Grand Master Robert Hardin
Grand Master Hardin began his training over 35 years ago in December of 1968 with Mr. Fred Van Akeren. As a red belt, he taught a club at the YMCA in Warren, Arkansas, later expanding to the YMCA in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1971, he opened a full time school in Hot Springs. He taught there until 1982, when he sold his Hot Springs school and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to open a school and begin development of the Tennessee region. He also was a member of the staff of Henderson State University teaching Taekwondo there from 1975 to 1982. During this time he was very active with the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), achieving the position of ATA Regional Vice President in 1980.
In 1984, Grand Master Hardin, then a 5th Degree Black Belt, founded the Mid American Taekwondo Centers (MATC). He also developed the Choong Sil style of Taekwondo, which integrates a goal-oriented philosophy as part of the Taekwondo training. In the summer of 1995, the last pattern in the Choong Sil system was introduced and the Choong Sil pattern system was completed. In keeping with this, the MATC elected to change its name to the Choong Sil Taekwondo Federation (CTF). The CTF now encompasses over 60 schools and clubs, headquartered in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and with schools as far away as the East and West Coasts.
Grand Master Hardin was presented with his Nineth Degree Black Belt at the CTF National Championships in November 17th, 2007. He was promoted to Eighth Degree Black Belt by the Amateur Athletic Union and Mr. James K. Roberts, 9th Dan on December 20, 1999. He had received his Seventh Degree Black Belt, as well as Master Instructor, from Grand Master Park Jung Tae of the Global Taekwondo Federation on November 20, 1992 and Sixth Degree from General Choi Hong Hi of the International Taekwondo Federation on November 21,1986.
Grand Master Hardin was appointed Southeastern Chairman for the AAU Taekwondo program in 1997 and served in that capacity until moving to Arkansas in late 1999 where he was appointed Arkansas State Chairman by the AAU. In addition, he served as the Chief of the AAU Board of Examiners – Dan Program during its ’99-00 fiscal year.
Grand Master Hardin joined with several other association directors from other regions to the country in 2001 to form the United States Taekwondo League. This League of Associations was formed to offer a National level of competition for point fighters. The USTL sponsors an annual National Tournament in the summer each year.
Grand Master Hardin was inducted into the 2003 Martial Arts Hall of Fame as “Founder of the Year” for founding the style of Choong Sil Kwan Taekwondo.
Grand Master and Mrs. Hardin spent the last few years building and developing a Lodge and new Camp Facility for the CTF in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. This facility is designed for use as a retreat for CTF members and a permanent facility for Black Belt Training Camps throughout the year. In addition to the Lodge, the facility is located on a full working ranch with cattle, bison and even a llama.
In his spare time, Grand Master Hardin enjoys hunting and fishing as well as many other outdoor activities that are available in the area.