Great Grand Master Jhoon Rhee
Martial Foodies' Martial Teachers
GGM Rhee is the Father of American Tae Kwon Do, introducing TKD to the U.S. in 1956. He founded the Jhoon Rhee Institute Tae Kwon Do, which grew to over 60 TKD schools in America and 65 schools in the former Soviet Union. In 1965, GGM Rhee founded the U.S. Congressional TKD Club where he has been teaching members of Congress ever since. For GGM Rhee's official bio, click here.
GGM Rhee created “Martial Ballet,’ the basis for today’s musical forms, and invented protective gears used in sparring competitions. He established close friends with the famous Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali. In January 2000, GGM Rhee was named among the 203 most recognized American immigrants, along with Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell, by the National Immigrant Forum and the U.S. I.N.S.
GGM Rhee is the founder of “100-21,” which stands for “100 years of wisdom in the body of a 21-year old.” An extraordinary international public speaker, he promotes happiness as the purpose of life through his philosophy of truth, beauty, and love for happiness of life. Recently, he has published his life-long philosophy through his book, Trutopia.
Although hearing his voice thousands of times while practicing musical forms, Coaches Mickey and Melody met GGM Rhee for the first time at his seminar hosted by the Georgetown University Korean Student Association in Fall 2002. This eventful meeting marked a major turning point for their personal martial arts journey as well as GUTKD Club. Coaches Mickey and Melody invited GGM Rhee to GUTKD Club as mentor for the club, and GGM Rhee invited them to his home to train Sunday mornings.
GGM Rhee happily accepted to become mentor for GUTKD Club, which then became a Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do school in addition to being a student club. Since Fall 2002, GGM Rhee has periodically taught students Tae Kwon Do greatly emphasizing the importance of basics, shared his philosophy Trutopia, and presided over graduations. With Coaches Mickey and Melody cultivating exemplary students, GGM Rhee proudly invited the club to perform for his speeches at the U.S. Department of Justice as well as Health and Human Services. By the same token, GUTKD Club invited GGM Rhee on multiple occasions to their annual on-stage performances for Asiafest and Georgetown Day.
Coaches Mickey and Melody had the honor of learning Tae Kwon Do and his martial philosophy at his home every Sunday morning for a year and occasionally thereafter. GGM Rhee opened many doors of opportunities for Coaches Mickey and Melody. He invited them to perform Tae Kwon Do for his speeches at various venues ranging from federal agencies to university events on numerous occasions. One such occasion, the 2003 World Culture Open, brought them to meeting one of his former students, GM Dennis Brown, thus, beginning their journey in Tai Chi and martial arts competition.
Coaches Mickey and Melody were promoted by GGM Rhee to the ranks of 5th Dan and 4th Dan in June 2014 as shown in the photo above.
For a more detailed bio of GGM Rhee, click here.
GM Coles is the Owner/Head Instructor of Coles Martial Arts Academy. During his competitive prime, GM Coles was a PKA World Champion in Full-Contact Sparring and Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard's sparring partner. He is a student of Great Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and former Vice President of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do.
In 1994, GM Coles became Coaches Mickey and Melody's first martial arts instructor, teaching them Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do. Through his fiery, inspirational motivation, GM Coles ignited their passion for martial arts. In addition to serving as a father figure, GM Coles helped Coach Mickey to overcome childhood obesity and bullying.
In addition to developing a strong martial arts foundation, Coaches Mickey and Melody gained a love for teaching thanks to GM Coles. Since 1996, Coaches Mickey and Melody were entrusted with the responsibilities of tutoring their juniors, leading small groups, and eventually teaching classes. In 1997, Coaches Mickey and Melody earned their first Black Belts under GM Coles. In 2000, Coach Mickey, as a 2nd Degree Black Belt, worked part-time as an instructor, which helped him greatly in his college applications process.
Disciple of GGM Willy Lin (also pictured above), GM Brown is the current lineage holder of the Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu system and the promoter of the U.S. Capitol Classics, the Mid-Atlantic’s biggest open martial arts tournament and one of NASKA’s four “Grand Slam” (6A-rated) tournaments. During his competitive career, he was a pioneer (most well known for his weapons forms) in open martial arts competition as one of the first Chinese Martial Artists to compete and win at tournaments dominated by Okinawan/Japanese and Korean stylists. In 1982, he became the first African American to train in Mainland China. For GM Brown's official bio, click here.
In 2003 at the World Culture Open, Coaches Mickey and Melody met GM Brown, who became their Yang Tai Chi teacher. Three years later, they earned their Black Sashes under GM Brown. Since 2004, GM Brown has been instrumental to nurturing their competitive career, starting with Synchronized Forms at the 2004 U.S. Capitol Classics. GM Brown put Coaches Mickey and Melody on the Friday night main stage for their NASKA debut, giving them the opportunity to perform synchronized Tai Chi alongside NASKA luminaries Marcel Jones and Kalman Csoka, "DX" Dongxing Qiu and Li Ying, and Mindy Kelly and Gemma Nguyen. In 2006, GM Brown encouraged Coaches Mickey and Melody to compete for the Tiger Claw Elite circuit, which began their competitive career outside of the DC Metropolitan area.
At the 2007 Tiger Claw Elite Championship Final, GM Brown witnessed Coach Mickey winning the Adult Traditional Forms Grand Champion, and thus, becoming the first Tai Chi competitor to win a national open martial arts tournament, to which he remarked, "History has been made!" Since Coach Mickey's NASKA debut as an individual competitor in 2009, GM Brown has supported Coach Mickey's endeavors representing Tai Chi in open martial arts competition.
GM CXW is the 19th Generation Chen Tai Chi Standard Bearer, and he has been promoting Chen Tai Chi around the world through the Chen Xiaowang World Taijiquan Association. His teaching emphasizes learning through step-by-step movements with details, and his signature element is his tremendously explosive power (Fajing). For GM Chen's official bio, click here.
In 2006, Coaches Mickey and Melody met GM Chen, their primary influence in Chen Tai Chi. They participated in GM Chen's seminars many times, traveling as far away as London, UK. From GM Chen, they studied Tai Chi Principles, Silk Reeling, Laojia Yilu, Laojia Erlu, Xinjia Yilu, Push Hands, Applications, Fajing, and Broadsword. From his younger brother, Master Chen Xiaoxing, they learned Straight Sword and Broadsword.
GM Tang is an incredible all-around martial artist, highly accomplished in Buddhist Qigong, Internal Martial arts (including Tai Chi, Baguazhang, and Xingyiquan), Shaolin and Luohan Kung Fu. For GM Tang's official bio, click here.
Coaches Mickey and Melody met GM Tang at the 2007 San Diego Grand Internationals, where they were completely in awe of his powerful performances. Later in the evening, all three performed Tai Chi together on stage for the Saturday Night Journey through Martial Arts. Coaches Mickey and Melody had the special honor and privilege of training privately at GM Tang's home in 2008 focusing on Internal Martial Arts and Faijing. GM Tang is the greatest role model for Coach Mickey in competition.
Sijo Alferos is the Founder of Inner Circle System, a martial arts system incorporating his father’s family style of Filipino Martial Arts, Five Family/Five Animal Gung Fu, Mok Gar Chuan, Iron Palm, and Nei Gong. He is also the Founder and President of the Whipping Willow Association, an organization of leading martial artists who embrace the diverse styles while celebrating similarities. The Association gathers each season to train its members in martial arts led by the martial elders and younger teachers, highlighted by the spectacular Winter Gathering where the Grand Masters and Sijos come to lead a weekend filled with learning and fellowship.
Coaches Melody and Mickey first officially met Sijo Alferos in 2007 at the San Diego Grand Internationals, then at the U.S. Capitol Classics and Tiger Claw Elite Championships. Sijo Alferos has been very supportive of internal martial arts as well as Coaches Mickey and Melody. He has been an influential martial mentor for Coaches Mickey and Melody ever since, imparting his wisdom and insight on teaching and martial philosophy. In 2008, Coaches Mickey and Melody had the honor of being invited to participate in the Whipping Willow Winter Gathering. There, they experienced vast knowledge by learning from top-level Grand Masters and masters of diverse martial arts styles, which has helped to validate and synthesize Coach Mickey and Melody's multi-disciplinary approach to martial arts.
Sijo Owens is one of the greatest martial scientists and the Founder of Blossom Fist, a style combining Southern Shaolin Kung Fu, Capoeira, Modern Arnis, and Kusemi Vijiti. He created Kusemi Vijiti as his personal expression of Filipino stick fighting, incorporating rhythm of music complete with its own musical language.
Coaches Mickey and Melody had the honor of meeting Sijo Owens at the 2008 Whipping Willow Winter Gathering, where he taught Capoeira for the martial artist. In 2009, they had the honor of training at Sijo Owen's school to learn his systematic approach to martial science, including his curriculum syllabus, which they incorporate into their own teaching at GUTKD Club and Sun & Moon Taiji One.
Dr. C.P. Ong
Dr. Ong is a 20th Generation Chen Tai Chi master and Executive Vice President of the USAWKF (U.S.A. Kung Fu Wushu Federation). As a Ph.D. in math, Dr. Ong has published articles on Chen Taiji by interpreting the often mystical and poetic nature of Tai Chi language into more concrete and tangible manner. He is a disciple of GM Chen Zhenglei and an indoor student of GM Chen Xiaowang. He has organized and hosted seminars in the DC area by the 19th Generation Chen Village Grand Masters Chen Zhenglei, Chen Xiaowang, and Zhu Tiancai.
In 2006, Coaches Mickey and Melody began their Chen Tai Chi journey under Dr. Ong, learning basics and Laojia Yilu from him. Through him, Coaches Mickey and Melody were introduced to the Chen Village Grand Masters and trained under them.
GM Zhu is a 19th Generation Chen Tai Chi Grand Master and one of the "Four Diamonds" of Chen Tai Chi along with GMs Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, and Wang Xian. The Four Diamonds have been the most vital to spreading Chen Tai Chi around the world by teaching in China and abroad. His bubbly personality is infectious as he inspires his students through his equally effervescent, tireless approach to teaching. More elaborate in his expression of Tai Chi than his peers, GM Zhu's sword is truly amazing.
Coaches Mickey and Melody met GM Zhu in 2007, learning connection of breathing with Tai Chi movement, Silk Reeling, and Fajing through Silk Reeling. In addition to GM Zhu's seminars, Coaches Mickey and Melody traveled to GM Zhu's personal residence in Chen Village, Wen County, Henan Province to train in Laojia Yilu, Laojia Erlu, and Straight Sword.
Master Zhang Yun is a disciple of internal martial arts Grand Master Wang Peisheng. Master Zhang is the President of the Yin Cheng Gong Fa Association-North American Headquarters as well as writer of martial arts history and its principles.
In 2012, Coaches Mickey and Melody had the privilege of meeting and learning from Master Zhang the principles and essence of internal martial arts and basics of Baguazhang.
Sifu Kamal is an Acupuncture Physician, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and creator of Si Jin Bao Traditional Chinese Herbaceuticals. In 2011, Coaches Mickey and Melody met Sifu Kamal, who introduced them to Body Type Qigong including Yin-Yang breathing.
One of only 13 certified advanced Iyengar Yoga teachers in America, Yogi John Schumacher has taught B.K.S. Iyengar's method of Hatha Yoga since 1973. In 1979, he founded Unity Woods Yoga Center, which has become the premier Yoga school in the Washington, DC area.
Starting 1998, Coaches Mickey and Melody studied intensively under Yogis John Schumacher, Mary Pappas-Sandonas, and Joe Adelsic. Coaches Mickey and Melody developed a strong awareness of alignment and posture for their own bodies as well as for others. Through their Yoga training, they learned the importance of adapting instruction to fit the varying physical abilities or conditions of each student. In addition, they incorporate Yoga into every class, beginning with comprehensive and targeted stretching exercises.
John Schmacher, Mary Pappas, &
GM Tai Yim is the 8th Generation lineage holder of the Hung Fut Kung Fu, a martial art from Southern Shaolin combining the hard style of Hung Gar (Hung family style) and soft style of Fut Gar (Buddha Palm). Honoring his teacher's wishes, GM Yim opened the first Hung Fut Kung Fu school in the U.S. in 1979. In 1986, he co-founded the North American Chinese Martial Arts Federation, which later became the U.S. Traditional Kung Fu Wushu Federation. For GM Tai Yim's official bio, click here.
Coaches Mickey and Melody began training at Tai Yim Kung Fu in 2001. Through Hung Fut training, they built a solid foundation in Chinese Martial Arts, which later served as a natural progression into Tai Chi. To this day, Coaches Mickey and Melody are truly grateful to GM Tai Yim for helping Coach Melody recover from a chronic shoulder injury through stretching and acupressure.
Tae Kwon Do