Master Dong Hee Kang

Master Dong Hee Kang is a 7th Degree Black Belt recognized by the World Tae Kwon Do Federation, the most reputable Tae Kwon Do organization in the world. As a 7th Degree, Master Kang has dedicated his life to the teachings of Tae Kwon Do and has found passion in teaching Tae Kwon Do to anyone who is willing to learn, just as he was when he was 9. During his 35 years of learning and teaching, Master Kang has won many Sparring competitions, been a member of the Blue Dragon Demo Team, and received many awards as a Master. 

Master Kang was first introduced to Tae Kwon Do when he was 10 years old. His parents were concerned about his overdependence on his older siblings. They wanted him to grow up to be strong, independent, and able to help others, rather than ask others for help. They believed Tae Kwon Do would be a great way to help Master Kang develop the kind of self-dependence his parents wanted him to have. After searching for a suitable studio, they found Master Yoo to be just what the young master needed. They found Master Yoo’s teachings to be rooted in not only physical strength, but also mental and inner strength. Master Yoo taught his students the importance of helping others, putting others before one’s self, and always being respectful to all. After a year with Master Yoo, Master Kang’s parents witnessed an exponential growth of confidence in their son. No longer was their son asking for help, but he was helping others and becoming a leader. 

 

Under the guidance of Master Yoo, the young Master Kang was competing in and winning many of the local sparring tournaments during his elementary and middle school years. With so many awards and accolades, Master Kang was given an invitation to attend a high school that had a specialized Tae Kwon Do team. He accepted the invitation and after four years of intense team competitions and individual tournaments, Master Kang was accepted into Yong In University; a well-respected university known for its elite Tae Kwon Do program. After attending Yong In University for half a year, Master Kang decided to complete his 2-year mandatory military service. His military superiors recognized Master Kang’s extensive training in Tae Kwon Do and had him serve as a military Tae Kwon Do instructor. This was the first time Master Kang would take on the role as an instructor. He took the time to not only teach them dynamic kicks, strong punches, and self-defense, but also the life philosophies that Master Yoo had instilled in him. After 2 years of service, Master Kang was ready and eager to go back and resume his training in Tae Kwon Do at Yong In University, but took with him the values of being an instructor.

Master Kang picked up where he left off with his training and for the next three years of his life after his military service, was dedicated to Tae Kwon Do. He wanted to become a Tae Kwon Do Master and open his own studio, and after having served as an Instructor in the military, he was more than eager to fulfill his ambitions. Master Kang had worked diligently and with technical precision to perfect his skills in Tae Kwon Do and it showed in the weekly tournaments and competitions he entered in, as he usually placed first. From this, Yong In University extended his scholarship and after 3 years, he finally graduated with high honors.

After his graduation, he had planned to open up his own studio and begin working as a Master. However, there was an obstacle that hindered him; doubt. As much as he wanted to open his first studio, he wanted to make sure he was prepared with the knowledge and skills of a Master. He sat with Master Yoo and explained to him the doubts that clouded his mind. Master Yoo saw that his pupil had the skills and the knowledge, but needed an inspirational push. Through the influences of Master Yoo, Master Kang was asked to be a member of the Blue Dragon Demo Team; a Korean national Tae Kwon Do demonstration team, which would travel overseas to America and perform across 5 major cities (Orlando, FL, Baltimore, MD, Little Rock, AK, Denver, CO, and Los Angeles, CA). Master Yoo believed this was what Master Kang needed to overcome any doubts he might have had about becoming a Master. Through his travels across America, Master Kang was overwhelmed with inspiration. The Blue Dragon Demo Team would visit five to six Tae Kwon Do studios in each city, sharing stories and knowledge with one another before the big demonstration. All performances consisted of Tae Kwon Do forms and dynamic kicking exhibitions. They used different objects as kicking targets such as assorted fruits, wooden boards, and balloons. After the end of each performance, audience members would swarm towards the Blue Dragon Demo Team’s table for autographs, questions, and comments for 2-3 hours. Master Kang was filled with an unexpected feeling of pride and joy. He sincerely appreciated all of the positive feedback he received and his desire to become a Master and teach Tae Kwon Do became strengthened.

Upon his return to Korea from America, with a renewed spirit and eagerness, Master Kang opened his first studio, Ka Dong Tae Kwon Do Academy. Master Kang wanted to inspire his students with Tae Kwon Do the way Master Yoo had inspired him. He worked with his students and always kept a smile on his face to keep his students enthusiastic about what they were learning. While teaching, Master Kang received a surprise when a few of the Masters from America came to learn from Master Kang in Korea. These Masters were impressed with the technicality and strong footwork that Master Kang possessed and wanted to learn his techniques. However, the Masters went from wanting to learn how to perfect their techniques, to wanting to learn how to teach like Master Kang. For the next two months Master Kang shared his knowledge and his spirit with these fellow Masters as well as all of his students. 

When Ka Dong Tae Kwon Do Academy first opened in 1994, Master Kang had only twenty students. But after a year or so, word spread of Master Kang’s technical abilities as an instructor and his amiable personality, and soon Master Kang’s first studio had over 100 students. A principal from a nearby elementary school asked Master Kang if he would be willing to teach Tae Kwon Do voluntarily during the summer months. Each class would consist of 20-40 students at the elementary school and then Master Kang would have to hurry back to his studio to teach. It was a stressful time for Master Kang, but he endured through it because he believed in what he was doing. He believed in spreading the ideologies of Tae Kwon Do and if anyone was willing to learn, then he was willing to teach. Because of his passion for teaching, Master Kang was asked to keep teaching at the elementary school for the next three years. What was supposed to be a one-time deal extended beyond Master Kang’s original expectation, but he happily agreed to keep teaching because the kids enjoyed it so much. But soon it became too much for Master Kang to handle since his Tae Kwon Do academy grew from 100 students to over 200 students. Master Kang believed it was the right time to open a new studio.

With Ka Dong Tae Kwon Do Academy doing so well, Master Kang opened his second studio, Korea Tae Kwon Do Academy. His first studio would be maintained by the Masters he had personally trained and taught for many years. Within a matter of months, Master Kang had a healthy number of students and young Masters wanting to learn from him. He would go on to open a separate class just for the young Masters to teach them techniques as well as learning how to successfully operate a Tae Kwon Do Studio. Although Master Kang was content with the way things were in his life, he felt as though something were missing. Every year since 1994 he and 30-40 of his students would fly out to various cities in America for a 2-week Tae Kwon Do retreat. Master Kang savored his time in America more than any of his students and other Masters that came with him. And so, he began to reflect on his time in America and how much he enjoyed the diverse culture and people. He then made the choice to move from Korea to America and open a studio there in 2004 called, Black Belt USA. 

Today Black Belt USA Tae Kwon Do is a well-respected Tae Kwon Do studio recognized by The California Tae Kwon Do Organization. Master Kang has won many trophies in his life from tournament wins, and has won many more as a Tae Kwon Do Master. In 2006 Master Kang had an article written about him in The Tae Kwon Do News, for successfully hosting Tae Kwon Do camps. Students from Korea would fly over to America to expand their cultural knowledge as well as interact and learn with other Tae Kwon Do students. And in 2012 Master Kang and his family had another article written about them on the excellence of the instruction given to the students by Master Kang, his wife, and three children, who are all at least 2nd Degree Black Belts.

The strength Master Kang needed to fulfill his dreams of becoming a strong and well-respected Master was founded in Tae Kwon Do. Though, there are many truths to be found in Tae Kwon Do other than becoming a Master or simply learning self-defense. Each person will receive and understand Tae Kwon Do differently, and under Master Kang's experienced guidance, together we can find what it means for you.