Macon Karate Academy
(formerly Ahn's Fitness)
3282 Vineville Ave.
Macon, GA 31204
(478) 474-3500

Grandmaster E.C. AHN

Lifetime Achievement Award
Grandmaster E. C. Ahn


Grandmaster Eung Choon Ahn is one of the original pioneers and founding fathers of modern Tae Kwon Do. Born in Pyoungbook, North Korea in 1941, Grandmaster Ahn escaped with his family to Seoul, South Korea 10 years later. In 1953, marking the cease fire of the Korean War, Grandmaster Ahn began training in tae kwon do at the age of 12. In 1955, he earned his 1st degree black belt.

He has received countless awards and distinctions for his accomplishments throughout his sixty years of training. In 1960 Grandmaster Ahn became the first person to demonstrate tae kwon do on television. He entered the R.O.K. Army in 1962 and was responsible for initiating tae kwon do training to the branch known as the military police. He served in the Vietnam War from 1966-1969. The following year, Grandmaster Ahn began instructing tae kwon do to the Korean Intelligence Agency and Special Forces. He was the R.O.K. Army Lightweight Division Champion and the winner of the International Open Karate Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. He traveled throughout the Orient demonstrating martial arts as a member of the Asian Tae Kwon Do Demonstration Team. He received the esteemed Presidential Award from General Choi Hong Hi. As coach of the Korean Green Beret Team, his squad won the national championship known as the Presidential Flag Competition.

Grandmaster Ahn was allowed to emigrate to the United States of America in 1974 based on his credentials as a tae kwon do expert. He had been hand picked by General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of modern tae kwon do, to spread the art in America. He opened the first ever marital arts school in Macon, Georgia in 1974 and has been operating continually for 30 years. His accomplishments continued as he coached the Men’s, Women’s and Junior’s Southeastern Champions in 1977. The same year he was selected as the Executive-Vice President of the American Tae Kwon Do Association, the largest martial arts group in the United States. For his work teaching local law enforcement, he was awarded Honorary Deputy Sheriff of Bibb County. He was appointed President of the North American Contingent of the World United Martial Arts Federation. Acknowledged for his dedication by fellow masters of differing martial arts, he was inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame in Ohio in 1988.

Remaining true to General Choi’s personal charge to him, Grandmaster Ahn left the A.T.A. and established the Hae San Martial Arts Association in 1985, making Middle Georgia the national headquarters. In 1993, after 40 years of training and teaching, Grandmaster Ahn achieved the pinnacle of martial arts, the 9th degree black belt, the highest rank attainable. He has reached what millions strive for but only few achieve and gained the admiration and respect of many thousands of students who have been privileged enough to be trained by someone of his character, expertise, drive and knowledge. Perhaps his greatest achievement will not be his own personal success, but the legacy he will leave behind by those he has taught.

The Telegraph

The Macon Telegraph
Posted on Sun, Aug. 10, 2003
By Sharon E. Crawford
Telegraph Staff Writer

Ahn has the stamina of a man half his age. At age 61, Ahn still jogs five miles a day and teaches several classes of tae kwon do at his fitness center each week. He estimates that he’s run more than 37,000 miles and trained more than 50,000 students. And he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “I love what I do,” Ahn said Friday. “It is still very exciting.”

A native of North Korea, Ahn moved to Macon in 1973 to teach tae kwon do. He opened Ahn Fitness Center, now located on Vineville Avenue. “I like the people of Middle Georgia,” Ahn said. “They have been good to me.” Over the years, Ahn has worked with law enforcement officials and school-aged children, teaching them to defend themselves against predators. He said any martial arts training is a combination of mental and physical discipline. “When they come in with a bad attitude, I have to teach them a lot,” Ahn said. “But they usually leave here thinking very differently.”

Saturday, members of Ahn’s fitness center and some of his former students gathered to honor Ahn for his 50 years of teaching. They gave him a plaque and a trophy. Some of his students have gone on to open their own schools, and others teach at his center. “A lot of people have moved on, but I stayed in one place,” Ahn said. “It’s a free country, and I can do what I wish.” Ahn started training in the martial arts at age 12 and was by the modern founder of tae kwon do, Gen. Choi Hong Hi, to spread the once-lost art in the United States. After 40 years of training, he earned a ninth-degree black belt, the highest level. “I started training to defend myself,” Ahn said. “We learned it outside on the ground, not inside a building. … There was a lot of discipline to learn also.”

Ahn, who can take down a person with one finger, keeps up with his pupils throughout the year in classes and training sessions. He has lived in Macon longer than he has lived anywhere and now considers it home. In 1985, he founded the Hae San Martial Arts Association, which currently has 50 members who teach his style of tae kwon do. He said the best part of his legacy is that others will carry his work on. “I want other to learn and continue training,” Ahn said. “That people will learn more developed techniques and carry those into the future.”


  • Born August 17th, 1941 IN Pyoungbook, Korea.
  • Began training in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 12.
  • Achieved his 1st degree black belt at the age of 14.
  • Graduated Valedictorian of his high school out of a class of 2,000 students.
  • Attended the Korean Air Force Academy.
  • Performed the first televised Tae Kwon demonstration on K.B.S. TV.
  • Won the R.O.K. Army Light Weight Division Championships.
  • Instituted the original system of Tae Kwon Do for the Military Police.
  • Served in the Vietnam War from 1966 to1969.
  • Instructed the R.O.K. Army and Green Berets during the Vietnam War.
  • Coached the Korean Green Beret team to victory in the Presidential Flag
    Competition – Team National Championships..
  • Dispatched to the United States to spread Tae Kwon Do in 1973.
  • Received the Presidential Award from the founder of modern Tae Kwon Do from General Choi Hong Hi.
  • Awarded the International Chief Instructor by the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association in 1973
  • Opened the first Tae Kwon Do school in Macon – March 4th, 1974.
  • Received his United States citizenship in 1979.
  • Appointed Executive Vice President of the American Tae Kwon Do Association.
  • Coached the men’s, women’s and junior’s southeaster tournament champions in 1977.
  • Awarded Honorary Deputy Sheriff of Bibb county, from Sheriff Ray Wilkes.
  • Founded the Hae San Martial Arts Association in 1985.
  • Elected President of the North American Contingent of the World United Martial Arts Federation.
  • Inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame, located in Ohio..
  • Commissioned to train the United States Marine Corps in 1993.
  • Attained the rank of 9th degree black belt in 1994.
  • Honored by the mayor of Macon with the official Tae Kwon Day declaration.
  • Reached the milestone of running 25,000 miles (the circumference of the earth).
  • Received the rank of 8th degree black belt in Hapkido.
  • Has trained members of the Green Berets, Special Forces, Army, Marines, C.I.A., F.B.I., and local law enforcement.
  • Hosted the Korean Olympic Judo team during the 1996 olympics.
  • Elected President of the Korean Association of Middle Georgia.
  • Celebrated his 60th year of continuous training in Tae Kwon Do on August 17th, 2013.
  • Awarded Honorary Deputy Sheriff of Bibb County, from Sheriff Jerry Modena on Feb. 2004.
  • Celebrated the 45th anniversary of the opening of Ahn’s Tae Kwon Do in Macon on March 4th, 2019.