Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association
21st Annual All Tang Soo Do Championship

by Master Constantino Terrigno, 6th Dan

On the weekend of July 7th through 9th, 2016, competitors and families converged at the B Hotel and Spa in Orlando, Florida for the Mi Guk Kwan's 21st Annual Tang Soo Do Championship. The competition was presided over by Grandmaster Charles Ferraro, founder and President of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association. Also present from Sacramento, California was his esteemed Instructor, Grandmaster Andy Ah Po, founder of the Tang Soo Do Martial Way Association.

Attendees came from as far as California, Connecticut, New York and other eastern states, as well as Aruba to take part not only in the competitions, but to also sample some of the sights in and around Disney World. At the start, it was obvious that the event's organization and smooth operation was well in hand due to the coordinated effort of members of the Technical Advisory Committee and notably Master James Bergers and his wife Sarah Bergers of Valley Karate in Shelton, Connecticut.

On Thursday, July 7th there were three seminars held, conducted by Grandmaster Ferraro, Master Richard Kopf and Master Joseph DeVita. Friday the 8th opened with general line-up and presentations to attending Sa Boms and dignitaries. The competitions began with team forms followed by Ko Dan Ja forms and weapons, then the Dan and Gup divisions in the same categories. Saturday morning kicked off with a school demonstration given by Master Bergers dojang, Valley Karate of Shelton, CT. Sparring competition then took center stage with spirited fighting, especially in the women's Grand Champion bout where, after three two-minute rounds, Holly Holt and Emily Bowman were still locked in an even score, necessitating a sudden death (first point scored) round to crown Holly Holt the winner.

In deciding the overall Ko Dan Ja Grand Champion, Masters Peter Prokopis and Charles McManus Jr. were tied going in, based on total combined score from their earlier forms and sparring. The head table instructed that they would be judged on performing Passai and sparring, which yet again ended in a tie. It was finally decided they perform a knife hyung after which Master Prokopis was announced the victor.

On Saturday evening, we gathered for the awards banquet and character dinner with Mickey & Minnie where guests could relax and wind down from the fast pace of the weekend before heading off to other sightseeing trips or home. After opening remarks and additional presentations to division winners, Grandmaster Ferraro related an incident that occurred the previous day that was worthy of prime-time news, and to me, underscored many of the lessons we learn in our martial arts training such as awareness, selflessness and courage.


Mr. Steve Paul, father of one of the competitors who himself trains in Haidong Gumdo, was sitting out by the pool when he noticed a 3 year old child having difficulty staying afloat in the water. With the child obviously in distress and then going under, Mr. Paul wasted no time jumping in to pull the child to safety. After working on her to get the water out of her system, she came around and was later reported to be doing fine. What could have been a tragic day for one family was averted by quick thinking action on Mr. Paul's part and we commend him for his heroic deed.

As a postscript to the story, the little girl turned four the next day. What better gift than the gift of new life.

Tang Soo!

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