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The Martial Odyssey of Chief Master John Godwin


Early Years and Trials

John Godwin, hailing from southern New Jersey in the 1970s, faced challenges and peer pressure that would later shape his journey in martial arts. One fateful night, he found himself in a perilous fight at a nightclub in Camden, New Jersey. Outnumbered and severely beaten, this incident spurred him to seek self-defense skills and a way to confront multiple opponents.



The Path to Mastery Begins

His quest led him to Yi's Karate Institute in Pennsauken, New Jersey, where he studied Tang Soo Do, Moo Duk Kwan, and Hapkido under the guidance of Master Ki Yun Yi. John's dedication to martial arts quickly became evident as he committed to rigorous training five to six days a week. This commitment not only honed his self-defense abilities but also instilled in him qualities like self-discipline and unwavering focus.


A Bond with Grandmaster Shin

In 1983, John embarked on a new chapter by joining Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin's World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) Headquarters dojang in Southern Philadelphia. As a direct student of Grandmaster Shin, he explored various martial arts disciplines such as Hapkido, Kickboxing, and Tai Chi. Grandmaster Shin, Chuck Norris's first instructor, imparted essential lessons in hard work, professional school management, and the profound philosophy and traditions of Korean martial arts. This marked the beginning of John's lifelong dedication to the growth and development of the WTSDA.



Founding Godwin's Korean Martial Arts Institute

Following Grandmaster Shin's guidance, John established his own martial arts school in Delaware in 1986, known as Godwin's Korean Martial Arts Institute (KMAI). Through relentless effort, business acumen, and an unyielding spirit, the school thrived and expanded to eight locations across three states. John's contributions were acknowledged with national awards for multi-school excellence and ambassador awards for international instructor training. KMAI's legacy includes producing over 1500 black belts and numerous qualified master instructors. Chief Master John Godwin takes great pride in upholding the traditions of both Tang Soo Do and Sin-Moo Hapkido through his schools.


Championing Hapkido

Hapkido remained a crucial part of John's martial arts journey. His dedication led to remarkable opportunities, such as representing the United States as a member of the U.S. Hapkido Team at the World Hapkido Games in Mok-Po, South Korea, starting in 1999. These experiences solidified his bond with Grandmaster Dr. He-Young Kimm and further enriched his martial arts journey.



Celebrate Grand Master Dr. HE-Young Kimm

Join us in celebrating Grand Master He-Young Kimm's remarkable martial arts journey, characterized by dedication, resilience, and commitment to the martial arts community.

60th Anniversary Celebration Details

We are pleased to announce that Chief Master John Godwin will be among our esteemed guests at the 60th Anniversary Celebration honoring Dojunim Dr. He-Young Kimm's arrival in the United States. This event, sponsored by the World Han Mu Do Association and the Hando Won, will feature a Black Belt Test, Seminar, and Banquet from November 3-5, 2023, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Secure your spot today to meet Chief Master Godwin and other martial arts luminaries. Remember to make hotel and dinner reservations by October 14, 2023.

For more event details and reservations, visit our event page. Don't miss this opportunity to celebrate Chief Master John Godwin's legacy and the martial arts community. It's an event that martial arts enthusiasts won't want to miss!

Stay tuned for more profiles of Grand Masters in our upcoming blog posts.

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