Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee is the founder of the Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do, style of martial arts. After the Korean War, a program to improve the relationship between U.S. servicemen and the South Korean people was founded. For the first time in history, Americans, U.S. servicemen were allowed to study Korean martial arts. Tang Soo Do and later Tae Kwan Do were the two primary styles studied by our soldiers. Many servicemen studied Tang Soo Do, including Chuck Norris, star of many martial arts movies and the television series, “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
The first Grand Master of the Tang Soo Do Karate Association was James Cummings, Jr. While stationed with the 8th Army in Korea, GM Cummings studied Tang Soo Do under the direction of Master Chun Cha Kyu. He received his first Dan, (midnight blue/black belt – Dan Bo 4493), October 1961. Throughout his lifetime GM Cumming received Dan level rankings in several other martial arts. He continued to practice and study the arts until his passing in 2003.
TKA’s current Grand Masters are Johnny “Lightfoot” Thompson, Clarence “Daddy-O” Smith, Tom Balmos, Larry Kaminski, Donny Meadows, and Danny Valdez. All trained and received their ranking from Grand Master Cummings. Grand Masters Balmos, Thompson, and Smith were inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame and promoted to 8th Dan by the International Martial Arts Council of America in August 2007. Grand Master Danny Valdez was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame and promoted to 8th Dan by the International Martial Arts Council of America on July 23, 2011.