Who's Who in Tang Soo Do


Grandmaster Andy Ahpo
1941 - 2023
9th Dan
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 Grandmaster 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.

In 1973, Grandmaster Ah Po became a direct student of the late 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.


Grandmaster Ah Po performing his
selective brick break

In 2002, Grandmaster Ah Po founded his own organization, the Tang 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 system.

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.


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