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  • Writer's pictureGregg Primm

Mi Guk Kwan News: July 2022

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

In this edition:


Choon Bee Jaseh/Pudo Jaseh (Perfect Start/Perfect Finish)

By Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro (

Choon Bee Jaseh is a prepartory movement or stance to bring the body (Sinche) and mind 마음 (ma-eum) into a state of readiness. When a student is asked, “What are you ready for?” The response should be immediate, confident and self-assured: “Ready for anything!” This preparation and readiness to respond to any action is both mental and physical.

The proper preparation as a precursor to action is crucial in determining whether or not the action will be successful. There is an old saying, “The starting is half of the achieving.” Consider, if you will, when a runner is in the blocks or a swimmer is standing on the starter block. When the start signal is given, the competitor who has the fastest and most effective start will have the best chance at winning or placing in the competition.

In fact, having a good beginning or start is essential in all human endeavors, however, in Tang Soo Do the beginning or preparatory position is even more important because we mustn’t lose focus that our very practice of Tang Soo Do is to prepare us for a time when we face an opponent in a life or death situation.

Here are some statistics:

  1. The rate of property crime in 2015 was 11.2 per 1,000 people.

  2. There are roughly 2.5 million burglaries per year with 66% of those being home break ins.

  3. 325,000 homes are broken into each year with losses estimated at $14.3 billion.

  4. There are 1,324,090 burglaries during the night. The cover of night brings security for intruders but also it means people are more likely to be home.

  5. 27.6% of the time, a person is home while the burglary occurs; 26% percent of those people home are harmed. This means that 7.2% of burglaries result in someone being injured.

  6. 60.5% of burglaries involved no weapon while 30.1% included a weapon.

As you can see life can thrust any of us into a situation where we must defend ourselves and it can be a situation that would be considered life or death. In fact, a Reader’s Digest study stated that 1 in 4 people will be confronted with a knife or a gun during their lifetime. It is very important, therefore, to pay close attention to the way we begin or prepare for action (Choon Bee). Miguel De Cervantes, Spanish novelist, wrote, “To be prepared is half the victory.” We should keep in mind a couple of the R’s of Tang Soo Do: Chongdang Sa-Sang – Right Thought and Chongdang Kyul –Sim – Right Resolve. Your mind is ready and anticipating what to do next while there’s determination in the body to execute the movement correctly. Consider what American basketball coach is trying to bring across when he states, “Confidence comes from being prepared.”

If you look at the posture of someone who is standing in Choon Bee jaseh and compare it with the posture of someone who is standing in Pudo jaseh one realizes that both positions are the same. Choon Bee jaseh translates to mean “Ready Stance” while Pudo jaseh translates to “Return to Ready Stance.” It is easy for one to see that as it is in the beginning so it is in the end. This is evidence that the theory that “Everything will become one” in accordance with the sequential philosophy of the Um and Yang (the oriental philosophy which links opposites with each other). In Tang Soo Do we call this “perfect start/perfect finish”. This means that the mind, body and “Moo Do Shim Gung” are in a state of readiness at the beginning of an action as well as at the end of an action.

When performing a hyung in class or in competition sometimes we start off perfectly only to lose focus in the middle or at the end. As practitioners we must pay attention throughout all our movements to prevent unnecessary failure. At the end of a hyung or self-defense movement it is essential that we maintain our state of readiness as the situation we are in may require additional actions. This is why we assume the Choon Bee jaseh at the start of an action and we return to the very same state and stance (Pudo jaseh) of readiness at the end of an action. When it is clear that the action is complete and that there is no need for further action then we can move into the “Shio mindset” (rest/relax).

The Choon Bee philosophy and training (“perfect start/perfect finish”) should be applied to all aspects of our lives outside of the dojang. Utilize this philosophy in school, sports, occupation and family; it is important to always finish strong. Remember it is the finish that stays in the minds of others. If you neglect to follow through, finish a job and you fail at the end, it will not matter how well you did in the beginning or the middle, it is the end that will be remembered.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

John Wooden


Upcoming Events

  • August 10, 2022 – Gup Testing – White through 4th gup upgrade – 6:30 pm – West Haven Dojang

  • August 26, 2022 – Kodanja Class – West Haven Dojang – 7:30 pm

  • September 2022 – Rumble in Humble – Date and Location TBD – Contact SBN Tripp Davis

  • September 14, 2022 – Gup Testing – White through 4th gup upgrade – 6:30 pm – West Haven Dojang

  • September 23, 2022 – Kodanja Class – West Haven Dojang – 7:30 pm

  • October 1, 2022 – 54th Region 1 and 2 Dan Shimsa / Clinic – West Haven Academy of Karate, Inc., West Haven, CT – Clinic 9:30 am; Dan Shimsa – 11:00 am – For additional information call KJN Charles Ferraro

  • October 8, 2022 – Gup Testing – White through Cho Dan Evaluations – West Haven Dojang – 12:30 pm

  • October 15, 2022 – 54th Region 9 Dan Shimsa / Clinic – San Diego, CA – Contact: SBN Mark Pattison

  • October 29, 2022 – 54th Region 6 Dan Shimsa / Clinic – Contact SBN Tripp Davis​


The Importance of Ki Cho

By SBN David Bankowski, edited by SBN Susie Cuseo

It seems that in life and many other things that basics are beginning to be overlooked. Basics (Ki Cho), according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, are defined as “the simplest and most important facts, ideas or things connected with something”. In martial arts many students seem more concerned about rank than technique. If this pattern continues there will be more martial artists with poor technique rather than good. If instructors and students were to focus on a few basic principles, we can assure that students don’t start bad habits that are harder to break as time goes on. Some areas that we need to focus on are shi sun (line of sight), proper use of hu ri (waist), hand and foot positioning, focus on where and when techniques should land and incorporating the Eight Key concepts into our training. Let’s focus on these principles in the following areas of our training: line drills - soo gi and jok gi (hand and foot techniques), hyungs (forms), il soo sik dae ryun (one steps), ho sin sool (self-defense) and ja yu dae ryun (free sparring).

Practicing line drills is a great time to focus on the above listed principles. I tell my students if your hand and kicking techniques while performing line work are excellent; it will show in all other areas of training. Probably one of the most important things to focus on is the hu ri (waist). Don’t rush your technique; make sure you demonstrate the use of either the offensive, defensive or reactionary hip with all your moves that you perform. This is also a perfect time to work on shi sun: focusing your eyes forward at all times because that is where your opponent or target is. When you hear dwi ro, look immediately over your back shoulder first before turning, don’t just look and turn in one motion. Also, focus on your hand on the side. Make sure to pull it all the way back and solar plexus level. A hand that’s “on vacation” is not effective when it is needed. Don’t let your hand stick way out, fall to your belt or even worse below your belt. It is very important to also focus on proper framing and positioning of all moves at this time. All moves have a starting point and a finishing point. There’s always a push and pull motion with the hands and arms. Concentrate on this area of your training. Lastly, try to incorporate the Eight Key concepts: Yong Gi – Courage, Chung Shin Tong Il – Concentration, In Neh – Endurance, Chung Jik – Honesty, Kyum Son – Humility, Him Cho Chung – Control of Power, Shin Chook – Tension and Relaxation and Wan Gup – Speed Control. Pick a couple to work on one day and focus on those concepts. Continue to choose another two at another class specifying the importance of each. By doing this on a regular basis it will become natural and your technique will improve.

Forms are a major aspect of your Tang Soo Do training. The whole thought process behind forms is that you are fighting against multiple opponents coming from different directions. Hopefully because you focused on your basics during line drills, the execution of moves in your hyungs will be excellent so you can now focus on other areas. Out of the Eight Key concepts we place the most importance on: Chung Shin Tong Il (concentration), Wan Gup (speed control), Him Cho Chung (control of power) and Shin Chook (tension and relaxation). By applying these concepts, you will greatly improve your form. Also, focus on shi sun by looking before you move, hopefully your good habits from line drills (looking before turning) will carry over to your forms training. You must see first what is coming at you to determine what technique you will use as you turn.

When practicing ho sin sool and il soo sik dae ryun, concentrating on your partner is definitely one of the most important areas to focus on. Maintain proper shi sun at all times, remember you are in battle at this time. Never take your eyes off your opponent. It is important to emphasize a good jhoon bee (ready position) as well as ba ro (return to ready position). What’s also essential is to focus your strikes and/or kicks to the proper area of your opponent, as well as making sure to strike with the proper hand or foot position. When practicing your self-defense focus on proper grip, making sure you’re grabbing your opponent properly. Placement of the thumb on the back of the hand is crucial in order to create control necessary to better your opponent. Be aware of your stances. This will help ensure proper balance during your technique. Again, focus on the Eight Key concepts when practicing self-defense and one-steps, especially on Chung Shin Tong Il (concentration), Wan Gup (speed control), Him Cho Chung (control of power) and Shin Chook (tension and relaxation).

Last, but not least, going back to basics when working on your ja yu dae ryun (free sparring). Focus on your shi sun (line of sight) by keeping your eyes on your opponent. Use proper Tang Soo Do techniques, such as: good straight reverse punch, chambering and retracting your kicks, not just swinging your leg and then letting it fall, framing the hands properly, etc. Most importantly, maintain proper discipline when sparring.

We’ve learned these basics when we first started as a white belt. We continue as dedicated students by using them every time we step out onto the floor. We set the example as good martial artists in framing, breathing and putting power behind our techniques when new students join us. If we neglect the foundation of our techniques, we look sloppy and uncoordinated. As we rise to new ranks, we present ourselves as students who are knowledgeable of where to look, where to strike, how to use our hips and focus on the Eight Key concepts at all times.

It was said by Jim Rohn, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” If there comes a time when students have started to become lazy in their techniques, it’s time to go back to the beginning. Author Abdulkadir Abdullahi Mohamed Mirre wrote: “When knowledge becomes overwhelming, go back to the basics.”

These are all basic principles that we have learned from our instructors at the start of our martial arts journey. So let’s be sure as lifelong practitioners that we keep our basics in check. By doing so we can ensure that Tang Soo Do will continue to be seen as a martial arts that maintains very high standards.


Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Studio Profile: Middlebury Martial Arts Academy

By Virginia Folger Dan# 411 (

In this article, I have the privilege of writing about the studio where I train and teach: Middlebury Martial Arts Academy. It is located in the small rustic town of Middlebury, Connecticut. The studio is owned by Master Dean Meier who opened the school in 2014, while still running a program in Seymour, CT for the parks and recreation department. Although Seymour was a great program, he wanted to open his own studio and expand into his own space to make it more full-time instead of just a couple of days a week.

The location in Middlebury is in the plaza known as the Middlebury Hamlet. Some of us like to call it a fitness hub, with ballet and pilates/barre are on either side of us. Adding martial arts into the plaza was a great fit. Right outside of our location is the beautiful Middlebury Greenway where many of our parents get their steps in on the trail while their children attend classes.]

This was not SBN Meier’s first time running a studio. Back in the 90s, Master Meier managed the studio I started at 30 years ago. The West Haven Academy of Karate in the Valley was located in Shelton, Connecticut and owned by Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro. While overseeing operations at WHAK in the Valley, Master Meier started a family and after having his daughters he decided to leave the Shelton school to focus on his family. When his kids got older, he didn’t waste time getting back into instruction and started to teach in Seymour and then opened up Middlebury to get him back to his roots in martial arts. A few years after opening, Master Meier left the Seymour location to focus solely on Middlebury.

I started training in Middlebury right when the studio opened. I was excited that it was close to where I was working, and I would be able to train again, something I was unable to do with my work schedule at the time. On top of that, it would be training under the instructor I had started with when I was 8 years old! I didn’t realize at the time that I would become an integral part of the studio. Not long after starting my training, I used my background in sales and marketing to start recruiting students. I became the Program Director and helped expand the school.

Master Meier and I truly balance each other out. It is the combination of our talents and passions that create the amazing dynamics that we have in producing a productive and supportive school. My focus on enrollment and love of data paired with his years of experience in teaching and attention to quality techniques makes a perfect Um and Yang balance.

In addition to our traditional Tang Soo Do program, which is run by Master Meier, we also have two programs that I oversee. Our Lil Dragons program focuses on children ages 3-5 and teaches them the basic techniques and framing while done in a fun upbeat class. We also offer the Miniskillz program which we started about 9 months ago tailored to toddlers 18 months to 3 years old. This program is designed to help children learn basic motor skills like jumping and stepping, while also teaching them about respect for others and themselves, listening and sharing. It is perfect for those who were born during or after COVID and didn’t get to socialize like kids in pre-pandemic days. These programs are great to get students involved in our culture and ready to move into the Tang Soo Do program.

Currently, we have just under 100 students, 70% male and 30% female. On average we have 10 – 15% of our students in the Lil Dragons program and 5% in MiniSkillz. Of our current black belts that started with Middlebury half of them started in the Lil Dragons program. Master Meier and I are excited that we are able to pass on our knowledge to the younger generation not only in the curriculum of Tang Soo Do but the history of our art. Our students enjoy hearing about “back in the day” stories, especially historical events, such as Master Meier being one of the voting members for us to leave the Moo Duk Kwan and become the Mi Guk Kwan under Kwan Jhang Nim Ferraro. Students are surprised when I say I was a red belt when we made this transition. It is this deep connection to the Association and its history that adds an extra layer to the school.

With SBN Meier assisting students in class and me helping the parents and younger students; it truly is a family. We constantly hear stories about our students supporting and assisting each other not only in martial arts but outside of the studio as well. We are proud of the community we have created and built and look forward to our continued growth and ability to give back to these future blackbelts while continuing to grow in the Mi Guk Kwan.

Additional information about Middlebury Martial Arts Academy can be found on the website at You can contact us by phone at 203-527-5547 or by email at


Sa Bom Spotlight: Master Mark Pattison

By SBN Susie Cuseo (

Have you ever met a TV personality and talked with them for several hours? How about kicking and punching famous athletes and rock stars? More information about this can be found later in this article.

SBN Mark Pattison was born in San Francisco, California, but moved around a little while growing up. After spending some time in Washington State, his family moved to Tempe, Arizona. During this time his stepfather had given him a magazine called, “Bruce Lee’s Nunchaku in Action”. This magazine was a how-to of executing Nunchaku techniques, such as Forward/Backward Rotating, Vertical Circular Swing, Overhead Circular Swing, One-Hand Changing Grip, Cross Swing and Change, as well as, the Reverse Shoulder Swing. This led him to making a pair of Nunchakus and swinging them around the house to the dismay of his mother. At this point his mother gave in and allowed him to start his martial arts career studying Wado Ryu under Sensei Ray Hughes. Wado Ryu is a style of karate

that has evolved to its present-day practice after being introduced to Japan at the beginning of the last century. When the family moved to San Diego in 1983, he began searching for a program where he liked the instructor and the way the classes were taught. Since there were no Wado Ryu classes, he could not continue to train in this martial arts. In 1985, he started classes in Tang Soo Do. He began assisting and teaching classes while at Poway High School in Poway, CA and continued teaching Tang Soo Do while attending the University of San Diego studying Business with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. After starting several programs ranging from an Employee Program at Sea World and classes at March Air Force Base and various elementary schools, he decided to open the doors to his studio in Encinitas, CA during his sophomore year at USD.

Master Pattison has also studied Judo in San Diego and Lincoln, England where he reached the rank of Ee Dan in 1992. While earning his Kukkiwon 2nd degree in Taekwondo in 1993 he had a hand in training several of his students who went on to compete collegiately. One made it to an Olympic level competing at the team trials for the 2008 Olympics. For eight years, he trained under Paulo Augusto in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while also mentoring Mr. Augusto on the business end of running a martial arts studio. Over the 29 years of teaching at his own studios, he has taught Aerobic Kickboxing, Taekwondo, CDT Personal Protection and Body Guarding. One of the most rewarding programs he has taught was a ‘Champions Martial Arts’ Program that was modeled after a baseball program that one of his students developed. This is a program where individuals with special needs, preventing them from being able to participate in traditional-styled martial arts classes, were partnered up with current students allowing both individuals to learn from each other various martial arts and life skills.

Master Pattison has two studios named The Center for Martial Arts, with one located in Encinitas and another in Carmel Valley. Each studio branches out to the surrounding 17 elementary schools teaching a one-hour after school program. As students gain interest and knowledge, they transition into the main studio locations. SBN Pattison and his team of instructors teach about 34 studio classes and 17 elementary school classes each week. The Encinitas location boasts a square footage of training space of 3,000 sq. ft. that also includes an outdoor grass area outlined with palm trees, of course. Their motto is “Empowering Through Action”. They succeed in doing so by emphasizing action to achieve goals while also creating a community for friendship and social activities, striving for excellence with innovative teaching methods, incorporating modern methods of education and human development with traditional martial arts. They believe in building character, integrity and respect through the safe and thoughtful instruction of martial arts. The Center for Martial Arts strives to provide a safe environment for children and adults to improve their daily lives, both physically and mentally.

SBN Pattison has had the opportunity to invite American Kickboxer Joe Lewis, point karate fighter and actor to teach various fighting techniques in clinics at his studio. He also had “Superfoot” Bill Wallace teach his adept and effective kicking and sparring strategies. Mr. Wallace is a professional kickboxer and a living legend in the world of martial arts who competed against Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins. Kwan Jhang Nim Ahpo was invited to teach body awareness and chi development. The Center for Martial Arts gives back to the community in many ways, like hosting a toy drive for military families in need on Camp Pendleton through the base’s YMCA. Last year they collected over $3,000 in donations and two truckloads of toys for the families.

Master Pattison also trained with his wife who’s now a 4th Dan and his three stepsons where the oldest became a 3rd Dan and other two were red belts before moving on to other activities. His daughter never trained in martial arts, wanting “dad to be dad and not sir.” Although the whole family doesn’t train together any more, he continues to study Tang Soo Do because it’s been good for him in so many ways and it allows him to stay in shape. He credits his Tang Soo Do family for keeping him motivated to continue and that the mindset and calmness that comes from training has impacted his life over the years. When it comes to participating in tournaments, the camaraderie and excitement about being able to perform and seeing how everyone handles their nerves is what he enjoys most. The growth potential that occurs in the weeks afterwards while everyone looks back at how things went is also a plus.

SBN Pattison fills his time outside of training and teaching by maintaining his herb and vegetable gardens along with his koi pond and large yard. In speaking with him, he noted that he just had 3,000 lbs of rock delivered that he moved by hand into his backyard in order to build a new retaining wall. Weeding, cultivating and moving numerous pounds of rock are his resources of stress relief and relaxation. In addition to gardening, he also enjoys surfing, skateboarding, skiing and photography. During his college years, photography played a huge role in helping with expenses during college and in the opening of his first studio. This is where he met Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Dansen as he was hired to shoot a charity event where he photographed her comedy act and then worked with her for hours after the show capturing images of her with fans to further benefit the charity.

SBN Pattison has always considered the studio as a sanctuary and believes that it will remain that way day in day out. No matter what experience one has outside the dojang walls, it’s always a safe place on the floor. Life is unpredictable, yet the studio will always be there and each student knows what to expect when they bow in. He believes that his passion for providing a balance of mental and physical coordination through martial arts is what can drive us every day and that martial arts skills must be built from the ground up. According to Master Pattison, “We’re not here just to train, we’re here to build community, too. Teach. Motivate. Inspire.”

So if you’re ever in the Encinitas or Carmel Valley area, look him up and visit either studio. Ask him to perform some of those Nunchaku techniques and have him regale you with stories of kicking and punching with Gary ‘Big Hands’ Johnson, who played defensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, or hanging out in Las Vegas with Joe Walsh of the music group The Eagles, and teaching Joe’s children, or the many other celebrities that he’s had the privilege of meeting and working with over the many years of furthering his community through martial arts instruction. Some people think they’re not interesting at all. What do you think?

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