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December 20, 1936 - July 9, 2012


Tribute to Grandmaster Shin


On December 20, 1936 a man was born in Korea who would later influence the martial arts of the entire world. That man was Jae Chul Shin.

When Korea was liberated at the end of World War II, Grandmaster Hwang Kee introduced a new martial art style into Korea. This style was a combination of Chinese martial arts, Okinawan karate and original Korean Karate. He called this style Tang Soo Do and taught it at his school, the Moo Duk Kwan. When Jae C. Shin was very young, he was sent to live with his uncle in Seoul to go to school. While there, he joined the Moo Duk Kwan central gym.

In time, Grandmaster Shin obtained his Black Belt at the central gym. He then started to teach classes at the Seoul YMCA Tang Soo Do school. At the same time, he enrolled in Korea University in Seoul and majored in Political Science. While at the University, he was appointed instructor of the University’s Tang Soo Do Club. Thus began over 50 years of training and teaching the martial arts.

Upon graduation in 1958, Grandmaster Shin was recruited into the Korean Air Force. While in the service, he began teaching Tang Soo Do at Osan Air Base. This was his first introduction to teaching Tang Soo Do to Americans. After his discharge, he continued teaching at Osan. He developed many Korean and American champions during that time.

Many Americans were trained at Osan Air Force Base, but Master Shin noticed that once they were transferred and returned to the United States, they no longer could receive any instruction and lost interest in Tang Soo Do. In l964, he began publishing an English version newsletter for his American students.

On October 3, 1968, Grandmaster Shin arrived at the Philadelphia Airport sponsored by several of his Black Belt students who trained at Osan Air Force Base and were running studios in the U.S. He began to organize the Tang Soo Do Black Belts and formed the U.S. Tang Soo Do Federation in 1969.

The 1970s were a turbulent time, not just in world events, but also in the development and spread of Tang Soo Do in the United States. Grandmaster Shin stepped into the background as more and more pressures were exerted to expand Tang Soo Do. Finally, at the urging of many high-ranking Masters and Black Belts loyal to Master Shin, he called for a Charter Convention. On November 13-14, 1982, the World Tang Soo Do Association was formed. Three important mottoes were declared as principles of the new organization - Traditionalism, Professionalism and Brotherhood. An emblem was created to embody this new international Tang Soo Do organization, a new belt hierarchy was developed and, most importantly, Jae Chul Shin was unanimously proclaimed Grandmaster of this new organization.

Over the coming decades, Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin would lead the WTSDA to an era of great growth and organizational development. He would author six books on the Art of Tang Soo Do. And, he would create the new World Tang Soo Do Association's World Headquarters, located in Burlington, North Carolina. Over his lifetime, Grandmaster Shin set the standards of excellence and dedication to traditional martial arts training and teaching for all to follow.