The highest ranked non-Korean female Taekwondo Practitioner in the world!

GM Brenda J. Sell

Brenda J. Sell (64 years old) is an American Taekwondo instructor, and the highest ranking non-Korean female practitioner of Taekwondo, according to the Kukkiwon, an international ranking body within Taekwondo. She holds the rank of 9th Dan black belt in the Korean art.

Grandmaster Brenda Sell at the U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association
National Tournament
Grandmaster Brenda Sell at the Barcalona World Championships


Grandmaster Brenda Sell is the president and CEO of the United States Chung Do Kwan Association, the oldest Taekwondo association in America, representing the oldest Taekwondo school in the world (Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan). Grandmaster Sell has blazed a trail for women in Taekwondo her entire life. In 1977, Grandmaster Sell became the first female to ever be recognized as an international referee by the World Taekwondo Federation. The first Women’s world championships was held in Barcelona, Spain in 1987, and Grandmaster Sell was on the team of the first women ever to referee a Taekwondo tournament as a certified official. In 2012, she was awarded her 9th degree black belt in Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan, making her the highest-ranked Chung Do Kwan female in the world, and in 2017, she stood before the Kukkiwon testing board, and was promoted to 9th dan in the Kukkiwon, making her the 2nd highest-ranked female, and the highest-ranked female not of Korean decent in the world of Taekwondo. During her journey to 9th dan Kukkiwon, Grandmaster Sell was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors cite her faith in God, and her commitment to Taekwondo as essential to her health. Essentially, her commitment to God and Taekwondo saved her life! Grandmaster Sell’s unique journey in Taekwondo has caused The Taekwondo Times to dub her “One-in-ten-million!” To date, only Grandmaster Myong Sok Namkung-Mayes and Grandmaster Brenda Jean Sell have the honor of the title of 9th dan Kukkiwon females. Truly, these two women are an inspiration to women the world over!

Grandmaster Mayes and Grandmaster Sell, the two highest-ranked women in the world of Taekwondo

Article by: Head Master Christopher Courington, 6th dan USCDKA/3rd Dan KKW

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