West Michigan Tae Kwon Do Association

World Taekwondo FederationThe WMTKDA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The association exists to provide support and leadership to Western Michigan based Tae Kwon Do Institutes that follow the teaching of 9th Dan Grandmaster Tae Zee Park. Grandmaster Park’s organization is Tae Park Tae Kwon Do with its central studio located in Jackson, MI.

Grand Master Tae Zee Park

  • 9th dan – World Tae Kwon Do Federation
  • National Tae Kwon Do Champion – Korea 1963 – 1968
  • Captain of Korean Army Tae Kwon Do Team
  • Instructor of National Teachers College – Korea
  • Member of Korean National Tae Kwon Do Demonstration Team
  • Captain of Sung Kyu Kwan University Tae Kwon Do Team
  • Founded Tae Park Tae Kwon Do 1974
  • Vice Chairman of the U.S. Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan Association
  • General Secretary of the Sung Kyun Kwan University Tae Kwon Do Alumni Association

The Life of Grand Master Park

Many years ago, in South Korea, a shy young boy named Tae Zee Park watched helplessly as a bully hit the young boy’s mother. Even though the community rallied together to run the bully out of town, Grand Master Park decided, then and there that he would be ready the next time someone tried to hurt his family. So, the young Grand Master Park learned a little soccer and a little boxing, but he learned to love Tae Kwon Do.

The Early Years

Grand Master Park started Tae Kwon Do lessons when he was twelve years old. Five days each week for at least two hours a day, young Grand Master Park would practice basic patterns, kicks, and forms. He wanted to be strong and responsible and to hold his own among his six brothers and sisters. Very few of the other students in his class worked as hard as he did.

When Grand Master Park was sixteen, he became one of the youngest first-degree black belts in Korea. At his first-degree test, he was rewarded the highest points in forms and free fighting, but his goal was to become even better. He left home and went to the central studio to practice and study. After earning his second degree, Grand Master Park entered his first tournament.

Tournament Fighting

Korean martial art tournaments were very dangerous. Participants risked serious accidents- even death- to win because winning meant great honor for the fighter’s school and it’s reputation. Everyone knew who the tournament winners were, and they were given many special privileges.

Each Tae Kwon Do school sent their top one or two fighters to compete. Each fight consisted of three three-minute rounds. As long as a competitor won, he could progress to the next round. If he lost, he went back home. In addition to being very good, tournament fighters had to be very strong and in excellent shape. Sometimes a competitor would have fought for five days in a row to qualify for the final rounds.

Grand Master Park completed his formal education at Sung Kyun University, where he graduated with a major in Government. In addition to his scholastic pursuits, this very special school allowed him to study Tae Kwon Do up to five hours a day. All 350 people in his freshman class were black belts. Grand Master Park was one of the only two or three students picked for special training as part of the university team. He and the other team members worked very hard and received many high honors. In 1964 and 1965, Grand Master Park was the top tournament fighter in all of Korea.

The once shy boy had grown into a strong and brave young man.

Professional Tae Kwon Do

After graduating from the university, Grand Master Park was recruited for the Korean Army’s Tae Kwon Do team. For the next three years, his full-time job was to represent Korea in international tournaments. He had become the equivalent of a professional athlete. Everyone knew his face and he was very well respected.

After army service, Grand Master Park taught for one year at the Korean National Teachers College, where he earned his sixth dan. He had loved practicing Tae Kwon Do and now he loved teaching it to others.

On To America

When, Grand Master Park first came to America, in 1974, he taught martial arts at Kent State University in Ohio as an exchange student. He later moved to Michigan and began teaching Tae Kwon Do at the YMCA in Jackson. It was there that he learned about America from his students. Grand Master Park would teach them martial art and his students would teach him the English language and American customs. He learned what Americans believed and how they made decisions. This interdependence on his students helped form life-long bonds.

Founding the Tae Park Institute

Grand Master Park had proven in Korea that he was an excellent fighter and teacher. But now he was in America where the peoples’ wants and customs were very different. He started his first Tae Kwon Do class in 1974. But it closed after only two months. Grand Master Park believes that the advanced techniques he taught were too difficult for beginning students, who quickly became frustrated and stopped coming to class.

Grand Master Park changed his style and concentrated on the basics when he reopened his school in Jackson and soon thereafter expanding to Hillsdale College. As the Tae Park Institute grew, Grand Master Park focused on building a strong supportive organization that would produce black belts with solid leadership skills. As the years passed, Grand Master Park opened schools in Springport, Grand Rapids, Hillsdale, Jackson, and Ypsilanti. In 1976 Tae Park Institute conducted it’s first Black Belt testing. Although many students studied under Grand Master Park only these 19 students were part of that first testing.

There were 18 testing for 1st Dan:

Tandy Amburgy, Mike Ascuitto, Lynn Bernard, Steve Burnett, John Carey, Jeff Duane, Mark Good, Thomas Hallin, Wendy Hauser, Gary Jones, Steve Molden, Bruce Park Sr, Ronnie Parker, Leroy Pegler, Ed Rugh, Madeline Matthews-Rugh, Richard Warren, Mike Wittum

There was one testing for 2nd Dan:

Richard Weatherford

Tae Park Institute Today

Over thirty-five years have passed since Grand Master Park came to America to teach Tae Kwon Do. Today, Tae Park Institute has schools in fifteen states and many Michigan locations. There are over 2,000 black belts with over 50 Master, 7 Senior Master, and 5 Junior Grand Master and 1 Grand Master Instructors.

Grand Master Park’s students speak of him with great pride and respect and view him as a father figure and mentor. As one of Grand Master Park’s master instructors has said, The Tae Park Institute will survive a long time because of Grand Master Park’s high caliber physical ability, intelligence, compassion, and family-like loyalty toward his pupils.

Grand Master Park and his wife, Mrs. Hwy Park, currently live in the Ann Arbor area. His daughter Na Lee graduated from the New York University Law School and is working in Washington, D.C. and daughter Na Na, a University of Michigan Law School graduate, works for the Federal Government in Washington, D.C.. Grand Master Park’s son, Won Hee, is a graduate of Harvard University and now resides in Asia.

Edited by Master Michael Madden 4th Dan.

Re-written with permission from Grand Master Park and Northern Michigan Tae Park Tae Kwon Do, NMTPTKD

Grand Master Uhm Woon Kyu      9th Dan GM Uhm Woon Kyu

Present leader of the Chung Do Kwan
Grand Master Uhm Woon Kyu, Instructor to Grand Master Tae Zee Park.

While still training Grand Master Uhm’s nickname was “Sliding Side Kick God,” due to his unmatched ability with that technique.
Reportedly, he could kick an opponent from ten feet away using it.

Grand Master Uhm Woon Kyu is one of the pioneers of modern day Taekwondo and helped devise the current rules governing Taekwondo free sparring. He was also Special Instructor for the South Korean Military. He also played a large part in the formation and development of the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), the World Taekwondo Federation and the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters)

As one of Grand Master Lee Won Kuk’s original and first students, Master Uhm remains a link to the original Chung Do Kwan. As Head of the Chung Do Kwan and President of the Kukkiwon, he spent decades ensuring that Kukki Taekwondo retains the power, etiquette, high technique, manners, and Way that makes it one of the world’s preeminent martial arts.

He is one of the most important Taekwondo figures in Korea, and one of the most important in the world today.

Grand Master Good7thDanMarkGood

Born in Jackson, Michigan.

Currently living in Kentwood, MI with his wife, Xu Min, who were married in Ping Ding Shan City, China in November, 2000.
Xu (Maria) and Mark have a son, Matthew.

Started TKD at the Y-Center in Jackson under Grand Master Tae Zee Park 12.2.74.

Attended classes through the Y-Center and Jackson Community College for 4 nights a week with 3 – 4 hours of practice a night.

First Dan test on 7.31.76 along with 17 others for 1st Dan and one student for 2nd Dan with 11 judges present.

Competed in tournaments in Iowa in 1975 as a Green Belt, then in 1976 and 1977 as a Black Belt.

Tested 7th Dan in October of 2003,  Kukkiwon Registered.

Tested 8th Dan in April of 2018.

Mrs. Good also holds the rank of 2nd Dan in Tae Kwon Do and has won several Gold Medals for sparring and forms.

Moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan February 1977 with Master Kiwan Hong.

Started teaching in GR April 1977 until about 2005. Now acts as an advisor to WMTKDA.

Traveled to seminars held by GM Hae Man Park and GM Tae Park in the USA and abroad.

Awarded the Title of “Best Master Instructor” in 1993 by GM Hae Man Park.

First tournament director for the Tae Park World Class Championships in 1995 open to all ranks with 463 competitors.

Team Leader for trips to South Korea in 1996 and 2008.

Has trained students that have competed (some successfully) in the USA, Asia, Europe, and South America.

Has two students reach the rank of 6th Dan, two to 5th Dan, eight to 4th Dan, one grand-student to 5th Dan, four grand-student to 4th Dan and one great grand student to 4th Dan.

Has 500 black belts under him from 1977 to present.

Tae Kwon Do Trips: Korea five times, Spain once, China eight times (some mainly to visit wife but still with Martial Arts in mind). Visited the city of Shaolin and two temples one being the famous Shaolin Temple. Also in the USA various states for seminars and tournaments and promotion tests.

One of the few “Original Students” still involved and the only one still teaching in the dojang (class/gym) today in Grand Master Tae Park’s organization.

Currently has 22 locations under his direction in West Michigan, Kansas City (MO.), Rochester (NY) and Webster (NY).

Special Assistant to GM Park in Board of Directors matters.

Believes one should get what one earns. Pay for it with hard work, sweat, and determination. Not with the almighty dollar.

Believes in doing Tae Kwon Do – not playing or dancing Tae Kwon Do.