Tang Soo Do News


Grandmaster John St. James Promoted to 9th Dan
By Mr. Bob Thomas, 5th Dan


Dallas, Texas - On July 22, 2023, Grandmaster John St. James, the President and Founder of the Atlantic Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation, was promoted to 9th Dan. The promotion took place during the National Championships for the worldwide organization. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the APTSDF.

As a requirement for 9th Dan, Grandmaster St. James created a new 8th Dan form, Moo Do Pal Dan Hyung (8th Level Martial Way Form), which he performed on stage in front of the National Championship audience. Its human character is the "warrior scholar", and its symbol is the open hand supporting the closed fist. His performing philosophy is "Um-Yang", or complementary opposites. The predominant technique is the palm-heel strike. It has 27 counts and 59 moves, and its creation was a requirement for his promotion to 9th Dan. His performance was acknowledged by many in attendance as a highlight of the event.

Senior Master Noelle Drewicz read a letter from Grandmaster Steven Washington, Kwan Jang Nim St. James' instructor and President and Founder of the Asia Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation. As Grandmaster Washington stated about Sir's promotion, "This achievement is a testament to your unwavering dedication, hard work, and unyielding commitment to the pursuit of martial arts excellence".

During her testimonial, International Master Debbie Jett told us that Kwan Jang Nim St. James began his martial arts journey in Tang Soo Do as a teenager 50 years ago. In college he opened and began teaching at his first martial arts school. Grandmaster St. James eventually planted eight Tang Soo Do programs nationwide, gaining him the nickname of the "Johnny Appleseed" of Tang Soo Do. "Realizing his calling should be his profession, our grandmaster became a full-time martial arts instructor and school owner 30 years ago. Kwan Jang Nim St. James has taught thousands of students during his career".

During Kwan Jang Nim's promotion, Senior International Masters Stacy Busby and Antonio Rivera cinched the knot on Sir's 9th Dan belt. The pinnacle of black belt achievement, 9th dan is the highest rank honored in the federation's system. Our master of ceremonies, International Master Jason Duva, read Sir's black belt certificate. Shortly thereafter, Senior International Master Christian Klacko presented Grandmaster St. James with a walnut staff, created by Senior Master Paul Harmon for the occasion. Walnut trees are noted for their strength and longevity, symbolized by their strong roots, all qualities reflected by our grandmaster, the honorable Kwan Jang Nim John St. James.





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