Grandmasters of Tang Soo Do
Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee 1914 – 2002
Founder of Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) | Moo Duk Kwan
Hwang Kee (Grandmaster) November 9, 1914 – July 14, 2002: began his martial arts studies in Manchuria, China in 1936 and founded the Moo Duk Kwan Style in Seoul, Korea on November 3, 1945. Despite enduring many hardships over the next 30 years, Hwang Kee struggled through wars and governmental/political issues to keep the Art of Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) – Moo Duk Kwan alive.
Tang Soo Do, Moo Duk Kwan is the name of the art we study. It’s direct translation is “Tang” referencing (Tang dynasty of China) establishing a time reference “Soo” is a reference to (open hard or worthiness), and “Do” is (art or way), Moo means (military, stop war / conflict), Duk (virtue), Kwan means (school or style).
Grandmaster Kim Yong Duk
10th Dan #2
World Moo Duk Kwan
General Federation – Korea
Grandmaster Choi Hee Seok
10th Dan #3
World Moo Duk Kwan
General Federation – Korea
Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim 1929 ~ 2007
Grandmaster and Founder of World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation
Jae Joon Kim (Grandmaster) was born August 15th, 1929 in Seoul, Korea, the son of a would champion sumo wrestler. He died January 9th, 2007 at the age of 77. He began training directly with Grandmaster Hwang Kee in 1945 and, in 1947, earned his 1st Degree Black Belt.
In 1952, he assisted in forming the Korean Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Association. He served as a top master instructor from 1955 to 1959 and in 1961 was appointed Vice-President of the Association. At Grandmaster Hwang Kee’s Request, he brought Moo Duk Kwan to the United States and founded the Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association in Detroit, Michigan.
In 1952, he assisted in forming the Korean Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Association. He served as a top master instructor from 1955 to 1959 and in 1961, was appointed Vice-President of the Association. At Grandmaster Hwang Kee’s Request, he brought Moo Duk Kwan to the United States and founded the Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association in Detroit, Michigan.
In 1969, Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim was awarded 8th Dan and appointed president of the US Chapter by Grandmaster Hwang Kee. In the 1970s, Grandmaster Kim founded his own organization, the World Traditional TAng Soo Do Federation (formerly the World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation). He was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Times Hall of Fame in 2006. The world’s martial art community considered Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim a Master’s Master.
Grandmaster James Saffold 10th Dan #14489
Grandmaster and Founder of Anerican Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation
American Kwan Tang Soo Do traces its history back through the ages. The Martial Arts have been with us in one form or another, starting with the caveman.
China is generally acknowledged as the birthplace of the formal Martial Arts. However, there are no written records dating back long enough to confirm this history. From China, the Martial Arts spread by various means to the rest of the world.
American Kwan Tang Soo Do, founded by Grandmaster James Saffold, follows the principles learned from Honored Martial Artists Hwang Kee and Jae Joon Kim, teaching the traditional style Tang Soo Do.
Grandmaster James Saffold, tested and was promoted in March 2002, to 8th Dan by Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim. He started his training in the Martial Arts while in Vietnam in 1968. In 1969, he continued his study with Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim, in Detroit, Michigan, becoming Cho (1st) Dan in 1971, Dan #14489.
Grandmaster Saffold in additional to teaching the traditional forms (Hyung) of Korean Karate, has developed a higher state of balance and ability in black belt and master level members.
Grandmaster Saffold was promoted to 9th Dan by the League of Grandmasters on March 13, 2010.
On Thursday, August 25, 2011, The World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation awarded the rank of 9th degree Black Belt to Grandmaster James Saffold, signed by YD Kim, Dan #2, and HS Choi, Dan #3.
Awarded 10th dan on October 17, 2015
Grandmaster Michael Baird 8th Dan #14715
Grandmaster Baird’s accomplishments:
- 1968 Started training in Tae Kwon Do in Winter Haven Florida
- 1973 Started training in Tang Soo Do under Master Hak C. Kim
- 1975 Attained the rank of First DAN under Master Hak C Kim
- 1978 Attained the rank of Second DAN under Master Hak C. Kim
- 1978 Started teaching Tang Soo Do group and private lessons
- 1981 Attained The “KYO SA” (Promoter Instructor) Certification
- 1982 Founded Baird’s Tang Soo Do Club
- 1984 Attended Grand Master Hwang Kee’s “Chil Sung Hyung” clinic
- 1984 Started teaching Tang Soo Do at McDill AFB
- 1985 Promoted to the rank of Third DAN under Master Hanke
- 1987 Established Tang Soo Do program at St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School
- 1989 Joined American Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation under Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim
- 1989 Hosted federation tournament at St Mary’s facility
- 1989 Tested for Fourth DAN and Sa Bum Nim (Master Instructor) certification under Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim
- 1991 Placed first in federation tournament
- 1992 Established Tang Soo Do program at the Academy of Holy Names Facility
- 1993 Attended and placed first in federation open tournament
- 1994 Had demonstration team perform at “We Care About Kids” program in Tampa
- 1995 Founded Tampa Bay Tang Soo Do Center, South Tampa’s finest Tang Soo Do Facility
- 1995 Promoted to Fifth DAN under Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim
- 1996 Competed in federation world championships held in Tampa and won over-all grand champion forms competition
- 1997 Attended World Moo Duk Kwan Federation international championships
- 1997 Attended Bill “Superfoot” Wallace Seminar
- 1999 Placed second in federation world championships held in Tampa Florida
- 2001 Competed and placed second in federation international championships
- 2001 Promoted to Sixth DAN under Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim
- 2007 Promoted to Seventh DAN under Grandmaster S. Kim
- 2008 Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Martial Arts instructor at the AMS Martial Arts World Leaders Summitt, held in Orlando, Fla.
- 2010 Inducted into the Unided States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Tang Soo Do Master, held in Las Vegas, NV
- 2013 Tested for and promoted to 8th dan under senior Grandmaster Jim Saffold.
- 2014 Invited to join the league of Grandmasters
- 2015 Inducted in to the Hall of Fame for the 3rd time in Lake Harmony, PA; as Grandmaster of the year