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

June 2014 Masters Profile


Name: Sanford Lipstein

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan Master (2010)

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


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

I started training with my son, Brian, when he was 7 years old.  Brian trained until his junior year in high school, at which point he was an E-dan.  My wife and younger daughter each trained for a little over a year, achieving the rank of 5th gup.

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I spent 15 years in public accounting, then, in 1985, became the CFO for Spectacor, the entity in Philadelphia that owns the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team, the arena, and many other sports related businesses.  In 1996, Spectacor merged with Comcast Corporation to become Comcast-Spectacor.  I retired as CFO of Comcast-Spectacor in 2008, but continue to have a consulting relationship with the company.

Master Lipstein and Master Chuck Vaughn

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

As noted above, I started training with my son.  We started in May 1991 at the Phoenixville YMCA branch of Vaughn’s Dojang, and I have been with Master Vaughn ever since.

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

I had wanted to train in martial arts since my teenage years, but never took the first step until my son was prepared to start with me.  When I started, I told my instructor I was in for the “long haul”, which I defined as achieving Black Belt.  As I moved to Cho Dan Bo, I began to see that Black Belt was not going to be the end.  What I’ve come to realize is that Tang Soo Do is a never ending journey, and that achievements along the way are only milestones to be enjoyed, but are not an end in themselves.

Any other martial arts studied?

About 8 years ago, Master Vaughn brought Do Ja Nim Ji Han Jae to our studio to begin a series of classes in Sin Moo Hapkido.  A group of our students studied under Do Ja Nim for two years, and were certified as Cho Dans in Sin Moo Hapkido.  This led to a desire to learn more about the art, and Master Vaughn allowed me to begin teaching a separate Hapkido course in our studio.  I have been teaching this course for 4 years, and, by teaching, have learned much more than I ever would as a student.

Notable accomplishments or future goals in the martial arts field?

I was honored to be asked to test for Master rank in 2010.  I was also honored with the Hall of Fame award for Humanitarian of the Year at the 2010 World Championship.

Master Lipstein demonstrating self defense techniques.

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 “Acupressure for Every Day Health and Healing”.  I had been actively involved in the WTSDA Ki Gong program for many years, and Grandmaster Shin suggested the topic as a way to expand my ki gong knowledge and experience.  Since I completed my thesis, I have had many occasions to use acupressure to assist others, from relieving the pain of an approaching migraine headache to settling down an upset stomach.

WTSDA committees or positions:

I currently serve as Treasurer for both the WTSDA and the WTSDF.  As an officer, I am also on the Executive and Governance Committees of both organizations.  I spent ten years as the East Coast director of the World Ki Gong Club, a position I turned over to Master Michael Inoshita in 2014.

Difference between when you first started training and today? 

When I first started training, I wondered how I would ever get my hands and feet to move together.  Today, I wonder what took me so long to start, and know that, while I can now make hands and feet work together, there is so much more to learn and achieve.

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

I love the hyung.  I love being able to get lost in the rhythm of the hyung, and to reach for increased proficiency in execution of the hyung.

Master Lipstein

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

My favorite hyung has changed over the years, as I’ve been able to learn new ones.  Right now, my favorite is Oh Sip Sa Bo.  I love the different moves in the hyung – the pattern moving side to side as well as front to back.  Being under Master Vaughn’s tutelage means great exposure to the sword, and I’ve enjoyed trying to master the weapon.  Master Britt provided a sobering experience at our regional Black Belt camp several years ago, when he set up some cutting stands and asked some Sah Dans to cut through the material he had set up.  While I thought I was prepared to cut, my technique showed otherwise, and that lesson encouraged me to create my own cutting stand and work on improving my technique.

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

Grandmaster Shin and Master Vaughn are the two people within WTSDA who have had the greatest influence on my martial arts career.  In addition to his excellent teaching and guidance, Master Vaughn encouraged me to develop my own relationship with Grandmaster Shin, and that relationship allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the history of WTSDA, and the skill with which Grandmaster Shin guided the organization.  I also have deep respect for Grandmaster Beaudoin.  I think he has displayed exemplary skill in assuming the leadership role for our organization, and has done so without diminishing our past.

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

The best memories are those of kinship.  I have made many new friends over my years of training, and, in the case of one (Frank Altiere) we call ourselves “brother”.  One of my favorite specific memories is the first Masters’ Clinic I attended. Mr. Altiere and I arrived a few minutes late, the bus to the training center carrying all the other candidates left without us, and we were momentarily in panic.  One of the Masters said "no problem, hop in my car and I’ll drive you there".  This friendly gesture was only the first of so many heaped on the candidates that weekend.  It really drove home the spirit of brotherhood that exists in our Association.

As WTSDA celebrates its 30th anniversary, what are your hopes/wishes for WTSDA in the next 30 years?

I don’t think I’m alone in having wondered whether WTSDA could survive the death of our Founder.  We now know we can survive and thrive because of the careful planning Grandmaster Shin did to ensure survival.  My hope would be to see a resurgence in the desire to learn martial arts to the point where WTSDA studios all thrive, and, through the studios’ success, the organization grows.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

The advice here is simple.  Don’t quit.  The longer you train and the more you put into your training, the more you will get out of it.  Rank is not a goal.  The goal is to become a better person and a better martial artist.  Rank will follow if the goal is correct.

Teaching tips or ways you make classes more exciting:

I like classes to reflect constant movement.  I also like to break the classes into smaller groups, and use senior ranks to teach junior ranks.  Senior rank does not always mean Black Belts.  I’ve used higher ranking gup students to teach lower ranking gup students.  Since I believe one learns best by teaching, giving that responsibility is one of the best ways for senior ranking students to improve their own techniques.

Tang Soo!