Foundation President: Grandmaster John St. James

Grandmaster St. James has been training for over 38 years. He is a 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. Grandmaster 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.

Grandmaster St. James began his martial arts and leadership training when he was 13 years old. He earned his Black Belt from Grandmaster Young Kook Kwon before graduation from high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was 18, he became certified as an instructor and started his teaching career under the tutelage of Grandmaster Young Hyuk Kwon in San Diego, California where he later started his first school while attending the University of California. Grandmaster St. James attained his Bachelors Degree in Political Science in 1984 and later a Graduate Degree in Insurance and Risk Management from the American Institute in 1986.

In addition to being an expert in Tang Soo Do, Grandmaster St. James is considered an expert in personal development and peak performance training. He has been featured in MA Success Magazine, MA Professional, Tae Kwon Do Times Magazine, EFC Eagle Express, Business Master Publications, and has also been recognized in Black Belt Magazine for coaching the current World Record Board Breaking Champion.

Grandmaster St. James holds a brown belt in Shotokan Karate (1975), a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do (1983), and a 4th Degree Black Belt in Hapkido (2003). He is well versed in advanced pressure point manipulation and is certified as an instructor in Quick Defense by the American Self Defense Federation in Belton, Texas. His is also a past Board Member of the World Tang Soo Do Federation where he served as both the Director of Finance and Business and a Regional Director for many years. Grandmaster St. James received his Masters rank and Senior Masters rank from Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin while a member of the World Tang Soo Do Federation.

Grandmaster St. James is considered by his peers to be an expert in traditional Korean, Chinese, and Okinawan weaponry with an emphasis on the Bong or staff. He is well versed in the sword, cane, nunchaku, tonfa, short sticks, dagger, and spear to name just a few. He personally enjoys empty hand forms the most and can often be heard telling his students that the foundation of all martial arts starts with a Black Belt Leader and Champions mindset. It is then demonstrated in all our actions and strengthened with a great command of the fundamental basics which can be learned by constantly practicing traditional hyung or forms.

Grandmaster St. James has also directly trained several World Champions and directed two first place World Competition Teams while with the WTSDA. He currently coaches a World record holder and has many competition wins and one Grand Championship under his belt. His true love is spreading Tang Soo Do by developing top quality instructors/school owners and helping them to learn, grow, and share our art.



Other Leadership

Board Member
Christian Klacko


Board Member
Greg McKellar


Board Member
Glenn Adams


Board Member
Dave Post


Board Member
Treasurer & Secretary

Deborah K. Jett


Foundation Committee Chairs
Jean Ann and David Watson-Jones