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Update for August 1996

Greetings to all. Welcome to my latest update, I hope you like it.

Masters Ahpo and Martinov from a recent photo for an issue of Inside Karate® August 1995 Issue, Volume XVI, No. 8. Photo taken by Jaimee Itagaki. My special thanks to Kyo Sa Nim Mark Boggess for sending me the photo. If any Soo Bahk Do Cyber members would like their personal SBD photos scanned and returned via e-mail, you can contact Kyo Sa Nim at SOO BAHK!

Master Ahpo and Master Martinov



How many times have you wondered about your Moo Duk Kwan® roots? Well, if you're like me, plenty is probably the answer. Well... I thought about it for a long while, and came up with this piece.

What I have done here is to write out my "roots" down, from my very first instructor to my present or most recent instructor. The idea here is to get you to do the same. This may mean a little research, asking your instructor some questions, and following up on your action.

I think this will give you an idea of how much influence the Moo Duk Kwan® has had on you and me. Now think about how many others have benn influenced by Kwang Jang Nim's original concept and philosophy about putting together such an organization as the Moo Duk Kwan.®

You've seen me put it up on this site before...

"there is only one Moo Duk Kwan"

I want to make one comment first. This is NOT an attempt by myself to impress anyone or to even "toot" my horn. I just want to be a part of a great organization and hopefully be the small catalyst that will help stir you into action!


Master Ki Whang Kim, Dan Bon unknown, of Silver Springs, Maryland, was considered to be Master K.W. Ahn's instructor (I don't know that to be a fact), however he was a strong Moo Duk Kwan supporter in the late 60s. Later became strong advocate of Tae Kwon Do, however still followed the Moo Duk Kwan Philosophy. Passed away a few years ago. His annual tournament in Silver Springs was well known in those early years, I even competed in 1970, with the likes of Louis Delgado, Mitch Bobrow, Skip Mullins, Joe Hayes, etc. The year that I competed, we had the opportunity to train under Master Kim. An extraordinary instructor. Many were early Tang Soo Do students and instructors. Not too sure of the year, may have been '71 or '72. Never made it past the eliminations.

Master Kwong Won Ahn, Dan Bon Unknown, of Cinncinati, Ohio; supervised and provided guidance to the New York Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan (Presently President or Past President of the U.S. Tae Kwon Do Union). We traveled to Ohio in 1969 or 1970 to train with him. It was not uncommon to see Tae Kwon Do printed in the front windows, but Tang Soo Do being taught inside. I lack the facts about Master Ahn's Tae Kwon Do Union position, have only what I have read in recent martial arts magazines.

Mr. Edward Gross, Dan Bon unknown, Sam Dan, was Mr. Michael Masley's original instructor, help developed the New York Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan under the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association in the early and mid 60's.

Mr. Robert C. Sohn, Dan Bon 6037, Sam Dan ( I am not sure if Master Ahn was his instructor). I only know that he received his training in Korea. Later went on to be an excellent Tai Chi instructor.

Mr. Michael Masley, Jr., Dan Bon 10180, Sam Dan (Mr. Sohn became his instructor), also my very first Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) instructor. Mr. Masley's Soo Bahk Do career was unfortunately ended at an early time in his life. He is missed by many of us. An excellent instructor and friend.

Mr. Roberto Bonefont, Sr., in 1969 tested & awarded Cho Dan, (never received a Dan Bon from Korea; due to the ongoing changes and conflicts with the newly formed Tae Kwon Do Korean government controlled organizations that were ongoing at the time in Korea. At the time , I believe the New York Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan was under the guidance of Master K.W. Ahn of Ohio) at Five Towns Karate Center, my first Tang Soo Do School (5 Towns Dan Certificate No. 3). I was Mr. Masley's first black belt, and very proud to be.

In 1973, I joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Germany . It was then that my training slacked off. In 1975, I asked for permission to start a small class at the small German base I was assigned to. I taught a small group of teens for a summer in 1976. It was in 1978 when I first read about the formation of the U.S. Federation. In August 1978, I wrote to the federation in an attempt to find my dan bon papers. I was fortunate to receive a letter from Master Pryor explaining the need to retest as my testing was never registered in Korea. I never got the opportunity to retest until I transferred to the Republic of Panama. From 1979 until 1982, I had no instructor, and only trained privately.

Through American Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association/Republic of Panama
Started training with Mr. Pedro Vangas, in 1987, in the Republic of Panama (original Dan Bon with Korean Soo Bahk Do, Dan Bon 15552, as a Cho Dan- under Mr. Prospero Ellis, a member of the U.S. Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation, Dan Bon 12949). Mr. Ellis' instructor was Master Chun Sik Kim, Dan Bon unknown. Mr. Ellis left Panama, and never re-established contact with his dan members. Mr. Vangas eventually linked up with Master Jae Joon Kim, Dan Bon 38. Mr. Vangas recertified under Master Jae Joon Kim's American Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association, and was issued Dan Bon A-14572

R. Bonefont, recertified as E Dan, in April 1989 and issued Dan Bon A-15164 with the American Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association. During my stay in Panama, I had the opportunity to travel to Argentina, and meet with Master Nami, a student of Master Blotta. It was during this time that I realized that I still had a long way to go before recertifying with the U.S. Fedeeration.

3rd attempt at obtaining a Dan Bon from the Korean Soo Bahk Do, in November 1989 started on the path back to my roots by training for a very short period with Masters Bannard and Segarra, under the guidance of Master Bonsignore at 5 Towns Karate (my original school), would later continue to train periodically with them. The rest of my training continued in Panama, and through self-study, until my return to the U.S. in January 1990. Continued to visit 5 Towns whenever possible. Even today.

In1991, started training with my instructor, Master James Donnelly, Dan Bon 14436. Master Donnelly's instructor is Master Martinov, Dan Bon 10189. Master Donnelly was awarded his Cho Dan under his first Tang Soo Do instructor, Mr. Chuck Norris, Dan Bon 2819. Mr Norris' instructor was Master Jae Chul Shin, Dan Bon unknown.

From 1991 until August 1992, I have been Master Donnelly's student. I recertified in Aug 92, under Dan Bon 29085. For the past four years under Master Donnelly's guidance, I was given permission to teach Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan to Air Force members, and their families at Langley Air Force Base until my departure in January 96. I am presently trying to continue my training under the guidance of Kyo Sa Nim Alex Baran, in Fishkill, New York.

Now... hopefully you can see how complex it can be to trace your roots back to the Grandmaster. If it sounds a bit too much like an autobiography, sorry. That was not my intention. But at least you can see that many of our fellow Soo Bahk Do members have travelled from far and near in order to be part of a wonderful philosophy... THE MOO DUK KWAN. For some, like me, it has been a long road, but well worth the travel.

Well... what are you waiting for? How can you trace your roots back to the Grandmaster? Remember, your first step is probably the easiest... ask your instructor about his roots! Oh, remember to use proper courtesy and etiquette when addressing your seniors! If you don't know about that, check out your gup manual, page 26 - 29. And good luck. If you have an intestesting tree that you would like to share with us, send it to me via email, my address is below. If your instructor gives you permission, I will put it up on my page for others to see.

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