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

September 2012 Masters Profile



Name: Jan Hamilton Lappin

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan Master, March 2010

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region # 21, Middleburg Martial Arts

Contact Information:


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in New Britain, CT and grew up in New England until we moved to Florida when I was 17.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

All of my family members have been involved in Tang Soo Do. My children are all black belts and include Michelle - Cho Dan, Heather - E Dan, Desiree - SamDan, Rachael - Sam Dan, and Joey - E Dan. My husband, Joe is still a 1st Gup- but there is always hope!!!

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I was previously a Regional Executive with Met Life and worked in the Financial Service industry for many years. Now I am a full time martial arts instructor.

List your academic accomplishments, military service:

I graduated from high school with honors, early at age 16 and then graduated from University of Florida at age 20 with honors, with a degree in Psychology.


Master Lappin and her children during the 2008 World Championship.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

My first and current instructor is Master Jim De Baca. I started in the late 80’s after my husband and kids had been training for about a year. We trained for many years with Master de Baca at Fitness Fanatics in Santa Rosa, California. We loved the training we received there.

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

My first impressions of Tang Soo Do was that it was fun and a great way to stay in shape, and relieve the stress from work. It turned out to be that and so much more. Tang Soo Do is now a huge part of my life. The training I have received has helped me in so many ways that I can’t imagine my life without Tang Soo Do, and specifically our WTSDA.

Other martial arts studied:

I have studied other martial arts. I actually started my martial arts training in 1976 while at University of Florida taking Judo. I loved judo and got to a brown belt and then graduated and moved away. It was very difficult to find judo back in those days so I taught it for a while until we moved to California. I am actually working on getting my black belt in judo as well as training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I love grappling but at my age I have to take it much slower as my body can only take so much. I also have studied Ki Gong for several years. I started my Ki Gong training in California in the 90’s. I am a member of the Ki Gong Club and love the training that we receive there. We are so fortunate that Grand Master shared so much of his Ki Gong training with us. I also enjoy yoga and Tai Chi.

Notable accomplishments in the martial arts field:

My main accomplishment in martial art is what I have been able to share with others. I try to share our Tang Soo Do with as many people as possible and have been very successful in helping others improve their lives through Tang Soo Do. I have been very fortunate to have instruction from Master De Baca and because of his instruction I was very fortunate to place in every world championship as well as receiving various regional awards.

Master Lappin demonstrating a flying side kick. Master Lappin with her instructor, Master DeBaca and her husband, Joe.

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 "How to run a successful studio". I learned much from it and feel as if I do have a very successful studio. I am happy to help any school owner who is looking to grow or improve. Also, I will send them my thesis which will really help someone get off to a good start. The main goal we have is to help our students improve both mentally and physically. We have had extraordinary results in this area with over 80% of our students getting A/B honor roll or above, and typically we have over 30% of our students achieving straight A's. We have several programs at our school including an after school martial arts program. It is an alternative to a daycare, and we currently have 42 students enrolled in this. We have about 230 karate students currently, with our goal being 300. We also offer Ki gong, women's quik fit, as well as a weekly grappling class.

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

The comraderie is one of my favorite parts of Tang Soo Do.  I have so many life-long friends through WTSDA.  But, I have to say that my favorite part is seeing lives change by the training we offer. We teach life skills following our tenets and codes, and I have seen so many positive changes in my students that it makes it all worth it

WTSDA committees or positions:

I have held several tournaments and clinics for WTSDA, as well as having been a judging mentor and organizer for Region 21. Additionally I was on the business committee for WTSDA. I have been a guest in other Regions as well as spoke as various business sessions.

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

I have several role models! Of course, Kwan Chang Nim Shin and Master De Baca, as they epitomize all that WTSDA stands for. KCN is truly a hero in my mind and I really honored and loved him. Master De Baca is also a great role model to me because he has always stuck to his beliefs and has high standards and integrity. I believe that because of his influence on me I tend to be more traditional and have higher standards for my students. I have also been able to count on Master John Godwin for help with business questions or advice. Actually, all the masters with WTSDA are my role models. To get where they are they have all shown great perseverance and indomitable spirit and I honor them all!

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

Last world tournament with Kwan Chang Nim Shin getting promoted.  How special was that? What a man, and what a legacy he has created. I also will never forget some of the great times with him. And of course…”One more time…” 3 rules…. Him putting on my master’s belt…..Him hitting me with the shinai during the intense, one hour long form during Ki Gong sessions…Compliments from KCN….reprimands from KCN…smiles from KCN. Lastly, I do have one more favorite memory. It was when KCN was preparing for his promotion ceremony and I got to pretend to be his wife and tie on his belt and I did it incorrectly 3 times in a row!!! I usually stand behind my students to tie their belts on so parents can take pics so I wasn't used to it. How embarrassing... yet how special to be able to have put his belt on him!!!!

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

I love Kong Sang Koon but I would say my favorite is Sae Kye Hyung Il Bu, the first form. I am very comfortable with it and have taught it so many times for so many years that it is like a staple for me.

Difference between when you first started training and today?

Where do I begin? Briefly, I am more centered and at peace with myself. I feel my life is more balanced and I feel as if I am making a major contribution to mankind by sharing the art with all that will come. I am also making a good living for myself and my family by having a successful studio.

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

I hope to continue to grow and flourish, while maintaining the integrity and tradition Grandmaster Shin taught us. I wish to help in this area by helping others grow their studio and show them how to improve on the business side. I actually have started a group of studio owners who want to expand their businesses which we call the “Mentor Group”. Master John Godwin has taken a leading role in assisting us with this endeavor.

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Master Lappin and Grandmaster Shin. Master Lappin receiving her Master's Promotion from Grandmaster Shin.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

Stick with it, it is worth it!!

Teaching tips or ways you make classes more exciting:

Teach with love and joy and the rest will work out. Be consistent, and do what you say you are going to. Treat your students the way you would like to be treated. Keep learning and growing yourself. If you want to improve your studio take some classes, spend money to learn the business side. I see so many excellent martial artists who could do so well in their studios but they don’t know how. If you get some help on the business side you can help so many more people by spreading our art!