Posted May 6, 2018
My friend who was truly an officer and gentleman, martial arts legend Jhoon Rhee died Monday May 1, 2018. He was 86 years old. He definitely leaves a void in Washington, DC and the world-wide community of martial arts (Taekwondo).
I met Mr. Rhee in the early 70’s through my partner in the community a martial arts legend in his own right, Grand Master Furman Marshall. Furman is one of the founders of Black Ski, an internationally ski group known worldwide. As the history of the martial arts over the last half century is recorded and documented, the name of Furman Marshall has attained iconic status. He is a 10th degree black belt and the founder of Simba DoJang, the oldest black martial arts organization in the world. Simba DoJang is the winning-est karate studio in the world. It was easy to see why Jhoon Rhee referred to Furman “As a humble and kind man”, it takes one to know one.
Mr. Rhee’s martial arts’ career got its start in the early 60’s in Washington, DC, but he didn’t really come into prominence until the early 70’s about the same time I was becoming a pioneering radio sports talk host on W-O-O-K radio. We established a bond after he appeared on my talk show. After the show he reminded me, he was always just a telephone call away.
Mr. Rhee would take DC by storm in 1974 when he open several studios and made his two little children household names. He became a promotional and marketing genius when he came up with a television commercial showing his kids, I would guess they were 3 and 4 years old in karate uniforms demonstrating kicks and jabs saying “Nobody Bothers Me.” The popularity of the martial arts here in DC went through the roof. Mr. Rhee would make several more appearances on “Inside Sports,” keeping his word, he was always just a telephone call away.
Our next encounter would be in 1975 in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania at Muhammad Ali’s boxing camp.