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

2013 Masters Profile


Name: Steven Robert Elmore

Rank and date of rank: Sah Dan Master (2008)

Region and Studio Name & Location: Region #1
Evergreen Tang Soo Do Academy; Seattle, WA

Contact Information: 206-931-5853;


Personal Information

Where were you born?

I was born in Dearborn, MI.

Family members involved in Tang Soo Do:

My father, Robert Elmore is a Sam Dan. My wife, Ahn Dao is a 5th gup.

Description of profession or trade outside of Tang Soo Do:

I have been a full time Instructor/Studio Owner since October 2008.  Prior to that I worked as an Aerodynamics Stability and Control Engineer for Boeing.

List your academic accomplishments, military service:

I have a BSE in Aerospace Engineering (2002) from University of Michigan and a MSE in Aerospace Engineering( 2005) from the University of Michigan.

Grandmaster Shin promoting Master Elmore at the 2008 Region 1 Championship.

Martial Arts Career

When, where and why you started Tang Soo Do?

I first started training in Tang  Soo Do in the Fall of 1988 under Master Michael Romines in Livonia, MI.  I don’t recall why I started training, I think it had to do with pop culture at the time such as The Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I was 8 years old at the time).

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

When I first started it was very much geared towards adults.  There were not separate classes for children.  All new students started with a beginner session for 8-12 weeks.  Usually 20 or so students started the session but only 3-4 made it through and continued on.  There were many times that I wanted to quit because it was so physically and mentally challenging (I was also frightened by one of the instructors).  It was very disciplined and run much like a military unit.  It felt like a weeding out process where only the strong survived.

Difference between when you first started training and today.

When I first started, classes were longer and more geared towards adults.  It was very strict and physically demanding.  Negative reinforcement was the norm.  Nowadays we have shorter classes and although we still instill discipline, we have a more welcoming approach.  We are able to teach our students the same lessons we learned 25 years ago but in a more positive manner.

Any other martial arts studied?

I have studied Judo and Brazilian Ju Jitsu for 5-6 years.

Notable accomplishments in the martial arts field?

I am proud to have one of the largest single Tang Soo Do schools currently in the Association.  Having trained World Champion students (Tamela Thomas 2008/2010 Senior Female Gup Cup Winner, 2012 Senior Female Dan Cup Winner, 2013 Senior Female Dan Cup Winner at European Championships; Celine McCormick 2010 Senior Female Gup Runner Up; Joe Erickson 2010 Senior Male Gup Cup Runner Up).

Grandmaster Beaudoin, Master Elmore and Evergreen students at the 2013 European Championships in Germany.

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 Physics of Martial Arts techniques.  With my educational background in Aerospace Engineering, I would always see the world in a scientific light.  I wanted to put together a quantitative representation of Martial Arts techniques.  Tang Soo Do and other Martial Arts have been around and proven effective for 1000s of years. I wanted to give a modern interpretation of why they are so effective using physics’ formulas such as momentum, force, and torque.  I still view the things we do as Martial Artists in a scientific manner and am constantly thinking of more I could have added to this thesis.

What is your favorite part of Tang Soo Do?

Sparring is by far my favorite part of Tang Soo Do.  I view sparring as an intellectual chess match.  How can I use my skill set to counteract my opponents skill set?  How can I exploit my opponent’s weaknesses?  What is my opponent’s body language telling me?  Analyzing an opponent to understand how to beat them is very interesting to me.  As I get older, and my sparring days become numbered, I am increasingly enjoying figuring out ways to teach others how to analyze and neutralize an opponent.  You don’t have to be faster, stronger, more flexible, taller, etc.  There is always a way to get to someone, you just have to figure it out.

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

My favorite weapon is the sword.  I find it very challenging.  In order to do sword techniques correctly you have to ensure proper blade position.  It takes a lot of practice and discipline to be able to do simple cuts correctly.  I also enjoy learning about the history of swordsmanship and the various styles and types of swords which vary by region and culture.

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

Grandmaster Shin first and foremost.  He embodied all of the characteristics in a leader and genuine, compassionate human being that I strive to be like.  There are many others that I admire within the WTSDA for various things.  Grandmaster Beaudoin for his leadership and warm-hearted personality, Master Strong for his organization and leadership, Master Godwin for his great business mind and willingness to give back, Master Khan for his exceptional martial arts skill and fighting ability, and Master Uttech for his dedication to expanding his knowledge in the martial arts and his all-around scariness (my wife is still afraid of him).

Grandmaster Beaudoin, Master and Mrs. Elmore.

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

I have many fond memories of Grandmaster Shin and the WTSDA.  There are two here I would like to share. In the fall of 2008 I made the jump from a part-time studio owner to being a full-time studio owner.  I left a promising career as an aerodynamics engineer with Boeing, great salary, full benefits, the works, to be a karate teacher.  In the spring of 2009 I was excited to tell Grandmaster Shin the news at our annual Master’s Clinic.  The right moment came following a forms training session right before we took a break for lunch.  After leaving the gym to walk to the cafeteria for lunch, I found myself standing with Grandmaster Shin and other masters at the traffic light waiting to cross the street.  He asked me how things were going and I excitedly reported to him of how I quit my Boeing job and was now running a full time studio.  His reaction took me by surprise.  He grabbed my arm at the elbow, much like a blind person grabs a friend to guide them, and led me under the street towards the cafeteria, taking the long way.  He gave me some advice about running a studio during the 5 minutes or so it took to walk to the cafeteria.  This wasn’t what really moved me, it was what happened after lunch that made me realize just how much Grandmaster Shin meant to me.  After we returned to the gym from lunch, Grandmaster Shin announced that he was changing the afternoon's agenda.  Instead of physical training, he wanted everyone to have a roundtable discussion of ways to grow our studios.  He said that due to the current economic situation in the country that some new studio owners might benefit from gaining some ideas from more established studios.  He did not say that he did that for my benefit but I know in my heart that he wanted me to succeed and that contributed to him changing the afternoon’s agenda.

The other story I would like to share is of my first time hosting the Region 1 Championships in Seattle, WA.  This was the first time I got to spend long periods of time with Grandmaster Shin and his wife.  From taking him to the airport, having dinner with him, and taking him around the Seattle tourist spots, I really feel I had a chance to open up more to him.  On his last evening in Seattle, Master Taylor and I hosted him for dinner at Master Taylor’s home.  Our wives cooked him a homemade meal which he enjoyed.  I asked him how I did hosting the championships and there were two things he mentioned to me.  First, he told me he was surprised that at how well I spoke and addressed the audience since he doesn’t hear me speak very often, as I am a somewhat quiet and soft-spoken person.  He even told me I should become a politician!  The second thing he told me was that I was too nice and had to get tougher on the other Masters to get to their rings and run their divisions on time.  Easier said than done since I was the most junior master in the region at the time, but I took that advice.  He mentioned a tournament in Region 8 that he jokingly told the masters not to leave their rings for anything, even to use the bathroom.  He said to go get a milk jug and set it next to their chairs in case they needed to go to the bathroom so they wouldn’t leave their rings.  We all had a good laugh.

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

I hope the WTSDA continues to grow in size and quality.  I hope to see more part-time studio owners make the leap and become successful full-time studios.  I also look forward to seeing the final vision Grandmaster Shin had for the World Headquarters become a reality.

Master Elmore with Grandmaster Shin and his father, Robert.

Advice/Words of Wisdom

Youth, teen and/or adult martial artist:

Listen to and trust your instructor.  You will undoubtedly have times when you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or scared.  Have faith in your instructor that they are guiding you on the path to true success.

Teaching tips or ways you make classes more exciting:

Being patient and compassionate goes a long way.  Be willing to try new things or add a new spin on an old thing.  Always be prepared and have a plan for your classes, never wing it.  Be prepared with a back up plan when your original plan isn’t working.

Tang Soo!