Dual Membership

Often members (school owners, instructors, students, and Masters) find themselves training in multiple martial arts. While this is not prohibited, care should be taken to ensure that WTSDA members do not raise concerns under the WTSDA rules, or the WTSDA Oath that all Black Belts and Masters offer upon promotion. The below Memo was distributed to this point in December 2019.


TO:                  WTSDA Regional Directors

FROM:             Grandmaster William Strong

RE:                   Dual Membership Concerns

DATE:              December 19, 2019

This memorandum is being sent as a result of questions regarding dual membership in certain martial arts organizations.  Specifically, this answer is to address questions about dual membership in more than one Tang Soo Do association and further to those that might be reasonably be viewed as competing with the WTSDA. 

From the Regional Director Guidelines, adopted by the Board in 2017:

“Dual membership, as an executive officer (or equivalent) of any other martial arts organization is prohibited. If any Master or Regional Director joins the board of directors or executive leadership of another martial arts organization, without the prior permission of Kwan Chang Nim (or his designee), such member’s membership in the WTSDA will cease. However, if, due to military or career obligations in an area where there is no World Tang Soo Do studio [a member] has to join another organization for the duration of their detachment, it must be approved through the Regional Director (of the area where the Director or Master will be temporarily located) and the Grandmaster.”

Further, the Guidelines also discuss termination of a member and state, in pertinent part:  

“Membership in the WTSDA may be revoked at any time for cause as follows… Membership in the WTSDA may be terminated for reasons such as conduct unbecoming of a member of the WTSDA or cause… For purposes of these rules, the following [definition applies]… For Cause [means] The occurrence of any event such as: (a) conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude; (b) conviction of a felony where the underlying act giving rise to the conviction is one of violence; (c) conviction of an sexually based criminal offense; (d) abandonment, which may be evidenced by the acceptance of a black belt or membership in or training in any other martial arts organization, association, society, etc., without the prior written consent of the Grandmaster of the WTSDA, (e) material breach of any agreement between the WTSDA and the member; and (f)any other act which, in the sole discretion of the WTSDA, reflects poorly upon the WTSDA, its members, and/or the Art of Tang Soo Do.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the definition of cause is not all inclusive and the WTSDA may, in its sole discretion, consider any act (or failure to act) by any of its members as rising to the level of cause for termination.”

There may be other restrictions described in the Gup Manual, Black Belt Manual, or any of the volumes which address this further. Regardless, while there are certain instances where membership in other associations is permitted (which are not discussed herein), or even required by local law, in each case the activity is permissive only when such membership will not harm the WTSDA (or its reputation) and, according to the WTSDA rules require permission of the Grandmaster.  In the event the organization competes with the WTSDA, there are fees or other activities that are diverted as a result of inclusion in a third-party association, etc., these are instances where participation would not be approved by the Grandmaster, and accordingly participation in such an organization is grounds to terminate a Member’s (even lifetime and charter members) membership. 

Accordingly, with respect to those who are asking specifically about membership in the Traditional Global Tang Soo Do Association, such membership has not been approved at this point and is potentially grounds for termination.  Any person participating in such organization should contact the Grandmaster immediately.  Failure to do so may result in prompt termination. 

Although this memo is sent to you, the Regional Director, please share it with all Masters and instructors in your Region.

Thank you for your service and support of the World Tang Soo Do Association.

Tang Soo!