Kwan Jang Nim visits the island in 1991 to meet with Vangas Sa Bom Nim and Ricardo Morales, Kyo Sa Nim, to reunite the Puerto Rican MDK. I remember the clinic in which dan members and gup members att...
About Me: Started training in Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Moo Duk Kwan in 1967. I achieved Cho Dan on June 18, 1969 under the training guidance of Mr. Michael Masley, Jr., Dan Bon 10180. Mr. Michael Masley, Jr. #10180 of Queens, NY, trained at the West Village Karate Club in the 1960s and obtained his Cho dan under the guidance of Mr. Ed Gross, Dan Bon #6780 in New York, I believe at the age of 11. Mr. Masley was teaching a full time evening class at the Highland Park YMCA in Brooklyn when I started taking classes with him in 1967. We were 16 years old. I met Mr. Masley at our high school where we both attended and it was during a martial arts demonstration day that I first saw Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan and immediately knew that's what I wanted to do. Mr. Masley was also an original student at Five Towns Karate Center, in Lawrence, New York; and his instructors were Dr. Robert C. Sohn, Sam Dan, Dan Bon #6037 and Dr. Vincent Nunno, Sam Dan, Dan Bon #7291; who both were executive officers of the New York Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan™, along with Mr. Gross. Dr. Sohn started Five Towns Karate and eventually sold it. Mr. Masley went on to own Five Towns Karate Center. At one time, the Five Towns Karate Center was recognized by Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang as one of the oldest active dojangs in New York City. In 1968, myself under my instructor's guidance taught Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) at the 14 Martyrs R.C. Church on Central Ave., in B'Klyn, NY. We had 10 students. Later in 1970, I took over the teaching of classes for my instructor at the Highland Park YMCA in B'Klyn, NY. That is where I took my original classes with my instructor. In the late sixties, the shift from Moo Duk Kwan to Tae Kwon Do in Korea even affected us in the U.S. Because our instructors were loyal to the Moo Duk Kwan, they sought out further advanced training with the instructors we knew at the time to be Moo Duk Kwan, for example: Master Richard Chun was always inviting us to train with Mr. Joe Hayes in Manhattan. And we did, often. Ki Hwang Kim, Sa bom Nim who was based out of Silver Springs, MD, hosted us during one of his tournaments in D.C. We trained with him and trained with his star student, Mitch Bobrow (not sure of the spelling), but it was a wonderful experience to be able to travel to another state and enjoy the same discipline and training. And of course, we trained with Kwong Won Ahn, Sa Bom Nim, from Ohio. He was basically our authority at the time on Moo Duk Kwan. Sadly he also switched to Tae Kwon Do in 1970 or 71. We continued to follow the Founder's philosophy and discipline until I left to join the Air Force in June of 1973. We also had another Instructor named Aaron Adams, a Sam Dan, Dan Bon #11696. He trained with Dr. Nunno and Dr. Sohn at the Brownsville YHMA in Brooklyn. I joined the Air Force in 1973. My first state side assignment was in Spokane, Washington in the great Northwest. After Spokane I was assigned overseas to Germany.
I happened to be in a magazine store at the Hahn AB exchange where I first saw the Inside Kung Fu issue featuring the Founder/Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee on the cover. That was where I first learned about a US Federation.
It wasn't until 1976, when I first discovered the US Federation was in existence. I wrote to HQ in Springfield inquiring about my Dan Bon papers that were submitted in 1969; and was basically told by then, Art Pryor SBN, that there was no trace of my paperwork, and I would have to retest and recertify to receive my Dan Bon. Being in Europe at the time, I was given a lead to follow in order to meet with a Korean SBDMDK instructor, Mr. Lee in Belgium. I never found his school after two trips into Belgium. While stationed in Germany I opened our Germany Branch of Five Towns Karate Center with 10 students and continued to teach for a year before being reassigned to the U.S. I was eventually reassigned back to the U.S. and continued to pursue obtaining my Dan Bon. I was stationed at Charleston AFB, South Carolina and was told to contact a Dennis Miller Sa bom Nim in Myrtle Beach. Unfortunately I never got the opportunity to link with him. After 2 years at Charleston I received orders to go overseas again.
I was again stationed overseas, this time in Panama, there I met Pedro Vangas, Sa Bom Nim, Dan Bon #15552, who was teaching under the American MDK TSD Association of Jae Joon Kim, Sa Bom Nim, Dan Bon #38. I started training again as a white belt under Vangas Sa Bom Nim and received a Dan Bon under Kim's organization (Dan Bon A-15164). One of the things that I noticed training in Panama was that they knew all the basic hyungs, but did them a little different then I was taught. Of course, I ended up adjusting to their versions. I believe it was in 1987 that I got the opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I arrived there and happened to pick up a yellow pages book and found a school in Buenos Aires under the heading Su Bahk Do. I ended up going to the school and met Longinetti Sa Bom Nim, who was a member of the Moo Duk Kwan and was training under Blotta Sa Bom Nim's guidance and another instructor by the name of Hugo Nami, Sa bom Nim. I physically met Nami Sa bom Nim and attended one of their "Sunday" dan classes. It was very rewarding to see the growth of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan since 1973 when I had left New York. I took that information back to Panama with me and urged Vangas Sa bom Nim to contact back then, H.C. Hwang Sa bom Nim, Technical Director of the US SBDMDK Federation. While Vangas SBN had been very interested in going back to his roots with the Moo Duk Kwan, he never made contact with the US Federation. Just a historical note: the Panama Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, had started in Panama under Prospero Ellis, a certified instructor with the Moo Duk Kwan. Unfortunately Mr. Ellis was in the Army or Air Force and eventually left the Panama Canal Zone. And left no leadership in charge to continue the organization until Vangas SBN showed up in the late 1980s. I left Panama in 1989 during the Invasion of Panama with the intent to join the US Federation upon my return stateside.
Eventually I left that organization to join the US Federation. By chance I made a few inquiries at HQ and found out that Russell Colston, SBN was traveling to Virgina for a TDY (temporary duty) to Hampton Roads. He finally called me and we agreed to meet at the base gym at Langley. I finally met Russell Colson,Sa Bom Nim at Langley AFB, Virginia who initially started working with me to recertify, we would meet at lunch time at the base gym, reserved a racket ball and work for 2 hours almost every day. Then luck would have it, James Donnelly, Sa Bom Nim relocated to Hampton Roads, Virginia and I became his student. Both Colson Sa Bom Nim and Donnnely Sa bom Nim coached me for several months together at Langley. Both Donnelly SBN and Colston SBN had tested together during their Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa. That was 1990. My training was postponed for several months during the first Gulf War. It took me until August 1992 to finally recertify for my Dan Bon under James Donnelly, Sa Bom Nim in Virginia. I attended a retesting Dan Shim Sa at Springfield HQ and tested under our current Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang, and recertified as an E Dan. It was always my intention to petition the then Founder/Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee for my original dan bon based on a misplaced application by the then representative of the Moo Duk Kwan in the U.S., Master Ahn. My instructor at the name, James Donnelly, Sa Bom Nim, supported the idea and petition. However, after recertification, I never followed up on the request.
I would eventually meet Vangas Sa Bom Nim again in Puerto Rico when Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang, Bonsignore, Sa Bom Nim and myself were invited to Puerto Rico. During the Gulf War I made contact with the Kwan Jang Nim and asked if he would be interested in supporting a movement to get the Puerto Rican Soo Bahk Do practitioners back into the Moo Duk Kwan, as Vangas Sa Bom Nim and I had maintained contact after leaving Panama and they were organizing in Puerto Rico. In late 1992, we traveled to P.R. and reestablished the Puerto Rican Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation under the designee Pedro Vangas, Sa Bom Nim. Years later, Vangas Sa Bom Nim would leave the Federation and now the PR SBDMDK is under the leadership of Oscar Rosado, Designee for the WMDK.
I eventually retired from the Air Force in 1995, and left for New York. In New York, having met Alex Baran Sa Bom Nim in Virginia, I became his student. Under Baran Sa Bom Nim, I trained under his guidance and am still his student.
I have since tested for Sam Dan in 1998 and in 2005 having been invited to the Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa, I attended the Shim Sa in Ramona, California and successfully passed the Ko Dan Ja evaluation.
My Petition to receive my original Dan Bon. I submitted a petition to the Kwan Jang Nim to receive my original Dan Bon. Through a fortunate chance, I came in possession of original letters designating Mr. Robert Sohn and Vincent Nunno as official representatives of Hwang Kee, Founder and Kwan Jang Nim. I presented these to our Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang to support my petition as having a legitimate Dan Testing in June of 1969. I added this information to the petition: Started my training in 1967 in (Tang Soo Do) Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, tested for Cho Dan in June 1969, however, never received by dan bon number from the Korean Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan through Master Ahn Kyung Won, Mr. Vincent Nunno, Dan Bon 7291 and Mr. Robert Sohn, Dan Bon 6037. Testing board consisted of Mr. Robert Sohn, Mr. Michael Masley, Dan Bon 10180 and Mr. Aaron Adams, Dan Bon 11696, through the Five Towns Karate Center, Burnside, LI. Having been issued an Official New York Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan ID on June 18, 1969, signed by Mr. Robert Sohn, Dan Bon 6037, as a direct representative of the Founder, Hwang Kee.
On Dec 12, 2012, based on a petition submitted to Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang in July 2012, and based on his approval and consultation with other senior Dans, I was issued my original Dan Bon number #13927, based on my original Dan Testing date of June 18,1969.
I am very grateful to all of my instructors who took the time and effort to train me to the standards required by the Moo Duk Kwan. I want to thank our Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang for his dedication to the art.
Interests: military studies,former Air Force Security Police/Forces, former Air Force SWAT EST Field Supervisor, Trainer and Operator, trained Air Force criminal investigator with 10 years experience. Retired from the Air Force in 1996. Currently a high school vocational teacher in NY State.
Favorite Movies: The Final Option
Five Fingers of Death
Star Wars Trilogies
Favorite Music: I listen to all kinds of music. Especially groups like Chicago, Foreigner, Toto, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Chi-Lites, etc.
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I'm married to my beautiful wife Naomi Hernandez, I have one biological daughter and her name is Jasmine Nicole Hernandez. I help my wife Naomi to manage 3 section 8 apartments in three different citi...