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

July 2016 Masters Profile


Name: John S. Francis

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan Master (2016)

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region 7, Moo Son Tang Soo Do

Contact Information:


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Chester, Pa.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

Family members who train in Tang Soo Do include my wife, Liz who is a Sam Dan and my sons, Tony (Cho Dan) and Jake (E Dan).

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I was a chemist for 30 years primarily involved in the development of conductive paints for electronics.  I retired in 2014.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

It was by chance that my family and I became associated with WTDSA. In the mid 1990s my son, Jake expressed interest in marital arts. We were members of the Phoenixville YMCA and they offered classes in Tang Soo Do. For the first few months, I sat in the back of class and read the paper while Jake took class. After watching the classes I decided I might as well train rather than sit in the back. We enjoyed the classes so much that within the next few years my wife, Liz and younger son Tony started training. The chief instructor for the class at the Phoenixville YMCA is Master Charles Vaughn. As the years pass, I have come to realize how fortunate we have been. We continued training there as a family for the next 15-20 years.

Master Francis and his promotion to Sah Dan Master with Grandmaster Beaudoin and Master Scota.

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

Early training in any martial arts is about self. The focus of the effort was in learning new forms and techniques. When my family began training, the milestones in our martial arts were new belts and the chance to learn the next form. Looking back on that time, I realize martial arts played a big part in our family. The fact that we trained together gave us an activity that allowed us to spend more time together and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. As we progressed in martial arts the focus changed to others. Sharing the journey with others becames the focus of more and more of our efforts. Being an instructor for Master Vaughn and later starting our own school helped us expand our Tang Soo family.  This martial arts family is important in both Liz's and my life.

Any other martial arts studied?

I am a Tai Chi beginner. As I get a bit older I appreciate the finesse of Tai Chi and plan to explore the discipline in more detail. I also enjoy the chance to be a beginner in a martial arts discipline.

Notable accomplishments in the martial arts field?

One of my favorite accomplishments in martial arts came from helping a group of students prepare for the Creativity competition. I had the privilege of managing the competition demo team for Valley Forge Martial Arts for a number of years. The friendship and leadership skills of the participants formed during these years are something that makes me proud.  Winning the big trophy at Region 8 tournament was a bonus.

Tang Soo Do Career

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

My thesis was about why we do the things we do. It is a review of human motivation theory. My hope was to understand why some people continue in martial arts while others fall by the wayside. I’m not sure I answered my question but I did learn about what people strive for in life and how these goals are universal. The review of the topic also gave me the vocabulary and knowledge base to continue to investigate the original question.

Master Francis and several of his students.

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

I love forms. I believe hyung share the essence of Tang Soo and improve all others aspects of our training.

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

My favorite hyung is Pyung Ahn E Dan. The reason I like this hyung is it is the first hyung I learned where I felt like I was in a fight. My favorite weapon by far is the staff. When I first picked up a stick at brown belt I felt comfortable. I also believe as a defensive weapon the staff fits well with the defensive nature of Tang Soo Do.

WTSDA committees or positions:  

I am currently the judging coordinator for Region 7.

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

Grandmaster Shin is an inspiration to all of us.  For me, seeing Grandmaster Shin at tournaments and functions he was always happy and calm. I remember thinking as a gup student I want what he has, contentment. He has inspired me to continue training in search of that contentment.

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

Seeing my family achieve Black Belts is one of my finest memories in martial arts.

What are your future goals in WTSDA?

My goal is to have a successful school and contribute to the region and association. I hope that I can contribute to my Tang Soo family in positive ways.

Master Francis and his wife Liz.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

The advice that I shared with students over my years of teaching originally comes from my first instructor Master Charles Vaughn "The only way to fail in your training is to quit".

Tang Soo!