1941 - 2023
Pin # 10187
Grandmaster Andy Ah Po began his martial arts training early in his
youth in Hawaii. At age 6 he began studying Sil Lum Gung Fu. During
his early school years in the islands he achieved Black Belts in Jiu
Jitsu, Aikido, and Japanese Karate. He left the islands in 1959 to
join the U.S. Air Force.
The year 2023 marks Grandmaster Ah Po's 76th year in the martial
arts and his 64th year as a Tang Soo Do practitioner, having begun
training in the art in 1959 under
Mariano Estioko. He opened his own martial arts studio
in Carmichael, California in 1966 and continues to teach at his
current studio in Sacramento.
During the 1960's and 70's, Grandmaster Ah Po held several national
and international championship titles in both forms and
free-fighting competition including the California and Northwestern
United States Heavyweight Championship titles and a Grand Champion
title in the prestigious Long Beach International Championships that
was sponsored by the legendary Ed Parker. He retired from
competition in 1972 and has gone on to train and coach other
National and International Tang Soo Do Champions including his son,
Master Anthony Ah Po, his daughter, Master Annette Ah Po, Master
Sandra Russell, and Master Curtis Mata. He has also coached several
California Tang Soo Do teams that have on several occasions
successfully brought home the "gold" in team fighting and team forms
at national and international competitions.
1973, Grandmaster Ah Po became a direct student of
Grandmaster Hwang Kee. He was also a Charter
Member of the U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation, formerly the
U.S. Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation and for over 27 years and
served as a member of the Board of Directors in the
capacity of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. He
also served as Regional Examiner as well as a member of the
Technical Advisory Committee, as an appointee of Grandmaster Hwang Kee, founder of Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan. He also served as
personal escort to the late Grandmaster Hwang Kee and his late wife.
Ah Po performing his
selective brick break
In 2002, Grandmaster Ah Po founded his own organization, the
Soo Do Martial Way Association
(formerly known as the Tang Soo Do
Moo Do Kwan Assoc. Inc.). He also serves as the
personal instructor and senior advisor to Grandmaster Charles
Ferraro, founder of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association, and is also
affiliated with The Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance and
its founder, Grandmaster Darryl Khalid.
Over the years, Grandmaster Ah Po has conducted hundreds of seminars
throughout the United States as well as in Hawaii, Germany, England and
Australia. He is a world-renowned martial artist and was inducted
into the World Karate Union's Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1999.
Grandmaster Ah Po is also well known for his demonstrations
involving the utilization of "Ki" or internal power, which are
unique to him and him only. Practitioners from a variety of styles
often seek him out for his martial arts expertise. He has also
received many awards over the years from several martial arts
organizations which not only continue to recognize him for his
martial arts skills and expertise but which also acknowledge his
integrity and contributions to the martial arts community.
In the year 2000, Grandmaster Ah Po was promoted to 8th Degree Black
Belt by Grandmaster Hwang Kee, making him one of only 5 individuals
who were promoted to that Dan rank by the late Grandmaster himself.
In 2002, The Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Association, Inc. awarded
Grandmaster Ah Po a 9th Dan Tang Soo Do certification in that
As a Tang Soo Do practitioner, Grandmaster Ah Po is highly respected
and often referred to as "The Godfather" of Tang Soo Do. He has
always been known to take his role as a Tang Soo Do Senior very
seriously and continues to stress this philosophy. He believes that
as a Tang Soo Do Senior his primary role is to serve his juniors and
his students. At a recent Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa (testing) ceremony,
Grandmaster Ah Po stated,
"The greatest of all gifts that we have to offer as human beings is
to serve others."
Grandmaster Ah Po passed away on November 23, 2023.