The World Tang Soo Do Association

A True "World" Organization


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

Robert E. Beaudoin

July 2017 Master's Profile


Name: Phil Wiskin

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

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region #11, Ramsey & Upwood Tang Soo Do (part of Great Britain Tang Soo Do), Cambridgeshire, England

Contact Information:


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Reading, England in 1965…… really goes too quick! We moved to Belgium for a few years with my father’s career, and then back to the UK when I was 7.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

My partner, Donna Harvey is a Sam Dan, and currently going through her Masters grading process. I feel she is going to be a real credit to the association when she hopefully achieves her Master rank – then again I‘m biased! My eldest son, Dominic Wiskin (20) is an E Dan, but he has been unable to train much over the last couple of years due to being away at university. I hope he will return to full time training soon. My youngest son, Max (16) trained for a few years up to the age of 9, reached 2nd gup, and then found football and stopped training!  I have told him he is now out of my will!

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I’ve been in the construction industry for just about all of my working career, mostly involved with sales and commercial aspects for heavy building materials. I enjoy it and is not office based, with regular site visits. Many years ago I also worked a door on a nightclub. I did this for about 5 years, on weekends. Looking back on it, I found it an invaluable education in life and also conflict situations, in how to deal with them both verbally and occasionally when required on a physical level. I stopped doing this when I felt too old and out of place in a night club, at the prime age of 30 and an E Dan.

Interest or hobbies outside of Tang Soo Do:

To blast away the ‘cobwebs’ I enjoy motorcycling. I have a very large and frighteningly fast sports bike that just makes me laugh inside my helmet when I open up the throttle. My partner Donna is also a regular pillion passenger. A couple of years ago we toured up into Scotland which was great fun. It also gave us the excuse to take our Dobohks along with us and visit and train with our Tang Soo Do family in the Scottish and northern England areas.  We are thinking of a European trip next year. I very much enjoy music and going to gigs (rock, of course) I drummed in bands for many years and fully appreciate watching good musicianship, regardless of genre. Travel and reading finish the list.


Master Wiskin's side kick.
Ms. Harvey with Master Wiskin's motorbike touring Scotland.


Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

In 1988, I had heard about a Tang Soo Do studio a few miles away from where I lived in Cambridgeshire.  The studio was called RAF Upwood, which was a USAF personnel base and the instructor was John Hanson, who was an E Dan at the time and a retired US serviceman himself. I went along to try it out and never looked back. This studio incidentally was the first ever WTSDA studio in the UK, when Master Khan opened it up in 1984 before giving it over to John Hanson. I went on to become the instructor myself in 1992 as a fresh Cho Dan, when John Hanson returned back to the US.

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

My first impressions when I joined the Upwood Studio were very complementary. My understanding and love started for what a traditional martial arts style is all about started at this point. The depth and history of the techniques and hyungs that were taught, as well as the respect and humility shown in the dojang were inspiring. And when the weapons aspect was added, it was a style that seemed to have everything. And it still does today.

Any other martial arts studied?

I started in martial arts when I was 21. I lived in St Ives, Cambridgeshire and wanted to get fit, flexible and trained. I joined a local class called ‘Modern Contact Karate’. It was not a traditional base style, instead a blend of styles and techniques also with contact sparring but no Hyungs or weapons. I enjoyed it and did it for a couple of years until the club closed down. I then went on to find Tang Soo Do.

Notable accomplishments or future goals in the martial arts field?

I’m still standing, with most of my own teeth, and able to kick head high at my age!  On a more serious aspect, I hope that I have inspired the students that have learned our art under my guidance, and that they have benefitted in many ways, including physically and inner confidence. I think I measure my accomplishments by my students that have gone on to achieve their Dan Grades, those who become instructors, and even those that have gone onto to Master level.

Master Wiskin and Master Khan at his Oh Dan promotion. Master Wiskin and Ms. Donna Harvey.
Tang Soo Do Career

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

My first thesis was on pressure / nerve points on the body, how they correlated with meridian lines and how it all comes together with where and why we should impact on them within our techniques. This subject had always appealed to me to investigate, it’s a huge area to research, and I use and demonstrate a lot of the aspects I learnt within my class to my students, from 9th gup up. My second thesis was on Cane techniques and applications. This is a very effective weapon to learn and demonstrate, has close links to our Korean lineage with the monks of old who used them as a defensive instrument. It is an item that many of us may have to use in later life anyway, so why not make extra use of it?

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

All of it. That said, I have always enjoyed Ho Sin Sul and One steps and teaching these to my students. I hope I have given them an effective working standard, probably as a result of my doorman experience.

Difference between when you first started training and today?  

Fundamentally, I feel the biggest change to have occurred over the years is to do with training methodology, which is in most part due to becoming more inclusive over the years, with a welcome infusion of female students, children, older age students and families. I think we had just two female students and one child within the studio when I first joined. As a consequence training in general was very male / testosterone orientated, and in truth probably harsher and more physical than today.  Now, close to half of my students are female, half of my students are between 6 and 16, and my eldest student is 73 (and a Cho Dan). Some of the most talented martial artists I know are female. Students of all ages gain fitness and confidence in what they do, as well as self defence capability. And yet still, if they want to receive a really physically and mentally demanding training and tuition, then that is still available them. A student will get out of it what they put in. Student’s individual capabilities - ages, fitness, strength, determination – are all taken into account within their training and education. Martial arts training has changed over the years– for the better.

WTSDA committees or positions:

I have recently taken over the role of Judging Course Coordinator for GBTSD. I think that GBTSD has some of the best judges in the association, and my desire is to help build on that strength and bring more judges through the training course, to bring professionalism and fairness to all of our competitions, which will be to the benefit of the competitors.

Master Wiskin demonstrating cane techniques.

What is your favorite weapon and hyung and why?

Weapons - They are all great to use, but the cane is now my favoured weapon. It’s readily available, legal to take anywhere, and very, very effective if used correctly. Hyungs – Probably all of the Pyung Ahn Hyungs. They formed the basis of my early training and I still have huge respect and affection for them.

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

Within WTSDA is obviously Grandmaster Shin, who was, and always will be, inspirational. Also, our current Grandmasters Beaudoin and Strong are both approachable and humble people, but with a wealth of martial arts and life experience that most of us will never approach achieving. My instructor, Master Khan, also leads the way in how things should be done, both in and out of the dojang. His demonstration of kicking techniques in my early years of joining the association, was something I would tell everyone about. They were (and are) outstanding, and something I have never gotten close to. Outside of WTSDA role models are many, but mostly my parents are the ones that count. I just hope they look down now and are happy with the outcome of their efforts.

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

In the nearly 30 years of belonging to our amazing association, I have many memories - emotional, inspirational, funny, and painful - they all go into the melting pot. Memories such as my first ever lesson; My Cho Dan testing and presentation; Taking my first class as an instructor and hoping I did not let my students down; The demonstration where the concrete blocks we had procured all turned out to be very high strength concrete, and we (myself) ended up managing to break just one block that day with a skipping side kick with the whole rest of the demo team holding it steady, whilst we received applause and cheers from the watching crowd; Thinking back on how many toes I have broken over the years; The time years ago when live blade knives could be used in hyung training in the dojang from Cho Dan level, and I decided to point the knife downwards just as I front kicked…..yes it hurt; Being at my first Masters Clinic, feeling the amazing energy and power in the room as hyungs were performed with Grandmaster Shin leading; My own Masters presentation and the honour bestowed onto me by Grandmaster Shin.   Amazing memories past, too many to note and many more I am sure to come, in this association with my amazing WTSDA family around me.

What are your future goals in WTSDA?

On a personal basis, to carry on kicking, punching and sweating for as long as I can, until ‘the’ day comes. I also want to continue to teach and hopefully enrich other people’s lives with this art of ours, and finally to keep assisting, developing and participating where I can, in the promoting and enhancing of our association going forward.

Master Wiskin with Grandmaster Beaudoin and Ms. Donna Harvey.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

Practice really does make perfect. There is no easy route to black belt and higher, it all revolves around your desire and effort, to train as much as you can, and to apply your full application when you do. But have fun when you do, make training friends to help push each other on, and stay true to your instructor and style to avoid being a ‘Jack of all trades, and a master of none’

Teaching tips or ways you make classes more exciting:

I try to keep the class light and humorous where possible, but still keeping the correct level of etiquette going, which is important to a student’s development. I also like to change formats for each class and introduce new techniques or variations when it is right to do so, to add to the interest. Pressure points are always a favourite. Occasionally, I will ask a middle ranking gup belt out to the front and tell them that they can choose a technique that they would like to do, but they have to demonstrate it to the rest of the class, like they were now the instructor. That normally gets them smiling. Finally, I tailor the class to the individual, pushing the higher ability students to their limits, whilst letting the other students, who may have physical or age limitations, to enjoy training at a slightly lower level.

Tang Soo!

Master Wiskin and the studio's end of the year Christmas party.