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
Master PHAN Cao Tri - founded Than Phong Taekwondo Australia Broadmeadows, Victoria on 24 September 1986. Initially, Than Phong Martial Arts School adhered to Master Nguyen Van Ngoc's Hung Vuong Martial Arts School that was part of the Chung-Do Kwan system with Master Chun Suk Suh and Master Woon Kyu Uhm, former President, Kukkiwon, World Taekwondo Headquarter.
In 1988, Master Huynh Phi Hung, who came from Tasmania, and Instructor Le Tan Dat started two new Than Phong dojang in Victoria, one in Footscray and one in St Albans.
In 1989, Grand Master Phan Van Duc (former head instructor of Than Phong in Tan Son Nhat VNCH airforce base on 1966) came to resettle in the United States. Than Phong Taekwondo Australia League has contacted him to work on the development of Than Phong's activities at an international level. In 1992, thanks to Grand Master Phan Van Duc, the name of Intercontinental Than Phong had reached Australia, France, Sweden, Canada and Vietnam.
Than Phong Taekwondo Australia League had become very strongly established. On 27 December 1992, it first organised the Australia Taekwondo Championship in Kensington, Victoria. At this occasion, there was a federal reunion of many Martial Arts Masters and instructors from interstate. On 28 December 1992 Than Phong League has worked with Master Vo Tan Loi and Master Nguyen Thanh Khiet to form the first Vietnam Taekwondo of Australia Inc. for five States: Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. Than Phong then formed the Victorian Federation of Vietnamese Taekwondo with Master Nguyen Van Anh as President and Master Phan Cao Tri as Vice-President.
Beginning of 1993, Head instructor Tran Han Tong, a Than Phong's offspring, opened the Thomastown 4th Than Phong Taekwondo dojang.
In 1994, Master Huynh Phi Hung moved to the sunshine state of Queensland and St Albans Than Phong Martial Arts School ceased to operate. This was a big loss for Than Phong Australia.
August 2000, Master Phan Cao Tri went to San Jose to meet with Grand Master Phan Van Duc to work on the unification of regulations and general activities under an open logo: The Planet Martial Arts Than Phong (Master Phan Cao Tri had formerly used the Than Phong logo to be with Chung Do Kwan Association). At this occasion, Professor Phan Van Duc appointed Master Phan Cao Tri as Director - Than Phong The Planet Martial Arts Australia, and awarded him with a certificate. He also awarded certificates of appreciations to head instructor Phan Cao Thuy and head instructor Tran Han Tong.
Also in 2000, Master Phan Cao Tri handed over the Broadmeadows Than Phong Taekwondo dojang to Head Instructor Phan Cao Thuy.
Head instructor Phan Thuy Khanh opened another Than Phong Taekwondo dojang at St John Church in Richmond, the capital city of the Vietnamese Community in Victoria.
Head instructor Tran Han Tong also opened a new Than Phong Taekwondo dojang at Quang Duc Temple in Fawkner.
On 25 March 2004, Than Phong's offsprings opened more martial arts schools in the neighbouring cities to develop Than Phong movement:
- Head instructor Tieu Quoc Hien and Instructor Trinh Duy Nhat: Braybrook Than Phong Taekwondo dojang.
- Head instructor Ho Manh Tung and instructor Dang Cong Hung: Brunswick Than Phong Taekwondo dojang ; and
- Instructor Paul Bui and instrutor Le Nguyen Khoa opened the Than Phong Young Dragons (Tieu Long) classes for children in Richmond.
Beginning of 2007, Than Phong Taekwondo Australia League has become part of the Australian federation system of Taekwondo Australia Ltd. This assisted the Kukkiwon black belts members with the awards of certificates of Coach, Judge and certificates of National and International Referee, and the participation of members in important national competitions.
On 30 April 2009, Grand Master Phan Van Duc suddenly passed away without leaving behind any documents including wills. During his funeral, the Council of Martial Arts Masters and Instructors has nominated Master Truong Nguyen Thuan as President of International Than Phong and Master Phan Cao Tri as Vice-President.
Back to Australia, Master Phan Cao Tri handed over the management of the Australian Than Phong system to members of the younger generation.
Head instructor Ho Manh Tung was elected by other members of the Than Phong family as President of Than Phong Australia with a strong and young management committee.
In 2010, Master Vo Hong Sinh has called Victoria home and had given his great assistance to Than Phong Taekwondo Australia for a period of time.
On 10 December 2011, the Than Phong International Conference and the 45th Anniversary of Than Phong Martial Arts School (1966-2011) were organised in Houston, Texas, United States of America. The special occasion was attended by 35 Martial Arts Masters from across all continents, including two most experienced Martial Arts Masters from Vietnam and Master Phan Cao Tri and Master Nguyen Van Tan as representatives from Australia. At the conference, the name of the organisation was changed to Than Phong International Martial Arts Federation.
The conference was officially recognised and blessed by the Governor of Texas, Mr. Rick Perry, Senator Dan Patrick, Congressman Ted Poe and the Proclamation was officiated by Annise D Parker, Mayor of Houston.
After 28 years of operation, Than Phong Australia has not stopped from developing. It has produced over two hundred members with black belts, participated in many competitions and won many important championships in Australia, Asia Pacific, US open and the world Taekwondo.
In 2013, the martial arts schools that are in strong operation are as follows:
1. Master Phan Cao Tri and Instructor Phan Hoa Hiep: Collingwood Than Phong dojang
2. Instructor Trey Duong and instructor Danny Nguyen: Brunswick Than phong dojang
3. Head instructor Ho Manh Tung and Instructor Sarah Ho: St.Albans Than Phong
4. Head instructor Pham Chi Thien and Instructor Tran Dinh Vinh: Footscray west Than Phong Taekwondo dojang
5. Master Nguyen Van Tan: Springvale Than Phong Taekwondo dojang. Master Nguyen Van Tan migrated to Australia in 2010 and since then has been contributing lots of techniques to Than Phong Australia
6. Head instructor Phan Cao Thuy: Yerongo Than Phong Taekwondo dojang (Queensland).
7. Head instructor Ken Tu and instructor Le Tan Dung: Springvale south Than Phong Taekwondo dojang
In the future: Start on 1st October 2016, The Than Phong International conference and the 50th anniversary of the international Martial Arts (1966-2016) and 30th anniversary of Than Phong Taekwondo Australia (1986-2016) will organise in Melbourne- Victoria Australia
Currently, Than Phong has a reputable system. In addition to the education of young people in self-confidence and physical strength, Than Phong has also taught students the spirit of aiming at achievement of the good, and ethics to become honest persons under the following principles: Politeness, Honesty, Patience, Stoicism, Fidelity, Unyieldingness.
Than Phong International Martial Arts Federation:
USA: Houston (2), Seattle, San Jose (3), Orange County, San Diego, Nevada, Michigan, Virginia (2), Atlanta, Florida, Arizona.
Australia: Collingwood, Braybrook, Broadmeadows, St.Albans, Brunswick, Fawkner, Footscray, Richmond and Springvale in Victoria, and Yeronga in Queensland.
France: Limoges - Arches
Canada: Peterborough, Ontario â€” Omemee - Montreal
Vietnam: Saigon (9), Long Khanh, Hanoi (3)