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

February 2014 Masters Profile


Name: Charles Mitchell Dunn

Rank and date of rank: Oh Dan (2011)

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region #7,
Chapin Martial Arts, Inc. Chapin, SC


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Ridgeland, S.C. in 1954.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

My wife Julie (E-Dan) and my 3 sons, Charles (E-Dan), Elwyn (E-Dan), and Christopher (Sam Dan) were involved in the past. My sons graduated from USC and are now serving in the Air Force.

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I work for the South Carolina Department of Transportation as a Data Base Administrator. I also serve as Chairman of the Administrative Board of St. James United Methodist Church.

List your academic accomplishments, military service:

I received an Associate Degree from Spartanburg Methodist College and served active duty in the Army from 1977 -1981.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

In the early 70s, I enjoyed watching karate movies with Bruce Lee for his martial arts abilities and the Kung Fu movies for its words of wisdom.  I joined a local American free style karate studio which was focused mostly on competition.  The point system was a little different back then, full contact.  I remember my first match after 2 months of training, my instructor came up to me and said, “Dunn, you can take a pretty good punch”.   

While in the Army, I received my first Black Belt with Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do in Korea in 1980.  A few years later after returning to Columbia, SC, I visited a class taught by Master Bob Weichel.  The Hyungs were the same as taught in Korea.  I joined and started back as a 10th Gup, because at the time, I did not want to surrender my Moo Duk Kwan certificates.  Master Weichel was always explaining to the upper belts that I had prior experience.

Grandmaster Shin and the Region 7 Masters (left to right: Masters Weichel, Scota, Mars, Genna, Kuehner, and Dunn) before the 2010 World Championship in Greensboro, NC.

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

When I first started, there were no children and very few women.  It was very competitive, especially at Black Belt level and Instructors were more interested in making a name for themselves to bring in more students to their schools.  There were 4 major karate studios in Columbia in the 1970s.  I remember an Instructor from another studio had made a few remarks about my Instructor’s abilities.  My instructor, which would normally be in the middle weight class; moved up to heavy weight, to be in the same division as this Instructor. My instructor was disqualified but not a word was said again about his martial arts abilities.

Our Association welcomes young, old, and everyone in between. I never thought that I would be teaching tiny tigers but they have so much energy and soak up everything.  Kwan Chang Nim Shin setup an environment that we compete against ourselves striving to be a better person at all levels.  Instructors now get together to share their ideas and knowledge, building their programs which creates a stronger Dojang and Association. We are truly a family caring and sharing with each other. 

Difference between when you first started training and today.

When I started the main focus was me, what I could get out of training. Everything I did was to improve myself. Today, and for a long while it has been from a teacher's perspective. I want to pass down the knowledge that I have to my students, the next generation.

Master Dunn and Chapin Martial Arts competitors at the Spring Tournament.

Tang Soo Do Career

What was your Master’s thesis on, why did you choose it, and what did you learn from it?

My Master's thesis was on Nutrition.  In 1997 at my first Master’s Clinic my weight was 191 pounds. As I have gotten older, my metabolizm has slowed and I have more aches and pains. I am working on controlling my weight gain with my goal to get off medication and to live a longer and healthier life, naturally.  I chose nutrition to better understand what is taking place and as an Instructor be able to assist my students and others on the subject. .

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

It has changed over the years. The Hyungs were center and foremost coming up thru the lower ranks. Don’t get me wrong, they are still important as all aspect of Tang Soo Do and you can get to a level after decades of performing a Hyung that it becomes moving meditation. Then there was Jang Gum in the 1990s and with a short stint with an Iaido Master, the sword had new meaning.  Iaido is the art of drawing a sword. Master Michael Hicks also taught an unforgettable sword training clinic for Chief Instructors and his knowledge of training techniques were outstanding.  Now my favorite part is teaching, passing the art to the next generation, before I forget it. I am turning 60 this year.

WTSDA committees or positions:

I am honored to have been 1 of 3 Region 7 Directors since 1982, a member of the WTSDA Building Committee, and head the World Championship Setup team.

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

There are so many role models in the WTSDA and Kwan Chang Nim Shin is at the top of the list. He was dedicated to the WTSDA and to the art of Tang Soo Do. It is hard to imagine that most weekends he would leave his family and travel all over the world visiting regions, teaching clinics, and promoting the World Tang Soo Do Association.  When I say he was dedicated, dedicated to every member of the Association as a caring, loving father.  He was truly a Master of Masters.

My father passed away November 30 at 87 years old, married for 60 years, raised 4 children on a Pastor’s salary, and we never went without the necessaries of life. He was a devoted and loving father. I miss him.

Master Dunn at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new WTSDA Headquarters with Grandmaster Shin and the mayor of Burlington (left) and with Master Strong with his 30+ years dedication award.

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

The first World Championship in Philadelphia was exciting.  We had fundraisers to offset the cost of the flight, training several months in advance. One night, about a week before the Championship, I was sparring with Mr. Will Brian when, he kicked, I blocked and I dislocated my index finger.  I was told that I shouldn’t compete but I taped the two fingers together, placed a pad in my palm and taped it, and competed.  On the plane flying back it seem that half the people on the plane had a large trophy. There were so many stories being told on the flight heading South.

I had recently been promoted to Cho Dan when Kwan Chang Nim Shin had come to a clinic in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Afterwards, all the Chief Instructors were crowded around him listening to what he had to say to them.  Sheila Carpenter and I had a respectable distance when KCN stepped out of the group and said in his broken English, “ Hello, Mitchell, how are you?”.  I thought to myself, how did he know my name? I was a just a Cho Dan but he had a way of making everyone feel special.

On May 12, 2011 the ground-breaking ceremony for World Headquarters was held in Burlington, N.C. That morning shortly after daybreak, I got a cup of coffee from the hotel lobby and walked over to the work site. There sitting on a mound of dirt was KCN looking at the workers getting their equipment to start the day. I don’t how long he had been there. I said, good morning and he says, Mitchell, they start work early. I saw this smile on his face. I knew that his dream was coming true after all these many years.

Master Dunn's Oh Dan promotion by Grandmaster Beaudoin at the 2012 World Championship.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

A true Martial Artist develops the mind and spirit as well as the body.

Tang Soo!