Martial Arts: People

Martial Arts: Steve's Story - Timeline - People - Schools - Organizations

Martial Arts have been an enormous part of my life. I share my experience with images and prose. I hope you enjoy reading these stories them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

This is a long term project that I estimate is half completed.

Now that many years have passed since I began this project, it seems unlikely that I will ever finish, so ... please send me your ideas, whether they be additions, corrections, or suggestions to me at: my-first-name [at-sign] hellers [dot] ws. One of the nicest aspects of this project is that I've gotten in touch with old friends, met new people, and even connected together people I did not know.

People are very important to me. This page documents people that have affected my Martial Arts Story. This page, like my memory, will never be complete or totally accurate. I hope to make it more complete and accurate over time. Please let me (steve [at-sign] hellers [dot] ws) know if you'd like to offer additional information, corrections, ideas, or if you'd like any information about yourself removed.

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Bates, Gerry

Gerry is one of Mr. Kim's senior students in Tucson, and I met him on a couple of trips to WTKDA tournaments in Tucson. Gerry was friendly, humble, and extremely skilled, qualities he shares with his teacher. I had the privilege of watching Gerry's 4th degree test, during which he made an impressive demonstration of TKD skill. Early in 2007, Mr. Kim awarded Gerry his 7th degree black belt.

Gerry was a founding member of TCS.

Bedoyan, Alice

My parents moved to the SF bay are in 1983, and when I went to visit them, I dropped in on the Mountain View Club. Alice was one of the instructors, and she was extremely welcoming. Alice was a long lived member of the club, and I'm pretty sure she kept the club together for a number of years. Alice also travelled to WTKDA tournaments in Tucson, and it was especially nice to meet up with an old friend. I think Alice rose to the rank of 4th degree.

Berlin, Anne
On the beach with Mr. Son and Steve Heller on a trip to Caracas

Anne arrived in the Boston area in 1986 from Cornell, and it took a while to get to know her. Over the years however, our families have become good friends. Anne established the Massasoit club. Quite a focussed practitioner, she succeeded me as the senior WTKDA student in the Boston area. I watched her successfully retrain and change careers a few times, quite a difficult thing to do.
2/78 began TKD training at Cornell
5/81 1st degree, WTKDA
6/84 2nd degree, WTKDA
6/87 3rd degree, WTKDA
11/91 4th degree, WTKDA
1998 5th degree, WTKDA

Brandt, Richard

Richard was a senior student at the WTKDA Headquarters Class, the leader of the NYU TKD club, and a physics professor. Richard was tall and nicknamed "daddy long legs." Richard did sports experiments including studying the physics of martial arts breaking techniques.

Brotman, Chuck
Chuck attacks with bo as Sensei Wall defends with sai.

Chuck, an IBM large systems architect, began his TKD training under Mr. Son at the IBM Country Club Wednesday night class. Since one night a week is not enough, Chuck joined us at the JCC, and became a second generation CMA instructor. Chuck threw himself into martial arts, learning TKD, Aikido, Jujitsu, Gojo-ryu, and Kobudo. Chuck is a delight and a dear friend, and had been known to tell jokes almost as lame as my jokes. And like me, martial arts led to marital arts.
Fall 1977Began TKD training at the IBM Country Club with Duk Sung Son and at the Poughkeepsie JCC with Bob Dvorkin
12/791st degree, WTKDA
1980Taught TKD at CMA and then at Milbrook (around 1981)
1980-1985Aikido training with Merlin and Wendy Hindley
early 1980sBegan Kobudo and Goju-ryu training at Kodokan with Kimo Wall
6/822nd degree, WTKDA
5/853rd degree, WTKDA
5/901st degree, Kodokan
12/922nd degree, Kodokan
???3rd degree, Kodokan
12/951st degree, US Jujitsu Association
97+4th degree, Kodokan

Brotman, Michelle

Michelle began training at the Poughkeepsie Middle School under Cal Russell, and she, like Chuck, joined us at the JCC. She really did like Chuck, and they made a life together. Michelle had sweet forms. Her timing, balance, and presence were something to see. Michelle also studied Aikido, Gojo-ryu, and Kobudo. In the eighties somewhere, Michelle established the Milbrook Club with Mark Solomon.

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Carlson, Lenny

Lenny was my senior by a rank or two, and he was very strong and very, very, intense. Peter Everett told me about a time that Lenny was planning a trip to Boston, and Peter offered to write down his phone number. Lenny insisted that Peter not write his number down, but simply tell it to him. Lenny pointed to his temple as he said, "I'm working on memory." Lenny remembered the number and contacted Peter later.

Choi, Young Sik

Mr. Choi began studying Tae Kwon Do in 1958 at the Chung Do Kwan Institute. Mr. Choi was a master in the WTKDA. Mr. Choi established the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Association, where he is 9th degree black-belt, grandmaster, and president.

Chung, J. B.

Mr. Chung was a master in the WTKDA, and WTKDA regional director in Madison, WI. Mr. Chung regularly performed two breaks at WTKDA tournaments, chopping two unsupported red bricks, and a jumping simultaneous four point break, two punches and two front kicks. I eventually worked on this second technique with limited success.

Church, Vernon (updated March 2010)

Vernon began practicing TKD in Brooklyn with Michael Dealy in 1974. In 1980 he continued his study at Cornell where he met Peter Everett, Anne Berlin and Irwin Jungreis. In 1984, Vernon relocated to the Boston area to get an MS in Oceanography from URI, where he established a school. His first two students, Tracey Villareal and Barbara Dorf continue to practice to this day in Texas. In 1987 Vernon moved to NYC and attended NYU for an MA in journalism. This allowed him to start practicing at WTKDA Headquarters with Duk Sung Son from whom he received his 4th degree in 1991. A couple of years later, he decided to expand his training and began studying Praying Mantis Gung Fu with Sifu Tony Chuy in New York. He studied with Master Chuy for almost six years, before being sidelined with an injury. After some rehab, he studied western boxing and yoga for a few years and then aikido for two years with Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei, a direct student of Ueshiba. Since 2006, he has been studying Shinkageryu kenjutsu---traditional samurai sword---and trying to integrate the various empty-hand styles he studied into a safe, cohesive system designed for older athletes.

In February of 2010 Vernon celebrated his 30th anniverary of martial arts training with Peter Everett and Irwin Jungreis by having a wintertime practice on the beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Also in February of 2010, Vernon took it outside for some New York Blizzard Training.

Cohan, Jay

Jay was part of the second generation at the MIT club. Jay, along with Gene and Chris, helped build the club from Baker House in the mid 80s. Jay went on to get his black belt before moving to NY and practicing at the WTKDA Headquarters School with Duk Sung Son, and then moving to CA and practicing with the Mountain View Club.

Cohen, Gene

Gene was part of the second generation at the MIT club. Gene, along with Jay and Chris, helped build the club from Baker House in the mid 80s. Gene remained in the area after graduating, went on to get his black belt, and become an instructor at our club. Gene helped lead various club activities, especially several summer camps.

Conboy, Mike

Mike began practicing TKD at Harvard. Mike has more energy than the Energizer Bunny, and often joined us at MIT for practice. Mike practiced for a time with Fred Stark and Ted Hillson in Philly before moving to the Bay Area in CA, practicing and teaching at the Mountain View Club.

Coppola, Frank

Frank began practicing TKD at Gettysburg with Ted Hillson. An investment banking mogul, Frank became one of Ted's senior students in the SCTKD. Frank established and serves as president of the American Tae Kwon Do Academy.

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Damashek, Jill

Jill joined the MIT club during the summer of 1985 and recruited a large number of people to join us, many from the greater community. Jill practiced through brown belt, and for several years worked at MIT. Jill brought the following people to class: Mike Nussbaum, Rick Renwick, Rob Shaver (and implicitly, Sean Bennett), Laura Donovan, Judy Begley, Joel Katz, and likely others.

Daurio, Jon

Jon began practicing TKD at Xavier with Michael Dealy. I believe that Jon arrived as a freshman at Harvard with his second degree in 1979, where he established the Harvard-Radcliffe Korean Karate Club which he taught for three years until he graduated in 1982. Jon's signature breaking technique was a jumping front kick with a high horizontal target. Jon went on to become a lawyer and settled in southern CA where he established a club. Jon rose to a rank of at least fourth degree in the WTKDA.

Dealy, Michael
Michael taught at many schools, especially in Brooklyn.

For many years, Michael was the senior student in the WTKDA.

Michael established the World Martial Arts Association where he serves as Headmaster.

Dek, Puht

Mr. Dek learned TKD at Kim's Tae Kwon Do School on Omaha from Mr. Kim. I met Mr. Dek on a trip to Omaha to participate in a WTKDA tournament in Omaha. Mr. Dek was extremely impressive; he was fast, strong, flexible, and had moxie. Formerly Mr. Kim's lead instructor at Kim's Tae Kwon Do School, Mr. Dek opened his own school on May 1, 2007, Dek's TKD School.

Photo: Puht Dek, Rich Borgeson (also a black belt), and Steve Heller.

Dennis, Chris

Chris began TKD training with Ray Mondschein in Rochester, NY. Chris practiced and taught at MIT, and now teaches in Oregon.


Link: Chris' company

Doolin, Joel

Joel began TKD training at Vassar with Ralph Rubino. After graduating, Joel moved to the Boston area and practiced with the MIT club. Joel joined the navy and went back to school to become a lawyer, and I believe he has continued as a navy lawyer.

Douglas, Tommy

Tommy was one of the senior students in the Hudson Valley, teaching at the Storm King School when I got to know him. Tommy practiced at the IBM Country Club with Duk Sung Son.

A police officer and a brick house, Tommy could break more boards with a side kick than you can imagine: thirteen, I believe.

Dvorkin, Bob

Bob is my teacher and my friend. An elementary school teacher, Bob brought teaching innovations to class, and he opened my mind to thinking about learning methods as well as the application of technique. Bob also sought information and integrated new techniques from all sources.

Bob entered a tournament in Torrington CT, where he saw a hook kick the first time when he got hit by one. After the match, Bob asked his opponent what he hit him with, and was told a reverse roundhouse kick. Bob aked for and received a demonstration. Bob understood that you couldn't block something if you didn't know where it was coming from.

Bob introduced hook kicks to our set of techniques. Two months later, at a PMS tourmanent, Bob used it and it was never blocked. As a club, we cleaned up that day using hook kicks. After the tournament, Mike Teck asked Bob about that kick he and all his students were using so effectively. Bob started looking for techniques from other arts.

Bob stopped teaching studio classes around 2002, but continues to teach seminars and to host (with Ted Hillson) ETKDU Fall Camps.

1959-1961boxing training at YMCA
1960-1962judo training at YMCA
1962kung fu training, downtown Poughkeepsie
2/1970began TKD training at John Jay Junior High under Fred Finkeldie
1972-1975assistant TKD instructor, John Jay Junior High
3/1975established CMA at the JCC in Poughkeepsie
19751st degree, WTKDA
11/19772nd degree, WTKDA
19823rd degree, WTKDA
11/19844th degree, WTKDA
6/19905th degree, WTKDA
12/19936th degree, National College of Martial Arts
6/967th degree, ETKDU
8/98inducted into Black Belt Hall of Fame
19998th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable (Grandmaster Ted Vollrath)

Dwork, Cynthia

Cynthia and I met when we shared an office at IBM TJ Watson Research Lab in Yorktown Heights, NY during the summer of 1980. Cynthia had graduated from Princeton where she trained TKD to purple or brown belt. She went on to grad school at Cornell where she achieved her first degree. I suppose she also got a PhD in addition to her Martial Arts training. Cynthia came to Boston in the Summer of 1983 for a postdoc at MIT, and she joined the MIT club. Initially Cynthia also trained with the MIT Tae Kwon Do Club (the other TKD club). Cynthia taught TKD for a couple of years until she relocated to CA and joined the Mountain View Club.

Cynthia is extremely flexible and athletic.

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Even, Mike

Although Mike went to Cornell as an undergraduate, he didn't begin his TKD training until he was a grad student in Management at MIT's Sloan School. Mike started training at the same time as Lim, and the two rose through the ranks together. Mike got his first degree and took on teaching responsibilities at the MIT club. As Mike was preparing for his second degree test, he decided to expand his horizons and focus on kung fu. Mike became an investment banking mogul, and moved closer to NYC as part of a plan to rule the banking world.

Everett, Peter

10/1/81 Began TKD training at Cornell with Danny Mearns
9/83Began TKD training at Harvard
6/84 1st degree, WTKDA
1985-???? taught TKD at Harvard
11/86 2nd degree, WTKDA
10/89 3rd degree, WTKDA
10/93 4th degree, WTKDA
99? 5th degree, WTKDA

open letter: TKD Camp
articles: Tae Kwon Do Focus (2 issues)

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Gans, Ron

Ron began his TKD training with Ted Hillson and rose to brown belt before showing up at MIT to get a PhD in physics. For a year or two, Ron floated in and out of the MIT club, but eventually got his priorities straight and trained for his black belt. It was really amazing to see Ron focus on his training and lift his game as he prepared for receiving and then lived up to being a black belt. Ron taught at the MIT club for a while before relocating to southern CA and joining the Santa Barbara Club, where he is an instructor. Ron was awarded his fourth degree black belt.

Ginsberg, Charlie

Charlie trained with Ralph Rubino at Vassar before moving to the Boston area with his brown belt. Charlie trained with the MIT club and made first degree. Charlie got involved in an organization called Model Mugging, a self defense training for women. Charlie trained as a mugger. A mugger wore enough padding and protection that the trainees could hit, kick, strike the mugger safely. It was an impressive and empowering program. Charlie explained that they liked to train muggers that had martial arts backgrounds, as they could generally handle the intense training.

Goldstein, Jill

Jill learned TKD from Mr. Son at WTKDA Headquarters along with Mr. Son's daughter Yehjong. Jill, an epidemiologist, moved to Boston sometime in the mid to late eighties a third degree and practiced with us at the MIT club. For a time, Jill taught a black belt class one night a week in the basement of the gym, a place we referred to as the secret dojhang. Jill was quite good.

Gray, Dave

Dave joined the MIT club as a grad student. Dave is extremely strong, and he helped us push ourselves. Dave got his first degree while at MIT. After graduating, Dave moved to CA and spent quality time with the Mountain View club.

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Heller, Debbie

Debbie began practicing TKD in Tenefly, NJ with Mark Miller. Debbie moved to Boston and joined the MIT club as a green belt, and rose to the rank of first degree, a test she completed while eight months pregnant.

Heller, Steve

note: Thoughts: The Whole Body and the Body Center
note: Thoughts: Isolation and Combination
newsletters: BABBS Blabs (about 10 years)

Links: Heller family home page

1967-1968Trained in judo at the Poughkeepsie JCC with Fred Margolis
3/75Began TKD training at CMA with Bob Dvorkin
7/77trained at Cornell with Phil Zaneteas
12/781st degree, WTKDA
1979-1983trained at IBM Country Club with Duk Sung Son (summers and fall of 82)
1/80Established the MIT Korean Karate Club
832nd degree, WTKDA
80strained Kobudo at Kodokan with Kimo Wall
5/853rd degree, WTKDA
10/884th degree, WTKDA
1992first degree Kobudo, Kodokan
1994 (or so)stopped TKD (and all martial arts) training

Hillson, Ted

Established SCTKD

Book: Tae Kwon Do Classic Forms: 21 Hyung--Novice White Belt through Advanced Black Belt (to also appear in Spanish)

1972trained judo under Bill Camal in Fort Lee, NJ.
1972began training TKD in 1972 in Hackensack, NJ under Duk Sung Son and Rudy Fechner.
1975-1976trained TKD at Princeton TKD Club under Steve Hepe and Dirk Goldgar
12/1977 1st degree, WTKDA
10/79USTU - AAU
5/1980 2nd degree, WTKDA
1983 Began training Bagua under Robert W. Smith.
5/1983 3rd degree, WTKDA
5/1988 4th degree, WTKDA
5/1994 5th degree, WTKDA
11/986th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable (Grandmaster Ted Vollrath)
5/997th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable (Grandmaster Ted Vollrath)
11/998th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable (Grandmaster Ted Vollrath)

At ETKDU Fall Camp 05, Ted responded to my question: Why did you start training?

When I was in sixth grade, I told some kids I could do karate, and they said, "Show us." I hit the sidewalk with the side of my hand, and it hurt like hell. My friend Gary Shiller was watching. His dad got a boxer, Joe, to train him in his basement, and I got to participate. We were in sixth or seventh grade, and we used sixteen or eighteen ounce gloves. Joe would say, "Jab and move away; jab and move away." If you didn't move away, you'd get hit.

Years later, I was working for the Town of Fort Lee Youth and Community Services. One night some Englewood kids showd up at a youth house, and the kids felt encroached upon. George, a co-worker and I tried to break things up by getting in the middle. George fell, and kids pounced. I was a conscientious objector and non-violent. What could I do? I could box OK, but would bleed easily when hit in the nose.

I looked into training Aikido. Aikido was $30-$35 a month in the NYC Aikikai, and transportation was even more expensive. The Fort Lee Council sponsored a Judo club, so I went to watch a Judo and a Karate demo. I started taking Judo. One night my roommate Gary came home (my kid boxing friend), and said, "Let's slap fight." We messed around (jab and move away). I went to jab, and Gary started planting side kicks. What's that? "I'm learning Korean Karate at the YMCA." That was neat. I had worked at the YMCA and had watched Mr. Son do it. "How old do you think he is?" Gary asked me. I guessed thirty. "No, fifty!" At twenty years old, there was no place for me to play. I signed up and didn't miss a single class for eleven months: Korean Karate twice a week, and Judo on two other nights.

I wanted a black belt. I had read a lot of martial arts literature citing noble behavior, and I aspired to that "Way."

I'll have to follow up on this interview.

Hodges, Bob

Bob led the Mountain View Club after Rod Preble, and I recall also meeting Bob on his travels to the midwest tournements, especially in Tucson.

Hopkins, Giles

I met Giles when he joined the JCC club slightly my senior (a brown belt, I think), and he was serious and impressive. Giles had spent time practicing Shotokan Karate as an undergrad in England.

Giles went off to teach high school English in North Hampton, MA, and he established the Northampton Club, which was quite successful.

Giles eventually met Kimo Wall, who was teaching Goju-ryu karate and Okinawan Kobudo at U Mass. Giles began Kobudo training, hosting a number of weekend seminars that many of Bob's students attended, including me. Giles eventually chose to focus entirely on what Kimo Wall had to offer, and he turned over his TKD school to his two senior students, Gordon and Pat Bradley. Giles became an instructor at U Mass, and rose quickly in the Kodokan organization.

Giles is an intellectual, and has published several fascinating articles. I find his writing inspiring.

article: "The lost secrets of Okinawan Goju-ryu: What the kata shows," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol 11, #4, 2002.
article: "The shape of kata: The enigma of pattern," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol 13, #1, 2003.
article: "The teaching of Goju-ryu kata: A brief look at methodology and practice," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol 14, #2, 2005.
article: "Politics and Karate: Historical Influences on the Practice of Goju-ryu," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol 16, #3, 2007.

Howe, Debbie

Debbie and I met at the MIT Ballroom Dance Club. Debbie was a couple of years behind me in school and represented the next generation of leadership in the club, becoming club president.

Debbie trained TKD at the MIT club through first degree. She also leveraged her artistic skills to design posters, both small and large (forty feet long), as well as club T-shirts.

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Jackson, John

John is about my age, and he also began TKD training in high school. John led the CMA kids class for a number of years. John studied Kung Fu fairly early on, learning about inside fighting and leg sweeps. John followed Sensei Wall in studying Goju-ryu karate and Kobudo, and became a Kodokan instructor. John then took up training Fukien White Crane Kung Fu.

Jungreis, Irwin

10/81Began TKD training at Cornell
9/83Began TKD training at Harvard
6/84 1st degree, WTKDA
1985-???? taught TKD at Harvard
11/86 2nd degree, WTKDA
10/89 3rd degree, WTKDA
5/94 4th degree, WTKDA

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Kaklamanis, Christos

Christos was another accomplished ballroom dancer turned martial artist. An MIT undergrad and a Harvard PhD, Christos began his TKD training at MIT and rose to second degree.

Kano, Jigoro

Dr. Jigoro Kano systematized Judo in the Kodokan of Japan in 1882. Dr. Kano took jujitsu, a martial art, and made judo, a sport. He developed a system for teaching and was concerned with student safety. I believe that curriculum development, not just curriculum execution, is essential for good teaching.

Kim, Dong Hoon

Began TKD training at age 15 under Duk Sung Son, who promoted him to 8th degree black-belt and master in the WTKDA. 9th degree black-belt and grandmaster in the TCS. Established the Tucson school.

Mr. Kim was the most approachable of the WTKDA masters with whom I interacted. I had the pleasure of visiting his school twice to attend tournaments, and I flew to CA once to attend a seminar that he led. It is not surprising that many disenfranchised WTKDA seniors have realigned with Mr. Kim and TCS.

Book: A Student Manual of Tae Kwon Do ("the red book")


Kim, K. H.

Began TKD training at age 12 under Duk Sung Son, who promoted him to 8th degree black-belt and master in the WTKDA. 9th degree black-belt and grandmaster now. Established Kim's Tae Kwon Do School in Omaha.

Kulas, Beth

Part of the Baker House contingent, Beth practiced with the MIT club in the second half of the eighties, and she earned a brown belt. Beth was strong, flexible, and extremely talented, the poster child for alternately executing hook kicks and roundhouse kicks, while balanced on one foot.

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LeBlanc, Ron

A student of Mr. Kim's in Tucson, I believe I met Ron while visiting there for a tournament. A middle-aged fireplug with the energy and spunk of a teenager, Ron was quite a site so see. Ron visited the MIT Korean Karate Club for a semester as an academic visitor to MIT. Unfortunately, I had already checked out.

Ron was a founding member of TCS.

Ron wrote a very interesting business case study analyzing the WTKDA.

Lee, Won Kuk, 4/13/1907 - 2/2/2003

Chung Do Kwan's founder, Mr. Lee is seated in the middle. The photo was taken on 26 May 1946.

Links: Profile - Won-kuk Lee; A "Living National Treasure" of Korea and an online obituary

Lim, Poh (goes by Lim)

Breaking boards
as a green belt
5 September 1985
Breaking boards
as a black belt
27 August 2001
in NYC
27 April 2002

Lim and I first met at the MIT Ballroom Dance Club. Lim continued dancing for a number of years and became a winning competitive dancer in the international style. A few years ahead of me at MIT, I also got to know Lim as he accumulated three or four academic degrees from MIT. As Lim was finishing up his academic MIT career, he joined the MIT Club. Lim liked symmetry, and used to practice all his forms regularly and left-handed (in mirror image). Lim has led the MIT Club since I stopped practicing.

2/15/84Began TKD training at MIT
11/7/87 1st degree, WTKDA
1/13/87taught a class at MIT
2/88began teaching class regularly at MIT
5/5/90 2nd degree, WTKDA
10/23/93 3rd degree, WTKDA
94head instructor, MIT
11/24/98 4th degree, WTKDA
5/14/05 5th degree, WTKDA

Lipsey, Keith

Keith began his TKD training with Gil Correa in the WTKDA. As I recall, Keith was as one of the few people that could give Bob Dvorkin a run for his money in a sparring match. Keith taught in Newburgh, at West Point Military Academy, at Storm King School, and undoubtedly other places. Keith has had a colorful martial arts career, as documented in his organization's page: Black Belt USA.

Lubia, AJ

AJ began her TKD training under Ralph Rubino at Vassar. AJ joined us at the MIT club, where she earned her first degree. AJ did the artwork on the MIT KKC site.

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McAuliffe, Josie

Josie trained at the Poughkeepsie Middle School, and was a wonderful and positive member of the WTKDA community; I'm sure she still is. She attended summer camp at MIT at least once. Josie earned her fifth degree in 2004 and teaches in the DC Area.

Mearns, Danny

Danny began his TKD training at the Poughkeepsie Middle School, and also was a regular at CMA. Danny went to grad school at Cornell (PhD in Physics), where he taught TKD, and moved to Santa Barbara, where I believe he established the club, now taught by his student Jonathan. Danny earned a fourth degree in the WTKDA.

Michaelson, Pete

3/78began training TKD at IBM Country Club with Duk Sung Son
3/79TKD training at Poughkeepsie Middle School with Cal Russell
11/80 1st degree, WTKDA
1980-2001TKD instructor at Poughkeepsie Middle School
11/83 2nd degree, WTKDA
12/86 3rd degree, WTKDA
11/90 4th degree, WTKDA
11/96 5th degree, WTKDA
7/1/01TKD training with Dong Hoon Kim
10/01TKD instructor at Dutchess Community College
10/02 6th degree, TCS
4/08 7th degree, TCS

Pete was one of the pillars of the WTKDA in the Hudson Valley. He organized black-belt camp with Tommy Douglas as well as Poughkeepsie tournaments and also the original WTKDA online web schedule.

Pete made TKD a family practice as both his sons achieved black belts. Always with a smile on his face, Pete is a pleasure to be around.

Pete's mantra: Just do it!

Miller, Mark

Mark and I met when he was eleven and I was ten, and we were teammates on the JCC swim team. We swam together for six years, and I never beat him. He and I were both butterfly and freestyle swimmers.

Mark joined the JCC TKD class a bit after I did, and we rose through the ranks at about the same time. Mark and I used to play a game in class. Mark could suck in his abs like a cobra, almost to his backbone. Mark would do this while wearing his uniform, a contortion invisible to an onlooker. I would then plant a punch well into him, or so it seemed.

Since Mark and I both went to school in Boston and established TKD clubs, we supported each others' clubs, and became good friends. Even when Mark moved to New Jersey and established the Tenefly club, we kept in pretty close touch.

Mark was always in great physical shape; he was both strong and flexible. I won't mention who related this story, but I understand that women in his Tenefly class would jockey for position running behind Mark as he had such a cute butt.

Mark reconnected me with a gal we both knew growing up in Poughkeepsie who had reemerged a student in his Tenefly class, and the rest is history. I suppose it's all history ... .

At ETKDU Fall Camp 05, Mark talked about his training history and the Tenefly club.

Mark trained Judo at the JCC and at Jekocee Acres with Fred Margolis for a short time (in the mid sixties). In the mid 70s, Mark joined Josh Cohen, a Jekocee lifeguard, to train with Tony Rosario on the Poughkeepsie Main Mall, where he trained through yellow or green belt. Then Mark joined Bob Dvorkin at the JCC.

After Mark got his 1st degree, Mr. Son told him to start a club and to charge money as Americans valued things they paid for.

A Tufts freshman, in the fall of 1977, Mark started training shotokan with the school club, which was an official college team. Mark received a 1st dan in Shotokan in 1979.

Around 1984 or 1985, Mark trained Judo with Bill Camal for about a year.

Mark started the Tenefly Club in 1981 or 1982, and Dave Schulman assisted. The juniors class was always swamped, and the adult class fluxuated greatly. Dave took over in late 96, or 97. Richard Flom took over around 97 or 98, and the club continued until around 2004. Richard worked with Bob Dvorkin.

Key Tenefly Club players were: Dave Schulman, Jon Litt, Jeff Bash, Scott Zimmerman, and Ronda Greenapple (from Cal's class).

Mondschein, Ray

1970Began Training TKD.
1972Established the Rochester Tae Kwon Do Club
5/1990 5th degree, WTKDA (three-on-one photo)
2000Established North American Tae Kwon Do
5/20036th degree, TCS

For several years, Ray was the senior student in the WTKDA.

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Nussbaum, Mike

Jill Damashek brought Mike to class at MIT, and he stayed a while, to first degree. In the mean time, Mike enrolled in MIT grad school and scored a masters.

Mike gave me a comic book The Fat Ninja. I had never read comics as a kid, and this gift set me off on a decade of reading and collecting comics including Ironman, Spiderman, Kamui, Mai: The Psychic Girl, Lone Wolf and Cub, a little bit of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a handful of others. I eventually gave it up and gave most of my collection (about six linear feet) to Ian Taylor, a life long collector.

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Orenstein, Jerry
Jerry teaches TKD in Farmingdale, Long Island. For several years, Jerry was the senior student in the WTKDA. Jerry has aligned with TCS and was awarded a 7th dan on 4/24/08.

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Park, Kyu Chang

Dr. Park was a student of Duk Sung Son in Korea, and he established the TKD class at the IBM Country Club.

Dr. Park was a Master in the WTKDA and Director in Yorktown Heights, NY. Dr. Park received a master's degree from MIT.

The photos, taken in the early 60s at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, are courtesy of Dr. Park's student, David Couper.

Preble, Rod

Rod began his TKD training at Cornell in 1979 during the summer between his junior and senior years with black belts Prof. Roger Keeran (?), Bruce Redding, and Janek M. (?). The most memorable part, he recounted, was being "a lone male white belt at the mercy of four female brown belts: Anne Berlin, Mary Wimsatt, Torsten Sponnenberg, and Laurie Deshler" where he "learned some humility."

In 1980, along with Steve Kusmer (then a purple belt), Rod (then a green belt) founded the Mountain View School of TKD in California, where he was awarded his first degree in 1982 and second degree in 1984.

In 1987, Rod established Red Centre Tae Kwon Do In Alice Springs, Australia where he was awarded his third degree in 1990 and taught until 1995.

From 1996 through 2002, Rod taught an informal class outdoors and year-round in southern California; three students progressed to black belt. In January 2003, the class moved indoors as AdventurePlex Family Martial Arts but is now known as Los Angeles Chung Do Kwan led by Gina Yip.

Rod was awarded his fourth degree in 2003.

Since September 2005, along with his wife Lisa, Rod started three classes in Colorado Springs. Lisa and Rod have six children, four of which practice TKD and rank from yellow belt to second degree. In 2006, Rod and Lisa established Rocky Mountain Chung Do Kwan.

Preble, Lisa Jasper

Lisa began her TKD training under Dr. Jack Emmel at Isle of Palms, South Carolina. She has been a very active instructor since college, and has progressed to fifth degree. I recall meeting her at WTKDA summer camp in the early 90s where she was singled out to demonstrate forms to the group; I think she demonstrated Chul Gi II, and her performance was impressive.

Lisa now teaches TKD with her husband Rod Preble in Colorado Springs at Rocky Mountain Chung Do Kwan.

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Richardson, Don

Don (called Rich by some) was a senior student in the WTKDA that I primarily interacted with at black-belt camp. Don was also a judo player who helped me understand the importance of thinking about these things as "play." I once made the mistake of asking Don, an Aussie, about "down underneath." He quickly corrected me, "down under," explaining that "down underneath" meant something entirely different.

Don is a founding member of TCS.

Robinson, George

George was my classmate at CMA, and an instructor. In January of 1981, George drove to Boston the day before our first large MIT Club demo, and he told me he did the entire trip at 45mph, just to see the difference in gas mileage, which was substantial. I guess George was a scientist. George liked to drive fast-power cars, especially corvettes, so a slow role was not automatic.

Rubino, Ralph

An IBM exec and one of the senior students in the Mid-Hudson Valley, Ralph taught TKD at Vassar and the Poughkeepsie YWCA. Ralph moved to Texas and continued to practice and teach TKD, rising to the rank of sixth degree in the WTKDA and being recognized as a Master. Ralph was a founding member of the USA TKD Masters Association where he serves as the Midwest Region Director. Ralph's school is in Austin, Texas.

Russell, Cal

Cal was a senior student in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and the instructor at the Poughkeepsie Middle School. I think Cal rose to the rank of fourth or fifth degree before he retired quietly, not allowing a recognition event.

When Mark Miller began dating Cal's daughter Judy, he was explained, "In class, I'm Cal. When you're on my front porch, I'm Mr. Russell."

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Solomon, Mark

Mark was a yellow belt at the JCC Club when I joined. Mark is front and center in this photo, with fellow upper belt (yellow) Bernie Cohen to his left and a beginner (me) to his right. Mark later established the Milbrook Club with Michelle Brotman.

Spaulding, Mark

Mark led the Harvard Club in the early and mid eighties, and during that time the Harvard and MIT clubs grew closer. Mark learned his TKD from Ray Mondschein, and represented the first in a series of strong students from the Rochester Club.

Mark now teaches history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Son, Duk Sung: 6/17/1922 - 3/29/2011

Mr. Son was the head of the Chung Do Kwan in Korea. He established and led the WTKDA in the US. He established and taught at many clubs, including: WTKDA Headquarters, Brown, Princeton, West Point, and the IBM Country Club

Like Dr. Kano, Mr. Son developed a curriculum for teaching students and was concerned with student safety. Mr. Son's class was organized and constant, and Mr. Son was adamant about "no-contact sparring." We started with warmup, then 15 basic techniques, forms, bag work, sparring (freestyle and choreographed), and finally warm down.

The most important lesson I learned from Mr. Son was never to speak badly of anyone; a high standard I strive toward.

The Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do site serves as a portal to non-contact Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do schools that trace their lineage to Grandmaster Duk Sung Son, leader of Chung Do Kwan in Korea following Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee.

article: Seoul Shinmoon (a Seoul newspaper), 16 June 1959
book: Korean Karate: The Art of Tae Kwon Do
book: Black Belt Korean Karate

Stark, Fred
Practiced: SCTKD - Jutitsu

Storrs, Alex

1981-1982: practiced TKD at the MIT Korean Karate Club
Late 80's: practiced shotokan karate in Hawaii, reached shodan.

When I last graduated, Alex and his lovely wife Jean hosted me for a few days in the DC area, as pictured here.

A dear friend, Alex has set his son on the martial path.

Swiston, Rob

Upon arriving at MIT from Poughkeepsie, my high school, and the JCC TKD class a green belt, Rob joined the MIT Korean Karate Club, eventually bringing Chris, Jay, and Gene, to class, enabling a generation of Bakerite TKDists. After his first semester, Rob practiced off and on, eventually testing for purple belt. Although he was not very active in the club, Rob (also known as "the amazing one") provided a very important link in club history.

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Taylor, Ian

Ian joined the MIT club after a a brief experiment with MIT grad school and my research group. Ian rose to the rank of second degree and also was an instructor and pillar of the club. Ian also achieved the distinction of being restricted to his left leg the game "kick Steve across the lawn," where the class would in turn with all their might kick an "air shield" target held by Steve slowly moving him back across the lawn. Ian's right side kick was too strong to play this game as it would hurt Steve. Ian was only exceeded by Peter Everett, who was banned from the game entirely (both sides).

Ian is quiet, good humored, and passionate about his beliefs. Unlike most passionate people, he is not pushy. He writes and publishes his thoughts on the web, and has inspired me to try the same sort of thing, although I've started on much more neutral subjects. I find his essay Why I Am an Atheist compelling.

Teck, Mike

Mike Teck was the senior student in the Hudson Valley for many years, and he reached the rank of fifth dan. Mike taught the Saturday morning class at the IBM Country Club. Mike also worked at the IBM Country Club.

At one point I became entangled in an unfortunate misunderstanding in the WTKDA family. Mike believed in me, supported me, and helped guide me through.

Before he died, Mike asked his son Scott to send him off with a shot, so he did. In the cemetery at Mike's grave, we toasted a great man who made all our lives a little brighter. Mike was an inspiration to me and a role model in humility, civility, and caring. Mike was a mensh, and I honor his memory.

Theopdore, Mary
Mary, on the far right, choreographed this shot on a trip to Caracas.

Part of the Cornell invasion of Boston, Mary was quite a character. I recall her telling a story of bringing a box of glazed chocolate doughnuts to practice, not to eat any, but to derive vicarious pleasure from others' enjoyment. Mary moved to NYC and became a shrink.

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Vollrath, Ted (11/18/2001)

Mr. Vollrath, a decorated military man, established the Martial Arts for the Handicapable in 1971, where he served as Grandmaster. I had an opportunity to met Mr. Vollrath at Fall Camp, where he opened many eyes as to methods for teaching Martial Arts to people with disabilities, who he referred to as handicapable. Mr. Vollrath worked with instructors of various styles to help them develop teaching methods for handicapable students.

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Wall, Kimo
Sensei Wall stands with his mentor Master Shinpo Matayoshi (1921-1997) and with many of Okinawa�s Karate and Kobodo Masters, top instructors, and practitioners (c. 1986).

Established Kodokan
Instructors: Shinpo Matayoshi - Higa Seiko - Toguchi Seikichi (lineage and historical notes)

Sensei Wall offered some sayings that I found meaningful and inspiring:

There are some Youtube videos of Sensei Wall where it also says: Kimo Wall's Kodokan incorporates both Traditional Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate as well as Matayoshi Kobudo into one system. For more information on dates and locations visit Kimo Wall Sensei's website

I've embedded the first video, One Man's Journey: Kimo Wall Sensei on this page:

And some other videos:

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Young, Chris

Chris was part of the second generation at the MIT club. Chris, along with Gene and Jay, helped build the club from Baker House in the mid 80s. Chris must have moved to CA and worked out with the Mountain View Club, where he earned his first and second degrees.

Chris' company: Cascadia Software

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Zaneteas, Phil

Phil learned TKD from Michael Dealy in NY, and went to Cornell where he taught (established?) the Cornell Club. During the summer of 1977, a recent brown belt at Cornell's summer program, I had an opportunity to practice under Phil every day for three weeks. When I asked Phil how much class cost, he said it would be free, but had I not offered to pay and assumed it was free, he said he would have charged me. Phil and his brother Dean were both senior students of Michael's in the WTKDA, both soft spoken and very strong. Phil went on the get his PhD and his MD, and resides and teaches TKD in Indiana.

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