 1989-2009: Grandmaster Phan Duc Victor
- Houston, TX, 1992-2005: Master Phan Hong Ho
- Kingwood, TX, 1993-1997: Master Truong Nguyen Thuan
- Spring, TX, 2003 to present: Master Truong Nguyen Thuan
- San Jose, CA, 2010 to present: Chief Instructors Cao Hoang Nam and Nguyen Paul
- Virginia: Grandmasters Kim Phuc Nam and Le Dinh Thuan
- Florida: Grandmaster Nguyen Van Loi
- Santa Ana, CA: Master Trinh Khai Hoang, Le Van Xuan, and Hoang Thuy Thong
- Washington: Master Truong Bich Ve
- San Diego, CA: Master Mai Thanh Long
- Michigan: Chief Instructor Tran Trang