Grand Master Hwang, Kwang Sung was born in 1942, in Taegu City, toward the Southern end of the Korean Peninsula. He was the youngest of four children and began his martial arts training at the age of eleven by taking Tang Soo Do lessons. During high school, he distinguished himself academically and through his growing leadership skills. Upon graduation from high school, Grand Master Hwang studied political science at Kyungpook National University. His leadership was recognized by his contemporaries and, in his third year, he was elected President of the Student Council. He then graduated as a Second Lieutenant from the Republic of Korea Infantry Officer Candidate School.
In 1965, Grand Master Hwang, who was then a Captain, met a soldier with Taekwon-Do training from General Choi. Experiencing Taekwon-Do in action intensified his desire to train, so Grand Master Hwang arranged to learn as much as he could from the soldier. Some time later, while Grand Master Hwang was stationed in Seoul at the Korean Military Headquarters, he applied and was accepted into the Korean Military Taekwon-Do Instructor School. It was here that he finally got to receive his first Taekwon-Do training from General Choi, and he trained with the founder every Saturday for six months in 1968.
Upon graduation from the Taekwon-Do Instructor School, Grand Master Hwang served his country in Vietnam as a Taekwon-Do Instructor and Ranger Officer. He was stationed in Saigon but regularly visited Chu Lai, Da Nang, Quang Nai and other locations. He trained the Korean Army, the US Army, the US Marines, and the Vietnamese Army, receiving commendation medals from Korea and Vietnam for this service. In 1970, Grand Master Hwang retired from the Republic of Korea Army as a Captain and Service Company Commander of the 26th Infantry Division, also known as the Taekwon-Do Division.
In 1971, Grand Master Hwang was invited to the United States to teach a credited class at Manchester Community Technical College and opened his first Taekwon-Do school one year later. Moving to the US brought Grand Master Hwang closer to General Choi, who lived in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, a few hours away. Grand Master Hwang, accompanied by some of the instructors from his own schools, visited General Choi for private lessons. Grand Master Hwang and General Choi also played golf together.
Grand Master Hwang graduated from the first International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Instructors course and Umpires course held by General Choi, Hong Hi in Montréal, Québec, Canada, in 1974. General Choi created the KoreAmerica Taekwon-Do Union (KATU) in the early nineties and named Grand Master Hwang as its President, a position he held for the entire life of the organization. On December 8, 1997, Grand Master Hwang was promoted to 9th degree black belt, ITF serial # K-9-1, as one of the first three Grand Masters General Choi promoted.
In the ensuing years, Grand Master Hwang led numerous efforts for the ITF. He was the 1989 and 1992 USA Senior Taekwon-Do Team Director and served as USA Junior Taekwon-Do Team Director for every ITF Junior World Championship from 1990 until 2002. Grand Master Hwang also served as the Official Spokesperson of the ITF, the Chairman of the ITF Promotion and Taekwon-Do Merger Committees, a member of the Policy Committee, and the ITF Secretary General. Perhaps most significantly, he served as special assistant to General Choi.
As General Choi’s special assistant, Grand Master Hwang worked closely and traveled extensively with General Choi. They developed a close relationship, and Grand Master Hwang accompanied General Choi to the Toronto airport when General Choi left Canada for the last time. Soon after General Choi’s return to Korea, Grand Master Hwang went to Korea to be with General Choi during his final days, during which time Grand Master Hwang recorded General Choi’s last wishes before General Choi passed away.
After General Choi’s passing, Grand Master Hwang worked towards reunifying Taekwon-Do, as directed by General Choi’s last wishes. Ultimately, Grand Master Hwang decided to preserve General Choi’s legacy by founding an organization with that specific mission. He founded the Unified International Taekwon-Do Federation (UITF) in 2004 and worked tirelessly to ensure that the UITF provided access to, and quality training in, Taekwon-Do as General Choi dictated in the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do. Grand Master Hwang’s relentless efforts bore fruit, and many new practitioners, existing practitioners and Taekwon-Do ex-patriots joined the UITF.
On August 12, 2017, at the UITF World Championships in Corrientes, Argentina, the UITF was re-named Unified Taekwon-Do to more clearly denote its purpose and intent to unify Taekwon-Do practitioners and preserve General Choi’s legacy.