2012 International Championships & Master's Clinic

Sat, 08/18/2012 - 9:36pm — webmaster

On July 11, 12, and 13th 2012, the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation hosted its annual Ko Dan Ja Master's Clinic and bi-annual International Championships. The events took place at several different locations including Sugarloaf United Methodist Church in Duluth, GA, APTSDF World Headquarters in Suwanee, GA, and the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, GA.

As I sit here and reflect over the past week of events, I am again struck by the experience. The physical and mental challenges of the Master's clinic, the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new ones, the thrill of seeing martial arts preformed at the highest level, the pride in seeing students step out of their comfort zone and face their own challenges. It was again an extremely rewarding experience. 

The week started on Monday with the arrival of our team from Australia, soon followed by the UK and Aruba teams, and Masters and students from all over the US. The excitement had begun!!!

KJN Stephen WashingtonKJN Stephen Washington

On Wednesday KJN St. James welcomed us to our Masters clinic. This year, it was again our special privilege to welcome Kwan Jang Nim Stephen G. Washington, head of our sister organization, the Asia Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation headquartered in Adelaide (Noarlunga), Australia. Also in attendance again this year was Kwan Jang Nim James K. Allison, who not only heads the International Hapkido Sun Moo Kwan Association but is also an active member of the APTSDF. We welcomed Sr. Master Mark Allen and Team Great Britain for the first time this year. Master Allen heads the European Tang Soo Do Alliance. All are members of the Asia Atlantic Alliance, an organization that Kwan Jang Nim St. James and Kwan Jang Nim Washington Co-Chair. The Asia Atlantic Alliance is a group of martial arts organizations that are friendly and share martial arts knowledge with each other to the betterment of all.

As always, the Masters clinic was intense and a wonderful learning experience. It is such a privilege to stand with this group of Masters, as we all continue to learn, grow and support each other. The most special part of the clinic was the Masters testing. Six Masters in all were tested during the week to higher levels of rank. These included two who tested to Yuk Dan (6th Degree), three (including my own son) that tested to Oh Dan (5th Degree), and one that tested to Sah Dan (4th Degree Master), it was a great and spirited testing. We were all surprised to be allowed to witness a small part of KJN St. James's test to 8th degree. He performed several 8th degree forms, in front of the entire group. Most of us had never personally seen these forms. It was a great honor to see and very inspiring to us all.


KJN St. James accepting 8th Dan from KJN WashingtonKJN St. James accepting 8th Dan from KJN Washington

Immediately following the end of the Master's clinic on Friday, it was time to start the other events. The first event was the all ranks clinic. As the students filled the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, you could feel the excitement in the air. They knew the rare experience they would be able to enjoy with Grandmasters and Masters from all over the country and the world offering their expertise. Students could choose between studying staff, advanced self-defense, or shil ki (practical application in hyung). At the same time a clinic was also conducted for Master candidates in the art of Soo Bahk Do by Sa Bom Nim Phillip Bartolacci, 7th degree and Board member of the U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. KJN St. James asked me to thank KJN Washington, KJN Allison, Sa Bom Nim Bartolacci and Sr. Master Mark Allen on his behalf, for sharing their expertise with all our students and members throughout the week at both the Masters Clinic and at the Championship general clinics.

After the Clinic we began Black Belt competition. It was very fierce and spirited competition. Black Belts competed into the evening in forms, sparring, weapons and breaking divisions. As always our black belts demonstrated great moo do spirit, friendship and sportsmanship, for the hundreds of spectators. 

The next morning began the gup competition. As hundreds of people filled the auditorium, we prepared for opening ceremonies. One of the most thrilling orders of business was the presentation of an 8th Degree black belt to Kwan Jang Nim St. James by his teacher KJN Stephen Washington. Sa Bom Mark Farquharson of Colorado Tang Soo Do was also promoted to Master instructor by Kwan Jang Nim St. James. The Grand Champion cups for Friday night's black belt competition were awarded to Oleg Khodko of Cambridge Tang Soo Do who won the men's grand championship. Rachel Lynn Chisum of Eagle Leadership Martial Arts won the women's grand championship. Carlos Gonzales of Rivera's Tang Soo Do won the seniors' men cup and Kyndal Bailey of Birmingham Academy of Martial Arts won the youth black belt cup. Then there was a demonstration by the Masters and several school demonstrations. The day's competition went very smoothly. Even with hundreds of competitors, judges, and spectators, everyone worked together to make it a great day. 

After the competition that evening, there was an awards banquet with over 187 attending held at Stars and Strikes in Dacula, GA. Presentations, speeches, and commendations were made, as well as a power point presentation on the Atlantic Pacific Tang Soo Do Foundation (501C3) non-profit organization. The APTSD Foundation is the charitable arm of the Atlantic Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation.



Next was special awards presented for the following:

2012 Master of the Year - Sr. Master Christian Klacko
2012 Instructor of the Year - Master Michael Jett
2012 School of the Year - Eagle Leadership Martial Arts Academy
2012 Family of the Year - The Turgeon's of Great Bay Tang Soo Do
2012 Moo Do Spirit Award - Winners were Karate World of North Georgia, Great Bay Tang Soo Do, and Karate Central

Following the presentations, raffle winners were presented with everything from a flat screen TV to special prizes from Australia. Afterwards, everyone celebrated with a night of cosmic bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, arcade games, and Tang Soo Do fellowship.

On Sunday, July 15th, the weekend was wrapped up with the championship party at Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch, GA. It was an excellent opportunity for everyone to celebrate, unwind, and say goodbye to friends. There was swimming, canoeing, water slides and catered lunches for all.

The World Championships was a tremendous success this year. As always, it is an excellent opportunity for meeting new friends and forming bonds with people from around the world. It was also wonderful to see family and friends enjoying themselves throughout the week. We may live in different places, perhaps speak different languages, and maybe even have slight stylistic differences, but one thing is for sure. We are truly bound by our love of the martial arts and our bond through the Atlantic Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation, the Asia Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation and the Asia Atlantic Alliance.


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by Senior Master Deborah Jett, Oh Dan