BOARD MEMBERS - ATLANTIC-PACIFIC TANG SOO DO FOUNDATION
John St. James has been training for over 45 years. He has earned an 8th degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do and serves as the President and Founding Master of the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation headquartered just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. John St. James also serves as Co-Chair of the Asia Atlantic Alliance, an organization of like-minded traditional Tang Soo Do Federations and Associations across the globe.
Mr. St. James began his martial arts and leadership training when he was 13 years old. He often speaks about how Tang Soo Do had a transformative effect on him personally and has witnessed the same in the thousands of students he has taught over the years.
Helping others, especially those at risk, is driving force in Mr. St. James life. He founded the APTSD Foundation to help those most in need gain the wonderful values and benefits of Tang Soo Do. These benefits include enhanced discipline, perseverance, respect, humility, focus, goal orientation, and improved self-esteem.
Master Klacko launched his martial arts career in 1986 when he began training in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan under Master Charette in Scranton, PA. In 1991, he joined the World Tang Soo Do Association under the leadership of Grandmaster Jae C. Shin where he achieved the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. In 2003, he received the prestigious rank of Master from Grandmaster Richard Byrne of the American Tang Soo Do Association. He currently holds the rank of 7th degree Black Belt with the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation.
Master Klacko believes the greatest reward for an instructor is to visualize the positive impact martial arts has on the students’ lives, and the knowledge that by passing on the philosophies of Korean Martial Arts, he has contributed to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those students. Outside of the martial arts, Master Klacko is a business leader and entrepreneur, having co-founded 3 high-tech companies in Boston, MA.
Master Watson-Jones started training in Tang Soo Do martial arts along with his whole family in 2004, training under Grandmaster John St. James. He is now a Fourth Degree Master Instructor at Karate World of North Georgia training under International Master Michael Jett. David has always been interested in opportunities to bring the benefits his family has gained from the Martial Arts to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity. He has actively worked to bring martial arts programs to disadvantaged youth either by raising funds to support at-risk youth programs or organizing martial arts leadership seminars.
Outside the martial arts, Master Watson-Jones runs a small IT consulting firm which he started in 1998.
Mrs. Watson-Jones began training in the martial arts in 2004 and having trained and obtained black belt, recognizes the positive impact the martial arts had on herself and her family and wants to share that with those less fortunate. Mrs. Watson-Jones has always donated her time, energy and resources to many charitable organizations and has been actively involved in the APTSD Foundation since its inception.
Professionally, Mrs. Watson-Jones was employed by UPS as a Project Manager in their Industrial Engineering Group. She retired early to raise her children. Mrs. Watson-Jones currently manages an investment property LLC and is a partner in a small IT consulting firm.
Mr. Bedingfield is a nonprofit lawyer and co-chair of the Nonprofit Practice Group at Hemenway & Barnes LLP, in Boston, Massachusetts. Looking for a community and a program to instill in his children confidence, strength, discipline, and perseverance, Mr. Bedingfield got hooked himself on the martial arts, and has witnessed first-hand the transformative effects that the art of Tang Soo Do can have on the mind, body and spirit of youth and adults alike. Mr. Bedingfield and his children, Adam and Maya, have trained at Cambridge Tang Soo Do in Massachusetts since 2013.
Trudy’s foray into the martial arts began after her son and then husband joined Thunderbird Martial Arts in Albuquerque, NM. Master Witterholt instilled the desire to train in her and her daughter and they both joined the family in weekly classes. She joined with the intent of simply being with the family in a group activity, little did she know her personal journey was just beginning. Since that time she has come to learn all the intangibles that one gains from practicing martial arts. Aside from the physical benefits, Trudy has enjoyed the more traditional aspects of practicing Tang Soo Do. The teaching of the Moo Do way has been a very influential and unexpectedly profound aspect in her everyday life. Recently testing for and achieving the rank of Cho Dan has been an immeasurably humbling and exciting experience that has only solidified her desire to continue along the path. It is a culmination of goals set and achieved that were never really conceived until the day she first wore the white belt. Being able to continue to train as a family is the pinnacle of happiness for her.
Trudy looks forward to utilizing her acumen as a business owner and Certified Public Account to bear for the betterment of the foundation. Having firsthand knowledge of what Tang Soo Do teachings has done for her family will continually solidify her desire for excellence within the Foundation.