Grandmaster Mariano Estioko
Pin # 759
In 1958, Grandmaster Mariano Estioko
began his Tang Soo Do training at the Osan Air base in Korea while
serving in the U. S. Air Force. While stationed there, he saw a
group of men practicing martial arts and asked them what they were
doing and if he could join in. He was told, "No" and to
But what Grandmaster Estioko saw
that day intrigued him and he returned day after day and was
rebuffed day after day. His effort didn't go unnoticed as one of the
Black Belts noticed that he always came back.
Finally, Grandmaster Estioko was accepted as a student by
Master Song Ki Kim (# 312). The training was hard and rigorous. This
was the old school of instruction, where mistakes were
rewarded with a stinging whack from his teacher's bamboo stick.
Mistakes soon became few and far between. After almost a year,
Master Kim sent Grandmaster Estioko to the Seoul YMCA to begin his
advanced training under Master Sae Joon Oh. Then, in October 1959
when his training there was completed, he was awarded his Black
Belt. He was now the second American ever to receive a Tang Soo Do
Black Belt after Dale Drouillard (# 757).
In the same year, Grandmaster Estioko returned
home to Sacramento, California where in December 1959 he began
teaching the art to a select few. He still teaches Tang Soo Do
to this day.
Because of the growth of his
organization, in 1985 he founded the
Western Pacific Tang Soo Do Association. At that time his senior Black Belt students
honored him by bestowing upon him the recognition and title of Grandmaster of the Association,
where he continues to serve as president.
Recently, he was also named president
of the U.S. chapter of the World Dang Soo Do Union by Grandmaster
Song Ki Kim, its founder.