The World Tang Soo Do Association

A True "World" Organization


Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin
(December 20, 1936 - July 9, 2012)

Robert E. Beaudoin

Untitled Document

January 2017 Masters Profile


Name: Kristen Nolan Winsko

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan (July, 2016)

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region #8, Vaughn’s Dojang

Contact Information:


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Paramus, New Jersey, USA.

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I am a Financial Services Attorney.

Interest or hobbies outside of Tang Soo Do:

I enjoy soccer, reading, travel and spending time with family.

List your academic accomplishments, military service:

Villanova NROTC student, Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Widener University Law School.

Master Winsko taking the Master's Oath at the 2016 Region 8 Championship.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

I started Tang Soo Do in August 1998, after seeing a sign on the windows of what was to become the Vaughn’s Dojang commercial space (here in Audubon, Region 8) that said “Coming Soon, Valley Forge Martial Arts”.  I had spent a semester in school taking care of three children, one of which took karate and I would drive him to and from class, watching from the parent’s section and it intrigued me.  After seeing the sign at lunch one day, I called for an introductory class.  Master Adam White gave me my first lesson and I knew right away it would be something that I would love.  I signed up and never looked back. The classes I took as a white belt were taught by Jim and Allison Robinson, but I have been lucky enough to also have been in classes as I moved up through the gup ranks taught by Master Jorgensen, Master Adam White, Dr. Wayne Rosenkrans (Sah Dan), Master Altiere, Master Lipstein, and of course Master Vaughn. I feel grateful that I was lucky enough to find a WTSDA school, and Master Vaughn and all the wonderful people who train at Vaughn’s Dojang. 

What were your first impressions when you started and how have they changed?

At first I was in awe of all the wonderful people at Vaughn’s. It was immediately clear that the group of people studying at the dojang were more like family than just students at a business. It was also clear that there were some phenomenally talented martial artists training with Master Vaughn. Master Vaughn’s dedication to Tang Soo Do, the WTSDA and Grandmaster Shin was evident to even the greenest beginner and I knew right away that I wanted to be part of the wonderful things Vaughn’s Dojang and the WTSDA had to offer. My impressions have grown as I have spent more time training. I have a better understanding of what wonderful people I am surrounded by when at the Dojang or at WTSDA events and I am even more humbled by the abilities of those I train with since I now have a better understanding of how long and hard we all need to work to achieve even good technique.

Any other martial arts studied?

I am an E Dan in Sin Moo Hapkido.

Notable accomplishments or future goals in the martial arts field?

I have had the honor of receiving a few awards from Vaughn’s Dojang and the WTSDA.  I am proudest however of the special appreciation award from Grandmaster Shin, as a result of the work done to get Headquarters built.

Tang Soo Do Career

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

Hyung. I know that many students think hyung is boring, but I find that they bring every aspect of my training together. They allow me to find peace and relax me when needed and yet I can see the power they have in them. Practiced correctly, they can provide not just the foundation needed to perform effective techniques, but you can see the offensive and defensive applications of the moves, learn timing and control, generate immense power, meditate, and get an excellent workout, all while practicing a single pattern of movements.

WTSDA committees or positions:

I am Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee and member of each of the Governance Committee, Executive Committee, Building Committee, Women & Children’s Committee and Development Committee.

Difference between when you first started training and today? 

I am a little older, slower and less flexible. Although I like to think I am a little wiser too! I recall as a white belt not really understanding why, when you are part of the WTSDA, there is so much to do that isn’t in a dobahk while sweating. But now, after seeing how much those things mean to those we help (both inside and outside the dojang), volunteering is something I want to do.  I also study the books more; they are a treasure trove of information and well-rounded training should not neglect what can be learned from Volume 1-5 and all the journals.

Master Winsko with Master Sandy Lipstein (left) and Master Winsko at Vaughn's Dojang (right).

What is your favorite Hyung and/or weapon and why?

My favorite hyung is Sip Soo because it is my least favorite hyung.I am sure that seems like an odd statement, but I have always struggled with Sip Soo, and the dynamic tension – I am much better with moves like those in Pyung Ahn Oh Dan or Naihanchi. So, for me, Sip Soo is about the challenges it presents.  It challenges my ability to generate power in a different way; it challenges my balance when in a deep front stance; it challenges my ability to move without standing up between moves; it challenges my ability to imagine the practical applications of many of the movements; and it challenges me to just remember it!  So, I love it!

Who are some of your role models in and out of WTSDA?

There are so many role models in the WTSDA that I look up to – Grandmasters Beaudoin and Strong, Grandmaster Shin, all of my instructors, Masters Giselle Sharpe and Becky Rupp, but most of all Master Vaughn.  Master Vaughn is inspiring. He is loyal and intelligent, he puts his heart and soul into everything he does, always thinking of the WTSDA, the art of Tang Soo Do and his family (both his personal family and all of his Tang Soo Do students and fellow martial artists), and his technique is so effective that it can be scary sometimes. But more than that, he is the consummate mentor and teacher, always looking for what is best for his students.

Outside the WTSDA, I always looked up to Sally Ride; when I was younger I wanted to be her when I grew up. She was a pioneer and trailblazer for women, proving that I could almost literally reach the stars if I tried hard enough and wanted it enough. And of course, the other two biggest roles models for me have been my parents. They have always been wonderful role models. They have taught me what is important in life and that I could achieve anything I wanted to, as long as I work hard and give my best. I could never have accomplished what I have without the things my parents have taught me. 

What are some of your favorite memories of your time in WTSDA?

Getting my Black Belt was a pretty big deal as I was in the middle of working full time and going to law school at night when I tested. Because of the way the law school program worked, I really couldn’t take a second Saturday off to go to Regionals to get my belt like the rest of those I tested with, so I received my belt in class one night. That was extra special because I was given the opportunity to thank Master Vaughn and all my instructors for all their help and guidance. 

My first trip to Alabama was special as I went not as a candidate, but as an E Dan, so that I could attend the Board of Directors meeting and assist Grandmaster Shin with a number of things. I was nervous and it, at first, felt a little awkward not being a candidate but not being officially “staff” with other duties either. But every one of the Masters, candidates and staff I met was welcoming and gracious and it was a wonderful experience.

Like so many, a number of my favorite memories include memories of Grandmaster Shin:  When he asked me to go to Alabama as a candidate but I had to tell him that I couldn’t go yet and when I told him why, he laughed heartily and said “of course not, you will go next year instead!” Sitting in his office, discussing a number of items and then watching he and Master Vaughn debate some of the moves of the 2nd sword form and how the book should describe them and what should be the “official” moves. 

And I could not talk about favorite memories without mentioning my two trips to the Latin American Masters Clinic. It would be hard to put into a short paragraph all the things that made both trips so memorable, but anyone who has the ability to visit that clinic should do so. All the people of Region 12 are wonderful and it didn’t feel like traveling to a foreign country, it felt like visiting family. 

What are your future goals in WTSDA?

As a martial artist, to continue to learn and hopefully one day, perfect just one move, and to train as long as my body will let me. As the General Counsel for the WTSDA, to help the organization grow into one that will be larger (with more and better members) and stronger so that it will be the premier organization many, many years after I am gone. I also hope that my (now 3 year old) son will one day want to be a part of the WTSDA and train with his mom!

Master Winsko and the Black Belt class at Vaughn's Dojang.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

Don’t quit. That is really all it takes. I heard Grandmaster Shin say it a number of times – the only reason he reached the levels he did is because he never gave up. If you want to be a Black Belt or a Master (or do anything outside Tang Soo Do), all you need to do is try your hardest, give your best effort, and don’t quit. It is amazing what a person can outlast and overcome, when they do not let anything stand in their way..

Teaching tips or ways you make classes more exciting:

Teachers and students alike get more out of class when teachers enjoy class and care about their students. Tricks and gimmicks may help in the short term with keeping students engaged, but what really matters is that you want to teach and you care about your students. When that is the case, the students feel it, and they love class and want to come back. One way to show this is to find even just a single small way to connect with each student in class, and then that is what they will remember. And if all else fails, break boards!  Students absolutely love breaking!

Tang Soo!