Remembering Kang Rhee

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3717 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116

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Memphis, TN 38116

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Graceland Exhibition Center
Daily: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.




Remembering Kang Rhee

Karate Master Kang Rhee, who taught Elvis Presley martial arts, has died.

Rhee trained in Kong Soo Do, Chang Mu Kwan, Kwon Bup, Kang Duk Won and Han Kuk Hap Ki Do in the 1950s and 60s. He started PaSaRyu Association in Memphis in 1966. Countless Memphians learned the martial arts at Rhee’s studio – including martial artist Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and Elvis Presley. 

Elvis trained with Rhee from 1970-1974 in Memphis. Elvis was awarded the 8th degree black belt by Rhee in 1974. 

Elvis gave Rhee a custom deluxe Eldorado Cadillac. Elvis’ father Vernon purchased the car for Elvis, who used it as his personal car for 10 months before gifting it to Rhee.

Rhee gave Elvis his karate nickname, Tiger.

Rhee produced an annual charity karate championship that benefitted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He was given the State of Tennessee Governor’s Award in 1988, won numerous Certificates of Appreciation from the City of Memphis Mayor and was named the Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill in 2001. 

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