Grand Master Dayton Matlick (1934 - 2023)

R.I.P. Dayton Matlick

Grand Master Dayton Matlick (1934 – 2023)

Dayton Harris Matlick, age 88, passed away on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Grand Master Dayton Matlick (1934 - 2023)

Dayton Harris Matlick was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, on a burley tobacco and beef farm. In the 1960’s he attended Michigan State University where he earned a master’s degree in communications.

“He (Dayton Matlick) was my compass.”

-Hwa Chong

In 1967, Dayton met Hwa Chong who had recently arrived from Korea to obtain his own master’s degree in economics and was already teaching taekwondo at MSU. “Dayton presented me with a copy of the Tao Teh Ching. Until then, I had never heard of it,” he says. So Dayton’s influence upon taekwondo included philosophy as well as organization.

Grand Masters Hwa Chong and Park Chull-hee (at left) paid a courtesy call on the Matlick family in March 1971.

In the years to come, Dayton Matlick became “my compass” in the words of Hwa Chong. While other masters were thought more of themselves, their students and their careers, Dayton Matlick foresaw that taekwondo should be affiliated under the American Athletic Union (AAU), the sole national umbrella organization for sports in the USA. Following Dayton’s advice, Michigan taekwondo soon had hundreds of dues-paying AAU members under Hwa Chong, whose influence within the AAU soon grew and was an indicator of what was yet to come.

Dayton Matlick’s sound advice and its adoption by Hwa Chong were to have far-reaching consequences for North American taekwondo and indeed worldwide. Looking even beyond the AAU, Matlick became Hwa Chong’s trusted advisor whose advice eventually led to taekwondo becoming an official Olympic sport.

Mr. & Mrs. Chong in Paris in 1994 to attend IOC meeting
1991 award recognizing the contribution to Taekwondo of Dayton Matlick
1991 award recognizing Dayton Matlick’s enduring contribution to Taekwondo