The World Tang Soo Do Association

A True "World" Organization

 

























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



















Grandmaster
Robert E. Beaudoin

Untitled Document

February 2015 Masters Profile


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Name: Giselle Sleiman Sharpe

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan Master (2013)

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region #4,
Karate Masters Family Martial Arts Academy I and II in Spring, TX

Contact Information: karatemasters@hotmail.com / 281.288.2001

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Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Huntington Park, CA.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

Family members who train in Tang Soo Do include my husband, William (Chil Dan), my son (Cho Dan Bo) and daughter (2nd gup).

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I’m retired from Lockheed Martin Space Operations. I was an Engineer for them. I have a degree in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona and had a very happy and exciting career with NASA for 18 years as a contractor for such companies as the Space Telescope Science Institute (Hubble), Honeywell and Lockheed Martin. Currently I run a full time Martial Arts Academy in Spring, TX with my husband.

Master Giselle Sharpe and her family.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

I started training in the summer of 1991 just after my graduation from the University of Arizona in Tucson. A friend of mine in the Astronomy department was a Black Belt. He saw that I was struggling after my boyfriend at the time was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a difficult time for me and he thought it would take my mind off of things and it did. My first Instructors were Aida Khoury and Doug Williams in Tucson, AZ. We trained in a university club setting. The Master Instructor was Master Darryl Khalid located in the Phoenix area.

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

I guess impressions changes with one’s growth. When I first started it was like when you’re a child. It’s all about you, your training and how it makes you feel. It made me feel free. It made me feel centered. It made me feel safe. When I trainined it felt great doing something for myself physically and whole bodily. As the the ranks got higher, the intellectual part of training started changing my perception. The rest of the stuff was still there, however, a higher understanding started to develop. My ‘impressions’ never changed in the sense that it’s an amazing thing to do and be apart of, however, my perception of rank changed. Let’s just say with each rank the belt became heavier and heavier and currently it’s understandably the heaviest it’s ever been… but I welcome the challenge.

Difference between when you first started training and today.

Training is different because I’m different. Each place I’ve trained left an impression on me and I evolved. In general, there are definitely more women now. But it’s hard to compare as I always trained with adults (and only 2 kids) up until 1999.

Any other martial arts studied?

When I moved from Tucson to Baltimore, MD for a job I looked at other martial arts because I was just a green belt and there were no schools around. I tried a couple of other styles but nothing felt right.  Finally, Mr. Peter Emanual moved to Baltimore from Penn State.

Notable accomplishments in the martial arts field?

  • 2013 – First Female Master Region 4 and currently only female Master in Region 4.
  • 2011 – Present – Developed and run the WTSDA Business Seminar for the WTSDA with the approval of Grandmaster Shin.  I work this program under the supervision and guidance of Master John Godwin and the support of our current Grandmasters as well as the Region 4 Director.
  • 2010 – WTSDA Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year – First person, Male or Female to receive the honor in Region 4, 2nd Female worldwide. Master Rupp was the first. First Lebanese descent Master.
  • 2002 Region 4 Instructor of the Year
  • 1999 Region 8 Instructor of the Year
  • Multiple Student of the Year awards.

 

Master Sharpe and her students Creativity performance at the 2006 World Championship.

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 the Women of the WTSDA. I focused on the female masters with interviews. I also calculated the statistics of male vs. female. It was more of a clinical approach but I did get some very valuable stories from these amazing women about martial arts prior to, during and after inception of the WTSDA. It was an honor speaking to and learning from the women who paved the way of our current generation. People might say there’s no difference between a man and a woman studying a martial art these day. Some might even say why bring it up. Yes, I’ve gotten that question. Well, there is a difference.  It’s not better or worse but there is a difference. To quote a senior Master “If there were no differences then we wouldn't have different divisions at tournaments”… we wouldn't have different committees that reflect those differences. Make no bones about it, the women who came before us (and us I mean.. I am 22 years into the WTSDA!!)… they were pioneers and definitely had something in them that you just don’t see often today. They never considered themselves that, but without them things wouldn't be the way they are today in our organization! For them, I am grateful. The stories were amazing!  I do hope that the current generation of female martial artists understand and appreciate how we got where we are today and how much easier it is for them then it was for our predecessors.

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

In the beginning it was all about the physical aspect. After Black Belt it was about sharing. I love to share Tang Soo Do. Now, it’s about teaching and helping people achieve things they never thought they could. It’s very circular as the physical becomes a favorite again.. then sharing.. then teaching…

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

My favorite Hyung is Pyung Ahn Cho Dan. I know, I know… there are so many amazing forms but this one I really feel my strongest doing. I feel grounded with it. It feels like home to me. My favorite weapon hyung is a tie between the Knife form and the 2nd Sword form.  No particular reason other than I like how the form flows and how the weapons feel in my hands doing those forms.

WTSDA committees or positions:

  • Web News Editor and Studio Website Approval Chair – for 10 years
  • WTSDA Business Seminar Creator, Administrator and Implementor
  • Multiple other committees/ positions – Region 4 administrator for some time, Worked the Head table for multiple years at the world championship, worked many positions at multiple world championships, ran Region 4 championships as well as other events in the region.

Grandmaster Beaudoin promoting Master Sharpe to Sah Dan.

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

Outside of Tang Soo Do – it would have to be my Mother. While in her life she would never view herself as a role model, I do.  She saved my life when I was 14 years old and at that one point by 1 simple act, a simple sentence spoken; she set me up and created an environment for me to succeed in regardless of the odds. My brothers – Both of them overcame great odds to succeed in their lives.  It wasn’t easy but each did what they needed to to get where they’re at today.  I love them dearly.  My lovely sis Lauren for being uncompromising and seeing the way things simply are… not clouded… just simply as they are in her bike lane view. My father in law – Butch Sharpe (Cho Dan) – for being uncompromising and unapologetic when it came to being who he was. He was indeed an amazing Father and Role model and is missed every day!  Dr. T. L. Swihart – while he no longer walks this earth, this Professor profoundly changed my view on things and on myself.

In Tang Soo Do: Most of the Masters that I know are my role models. There are far too many who have influenced my life that if I named just 1 I would have to name them all and I’m afraid I’d miss one. How could you not be influenced after a conversation with Master Mimidis, Master Robinson, Master Valentin, Master White, Master Kaye, Master Khan (both), Master Marsch, Master Delbono, Master Treacy, Master Fisher….. And so many many more!!!

Of course, Grandmaster Shin is on the top of my list. The way he lived Tang Soo Do and just the human being he was. If he did not do the things he did I would never be living the life I’m living; and I am grateful for the life I have. I still get very teary eyed at the thought of our great loss and how much I personally miss him. Master Vance Britt was my Master Instructor who I achieved Cho Dan under after training with Mr. Peter Emanuel and Mr. John Celli and then subseqentially Mr. Muhib Rahman and Ms. Amanda Hagy and the most awesome group of people I admire  at Morning Star Tang Soo Do, 'back in the day'. These people are still my friends.  During this time, as a green belt, I met one of the people who has remained my best friend for over 20 years.  To this day I can't imagine my life without her.  Oh, she knows who she is.  Then there's  Maggie Gonski, without her guidance and education and introducing me to my husband, again, things would not be as they are. It’s amazing how many things play out in order for us to be in the places we are today. The leaders in Region 4 – each one has their own special niche that sets them apart. All of these people and many more had changed my life and continue to play a role in it all because 1 man got on a plane and traveled from Korea to the US.  If you asked me 30 years ago if I thought I would be where I am today I would have thought you were crazy....It boggles my mind and yet I'm so humbly grateful.

Now, the examples set forth by Grandmaster Beaudoin and Grandmaster Strong – while they are different in person they lead by example. I respect them as martial artists and leaders in our organization. The more I speak with them and get to know them, the more I feel for them and am grateful that they are here to help us grow and lead us into the future.

Then there’s Master Allen Sharpe;  yes, my husband.  As a Martial Arts role model I could not have ever asked for a better one  I might be biased, but if it were just based on a role model for an amazing Martial Artist, Teacher and all things that encompass Tang Soo Do from the physical to the cerebral to the spiritual- he lives it all  I have not met another individual, IN OR OUT of Tang Soo Do like him, while he may not be perfect he is fair. I’ve seen him handle the most difficult situations as a leader and still come out being fair to all parties involved. He makes decisions that are right, just and fair. This is what I wish for my students, my children and myself. To be able to live a life like that. Again, there are many many more.. so many more that I apologize if I missed anyone!

Grandmaster Shin and Master Sharpe receiving her 2010 Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year.

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

When I was a green Belt, I was a grandchampion runner for a tournament and I was told to go up to shake hands with the Masters.  It was my first time seeing so many in one place.  When I got to the end of the line Grandmaster Shin stood there shook my hand and said “Giselle, you stay in the WTSDA a long time!”… I said “yes Sir!". In 1998 when I received my black belt at the Region 8 Black Belt camp, there was that line and I shook every amazing Master’s hand. At the end was Grandmaster Shin again, and he said to me “Giselle, I remember when you were a green belt”.  There are no words that could describe how he made me feel in that one moment of time and how he continues to make me feel as my heart misses him so.

Are there other memories?  Sure!  Master Britt stretching me for an hour until I cried!  Might not seem like a ‘favorite’, but it was and still is…. Meeting the amazing Masters of Region 8 and training with them… training at Morning Start Tang Soo Do under Mr. John Celli and that band of crazy martial artists who will always be my family whether they train or not!

Testing in front of my husband for Sah Dan is NOT a favorite memory, but it is a memory.  Testing WITH my husband for Sah Dan Master as he tested for 7th Dan was overwhelming.  When I was getting ready and we were lining up, the conductor shouted – these names.. these names of my heros!  Master Stine, Master Chambliss (OMG was I really going to be on the floor with Master Chambliss?  Did he really say ‘yes sir’ and line up? Then Master Godwin and Master Sharpe and Master Purnell and the list went on and on… I can’t remember everyone so I apologize if I didn’t list your name…There were so many that by the time my name was called and I was in the last row I was already overwhelmed at what an incredible honor it was going to be that night…  My friends were around me… friends who have been my friends through the process and through the journey to black belt.. testing with them was also an honor and a very favorite memory of mine.

Receiving my Sah Dan Master and hugging my husband after a great hug from KCN Beaudoin.  Then having Master Muhib Rahman come in (I received my cho dan from him in 1998) for a surprise visit.

What are your future goals in WTSDA?

To become the best student, instructor and leader I can possible be and help the WTSDA as a whole grow and achieve it’s goal.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

Well. I like the saying “less yack, more smack”. Just do it, don’t talk it to death.. just do it.

Tang Soo!

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