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  • Writer's pictureGregg Primm

Mi Guk Kwan News: May 2022

In this edition:


The Importance and Impact of Association Dues

By Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro (

Jacqueline Bisset wrote, “There’s something about being with a group of people who become like family that must be needed in society.” So why join an association? you may ask yourself. An association is a synergistic group, meaning that the effect of a collection of people is greater than just one person. How exactly can becoming a part of this synergistic group help further your journey in Tang Soo Do? Here are some benefits to becoming a member of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association:

  • All members have access to Kwan Jhang Nim, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) and Senior Master instructors through its gup and dan testing, clinics, special seminars and tournaments.

  • Participation in special events that focus on self-defense, hand and foot techniques, sweeping techniques, study of philosophy, grappling, free sparring, forms and many other aspects of the martial arts. These events offer members the chance to greatly expand their martial arts knowledge while developing greater physical strength and technical abilities.

  • Training under certified instructors and studios where instructors must pass a special test conducted by the TAC and Board of Examiners. All schools are inspected, certified and must maintain the highest standards set by Kwan Jhang Nim and the TSDMGK Association.

  • Educational materials such as gup manuals (available in electronic format), dan manuals and instructional DVDs that depict the curriculum of TSDMGK from 10th gup white belt to 6th Dan are available to all members. DVDs provide the basic hand and foot techniques, forms as well as advance techniques.

  • While traveling, you have the opportunity to study at any TSKMGK certified studio. Contact your instructor of your intention of visiting a different studio before traveling.

  • Central Headquarters located at 766 Boston Post Road in West Haven is easily contacted for information relating to membership, tournaments, clinics, seminars, Dan and Kodanja schedules. Information on names, locations, addresses and contact numbers of other certified schools is available.

  • Special seminars on the history, philosophy and tradition of TSDMGK are conducted by Kwan Jhang Nim and his senior master instructors. These seminars benefit the growth and development of members and are offered throughout the Association.

  • Tournaments give members the opportunity to use the skills they learn in class in a “competitive environment”. They are great learning experiences for students of all ranks. Confidence, respect for your opponent, control of power and humility are just a few concepts they will experience in tournament competition. These events are essential to the growth and development to each member as well as individual growth. You will become stronger physically, sharper technically and smarter mentally.

  • Periodically, a TSDMGK newsletter is published and distributed by the Association. The newsletter contains information about the achievements of its members, new techniques, upcoming events and articles from Kodanja members. A Sa Bom Nim profile and studio profile is also included.

  • If you should have to move, the Association will locate the nearest certified studio for you. All active members will have the opportunity to continue training at their new studio at their current rank.

  • All certified instructors follow the standardized techniques established by Kwan Jhang Nim and the Technical Advisory Board. All Mi Guk Kwan certified schools follow the same standardized curriculum.

  • All current members have the right and are expected to vote in any Association election of officers and Charter revisions. Any member of the Association can hold office regardless of rank.

  • You have the right to be heard. If you have concerns about any of the Association’s policies or procedures, it is your right to express your concerns. You can express them by writing to the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee or the appropriate Committee Chairperson. All members are supported with the full cooperation and authority of the Association.

  • Every student who passes all the test requirements will receive an official TSDMGK “Certificate of Rank” diploma. All gups and Dan level students receive certificates.

  • Members are given identification cards with assigned Gup or Dan numbers. All numbers are recorded in the official TSDMGK registration book.

  • Note to instructors and students with regards to when and how membership dues should be paid: The first payment of membership due should be paid at the time a student tests for either 9th gup or 8th gup orange. Once a student is registered, their promotion history can be tracked throughout their Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan career.

What if you are a returning student whose status has been changed to affiliated, which is the designation for inactive status due to non-payment of membership fees or discontinued training? Upon re-enrolling, it is crucially important that you contact headquarters. The administrator will then update the Association's database which will include confirming your current rank, changing your status from affiliate/inactive to active status. At that time it is also appropriate that you resume submitting your annual membership fees.

In order to maintain your active member status you should keep your membership dues current, make sure your vital information, i.e., address, telephone number, e-mail address, current rank is up to date. Keeping the Association's database up to date is vitally important in order to ensure that your eligibility for testing is correct and your promotion occurs promptly. Additionally, it will ensure that the Association can produce promotion certificates and new identification cards when appropriate.

As you can see, being a part of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association gives you a network of studios (dojangs) outside of your home dojang. You also have the understanding that what you learn at your studio is being taught at every single studio worldwide. You have access to all the years of knowledge and support from several committees within the structure of Tang Soo Do. You have the ability to broaden your knowledge through various modes, such as, online materials, DVDs and newsletters. We are a group of individuals who have the same goal of unifying the mind, body and spirit for the purpose of improving the quality of our lives. We work hard together to accomplish this goal and we are better human beings because of our interactions with each other.


Upcoming Events

  • May 11, 2022 – Gup Testing – white belt through 4th gup upgrade – 6:30 pm - West Haven Dojang

  • May 14, 2022 – 53rd Region 9 Dan Shimsa / Clinic – San Diego, CA – Contact SBN Mark Pattison

  • May 21, 2022 – 45th Annual All Tang Soo Do Connecticut State Championships – Edith E. MacKrille Gymnasium, West Haven, CT – Contact KJN Charles Ferraro

  • June 3rd – 5th, 2022 - Region 6 Dan Camp – New Braunfels – Contact SBN Brett Riley

  • June 15, 2022 – Gup Testing – West Haven Dojang – 6:30 pm

  • June 22 – 26, 2022 – 26th Annual Kodanja Shimsa and Clinic – West Haven Dojang

  • July 4, 2022 – School Closed for 4th of July Holiday

  • July 16th 2022 – Gup Testing – White through Cho Dan Evaluations – 12:30 pm – West Haven Dojang

  • July 22, 2022 – Kodanja Class – West Haven Dojang – 7:30 pm


Leadership Corner

By SBN Susie Cuseo (

Do you know what the TAC is? Have any idea what responsibilities the Board of Directors have? How about who the Regional Advisory Committee members are? The Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association also has a Board of Governors. Here’s a list of each group, who sits in what position and what region each represents.

The Technical Advisory Committee


Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro


Sa Bom Nim Richard Kopf, K-1, Eighth Dan


Sa Bom Nim Joseph DeVita, K-3, Eighth Dan

Committee Members

Sa Bom Nim William Lear, K-9, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Ricardo Longinotti, K-65, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim John McGuiness III, K-14, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Jeff Talavera, K-15, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Brett Riley, K-26, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim James Bergers, K-33, Seventh Dan

The members of the Technical Advisory Committee are responsible for upholding the technical and moral high standards set by Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro. The TAC is dedicated to their mission of insuring that members will have the proper technical guidance and insight needed to continue their study of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan system. Kwan Jhang Nim Charles Ferraro has established very high technical standards for rank certification of his students as well as teacher certification for those who wish to instruct Tang Soo Do to others. The TAC, with the guidance of the Board of Directors, establish curriculum and evaluate all activities within the Association to preserve the integrity and purity of standards of the Mi Guk Kwan.

All requests for certification of studios, instructors and/or individual ranks are reviewed by Kwan Jhang Nim Ferraro and the Chairman of the TAC. Kwan Jhang Nim Ferraro and the Chairman of the TAC may approve or deny any applicant's request based on individual qualifications. After certification is approved, the TAC will coordinate all activities and continue to evaluate.

Board of Directors


Sa Bom Nim Hoke Nunan, K- 74, Sixth Dan - Region 6

Vice Chairman

Sa Bom Nim David Brandt, K- 96, Sixth Dan - Region 6


Sa Bom Nim Mark Pattison, K- 63, Seventh Dan - Region 9


Sa Bom Nim Susie Cuseo, K-159, Fifth Dan - Region 1


Sa Bom Nim Richard Kopf, K-1, Eighth Dan, Appointed

Sa Bom Nim Rocco Tirrozzi, K- 13, Sixth Dan, Appointed

Sa Bom Nim Brett Riley, K-26, Seventh Dan, Appointed

Sa Bom Nim Bruce Rogers, K- 32, Seventh Dan, Appointed

Sa Bom Nim James Bergers, K-33, Seventh, Region 1

Sa Bom Nim Noelle Talmon, K- 109, Sixth Dan, Region 1

Sa Bom Nim Rodney Batista, K-82, Fifth Dan, Region 2

Kyo Sa Nim Mike Guidone, Dan #147, Third Dan - Region 4

Sa Bom Nim Jeff Talavera, K-15, Eighth Dan, Region 12

The Board of Directors is a body of both elected and appointed members whose primary responsibility is to create policy that governs the day-to-day running of the association. They make the business decisions of TSDMGK as they pertain to the running of special events such as championships, clinics, Weekend with the Masters training, etc. They also make the business decisions necessary to move the association forward as circumstances and times evolve, i.e., technology improvements and changes, supporting, incorporating, or cancelling events regionally, nationally, or internationally. They work to represent their constituents (members of their regions); the vision of Kwan Jhang Nim and the Board of Governors. A more in-depth understanding of the Board of Directors can be found in the charter and in the by-laws of the TSDMGK Association.

Regional Advisory Committee

Region 1

North – Sa Bom Nim Seth McCalaster, K-25, Seventh Dan

Central - Sa Bom Nim James Savidge, K-40, Seventh Dan

South - Sa Bom Nim David Bankowski, K-52, Seventh Dan

Region 2

Sa Bom Nim Rodney Batista, K-82, Fifth Dan

Region 4

Sa Bom Nim Michael Ramirez, K-99, Sixth Dan

Region 6

Sa Bom Nim Hoke Nunan, K-74, Sixth Dan

Region 35 - Chile

North - Sa Bom Nim Moises Miranda, K-143, Fifth Dan

Central - Sa Bom Nim Cesar Rubio, K-136, Fifth Dan

South - Sa Bom Nim, Esteban Ardiles, K- 188 , Fourth dan

Region 36 - Argentina

Position Open

The chief responsibility of the Regional Advisory Committee is to support the Technical Advisory Committee. When an event is sponsored by a region or within a region, the RAC members ensure that logistical, organizational and operational arrangements are completed for the event. They assist TAC members who are teaching or administrating the event and RAC members also assist in teaching clinics when necessary. Generally, the RAC are the main resource and support for the TAC in all matters.

Board of Governors


Sa Bom Nim Joseph DeVita, K-3, Eighth Dan


Sa Bom Nim Richard Kopf, K-1, Eighth Dan


Sa Bom Nim Kenneth Hilliard, K-6, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Jack Bennett, K-12, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Rocco Tirozzi, K-13, Sixth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Dawn Veign, K-19, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Steve Arbuckle, K-20, Eighth Dan

Sa Bom Nim Thomas Cox, K-24, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim Seth McCalaster, K-25, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim Paul Carty, K-29, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim David Berube, K-38, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim Donald Allen, Jr. K-43, Seventh Dan

Sa Bom Nim Anthony Manchisi, K-45, Seventh Dan

The Board of Governors is a new body of administration whose primary job is that of planning and development. They are a steering committee that evaluates policy and the strategic direction for the Association and its future. They are responsible for evaluating changes in technology, society, and business operations in order to make recommendations to the Board of Directors and the TAC on operation issues that affect the vision and purpose of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan.


Episode 14: The Return of the Lone Star Invitational

By SBN Hoke Nunan (

On February 26, 2020 the Lone Star Invitational 13 was held. It was a great event with 225 competitors; a nice start to the Texas tournament season. We had no idea it would be the last Texas tournament for two years. Half a month later the world locked down.

The next two years were extremely odd for all of us. In the beginning were concerns of this virus being the end of the world as we knew it. Many businesses closed their doors permanently. Martial arts schools around the globe were looking for ways to remain open and connected with their students.

The answer was to move to online classes. Kwan Jang Nim Ferraro helped us create a much-needed online database of techniques for students to refer to. Schools established online groups through social media to keep their students engaged. Region 6 even had “virtual parties” where studio owners and students got together, each in their own homes, and caught up.

In 2021 some schools held virtual competitions. Nunan’s Martial Arts had one with empty handed forms and weapons forms. We had a creative weapon forms division where students demonstrated a weapon form they made up. These videos were posted in our private online fellowship area so all competitors could see each other’s forms. It was fun and helped keep our students connected with each other; but, they weren’t the same as an actual tournament.

Kwan Jang Nim Ferraro held the first tournament in Connecticut post-Covid outbreak in the fourth quarter of 2021. The thought of returning to in-person tournaments became a possibility again. It was a sign of hope that we would be able to adapt to this new challenge. It was time to bring the Lone Star Invitational back.

The date for the LSI 14 was set for February 19, 2022. I sent word out that it was going to happen. No one expected this tournament to break even financially. We all thought it would be a small event. The tournament being profitable was not important. What was important is that it was time to get students in Texas back together.

Holding a volunteer participation tournament was the perfect way to kick this off. We set a goal of 100 competitors; but, in the back of my mind I wondered if that was a realistic expectation. I told my students daily that we hoped to get 100 competitors and if we reached 150 I would be ecstatic.

The Lone Star Invitational 14 registration went live on January 3, 2022! In the past, as soon as the LSI online registration went up we would have a pretty good number of competitors sign up. The first week of registration saw only 21 competitors sign up. They were all from NMA. The voice in the back of my mind began to speak up. “Was this going to be an NMA-only tournament?” “Did I jump the gun in holding a tournament in Texas?” “Does our “new norm” NOT include tournaments?”

By the end of the second week of registration, there were 54

competitors signed up. Five Texas schools were represented, including one school that is not part of the Mi Guk Kwan. Yay, others are ready to get back to competing! We were not at our breakeven point; but, it didn’t matter. At least this edition of the LSI would happen and be counted as successful because of the representation from these other schools.

On January 23rd I decided to add a Covid refund policy to our registration. Competitors would now receive a full refund of their competition fees if the event had to be canceled due to Covid. If the LSI 14 did happen but a competitor ended up getting Covid and was unable to compete they would receive a full refund. This helped people feel more comfortable committing to attending an in-person event. The next week we broke the 100 competitor mark. By the end of registration, February 16th, there were 238 competitors from eight Texas schools signed up.

Okay, so the LSI 14 was really going to happen… and it wasn’t going to be a small event. This was the second-largest LSI in its 14-year history! All of a sudden I had to remember how to hold an event like this again. Over the last couple of years, I had become so focused on keeping the school afloat and our students engaged in the various means of virtual/in-person training methods we used that I had forgotten how to hold a tournament. Luckily, it is kind of like riding a bike. Once we turned our minds to running the LSI things just fell into place.

Events like this don’t happen because of one person. There is a huge team at NMA that helps prepare the LSI every year. All eight schools represented sent their Dans and Masters helped judge and run the Bullpin. Without this support, there is no way to hold a tournament like the LSI. A huge thank you goes out to all of these people for their support of the LSI and other tournaments.

While there were a few hiccups in the event, the competition was top-notch! It was like we didn’t take a break for two years. The event went well, even when our competition schedule became delayed mid-day. In the end, we started on time and ended on time.

It has now been a month since the LSI 14 and I have only heard positive comments regarding the event. Everyone was happy to be back together competing and fellowshipping. It was such a great sight to see so many martial artists together again doing what they love to do.And keep in mind, it’s not too early to set your sights on the 2023 World Wide Tang Soo Do Family Championships which will be held in Orlando, FL in the summer of 2023.

The tournament season is back!


Where are the Women in Martial Arts?

By SBN Maria Spratt (, edited by SBN Susie Cuseo

Why are there not more girls or women in martial arts? Why would we not be more interested in learning to defend ourselves? We don’t want to have to worry about walking down the street by ourselves and we don’t want to be afraid in the shopping parking lot. I think women have to fight harder for equality both literally and figuratively. I believe there’s no reason why women should not be attracted to martial arts as much as men.

Based on research and from my own experience men currently make up roughly 70% of the martial arts population. Is it because there’s a negative connotation towards women in martial arts or are they afraid to get hurt? What is keeping women from doing martial arts? According to The Ten Elements of Effective Training in our Tang Soo Do Dan Manual on page 17, it states in #1 that: “Martial arts excellence can be and is achieved by young children, men and women, and the elderly, all it takes is discipline, dedication and desire.” Number 5 indicates: “Martial arts practice is good for effective self-defense, for the improvement of personal health, and for increased longevity of life.” Element #6 states: “Martial arts practice is good for mental, spiritual, and physical well being.” I find these statements to be very true. But, then why is it that women are not getting more involved in martial arts? Why are they not drawn to it for the sake of physical and mental benefits? What can we do to make it more appealing to women?

To find out why women don’t find a dojang to train in or learn self-defense with a martial arts of any kind, I sent out a survey to more than 50 random women that I am either connected with directly or indirectly. I asked them why they don’t train in some kind of self-defense martial arts and if they had, why they didn’t continue? Here are the responses:

1. Have you ever trained or participated in a self-defense or martial arts program?

  • Yes: 59%

  • No: 41%

  • If no, why not? Answers varied from not being interested or that they did not enough time. There were a couple of responses that said they did not feel comfortable in that type of environment. They also claimed that they felt embarrassed and/or it was not their type of sport.

2. Would you or do you feel comfortable training in a dojang?

  • Yes: 58%

  • No: 8%

  • Would never train in a dojang: 8%

  • If no, why not? There were a few women who did not know what a dojang was. Their answers varied from ‘don’t know’ to ‘not interested’ and ‘what is a dojang?’.

3. Do you think you would feel more confident if you knew how to defend yourself?

  • Yes: 83%

  • No: 17%

4. Do you think the majority of people that train in martial arts are men?

  • Yes: 58%

  • No: 42%

5. Would you ever consider trying martial arts or a self-defense class?

  • Yes: 56%

  • No: 14%

  • If no, why not? Some stated that they just weren’t interested, they were afraid to fall or they thought they were just too old.

6. Would you consider training in some form of martial arts or self-defense class if there were only women in it?

  • Yes: 80%

  • No: 20%

It’s important to note that while women are definitely interested in trying their hand at self-defense, they may not be interested in actually being part of a type of martial art. Perhaps this could be a way to appeal to women and then create enough curiosity to entice them to actually try a Tang Soo Do class. To try a self-defense class is completely different to actually taking part or committing to be in a chosen martial art.

7. What do you think you would learn from training in martial arts?

The following questions were intentionally left as open-ended. I wanted women to be able to put their own perspective on this.

  • Confidence: 8

  • Coordination: 1

  • Self Respect: 3

  • Mental Strength: 1

  • Discipline: 3

  • Fitness : 4

  • Breathing Correctly: 2

  • Different Techniques: 1

  • Patience: 2

  • Balance: 2

  • Self Defense: 16

  • Flexibility: 3

  • Calmness: 2

  • Strength: 1

The majority of women thought that self-defense is something they would learn in martial arts. Almost every woman had something to add to their comments; which was very interesting. Just like every single martial arts students have their own idea what has helped them most in their journey, these women had a different idea of what could be learned from martial arts. They seem to have a pretty good idea what would be beneficial to them and all of the answers they gave were pretty much correct.

8. What do you think about when you hear about martial arts?

  • Bruce Lee: 2

  • Strength: 1

  • Respect: 3

  • Discipline: 8

  • Confidence: 1

  • Cost: 1

  • Self Defense: 7

  • Men Sparring: 1

  • Patience: 1

  • Karate Kid/Movies: 5

  • Calmness: 1

  • Concentration/Dedication: 1

  • Building Character: 1

  • Expanding Skills: 1

  • Fighting: 1

  • Competitions: 1

  • Difficult: 1

  • Karate: 2

  • Coordination: 3

  • Fun: 1

  • Strength: 1

  • Teenage Ninja Turtles: 1

  • Graceful: 2

  • Self Confidence: 1

Most women get their interpretation of martial arts from movies. The majority thought about confidence and discipline.

9. Why do you think there are not as many women doing martial arts as men?

  • Not Sure: 9

  • Masculine Sport: 3

  • Time: 5

  • No Women Only Classes: 1

  • Not geared towards women: 2

  • Not enough role models: 1

  • Parent or Gender bias: 4

  • Expensive: 2

  • Afraid of getting hit: 3

  • Never been encouraged: 1

  • Tradition: 5

  • Effort: 1

  • Intimidating: 1

  • Long commitment: 1

  • Not feminine: 1

Many suggested that women mainly do things for others and that they don’t have enough time to spend it on themselves and doing martial arts takes a lot of time. It seems ‘traditions’ has also played a role in what women decide to do with their spare time.

10. What do you think might help us understand why girls or women choose NOT to do martial arts and how can it become more appealing to them?

  • Encourage younger girls to partake,

  • Make it more appealing for girls and the dojang less intimidating,

  • Making uniforms more stylish and more comfortable,

  • Appealing names of classes suitable for all body types,

  • Better marketing for girls/women,

  • More safety so that girls and women won’t hurt themselves,

  • Show videos/media portraying girls and women teams performing martial arts,

  • All women’s classes,

  • Offer workplace self-defense classes and workplace discounts,

  • Flexible times of classes - daytime hours for stay-at-home moms,

  • More female instructors and when they will be teaching,

  • Knowing or seeing someone else in the family doing martial arts might make other girls feel like it’s more appealing,

  • Not offered early enough – after-school curriculum/programs,

  • Not enough women represented in media and online.

My overall impression, based on the survey, is that women would like to try martial arts but they are a little intimidated by the dojang and they feel it’s mainly geared towards men. They feel it’s a little on the aggressive side and they are afraid to get hurt. They know that it would benefit them and it would help them with their confidence and self-respect but they are not quite willing to put in the time and effort into it. They understand or think that it’s gender-biased from a young age and that perhaps if it had been introduced at a young age to them they would have taken part. What they don’t seem to understand though is that they themselves need to be the role models and they are actually creating and prolonging this gender bias by believing that it’s mainly for boys. They are not willing to step out of their comfort zones and try something different, although, they are willing or interested in trying an all-women class. They think martial arts is for the brave and tough girls that are not intimated by boys or men. They believe they have to be flexible and fit before they even start and they are afraid to get into a martial arts uniform because they think it’s uncomfortable or it’s not fashionable. Some felt that if the dojang was a little more ‘girly’ and there was a softer overall impression of the dojang or training (i.e. sparring) in martial arts that more girls would be willing to try it. I say that it’s not at all true.

Martial arts is even more so for the kids that are not brave, the kids that are scared of being hit, the kids that are being bullied and the girls or boys that are intimidated! Those are the kids that really need it. Bottom line is that there are women out there training hard in martial arts but not enough publicity and they are not being highlighted in the news or in movies. Maybe they ought to do a remake of Karate Kid but with a girl? I believe we have come a ways since the 70’s but we still have a long journey ahead of us as far as equality. I believe women still have to change their own behaviors to make a better future for the next generation.

I am proud to be a woman in martial arts. I may not be the best or most talented martial artist but I know I have grown more confident, focused, patient, understanding and my flexibility and co-ordination has improved vastly! I also believe that I would be able to defend myself if someone was to attack me. Perhaps this knowledge and confident look is enough for an attacker to be dissuaded. I am a role model to girls. I want to continue to be there for other girls and women in martial arts and I hope to carry that over to them. I urge all women within the martial arts community to come forward and do your bit to share your experiences and encourage women everywhere to try martial arts. Perhaps the way to create interest is through a self-defense class geared specifically towards women. Either way let’s make Tang Soo Do stand out as the great sport for young girls and women everywhere!


Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Studio Profile: Cornerstone School of Karate, Salem, CT

By Virginia Folger Dan# 411 (

Kyum Son (Humility). This is one of our Eight Key Concepts and something that co-owners of Cornerstone School of Karate, SBN Steve Arbuckle and SBN Bill Lear personify well. Both are 8th Dans with decades of knowledge and in the Mi Guk Kwan Hall of Fame; Master Lear was inducted in 2002 and Master Arbuckle in 2008. They started their studio, which is nestled in the quiet rural community of Salem, Connecticut, in August, 1999. On a whim, Master Arbuckle saw the space for rent and brought the idea to Master Lear. After hours of fixing up the location to turn it from a kid’s clothing store to a dojang, their journey as studio owners began. The studio has beautiful hardwood floors and a separate waiting area for parents. If the walls, which are lined with the rich history of the Mi Guk Kwan, could talk they would share stories about students’ growth and learning concepts for life. The studio is found at the intersection known as the Salem Four Corners, which played a part in helping them come to the name Cornerstone. Once they had their name their motto almost wrote itself: “Build your foundation for life here.”

They currently have twenty-eight students: eighteen male and ten female. Eleven of these students are age 6 to 10, seven aged 11-15, and the remaining ten are adult students. The primary instructors are SBN Lear, SBN Arbuckle and SBN Helen Morahan. They also have Dan assistant instructors and other Master instructors, such as SBN David Berube and SBN Jason Barrs who rotate to teach Saturday classes. All these instructors have had many accomplishments over their years in martial arts.

Master Lear began his training in Tang Soo Do at age 16 in Bedford, PA. In 1986 he trained in Tae Kwon Do at ESCU & UCONN. In 1987 he began training with the West Haven Academy of Karate. From 1994 to 2005, he has won over 13 Grand Championship Fighting & Forms trophies in Regional & National Competitions. In 2015 Master Lear became a member of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

Master Steve Arbuckle, a retired Navy Chief, began his martial arts training in June, 1977 at the Chuck Norris Karate Studio (Tang Soo Do) in Virginia Beach, VA. While in the Navy, he also trained in Shorin Ji Kempo and various other styles of martial arts. He began training with the West Haven Academy of Karate in 1987, participating regularly in clinics, camps, local, regional and national competitions. Although he no longer competes, in 1990 and 1992 he did earn first place Forms Champion—Senior Division at the US Tang Soo Do National Championships. SBN Arbuckle has been a member of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Board of Governors since it began in 2015.

Master Helen Morahan, 5th dan, started martial arts at the age of 12, learning Kempo at an all- girl’s school in Ireland. She has been a member of Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan since 1998. “Master Helen”, as she is referred to by the students, has traveled worldwide from Rotterdam to Chile, competing and representing the Mi Guk Kwan. Master Helen earned Grand Champion in the senior ladies sparring division in her last competition as a Dan member.

Recently, Katie Teixeira was one of Cornerstone’s students that took part in the Zodiac Tournament hosted by KJN Ferraro in West Haven, CT. Katie took Grand Champion in Weapons and Forms.

In addition to supporting local tournament events, they also lend aid to their community. For the last 20 years, they have been sponsors of the Salem Road Race. This event is a beautiful but challenging 5K course with proceeds supporting the local Lions Club.

In addition to Tang Soo Do, Cornerstone also offers Haedong GumDo (Korean Sword) and Kick’n Cardio. Both programs are currently on hiatus because of COVID, but they look forward to starting them up again.

With all this knowledge, the students at Cornerstone School of Karate are fortunate to receive lessons that develop them into excelling in class, to prepare them for tests and tournaments, as well as concepts that get them ready for life.

Additional information about Cornerstone can be found on their website, by phone at 860-892-4662 or email at If you’re ever in the Salem area, stop by, visit and take a class with SBN Lear or SBN Arbuckle who believe that if you have the opportunity to make that Tang So Do foundation even stronger, you’ve got to take it.


Sa Bom Spotlight: Master Paul Carty

By SBN Susie Cuseo (

“I train to be deadly!” This is a fantastic reason to keep motivated and continue to train in martial arts. SBN Paul Carty trains because he has a desire to learn, to condition his body, to relax his mind, relieve stress thereby becoming mellow, especially in the line of work he’s in and last but not least have the practiced ability to defend himself no matter what cost. Master Carty says, “I try to train to be effective in my training in Tang Soo Do, such that I am confident that what I do will work for me. Then when I am working at my profession, I take that mindset and put it to use for my clients.”

Three months after his birth in Okinawa, Japan, SBN Carty came to Brooklyn, New York with his family. His father, while being in the Air Force, moved his family around a lot; but decided to settle in New York. In 1980 Master Carty was awarded a scholarship to attend the Choate School in Wallingford, CT, then continued to get a degree at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He went on to the University of Connecticut Law School in Hartford to become an attorney specializing in personal injury, criminal defense, probate, real estate, divorce and workers compensation. While attending law school he married his sweetheart and had three children. Although he had every intention of returning to Brooklyn, he could not see it as an environment to raise his small children.

Master Carty always wanted to learn karate but having enough money for classes was a challenge for his family. He had seen martial arts studios where students were dressed casually to practice and were disorganized in their classes. As an adult having enough time to train was the primary reason not to seek out a studio. Going to school and raising his family took priority in his life. At the age of 31, SBN Carty decided that sitting and watching television in his living room was not the most useful activity to do with his time. With the convenience of having West Haven Academy of Karate around the corner from his house, there was no longer any excuse not to start. He met with SBN Rocco Tirozzi (a 2nd Dan at the time) and started taking the three trial lessons that were advertised in the window of the studio. He had seen how classes were taught: lots of structure, students wearing uniforms displaying discipline and respect with each other as well as towards their instructors. After participating in several sports in his formative school years that included nine years of wrestling, Master Carty wanted to continue a lifestyle of staying fit and began to do something he wanted to do for a long time. He took his first Dan test in 1990 and continued his martial arts journey to become a 7th Day today.

While practicing Tang Soo Do, Master Carty had also studied Shino Karano Jujitsu and Sanuces Jujitsu under Soke Reidner, KJN Charles Ferraro and Shihan Dan Sullivan. He’s earned the rank of Sho Dan in each art over a period of three years. Today he teaches at West Haven Academy of Karate two nights a week and does his best to attend classes. On several occasions he’s come to the studio to take class but ended up instructing. He takes these opportunities to do ‘quality control’ on what’s been taught so that students practice techniques correctly and true to the curriculum.

As a martial artist, SBN Carty has dedicated more than 35 years to learning, teaching and practicing Tang Soo Do. Along his journey as a martial artist he’s also written numerous articles that have been published in the TSDMGK newsletter with topics such as measured response, grabs for self-defense, the older practitioner. He has taken classes with and taught his sons, but as life gets in the way with young students, they did not continue. However, they did become 1st Dans at the ages of 10 and 12. He currently instructs his two grandsons; red belts at ages 12 and 15. His granddaughter earned the rank of 4th gup.

He takes to heart the first element of effective training which states: “Martial arts excellence can be and is achieved by young children, men and women, and the elderly, all it take is discipline, dedication and desire.” He carries this over to his everyday existence with his humility and courage in helping his clients and students. An example of his courage and determination comes from a motorcycle accident where he suffered a knee injury. This occurred several days before his 1st gup test. He was not going to wait for the next opportunity to test so he made every effort to come out on the floor, test and get promoted, notwithstanding a fractured kneecap.

When Master Carty is not practicing law or karate he enjoys photography. At the age of six, his father gave him a camera, and since then he’s always had an eye to capture a moment that told a story. For several years he attended numerous tournaments and testing events where he photographed competitors, as well as testing candidates. He also enjoys motorcycling. He took a 25 year hiatus from riding while thinking that he has a job, house and family that required him to be around. Now that his children are older, he can return to enjoying one of his favorite pastimes.

SBN Carty plans on retiring in a few years from his law practice in New Haven and hopes to do some traveling and being able to help young kids who are caught up in the judicial system to make a better life for themselves. Since “Martial arts practice is good for mental, spiritual, and physical well being,” Master Carty will continue to train as long as his mind and body cooperates, then he’ll be ready to test for 8th Dan in 2023.

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