Our Roots

International Martial Arts Academy teaches a style of Tae Kwon Do called Youn Wha Ryu. This style is based on circular motions and has influences from Kung Fu and Chinese Boxing. These influences enable the Youn Wha Ryu style to contain more hand motions than typically seen in other styles of Tae Kwon Do.

The Youn Wha Ryu style of Tae Kwon Do was brought to the United States by Grandmaster Man Hee Han. Grandmaster Han founded the World Youn Wha Ryu Association and dedicated himself to promoting this style throughout the world. 

Background of Youn Wha Ryu:

The Youn Wha Ryu system of marital arts is shrouded in mystery and legend. Grandmaster Han himself has stated that the actual facts of Youn Wha Ryu’s history are unclear. He relates the story told to him by his Youn Wha master, Sae Chong Won.

Youn Wha was a legendary female martial artist, living on a remote island in the Orient. She was a recognized master of alchemy and a highly skilled martial artist. Her beauty was as talked about as her skill level in the martial arts, and many highly proficient martial artists in the nation, knowing of her acclaimed beauty and skill, embarked on journeys to see her and train with her. However, to reach her, the marital artists had to defeat and avoid traps that could maim and kill the unwary. It was only the best and most highly skilled martial art masters that weathered these pitfalls and were rewarded with the opportunity to view the beautiful Youn Wha. Unbeknownst to these masters, Youn Wha would use her skills in alchemy to prevent these high level martial artists form leaving her island by drugging their food and drink. As she was the only one who had the daily antidote for the drug, those who left her fortress died. In this way, she required the masters to write down their secrets so she could gain the knowledge of their systems and train in their techniques. It is from these writings that the system of Youn Wha was formed. The Youn Wha system is a unique one that contains all high-level techniques derived from ancient martial arts which are combined into one method of training that develops the mind, body, and the spirit.

Youn Wha Ryu is based in traditional Tae Kwon Do, incorporating elements of Hapkido, Karate, Kung Fu and Judo.  As for his own training, Grandmaster Han was originally a student of the traditional Japanese martial arts of Karate, Judo and Hapkido and the Chinese arts of Kung Fu and T’ai Chi Chuan before being involved in the post-occupation formulation of Korean Tae Kwon Do.  He also holds advanced degrees in Kendo, Hapkido, Jidokwan, and Hwarang-do.


The World Youn Wha Ryu Association has martial arts academies in the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia. In the US, academies are in New Hampshire (2), Alabama (4), Missouri (30), and Texas (7). The association headquarters are with Grandmaster Han in Dallas, Texas.

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