History of the American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute

Master David J. Schmitt
As written in the Tang Soo Do Korean Martial Arts Beginners Manual

In 1966 Master David J Schmitt Began his training in the art of Tang Soo Do while stationed with the 4th Army at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. By 1967, he was assigned as an assistant hand to hand combat instructor for special forces troops.

In 1970 Master Schmitt opened the first martial arts school in Dubuque, IA and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.

In 1975, he founded the American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute (ATKI). This new organization was and still is a unique organization in that it not only sets highest standards of any martial arts organization, but for a Black Belt to open an ATKI branch school, they must be trained from white belt to black belt in an ATKI branch school. No other martial arts schools may join the ATKI.

In 1990, the board of directors and advisors made up of all ATKI Black Belts voted to allow the ATKI to join the World Tang Soo Do Association. The purpose in joining the WTSDA was to enable Master Schmitt to continue his training under the instruction of Grand Master J.C. Shin. Having reached the level of 5th Degree Black Belt, it would be necessary for Master Schmitt to train under a Grand Master to continue his learning in the art of Tang Soo Do. The World Tang Soo Do Association currently has over 80,000 members training in Tang Soo Do in 33 countries. Master Schmitt is one of the ten highest ranking masters in the WTSDA today.

In 1991, Master Schmitt was promoted to the level of Regional Director of the World Tang Soo Do Association and is responsible for the promotion of all black belts in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

In 1993, he was selected to represent the World Tang Soo Do Association by Grandmaster Shin as a United States Delegate and a member of the 1993 WTSDA China Exhibition team. The Team consisted of six members to accompany Grandmaster Shin to Korea and China on a 15 day martial arts tour. One of Master Schmitt's highlights was their visit to the Shaolin Temple where the team performed for the Shaolin fighting monks, and had the honor of watching the monks perform for them.

Master Schmitt was recognized at the 2000 World Tang Soo Do Championship in Anaheim, CA for achieving 6th dan. He is now one of six sixth degree blackbelts in the WTSDA world wide.


Last Update October 4, 2004
Webmaster Mark Panzer.