Kwan Jang Nim Michael Dunchok is 38 years old, and began his training in Kuk Sool Kwan at the age of 11. From a young age, Master Dunchok was interested in learning in all its forms, and had an insatiable appetite to understand the world. His involvement in martial arts has grown out of that fascination, as has his approach to teaching it.
When Master Dunchok was young, martial arts seemed to be represented in popular culture as the one thing that offered legitimate hidden knowledge, and at the same time seemed to be about perfecting an individual. After looking around at all the martial arts schools in the area, he found Grandmaster Huh's school, and was impressed immediately. Grandmaster Huh's studio lacked the fancy trappings of the other dojos in the area, but Master Dunchok and his father both agreed that Master Huh's presence was overwhelming. He began practicing for several hours everyday, and would sometimes go to the studio directly after school. After a performance at his blue belt test which impressed Grandmaster Huh's visiting colleagues, Master Dunchok was instructed personally by Grandmaster Huh with private training to receive his first degree black belt. Master Dunchok was very active with Master Huh's studio throughout his high school years as well, continuing the same habits of hard practice with which he began his martial arts training.
Master Dunchok attended Humboldt State University, where he majored in Theater Arts and graduated in May of 2000. Master Dunchok is a classically trained tenor, an illustrator, and a student of Chinese, Ancient Greek and Latin. He has also studied wushu and currently studies taijiquan. He has since been involved with acting on stage plays and musicals as well as doing martial arts stuntwork and fight scenes on film and television. He opened the Kuk Sool Kwan dojang in Orange County out of a desire to preserve the unique martial heritage of Kuk Sool Kwan and to afford himself the lifestyle and practice time to take his martial arts skill to the grandmaster level and beyond.
Master Dunchok is a 6th degree black belt in Kuk Sool, and has trained and graduated black belt students. He holds a recognition as a Certified Personal Trainer from the National Federation of Professional Trainers. He recently finished a graduate degree to become an acupuncturist and herbalist, a longstanding requirement for Grandmastery of Kuk Sool Kwan. He graduated from Southern California University of Health Sciences summa cum laude as the valedictorian in April 2015. He is currently at UCI pursuing post graduate studies in Classics and Religious Studies.
Jo Kyo Nim Bich Tina Tsan began training at the Ancient Arts of War and Wisdom Dojang in 2006. She became fascinated with martial arts at an early age through her love for Chinese Kung Fu movies. When Tina discovered Kuk Sool Kwan, she knew she had found an art that embodied the virtues displayed by the classical Heroes from those movies.
Tina Tsan was born in Dong Nai, Vietnam. She came to California during the summer of 1990 and currently resides in Long Beach,CA. As a young child, Tina enjoyed watching tales of classical Chinese heroes such as Wong Fei Hung, Sou Hak-Fu, Wong Kei-Ying, and Fong Sai-Yuk. Tina was fascinated with the display of martial prowess that was developed in each Hero; the choreographed fight scenes were very enjoyable to watch. It was through watching these films that Tina first learned about the Daoist concepts of self mastery, courage, patience, endurance, perseverance, sincerity, and spiritual development. Martial arts became for her both an expression of appreciation for her cultural heritage, as well as a means of self-development she endeavored to pursue.
Naturally, when Tina sought out a martial art school, she looked for one with an instructor who would embody the Daoist virtues displayed by the classical Heroes she had watched growing up. After visiting various schools, Tina was turned off by the many commercialized martial art schools she came across. Disappointed with her search, Tina put her martial art goals aside to begin her training in Massage Therapy and Body Work. When Tina was done with school, she was hired at a Massage Clinic in Costa Mesa, CA, where she specialized in Swedish, Pre-Natal, Deep-Tissue, and Acupressure massage techniques. By fate, while driving to her first day of work, Tina came across the Ancient Arts of War and Wisdom Dojang, then located just a block from her new work place. Tina stopped by to inquire about classes and lessons, and upon meeting the head instructor, Master Mike Dunchok, Tina was immediately impressed by his deep level of knowledge of the applications of martial arts, as well as his commitment to teach Kuk Sool as both a form of self-defense and, more importantly, a form of spiritual development.
After training with Master Dunchok for more than four years, Tina received her 1st degree black belt on September 9, 2009. She is currently training for her 2nd degree promotion. Tina is currently pursuing a Master's degree, studying Acupuncture and Herbology at YoSan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in order to deepen her understanding of the body's energetic system and to gain the tools and experience necessary to better help others. Tina's favorite hobbies include playing the GuZheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument, and dancing. She has been studying and learning how to play classical and folk Chinese Music on the Guzheng from the virtuoso Bei Bei He.
As a child growing up in Huntington Beach, CA, Jo Kyo Nim Dan Bukaty had two active passions–soccer and a martial art called Limalama, which like American Kenpo and Kajukenbo was developed out of a mix of pacific-rim styles.
After training for several years under Grandmaster and Limalama founder, Tuumamao "Tino" Tuiolosega, Dan had nearly reached the level of black belt, when he decided instead to pursue his interest in soccer. Dan played competitive soccer throughout his high school career until a broken ankle took him out of the game for good.
Flash forward thirty years, and we find Dan married to his wife Monica and the two of them with a 6-year-old son, Noah. They enrolled Noah in Taekwondo at The Ancient Arts of War and Wisdom Dojang, and it was during this period, when Dan would take Noah to class, that he got to know Master Mike Dunchok.
Dan and Master Mike would talk about martial arts in general as well as the discipline upon which the school was founded—Kuk Sool Kwan. Master Mike explained that Kuk Sool Kwan offers a fully rounded system with a complete range of practical techniques, from kickboxing to ground fighting, from grappling to throws, and from weapons to meditation techniques. Through their discussions, Dan learned that Kuk Sool provides fulfilling personal growth to the modern seeker of martial arts, while upholding the air of tradition, respect and sanctity which once characterized the true, ancient martial arts forms; these were not only forms of self-defense, but more importantly ones of spiritual development.
As Dan remembered with particular fondness his childhood martial arts training, the decision was an easy one: he enrolled in Kuk Sool Kwan and has never been happier. Dan received his 1st degree black belt on September 9, 2009, after more than three years of training. He is currently working toward his second degree black belt, and serves as an assistant trainer at the Dojang.
Dan is in his early 40's, and because of Kuk Sool Kwan he is in the best shape of his life. Through the meditation techniques learned while training, Dan has gained a clear vision, understanding, and control over the connection between his mind and body. He utilizes the full range of his training in everyday life with a "never say die" attitude. Life, he has learned, is never simple and straight-forward, but through Kuk Sool Kwan, one can learn to maneuver its twists and turns with confidence, skill, and grace.
Jo Kyo Nym Gabriel Ruan was born on August 29, 1995 in Orange County California. Throughout his childhood years he loved watching martial arts movies with his father and trying to reenact the fight scenes. For years he watched Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies along with cartoons like Shaolin Showdown and Avatar: The Last Airbender which were heavily influenced by the martial arts. Seeing characters in these films that portrayed such martial skill as well as the uniqueness and mystique that he was drawn to at the time sparked a desire for Gabriel to find a martial arts school.
In the summer of 2006 Gabriel was enrolled in the Kuk Sool Kwan Dojang school at age 11. He fell in love with Kuk Sool and trained there consistently for many years. He loved every aspect of Kuk Sool from the impressive powerful kicks and weapons to the philosophy and mysticism taught in the art. In 2011 Gabriel ventured out of his comfort zone and explored other art forms like boxing, kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the martial arts gym in Costa Mesa South Coast Martial Arts. There he learned boxing and kickboxing from coach Thourn Heng and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from coach Borna Baktiari. He was able to add the skills he learned from these teachers to his overall arsenal of martial technique as well as his coaching.
In 2012 Gabriel started teaching a group of friends from his high school every Friday at South Coast Martial Arts. This eventually lead to him creating his own team that he taught. He continues to train these young men today in martial arts passing on the knowledge he learned from his teachers. In summer 2014 Gabriel returned to the Kuk Sool Kwan Dojang to start his training as a black belt candidate. He trained intensely for close to a year with longtime friend and training partner Daniel Bukaty and on April 24th, 2015 received his 1st degree black belt. Gabe is still training at the Kuk Sool Dojang and plans on getting his 2nd degree black belt. He is also training with the EMC Monkey stunt team in Santa Fe springs with plans of eventually becoming a stuntman.
Master Ho formally named "Wuji Qigong Taijiquan" in 2003, after years of researching original taijiquan philosophy. He divides his time between teaching in Irvine, Taiwan, and Shanghai.
Exceptional in physical size and strength, Master Ho showed athletic ability at an early age. As a teenager in Shanghai, while studying both Northern and Southern styles of gongfu, he felt something was missing from external gongfu (Gongfu literally means "to spend time developing power."). Like those who pursue external gongfu, Master Ho had developed muscle and force rather than balance and speed. He recognized that the elements of balance and speed were missing, and were a very important part of gongfu.
Master Ho's search for a gongfu with structure and theory rather than rigid form and physical strength led him to study with a well-known teacher of Wu Style: Pei Tsu Ying.
Though Pei Tsu Ying had originally studied with Wu Chen Chuan, he didn't advertise his lineage. Pei Tsu Ying's fame was spread through word of mouth. Ying was described by his close friend, Ma Yuan Ling, son-in-law of first-generation Wu Chen Chuan, as having high level Tai Chi and as being a good person.
Sensei started training under Alan Sime, 5th dan in "Zen Budokai Ryu" Jujitsu in 1994 at the "Southland Budokai" school in Orange, California. He received his "Shodan" (1st Degree Black Belt) in 2001.
He then received his "Nidan" (2nd Degree Black Belt) in 2004 from Sensei Alan Sime and the current head of the Zen Budokai system, Tim Deigman, a 9th degree Black Belt. After receiving his "Sandan" (3rd Degree), his main goal was to spread the art as much as possible by holding seminars in British Columbia and teaching locally. He received his current rank from Alan Sime and Jerry Kunzman (a 9th degree black belt and one of Duke Moore's original black belts) on April 26, 2008.
Marcel is a professional who works in security and has experience with real world fighting application and self defense from numerous incidences both in local venues, concerts, and celebrity bodyguarding and tours. This experience informs and drives his class, so that his teaching does not lack for authenticity and practical insight. Sensei, in addition, feels that the traditions and standards that comprise older martial arts styles are the very source of their value, and maintains these methods in his classes.
Bei Bei He, Virtuosa Par Excellence began playing the Gu Zheng at the age of seven, and has studied with many masters in China such as Xu Ling-zi and Teng Chun-jiang, stars of the world famous Chinese National Orchestra and the China National Song and Dance Ensemble.
She holds degrees in Gu Zheng musicianship from the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in Hong Kong, where she received a full scholarship. In addition, she has received many Chinese national and international music competition victories, and is a multi-award winning performer.
She has released three albums and one EP since 2006, all of which have received international recognition. Her music has also been featured on the hit TV show "Battlestar Galactica", as well as the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also the author of the English/Chinese bilingual textbook, "Gu Zheng Sessions", from which she teaches her lessons.
Yoga Instructor Nina Raab received her 200 RYT certificate from the Atmananda Yoga Sequence in New York City and has additional certifications in Personal Training, Spencer Pilates, Life Coaching, Pure Barre, and many other group fitness formats. She currently trains clients both individually and in group settings and is working toward her 500 RYT certificate.
Nina was born in Puerto Rico. She was a timid girl who had no confidence in her physical abilities. In her late teens, seeking identity, discipline, and direction, she joined the Navy to become a linguist and discovered inner strength and physical abilities beyond her expectations. After serving two years in the military, life’s turns brought her to Texas, where she received her undergraduate degrees in Spanish and French from Lamar University, Beaumont and later a Master’s in Public Administration. She has been raising two beautiful daughters, Emily and Sofia, and has worked as a public school French and Spanish teacher for over 10 years.
In 2009, Nina decided to leave the public school system to become a yoga instructor after involving herself in the practice and realizing the abundance of benefits it brought to her life. This is the same year in which Nina received her 200 RYT certificate from the Atmananda Yoga Sequence in New York City.
Having only been in California since January of 2010, Nina can be found enjoying the beautiful weather with her family at the beach, pool, or tennis courts. She enjoys following the Lakers with her boyfriend and going to live music events whenever she can. Needless to say, a daily workout is always in store. Yoga, barre, boot camp, Pilates, and running- anything that challenges past her comfort zone and brings health and happiness to those around her.
Reviews left by Nina’s yoga students can be seen by visiting http://www.ratemyyogainstructor.com.