American TKD Grandmasters List

Spookey

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Good Day,

I am doing some research related to American Grandmasters of Taekwondo.

American Grandmasters List:

Edward Sell - GM Uhm, Won Kyu

Charles Seriff - GM Choi, Hong Hi

Robert Hardin - GGM Nam & GM Kong, Young Il

Scott McNeely - GGM Nam & GM Kong, Young Il

Those listed above were very easy to confirm, however I am having a hard time regarding GM Bert & Craig Kollars.

So far I have contacted the office organization FB page, obtained a telephone number for their HQ, called and was advised someone would call me back, but that was over a week ago.

Can anyone help with my inquiry, and also feel free to help me expand my list.
 

SahBumNimRush

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That list could grow very quickly. What criteria are you using to compile the list? Rank alone? Contributions to the art? Fame? Fight record? Direct student of a prominent Korean GM?

I am familiar with everyone listed above, with the exception of GM Bert and Craig Kollars.
 
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Spookey

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That list could grow very quickly. What criteria are you using to compile the list? Rank alone? Contributions to the art? Fame? Fight record? Direct student of a prominent Korean GM?

I am familiar with everyone listed above, with the exception of GM Bert and Craig Kollars.

I am interested in legitimate, American born Grandmasters who are practitioners of Taekwondo and who have obtained the rank of 9th Degree via means other than self promotion. I'll start another thread regarding opinions related to being promoted by peers and juniors.

The Kollars and GM Art Monroe are/where the heads of the USTA/ITA/Tiger Rock organizations.

I started compiling this list after my students requested I compile a family tree of TKD organizations to outline the splinters, factions, etc.
 

Earl Weiss

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I am interested in legitimate, American born Grandmasters who are practitioners of Taekwondo .

The term "Legitimate" is loaded. I will submit that Senior GM Sereff has now promoted 4 of his Seniors to 9th Dan, They are GMs Winegar, Renee Seref, , Paul De Baca, and Louis Reyes.

Further GM Mel Steiner of Florida who may have been born out of the country but been in the USA I believe during the 4+ decades of his TKD career was also promoted to 9th by GM Nam Tae Hi.
 

Earl Weiss

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One of he most Seniors long time in America but apparently notborn in the USA was the late Eugene Humesky of Michigan. Some web pages list him a s a 9th Dan in the ITF. This was nopt under Generlal Choi or the original group but may have been under General Choi's son.
 

TrueJim

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I started compiling this list after my students requested I compile a family tree of TKD organizations to outline the splinters, factions, etc.

I think this is a great project; I'd love to see the results! These "family trees" always wind up being remarkably non-tree-like too, with weird combinings, splittings, renaming, etc. Would looking only at American grandmasters be sufficient to create such a family tree?

latest


TKD Panorama.png

Timeline of Taekwondo

List of Taekwondo Associations
 
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Dirty Dog

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I agree wholeheartedly with Master Weiss. Who determines legitimacy? You? Then I'm sure we'd all love to know what qualifies you to do so.
I think a family tree sort of thing would be very interesting. I also think it would be more of a briar patch than a tree, and virtually impossible to compile with anything resembling true completeness.
 

Jaeimseu

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There are plenty of "self-promoted" guys out there. You simply throw a little money at a 9th Dan, usually a Korean one for perception of legitimacy, and they act as a kind of figurehead for your organization. You gain the ability to run your own show without sacrificing your ability to "test" and promote.


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Spookey

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I agree wholeheartedly with Master Weiss. Who determines legitimacy? You? Then I'm sure we'd all love to know what qualifies you to do so.
I think a family tree sort of thing would be very interesting. I also think it would be more of a briar patch than a tree, and virtually impossible to compile with anything resembling true completeness.

Pardon my lack of clarity concerning "legitimacy". I simply meant those who practice or have traditional Taekwondo roots of promotion (ie. Not interested in "head soke grand dragon hokey pokey" brands).
 

Dirty Dog

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Pardon my lack of clarity concerning "legitimacy". I simply meant those who practice or have traditional Taekwondo roots of promotion (ie. Not interested in "head soke grand dragon hokey pokey" brands).

Which just uses more words to say the same thing. How do you define "traditional" in an art that only has a 60 year history? Given that the Kwan heads were all self-promoted, how are the promotions they made any more legitimate than those of other self-promoted individuals?
 
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Spookey

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There are plenty of "self-promoted" guys out there. You simply throw a little money at a 9th Dan, usually a Korean one for perception of legitimacy, and they act as a kind of figurehead for your organization. You gain the ability to run your own show without sacrificing your ability to "test" and promote.

What would an ex
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Which just uses more words to say the same thing. How do you define "traditional" in an art that only has a 60 year history? Given that the Kwan heads were all self-promoted, how are the promotions they made any more legitimate than those of other self-promoted individuals?

Considering the art is only 60 years old, it is quite easy to "legitimize"...you simple trace the roots backwards to an original Kwan.

If you claim a 9th Degree, in an existing art as young as TKDthere should be a verifiable lineage yes?
 
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Spookey

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The term "Legitimate" is loaded. I will submit that Senior GM Sereff has now promoted 4 of his Seniors to 9th Dan, They are GMs Winegar, Renee Seref, , Paul De Baca, and Louis Reyes.

Further GM Mel Steiner of Florida who may have been born out of the country but been in the USA I believe during the 4+ decades of his TKD career was also promoted to 9th by GM Nam Tae Hi.

Master Weiss, was it GGM Nam that promoted GM Steiner to 9th or was it the ICTF council. I've quickly located the 8th Dan promotion from GGM Nam but no confirmation on the 9th.
 

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Considering the art is only 60 years old, it is quite easy to "legitimize"...you simple trace the roots backwards to an original Kwan.

If you claim a 9th Degree, in an existing art as young as TKDthere should be a verifiable lineage yes?

So if you self-promote to 9th Dan (as the founders of the original Kwan did), you can then promote others to 9th Dan and they will be legitimate but you are not? That seems to be the criteria you're using...
 
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Spookey

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So if you self-promote to 9th Dan (as the founders of the original Kwan did), you can then promote others to 9th Dan and they will be legitimate but you are not? That seems to be the criteria you're using...

When no criteria exists (pre-kwans) the founders created a criteria. I'm basing my "standard" off this existing criteria for an existing martial art.
 

Dirty Dog

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When no criteria exists (pre-kwans) the founders created a criteria. I'm basing my "standard" off this existing criteria for an existing martial art.

A standard did exist, in the systems in which the Kwan founders trained (mostly shotokan...).
So here's a guy who trained in an art, maybe to 1st Dan, maybe to 4th... then decided to leave, start his own school, and promoted himself to 9th Dan.
Is he legitimate?
First, by your rules, you'll have to figure out if I'm talking about one of the Kwan founders, or not.
 
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Spookey

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A standard did exist, in the systems in which the Kwan founders trained (mostly shotokan...).
So here's a guy who trained in an art, maybe to 1st Dan, maybe to 4th... then decided to leave, start his own school, and promoted himself to 9th Dan.
Is he legitimate?
First, by your rules, you'll have to figure out if I'm talking about one of the Kwan founders, or not.

Playing the game, it sounds as though you reference almost if not all the original Kwan heads. However, they did not promote themselves to 9th Dan in Shotokan, they created their own systems with unique identities.

I'm trying to make an apples to apples comparison. Bare in mind the "head/soke" clan can do as they please, I'm simply qualifying my original inquiry.

If I'm claiming rank in an existing art, should I have issue saying my 5th Dan promotion was authorized by... Seems easy enough!
 

Dirty Dog

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Playing the game, it sounds as though you reference almost if not all the original Kwan heads. However, they did not promote themselves to 9th Dan in Shotokan, they created their own systems with unique identities.

They promoted themselves to 9th Dan in Tang Soo Do (or Tae Soo Do). Which is the Korean way of pronouncing the hanja for karate-do...
I'm sure that everybody else who has split off to create their own system will tell you they've also "created their own systems with unique identities."

I'm trying to make an apples to apples comparison. Bare in mind the "head/soke" clan can do as they please, I'm simply qualifying my original inquiry.

I don't think I've ever seen the head of a Korean MA use the Japanese term "soke"... have you?
Nor have I seen Korean systems referred to as a "clan", only as a Kwan (which just means "school", after all).

So you haven't answered the question... why is it "legitimate" to self promote to 9th Dan if you're Korean, but not if you're American?
 

Earl Weiss

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Master Weiss, was it GGM Nam that promoted GM Steiner to 9th or was it the ICTF council. I've quickly located the 8th Dan promotion from GGM Nam but no confirmation on the 9th.
This was from memory. IIRC GM Nam was the highest rank of the ICTF at the time so I listed him as the person granting the promotion but may be wrong.

FWIW Senior to GM Steiner is GM Walter Lang. Do not have the info about his promotion to 9th. (Should have included him in prior posts. He was Senior in the USTF to all thsoe promoted to 9th by Sr. GM Sereff before GM Lang left the org.)
 

SahBumNimRush

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I'm curious why you are only interested in 9th dans. If a 7th dan has many students who have attained the rank of 5th dan or higher, would that not qualify him/her as a "grandmaster?"

Is this just to thin out the number of "American Grandmasters" in the list?

I ask, because many have spent 40+ years in the arts, and have not been promoted to 9th dan for a myriad of reasons (many of which have little bearing on their contribution, skill level, number of students they have had promoted to "master" rank, etc.)

Regardless, this is your thread, I'm just curious about the criteria you are using.

Thanks.
 
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Spookey

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I'm curious why you are only interested in 9th dans. If a 7th dan has many students who have attained the rank of 5th dan or higher, would that not qualify him/her as a "grandmaster?"

Is this just to thin out the number of "American Grandmasters" in the list?

I ask, because many have spent 40+ years in the arts, and have not been promoted to 9th dan for a myriad of reasons (many of which have little bearing on their contribution, skill level, number of students they have had promoted to "master" rank, etc.)

Regardless, this is your thread, I'm just curious about the criteria you are using.

Thanks.

For the sake of initial quantity control I am starting with 9th Dan. From there it will be easier to build down or verify up.

My thinking is if we can determine who promoted the 9th Dan, it will more quickly allow for those under them to be "validated" so to speak..

Example: If someone received promotion to 5th Dan from GGM Nam Tae Hi (date appropriate) we know the source of promotion. However, if someone says John Doe III promoted them to 9th Dan we would ask who is this John Doe III.

My question started honest enough and remains that way, I think someone else in the thread got bored in the early hours and wanted to entertain themselves so I played along
 
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