Elvis trained from 1970-1974 under Master Kang Rhee in Memphis, Tennessee. He said master Rhee had a good reputation and had come highly recommended by Ed Parker, his former instructor, of California.
During the four year period under Master Rhee, Elvis, like all the other students, selected an animal title by which to be addressed in the training area. After first choosing Mr. Panther, that name was later changed to "Mr. Tiger" because of existing political implications associated with the name "Panther" at that time.
Elvis trained with the other students in a regular training session. Classroom discipline was so strict that Elvis was allowed the same freedom of training as the ordinary students without the usual press from adoring fans.
Elvis was awarded 7th Degree Black Belt in 1973 by Master Rhee and on occasion had the opportunity, himself, to test and promote students of lower rank.
Elvis was an instructor in the Pasaryu Karate Association under Master Kang Rhee, and served with such Karate greats as Master Rhee, who had been a Korean Grand Champion, and Bill Wallace, World middleweight Karate Champion.
Once during a training session he was instructing a female student in a break-away technique which called for the victim to scrape the shins of the assailant. After repeated attempts by Elvis to get her to perform properly, the exasperated student came down so hard against his shins that he almost fell down with pain. She had learned.
Younger students in the classroom were often frightened by the presence of Elvis. Upon learning of this problem regarding a young 9 year old boy, he called the boy aside, spoke privately with him and presented him with his own "Elvis Presley" engraved watch.
Close friends of Elvis call this four year period the Golden Years - the years of peace and spiritual contentment for him. Photos exist documenting that four year period. They are the exclusive property of Master Rhee and are available for viewing at Kang Rhee Institute.
The Institute still holds many memories of Elvis. The Public is welcome to share those memories with master Kang Rhee. While you're in town, take a minute to stop by. Bring your cameras, ask questions. We'd love to have you.