In locations across the United States, Taekwon-do International member schools have moved classes online to keep students training current and to provide some needed activity to families staying at home to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Master Paul D'Ambrosio of Aliso Hills Taekwon-do in Aliso Viejo, CA and Master John Meany and Master Laura Giletti of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in Montclair, NJ have posted to their YouTube channels, while Master James Marr and Master Elaine Bayless of Master Marr's Taekwon-do in Shaker Heights, OH have posted videos to Facebook. In Asheville, NC Grandmaster Tony Morris and Master Michael Dickinson of Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts have focused on keeping their community together with online live classes through online video conferencing. Master Kathryn Yang and Master Lauren Geber of Yang Taekwondo in New York City are posting short fitness videos that can be done in New York apartments to the school Instagram feed.
All of the schools plan to continue the classes until they are able to hold in-person classes again. "We are working to maintain the sense of community that is so important to our school," said Master Meany, "with the kids' schools closed we know that they and their parents need to stay active, and need to stay in touch. So we're going to fill that need."
On Saturday, January 11, 2020 Master Instructor James De Carli of Southbury Taekwon-do in Southbury, CT conducted a seminar on 'Safety and Self-Defense' with assistance from blackbelts Peggy Bovaird and Rob De Carli. In attendance were over twenty people, ranging in age from mid-teens to mid-seventies.
The seminar did more than teach approaches for avoiding violent encounters and some basic techniques for defending yourself, it also raised funds for Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury, Inc. Safe Haven is a non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter and free comprehensive support services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The registration fee for each student taking the seminar is enough to pay for dinner for 8 women and 7 children at the emergency shelter or a birthday party for a shelter child.
Safe Haven relies heavily on support from our community. While 65% of their funding comes from state and federal sources, 35% is raised through contributions from United Ways, foundation grants, donations, and fundraising events such as this seminar.
Taekwon-do International is pleased to welcome National Black Belt Academy, of Conway, Arkansas, to Taekwon-do International. The school opened in February 2019 and is led by 8th Degree Chief Master Brice Bishop. Chief Master Bishop previously owned Norwalk Taekwon-Do Academy in Norwalk, CT from 1985-2014.
Master Bishop began his Taekwon-Do training in 1978. Dedicating himself to the art, Master Bishop earned his black belt in 22 months.
While still a First-Degree Black Belt, he was promoted to Chief Instructor of the Texarkana Taekwon-Do Academy in Texarkana, Texas in 1981. He was also instrumental in forming the United States Taekwon-Do Federation, which at the time was based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1983 he was promoted to second-degree black belt and became the Chief Instructor at the USTF headquarters where he also held the position of Director of Operations.
In 1985, Master Bishop– then 3rd Degree Black Belt, relocated to Norwalk, Connecticut and established the Norwalk Taekwon-Do Academy. Shortly after, he founded the North American Taekwon-Do Association, a governing organization that holds high standards for its members and member schools.
Master Bishop continued his martial arts education by training in many different styles including western boxing, Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kali, Yuwara, Hapkido, Aikido, Muay Thai, and Iaido.
Master Bishop continued to travel back and forth to Arkansas no less than two times a year to conduct tournaments, teach seminars, and hold camps, as well as be a guest judge at testings for Arkansas are Taekwon-Do schools.
In July of 2006, Master Bishop was promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt at a testing held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The prestigious testing panel was comprised of some of the world's most senior Grand Masters, including Grand Master Nam Tae Hi. Grand Master Nam is considered the Grand Master of Grand Masters, and was instrumental in creating Taekwon-Do.
Master Bishop is also a founding member of United Taekwon-Do Alliance where he held the position of Sr. Vice President for 6 years. He has the distinct honor of being one of the first two inductees into the United Taekwon-Do Alliance Hall of Fame.
On March 15, 2014, Master Bishop tested and was promoted to the rank of Chief Master – 8th Degree Black Belt earning rank recognition with the United Taekwon-Do Alliance, United World Taekwon-Do Association and the Korean Taekwon-Do Moo Duk Kwon.
Master Bishop is highly sought after to teach seminars, camps and special workouts. He has taught all over the United States, as well as in Europe and Central America.
Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts in Asheville, NC, is excited to celebrate their anniversary! They opened on January 3, 2007 – making January 3, 2020, their 13th anniversary! In addition to today marking the 13th year serving the Asheville area, they are also commemorating the 1-year anniversary at their current location in the River Ridge Market Place!
Asheville Sun Soo would like to thank all of their students and instructors for being a part of the Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts family! Asheville Sun Soo wishes all of their students and families a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, Montclair, NJ, held special Black belt training on New Year's Eve. More than 20 Black Belts were there including seven Master Instructors, and many 3rd and 2nd Degree Black Belts.
The 2-hour training session included patterns, self defense, step sparring and camaraderie among all participants.
Asheville Sun Soo, Asheville NC, conducted its December 2019 belt rank testing on Friday, December 6th and Saturday, December 7th. The school welcomed 8th Dan Chief Master Brice Bishop as Guest Master Instructor for this event. He and his wife, Donna, own and operate National Black Belt Academy in Conway, AR.
Chief Master Bishop contributed to the testing weekend, serving in the capacity of testing judge, as well as teaching an informative and exciting Masters Club seminar to many of our practitioners in the Black Belt ranks on Saturday morning. In anticipation of his role as Guest Master Instructor Judge at the December testing, he visited a month in advance so that he could gain some insight into the school, its culture, and students. Asheville sun Soo appreciates his dedication to the art, as well as his desire to acquire a contextual understanding of the school in the spirit of ongoing mutual support.
Chief Master Bishop is a recent acquaintance of Grandmaster Tony Morris. The two met while sharing the experience of being Guest Master Instructors at the belt rank testing for Taekwondo University, a group of schools led by recent Guest Master Instructor Grandmaster Terry Brumley.
Asheville Sun Soo wants to congratulate all of the testing students for all their efforts and accomplishments, and wants to give special recognition to the five students promoted to Black Belt ranks:
Ann Batton - 1st Dan
Leah Dickinson - Junior 3rd Dan
Trey Whitaker - Junior 3rd Dan
Season Jacques - 3rd Dan
Phil Jacques - 3rd Dan
Yang Taekwondo, owned by Master Kathryn Yang and located in New York City, held a year-end testing and holiday party on Sunday, December 15, 2019. In addition to the degree candidates many color belts tested successfully for higher ranks. Assisting in administering the testing was Master Lauren Geber, instructor at Yang Taekwondo.
At the test Master Lukas Horn was promoted to 4th Dan Black Belt, Juan Jose Mejia and Alexander Milne were promoted to 3rd Dan, Kathleen Mege was promoted to 2nd Dan, and receiving their 1st Dan Black Belts were Anthony Wade, Yinan Amie Song and Amy Woodin.
Guest judges were Grandmaster S.J. Kim, Founder and President of Taekwon-do International, Master Laura Giletti and Master John Meany of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, and Master Mege Of Yang Taekwon-do.
On Saturday, December 14, 2019, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in Montclair, NJ, held testing for over 100 students, and promoted a large group of students to new Black Belt degrees. The day was a grand celebration of the Glen Ridge Taekwon-do community and included a holiday party with special toasts to the parents who make sure the children students arrive to class on time with their uniform and belt; and a toast to the Black Belts to celebrate the solidarity and unity shared with each other.
It’s not unusual for a school to promote many 1st Degrees but to promote a single Black Belt to 4th Dan is unusual, and in this case there was a group of five Black Belts receiving such a promotion.
Hosting the test were Master John Meany and Master Laura Giletti, owners of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do. Judging the test were Master Anna Gong of S.J. Kim Taekwon-do, Master Yvonne Kwok of Gotham Taekwon-do, Master Chris Malarkey of Complete Taekwon-do, and Grandmaster S.J. Kim, Founder and President of Taekwon-do International. Other Master Instructors present were Master Patricia Papera, Master Heather Youngblood, and Master Ed Meyer, all from Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, It was at this event that Master Giletti was promoted to 7th Dan by Grandmaster Kim.
Junior 1st Dan Black Belt: Spencer Crowley, Dylan Kennedy, Noelle Ogden, and Sophie Harrison
2nd Dan Black Belt: Emily Torres, and Fernando Filian,
3rd Dan Black Belt: Jairo Leon, Joseph Becker, and Garrett Ogden
4th Dan black Belt: Master Michael Chancey, Master Dewar MacLeod, Master Lauren Spooner, Master Keith Wong, and Master James DiCarli
On December 14, 2019 Grandmaster Kim, Founder and President of Taekwon-do International, awarded 7th Dan to Master Laura Giletti of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in Montclair, NJ.
Grandmaster Kim says: "I am very proud to present Master Instructor Laura Giletti with 7th Dan promotion. She is the highest ranking female practitioner in Taekwon-do International.
It has been over 30 years since she began training with me. I am proud to see Glen Ridge Taekwon-do is doing awesome!
I am grateful and it has been a pleasure to have been her teacher all these years.”
Despite the steady rain that began in the early morning hours of November 23rd, over 200 Asheville Sun Soo families and students participated in the 2019 Annual Holiday Parade.
Once again, Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts, of Asheville, NC, was a sponsor of the parade. Their students showed perseverance by marching the entire parade route, performing Taekwon do techniques and breaking boards, while rain steadily came down! We are proud of all who braved the elements to participate!