Y. T. Tang Soo Do was established in 1988 to provide quality instruction in the ancient Korean art of Tang Soo Do karate. We strive to help students improve their minds, body, and spirit by building confidence, competence, and leadership abilities. Our studio is located in Plano, TX, and we are proud to provide classes to those that live in the DFW area.
As a member studio of the World Tang Soo Do Association, we provide a strong connection to a worldwide community of martial arts practitioners. The World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) has approximately 100,000 members in 36 countries worldwide. The curriculum is the same in all studios worldwide.
Ancient Tang Soo Do History
The very first evidence of this ancient form of Korean martial arts appeared during the Three Kingdom era (57 BC – 935 AD) as Hwa Rang Do. Since then, 2,000 years have passed. The indigenous martial arts quietly developed through generations of Korean people. During some eras, it flourished, and at other times it diminished, according to the political, economic, or cultural environment. The art was known by various names throughout the eras as Hwa Rang Do, Moo Sul, Kyuck Too Ki, Soo Bahk Ki, Soo Byuck Ki, Taek Kyun, etc. respectively.
Modern Tang Soo Do History
Following the 1945 Korean independence, Korean martial arts were again merged and flourished throughout the entire Korean Peninsula. Many organizations were founded with various names, such as Soo Bahk Do, Tang Soo Do, Tae Soo Do, and so on.
At the beginning of the modern era of Korean martial arts, Tang Soo Do was the most popular term for these arts, however, at that time, the Korean political leader was concerned about establishing Korean values based on Korean nationalism. The political leaders recognized the popularity of Korean martial arts around the world but were opposed to the use of the name Tang Soo Do for the art, as it sounded like Chinese martial art because the first word “Tang” could be interpreted as representing the Chinese Tang Dynasty (617-907 AD). In 1964, a government-sponsored small group created a new name for Korean martial arts: Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do became the national sport of Korea, and Tang Soo Do remains more traditional and technical in their pursuit.
With the advent of the World Tang Soo Do Association, Tang Soo Do began a new era of development as a traditional martial art.
As of 1996, the organization has grown at an outstanding rate to reach over 100,000 members in 36 countries, and thousands of students are training in the following countries; Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, England, Germany, Greece, Guam, Holland, India, Italy, Korea, Mozambique, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Seychelles, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Uruguay, and the U.S.A.
Y.T Tang Soo Do Founder
Master Yen Touysinhthiphonexay (pronounced “Two-ee-sin-tee-PAWN-sigh”) was born in Laos in South East Asia. He is a graduate of Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics. He also holds a Master of Science in Geochemistry and Mineralogy from Penn State and additional work in Geology also at Penn State.
From 1975-1978, Master Touysinhthiphonexay studied Tae Kwon Do with Mr. In Soo Hwang at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. During the summers when school was out, he trained at Hwang Brothers Karate in Westville, CT. He earned up to the equivalent rank of First Gup under Mr. Hwang.
In 1984, Master Touysinhthiphonexay joined the Penn State Martial Arts Group at University Park, Pennsylvania, and started training in Tang Soo Do. At Penn State, he studied with Master Michael White, Master Chuck Vaughn, and Dr. Michael Kaye at various times. He also worked out with several senior Black Belts from Appalachia Tang Soo Do in Philipsburg, PA.
Master Touysinhthiphonexay tested for First Degree Black Belt at the World Tang Soo Do headquarters in Philadelphia, PA, in 1986. He received his Black Belt (Cho Dan) from Dr. Michael Kaye of State College, PA.
At the end of 1987, Master Touysinhthiphonexay moved to Plano, Texas, with his wife Kim. He then began to receive instruction from Master Andy E. Stewart of Houston, TX. In 1988 he founded his own school, Y. T. Tang Soo Do, in Plano, TX. That same year, he tested for and received the rank of Second-Degree Black Belt at the Region 4 Headquarters in Houston, TX.
In 1991, studying with Master Allen Sharpe of Huntsville, TX, Master Touysinhthiphonexay tested and was promoted to Third-Degree Black Belt at the Region 4 Headquarters in Houston, TX.
At the beginning of 1997, he received an invitation from Grandmaster Jae C. Shin to attend the annual Masters’ Clinic held in Florence, Alabama. In early April of 1997, as a member of the Master’s candidate class, he took the first step toward the Master’s rank when he was tested on the night of April 5, 1997. Other participants in the test were his current and former instructors:
- Master Sharpe, 4th Dan (testing for 5th)
- Master Vaughn, 4th Dan (testing for 5th)
- Dr. Kaye, 3rd Dan (testing for 4th)
Master Touysinhthiphonexay completed the Master’s testing process in 1998. He was promoted to Master’s rank in August 1998 at the World Tang Soo Do Championship by Grandmaster and WTSDA Founder Jal C. Shin.
In August of 2000, Master Touysinhthiphonexay, his wife Kim, and daughters Katy and Laura moved from Plano, TX, to the Denver, Colorado, area. The role of Chief Instructor was handed over to Mr. Tim Hambelton, 3rd Dan, who kept that role until November 23, 2009. Mr. John Neese, 2nd Dan, took over as Chief Instructor on that date in 2009.
World Tang Soo Do Association Founder
Jae C. Shin, who later founded the World Tang Soo Do Association, began his martial arts career at 12 years old. He joined Seoul Moo Duk Kwan central gym and began serious study under Grandmaster Hwang Kee, a founder of the Korean Moo Duk Kwan system. Eventually, he was recruited to the Korean Air Force in 1958 and had his first experience teaching American soldiers.
In 1968 Master Jae Chul Shin came to the United States of America as the U. S. representative for the Korean Tang Soo Do Association. He formed the U. S. Tang Soo Do Federation in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1968. This traditional Korean Martial Art was quickly accepted and soon grew in popularity throughout the World. The organization reformed to fit new demands internationally, and on November 13-14, 1982, a charter convention of the World Tang Soo Do Association was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
See more on the official World Tang Soo Do site.
Famous Tang Soo Do Students
Chuck Norris was assigned to a base in Seoul, Korea, after joining the United States Air Force (USAF) after High School. While there, he began studying the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do under Jae C. Shin. After returning home from his USAF assignment, he worked for Northrop Aviation and moonlighted as a karate instructor. Two years later, he was teaching full-time and running a number of martial arts schools. His students included Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley, and the Osmonds. By 1968, Chuck Norris had become a 6-time World Karate Champion. Mr. Norris retired as the undefeated Professional Full-Contact Middleweight Champion in 1974. His fame moved him to be an international action film star, author, and worker for many charities.
E-Dan (2nd Degree) Black Belt
John is an Internationally Certified Black Belt Instructor of the World Tang Soo Do Association. He has been teaching in the studio for over 30 years. Both kids and adults love taking classes with him.
Cho Dan (1st Degree) Black Belt
Mr. Sean is the assistant instructor and has been developing his craft since he was 7 years old. Our students love working with him in class.