History

Our style of martial arts is in the direct lineage of the Song Moo Kwan which was founded by Great Grandmaster Byung Jick Ro.

The teachings of Grandmaster Ro were brought to the United States from Korea by several trustworthy students. One of whom was Il Joo Kim who incorporated the philosophy (Ryu) of Ku Ki (conquering self).
One of Grandmaster Kim's first students was Bob Chaney. Grandmaster Chaney continued to carry on the traditions of the Song Moo Kwan Kuk Ki Ryu while pursuing the knowledge of Muay Thai (kickboxing) as well as other martial arts.

Master Gary Mattevi was one of Grandmaster Chaney's first students. Master Mattevi continued to train in the traditions of Song Moo Kwa Kuk Ki Ryu while competing on a national level. He trained in Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts and incorporated many of the techniques into our curriculum.
The teachings of Master Mattevi were entrusted to Mr. Stefan Stein who continues to carry on the traditions of Song Moo Kwan Kuk Ki Ryu, the teachings of Master Mattevi while pursuing the knowledge of other martial arts.

The following is a brief synopsis of the history of the Song Moo Kwan. As with any second hand account of history, especially as it pertains to lineage, there are different views regarding facts and chronologies.
Great Grandmaster Byung Jick Ro Song Moo Kwan is "The Ever Youthful House of Martial Arts Training". Rich in history and tradition, Song Moo Kwan is the oldest and most famous school of Taekwondo in Korea. Its founder Taekwondo pioneer Great Grandmaster Byung Jick Ro, is the highest ranking Black Belt in the world. Byung Jick Ro was born July 3, 1919 in Kaesung City, Korea. Frail health forced him to enter school a year later than the other children. At the age of twelve, his strong interest in the ancient martial arts was intensified as he witnessed the techniques practiced in the local temples. His youthful spirit drove him to train with intense dedication subsequently strengthening and improving his health. As a young man, Great Grandmaster Ro traveled to Japan to attend college. It was during this time that his passion for the martial arts led him to seek out Shotokan founder, Gichin Funakoshi. In May of 1936 he began training under Funakoshi. In February of 1944 he returned to Korea, where he continued to create additional hand and foot techniques of his own. It is the combination of these techniques along with the ones he learned during his early years of training that we know as Song Moo Kwan.

Honoring numerous training requests, he opened the Kaesung dojang on March 11, 1944 in the Kwan Duck Jung archery school, establishing the first of the "original founding kwans". Unfortunately, due to the situation in Korea during this time the dojang was forced to close within three to four months after opening. It was the end of World War II and Korea was under Japanese occupation. Survival was the first priority for the people of Korea and training in the martial arts was far from their minds. On May 2, 1946, Great Grandmaster Ro re-established his art at Dong Hung Dong. For the next few years martial arts swept through the Korean general population and began to thrive as additional Kwans sprung up. However, war would again cause Great Grandmaster Ro and the rest of the founders to abandon their dreams as the Korean War forced them to close their doors. Not allowing themselves to be hindered, on May 25, 1953, Great Grandmaster Ro, along with one delegate from each of the founding Kwans and seven representatives held a conference and established the Korean Kong Soo Do Association. Great Grandmaster Ro was chosen to serve as its Executive Director. He was also made the Chairman of the Rank Promotion Committee and the Master Instructor. Sadly, due in part to the Korean War, Great Grandmaster Ro is the only founder of the original founding Kwans still active in Taekwondo today.[1] Great Grandmaster Ro pasted away on September 9, 2015.

Grandmaster Il Joo Kim
Grandmaster Il Joo Kim grew up in a rural setting near Wonju City, Korea. He began practicing a variety of martial arts atan early age, Finally Kim decided that he wanted to devote his time to the teachings of Great Grandmaster Byung Jick Ro's Song Moo Kwan School. Song Moo Kwan was one of the original five Kwans and Great Grandmaster Ro was himself on of the early presidents of the Korean Tae Soo Do Association. Later, the five Kwans were united under the collective name, Taekwondo. As a young black belt Kim taught at the main school under Great Grandmaster Ro in Seoul and later operated his own school while attending college at Sung Kyun Kwan University. When he enlisted in the Korean army Kim was a 2nd degree black belt. In 1964, now a 5th degree black belt Kim left Korea for the United States to further his education.
While living in Louisville, Ohio Kim began teaching Taekwondo classes at the local YMCA. Two years later Kim would open his own dojang, this would be the beginning of an incredible martial arts success story. More than four decades later Grandmaster Kim is known as the Father of Taekwondo in the Midwest. With numerous schools throughout Northeast Ohio and hundreds of students, Grandmaster Kim pioneered the ancient Korean art in America. In addition to his many schools, Grandmaster Kim hosts one of the oldest annual tournaments in the United States. Grandmaster Kim was also one of 33 prominent Taekwondo master who founded the organization that now defines Olympic style sport Taekwondo. Currently Grandmaster Kim is the President of the All-American Song Moo Kwan Association and is on the Board of Advisors of the Asian Taekwondo Union.[2]

Grandmaster Bob Chaney
Grandmaster Bob Chaney was born in Wadsworth, Ohio on February 12, 1943. His family moved to Akron, Ohio in the early 1950's where Grandmaster Chaney was raised and began boxing training under his father in 1958. In 1960 he trained sporadically in the Isshin-Ryu style of karate and switched to Taekwondo under Grandmaster Il Joo Kim at the YMCA in Canton, Ohio in 1964. He presently continues in the tradition of the Song Moo Kwan under Grandmaster Kim. Grandmaster Chaney received his rank promotion from 1st through 7th Dan under Grandmaster Kim. He was officially promoted to 7th Dan in December, 1993. In April, 2000 General Choi (Founder of Taekwondo and President of the International Taekwondo Federation) personally promoted Grandmaster Chaney, along with Bob Wall and Chuck Norris to 8th Degree Grandmaster at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This promotion was with the approval of his teacher, Grandmaster Kim who was in attendance. Grandmaster Chaney has a prolific trail of awards and accolades to his credit. Grandmaster Chaney and his wife Sarinda, while dividing their time between Ohio and Thailand, owned and operated a successful academy in Murrieta, California. Grandmaster Chaney unexpectedly passed away on ,2016.

Master Gary Mattevi
He was born in Canton, Ohio in 1956 where he lived until he was twenty-eight. He decided not to go to college right after high school. He started to train with Grandmaster Chaney in September, 1974 at the age of eighteen. In 1994, after having moved to Duluth, Minnesota, he started the Mattevi Martial Arts Academy. Together with his wife Kim Mattevi (5th degree black belt) he taught hundreds of students in the Twin Ports area. Some of his many achievements are the induction into the International Karate & Kickboxing Hall of Fame in 1996, induction in the Martial Arts Museum of America in 1998, received the title of Renshi (martial arts expert technician) in 2002 and promotion to 7th degree black belt in 2007. After moving to Greensboro, North Caraolina in 2010 he started another successful martial arts academy. Another twist in his life brought him Phoenix, Arizona in 2016. He continues to be an active martial artist.


[1] "History of Song Moo Kwan," 01 December 2005


[2] "Founding Members - Grandmaster Il Joo Kim," 01 December 2005

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