History of the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®


By Ted Mason, Sa Bom Nim
Hu Kyun In

A few American Servicemen began teaching Hwang Kee's martial art system after returning to the U.S. during the 1960's. There were also many Korean instructors certified by Kwan Jang Nim who began teaching in the United States during this period. Kwan Jang Nim believed that the Moo Duk Kwan needed an organization in the United States and asked for a meeting with all Dan Members. This meeting was held on November 29, 1974 in Burlington, New Jersey where a "Task Force" was elected for the purpose of developing a charter.


The Task Force Members were:

  1. Jae Chul Shin
  2. Robert Thompson
  3. Tchang Bok Chung
  4. Chuck Blackburn
  5. Arthur Fontaine
  6.  Joe Weeks
  7. Andy Ahpo
  8. Charles di Pierro

After much hard work and many meetings, a Charter was written for the newly formed United  States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®. Election procedures were developed and nominations to the first Board of Directors were obtained from all across the U. S. Ballots were sent out to all known Dan Members in the U. S. Kwan Jang Nim counted the returned ballots and a charter convention was scheduled.

Officers of the first Board of Directors, of the U.S. Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® were:

  1. Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee, President
  2. Hyun Chul Hwang, Vice President
  3. Charles di Pierro, Chairman
  4. Victor Martinov, Vice Chairman
  5. Andy Ah Po, Secretary
  6. Arthur Pryor, Treasurer

Other members of the board were:

  1. Chun Sik Kim,
  2. Russ Hanke,
  3. Frank Trojanowicz,
  4. Robert Shipley,
  5. Lynn Jackson,
  6. Robert Kingsley,
  7. Tchang-Bok Chung,
  8. Joe Weeks,
  9. Larry Seiberlich,
  10. Jeff Moonitz,
  11. Fred Kenyon,
  12. Bob Beaudoin,
  13. Ben Cortese*
  14. Frank Bonsignore,
  15. Dennis Miller*,
  16. Ronald Savage*,
  17. Lyn Stanwich*,
  18. James Lee* (*2)

The charter convention was held on June 28, 1975 at the Hilton Inn in New York. The Charter was ratified making this event the official birth of the Federation.

Those attending were:

  1. Kwan Jang Nim Hwang, Kee,
  2. Hyun Chul Hwang,
  3. Chun Sik Kim,
  4. Yong Ki Hong,
  5. Andy Ah Po,
  6. Carl Jenkins,
  7. Ronald Savage,
  8. Dennis E. Miller,
  9. Peter Canciani,
  10. Warren Adams,
  11. Jeff Moonitz,
  12. Frank Trojanowicz,
  13. Paul Johnson,
  14. Frank Bonsignore,
  15. Arthur Pryor,
  16. Benjamin Cortese,
  17. Larry Seiberlich,
  18. Robert Fernandez, Jr.,
  19. Robert Fernandez, Sr.,
  20. Joe Weeks,
  21. Ki Yul Yu,
  22. Holly A. Whitehouse,
  23. James N. Rushton,
  24. Victor Martinov,
  25. Fred Kenyon,
  26. Joyce M. Keyes,
  27. Russell Hanke,
  28. Robert Beaudoin,
  29. Robert Rondelli,
  30. Psyche Harry Smith,
  31. James Lee,
  32. Greg William,
  33. Robert Shipley (2)

The United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® continued to grow since its inception. Meetings of the Board of Directors were held annually since 1975 with some additional meetings held when needed.

The United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® was originally comprised of nine regions. The states were assigned to the following regions:

  1. Region #1: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island,Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
  2. Region #2: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
  3. Region #3: Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
  4. Region #4: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico.
  5. Region #5: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
  6. Region #6: Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas.
  7. Region #7: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
  8. Region #8: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
  9. Region #9: California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Because of requests from members in the Northwest, there was a restructuring of regions on October 31, 1991 adding Region #10. The following changes were made:

  • Region #5: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.
  • Region #7: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
  • Region #8: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
  • Region #9: California, Hawaii and Nevada.
  • Region #10: Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

The first National Championships were held on July 22, 1978 at the Concord Hotel in New York. National Championships have been held every year in different cities throughout the U.S. since 1981.

The first International Championships were held in England on October 22, 1978. Black boards were first utilized for score keeping during the sparring competition on October 13, 1989 in Anaheim, California and Safety Equipment for the head and hands was first utilized on October 5, 1990 at the Concord Hotel in New York.

Dan Testing and Clinics were conducted after 1975 and twice a year in each Region after 1978. All Dan testing and promotion was to be carried out under the supervision of the Technical Advisory Committee headed by Grandmaster Hwang Kee's designee, Sa Bom Nim H. C. Hwang. (2)

Kwan Jang Nim visited each Region during April, May and June of 1981 and Supervised Dan testing and clinics. Testing for Sa Dan and above was conducted at Regional Dan Testing until December 4, 1983 when it was extended to a week of testing and held at Headquarters in Springfield New Jersey. Since that time, a week long "Kodan Ja Shimsa" has been held every year. The number of candidates has grown from the four that tested at the first "Kodanja Shimsa Week" to 44 Candidates in 1998.

A 428 page English version of the Soo Bahk Do Dae Kahm was published in 1978 entitled Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do). In 1992 this book would become known as Volume #1 when Kwan Jang Nim published Volume #2 with information about advanced Hyung. Instructional Guides for White, Orange, Green and Red Belts were published by Kwan Jang Nim and H. C. Hwang Sa Bom Nim in 1993 and The History of Moo Duk Kwan™ was published in 1995.

The first National Summer Camp was held July 25-27, 1986 at Phoenicia, New York. Training Camps, Seminars and Clinics have been held annually since that time. The first World Moo Duk Kwan Ko Dan Ja Seminar was held in High Falls, New York on November 20 & 21, 1998 in conjunction with the Ko Dan Ja Shimsa.

U. S. Federation Headquarters was originally located at 222 Mountain Ave, Springfield, New Jersey in the Studio owned by Sa Bom Nim H. C. Hwang, T.A.C. Chairman and U.S. Designee. In June 1986, Sa Bom Nim Hwang moved his studio to 20 Millburn Avenue and Federation Headquarters was also moved to that location.

At a meeting of the B.O.D. on October 15, 1988 a long range planning committee was formed. This later became known as "Mission 2000 - Long Range Planning Committee". In order to re-define the mission and goals of the organization and assess its future, it was decided that Kwan Jang Nim should be consulted. A meeting with Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee and the committee was held at Headquarters on January 28, 1989. This meeting resulted in the "Mission 2000 objectives" which are:

  1. Human Relationships (U.S.): Continue to develop the atmosphere of Respect, Courtesy, Friendship, Brotherhood, Cooperation and Goodwill, within the Tang Soo Do membership.
  2. Human Relationships (World): The atmosphere identified in number one should become consistent throughout the world. The U. S. should be the leading energy force developing and distributing this atmosphere.
  3. Moo Do Organization: We are a Martial Arts (Moo Do) organization. We must continue to develop as a Martial Arts organization.
  4. Administration of the Organization: The officers and the Board of Directors should take a more active role regarding the administration of the Federation.
  5. Members Organization: This is a members organization. We must all work to produce a caring and helping atmosphere for mutual benefit.
  6. Financial Stability: We should take a more aggressive approach toward creating a financially stable organization.

In 1991 The Kwan Jang Nim appointed 7 senior members to a 3 year term on the Technical Advisory Committee (T.A.C.):

They were Masters:

  1. Hwa Yong Chung
  2. Larry Seiberlich
  3. Russell Hanke
  4. Yong Ki Hong
  5. Sung Duk Cho 
  6. Andy AhPo
  7. Victor Martinov

They were to assist its Chairman, H. C. Hwang Sa Bom Nim.

"Chairman of T.A.C., Sa Bom Nim H. C. Hwang, under the direction of Kwan Jang Nim has appointed a Regional Examiner for each of the 10 Regions in the United States. These Ko Dan Ja will provide additional opportunites for our members to train with senior Ko Dan Ja and to enhance their Moo Do skills. The regional examiners will also represent the Technical Advisory Committee by overseeing Regional Dan testing, clinics, tournaments, studio membership and Kyo Sa applications.

  1. Master Benjamin Cortese - Region 1
  2. Master Yong Ki Hong - Region 2
  3. Master Sung Duk Cho - Region 3
  4. Master Kendall Jenkins Region 4
  5. Master Russell Hanke Region 5
  6. Master Rick Bailey - Region 6
  7. Master Larry Seiberlich Region 7
  8. Master Jeff Moonitz Region 8
  9. Master Andy Ahpo Region 9
  10. Master William Diaz - Region 10


After several preliminary board meetings and discussions, the Federation officially changed its name to the U. S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® on September 10, 1994.

Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moo Duk Kwan® was held in Seoul Korea on September 23, 1995.

In 1999, the Kwan Jang Nim reorganized the T.A.C. into three departments with H. C. Hwang as Chairman:

Weh Gong Bu                 Neh Gong Bu               Shim Gong Bu

Frank Schermerhorn       Robert Shipley             Hyuk Youn Kwon

Phillip Bartolacci           Ted Mason                   Jeffrey Moonitz

Daymon Kenyon            Frank Bongsignore         Mary Ann Walsh

The Senior Advisory Committee (S.A.C.) was created with the following members:

  • Wha Yong Chung, Lawrence Seiberlich, Russell Hanke, and Victor Martinov.

After the passing of Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee on July 14, 2002, his son H. C. Hwang became the new President and Kwan Jang Nim. Ted Mason was appointed TAC Chairman August 4, 2002.

On July 30, 2005 Kwan Jang Nim reorganized the TAC and created the Hu Kyun In, Senior Members given the task of "Looking After" the continued growth and development of the art and the U.S. Federation as a Moo Do organization.

TAC Members appointed were:

  • Shim Gong Bu - P. Bartolacci SBN, D. K. Jang SBN, K. Trevellyan SBN
  • Neh Gong Bu - F. Schermerhorn SBN, C. Cooper SBN, S. Diaz SBN
  • Weh Gong Bu - D. Kenyon SBN, C. Hays SBN, J. Griggs SBN

Hu Kyun In Members appointed were:  H. Y. Kwon SBN, R. Shipley SBN, T. Mason SBN,         F. Bonsignore SBN, A. Pryor SBN,  J. Moonitz SBN, Walsh, M. SBN, Bennett, W. Jr. SBN, and F. Messersmith SBN.


  1. History of Moo Duk Kwan by Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee
  2. United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® Newsletter Vol. 1 #1
  3. United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® Manual for Gups 1996
  4. United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® Newsletter August 1988
  5. United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® Newsletter July 1983
  6. United States Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® Newsletter March 1992