School History
Our Heritage

April 1982 I was attending Highland Park High School and was 15 years old. I had always wanted to get into martial arts, however the closest studio was in Har Mar Mall, too far away. Mr. Jeff Goodwin began teaching Tang Soo Do at Highland Park High School, which offered me an opportunity to enroll. I asked my parents and said I would walk home if they would let me start classes. A bunch of us new white belts began and I remember Mr. Goodwin saying that few persist on to Dan. A few months later, Highland Park Tang Soo Do closed and the students attended classes at the Regional Headquarters at Hamline & Randolph. Again I had to ask my parents, now to drive me also. They agreed to and I continued. I remember training there and seeing students come and go. I remember at my green belt test having to hold a Kema stance while each person went through his or her terminology questions. The tests back then were a little more grueling and giving rank away was not an option. Mr. Goodwin operated a few schools in the metro area including Regional Headquarters, Hudson Wisconsin, St. Paul Police and maybe another one or two. I remember the rare times I was able to see Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim who was Mr. Goodwin’s instructor along with all the senior members at the time. Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim began formally teaching Tang Soo Do in our region in 1962.

Regional Headquarters was shut down and I attended classes at the Hudson School for a short time and that closed down. We had classes at Mounds Park School for awhile and at the St. Paul Police Southwest station on Hamiline, by Highland Park Golf course. We had classes in Minnetonka and at a lumber warehouse in North Minneapolis. We kind of moved around a bit.

Mr. Goodwin had organized what he called the “Inner Group”. This was a group of his most serious students who were interested in more than just “showing up for class” and doing the minimum requirements. These students he considered to be in “temple training”. He developed an endurance test for those interested students who wanted to be in the group. This test lasted all night outside in Little Canada in the woods. It consisted of drilling on basics down the path, judo, Il Soo Sik, Ho Sin Sool, and other surprises. He also questioned our intentions. Anyway, I passed and was in. I was at the peak of my training during this period of time. I remember testing for 3rd Gup outside at Highland Park. My brother and Mr. Goodwin were there. It began to pour rain and the mosquitoes almost carried me away. I knew that if I smacked a mosquito or even flinched, I would fail my test. It was a memorable experience, I passed. One day Mr. Goodwin looked at me and said, “you’re going for Dan in the Spring”. I said, “yes sir”.

We Finally ended up outside in Highland Park by Snelling and Edgecumbe. I was now preparing for Dan and the school consisted of few students. Somewhere in there we trained out in Champlin at Ben Mickle’s house. My brother Mike started Tang Soo Do in 1984. My brother and myself were the only active students at one point, there were a few students still “in” but didn’t attend regular classes. We started building the school up and reeled in a few students and trained at a student’s house in St. Paul, off of 7th Street. I tested for Dan in the spring of 1985 in Waterloo Iowa.

After being promoted to Dan, the school grew a little again. In 1988, I took a leave of absence due to employment outstate. I returned to St. Paul after gaining employment in April of 1990. I started training under Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim in 1990. Mr. Goodwin had moved to Connecticut. Mr. Ellenbecker was a green belt when I made Cho Dan. Being his student was certainly a test of my humility. Not really, because we got along well and our egos were not a problem. I tested for Kyo Sa in Fall of 1993 at Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim’s cabin. Hwang, Sa Bom Nim attended this test. Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim was now a Sam Dan (3rd). I continued to assist Mr. Ellenbecker with teaching at Linwood Recreation Center.

November 9, 1994 I opened Highland Park Tang Soo Do at Hillcrest Recreation Center with the help of Mr. Mike Kelly. Mr. Mark Johnson was my first student and he had begun his studies in 1992 while we were still at Linwood. Mr. Johnson started training in Chung Moo Quan in 1987 and stopped in 1990. He achieved the rank of 5th section (equivalent to a 2nd Gup). Mr. Malloy became my student shortly after the Highland Park school opened. Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim moved to Stillwater and eventually asked me if I would operate Linwood also. I assisted Mr. Mike Kelly until he made Kyo Sa and turned it over to him.

In the early spring of 1996, I was getting closer to testing for Sam Dan (3rd). Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim was also a Sam Dan and once I got promoted, I would be my instructor’s senior again. Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim and Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim discussed this issue and Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim decided to take me as his student. I was already attending The Blue Circle Martial Arts Group, training under him anyway. It was an honor. Ellenbecker, Kyo Sa Nim was promoted to Sa Dan and Sa Bom in 1997.

In the fall of 1996, I tested for Sam Dan (3rd) and was promoted. The name Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan changed to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan after it was agreed by members and the Kwan Jang Nim (Kee, Hwang). Highland Park Soo Bahk Do continued to grow. In 1997, Mr. Pete Orth became my student as a 3rd Gup, he transferred from Westbrock, Sa Bom Nim due to relocation. We were permanently located at Highland Catholic School for classes. Our school has hosted two Regional Dan Tests and two Regional Clinics. We have been a rain site for several Summer Clinics and continue to support our region.

In the Fall of 1998, Mr. Mark Johnson tested for Cho Dan at the Courage Center. Mike Kelly, Kyo Sa Nim tested for Sam Dan, both were promoted. In the Spring of 1999, Mr. Orth tested for Cho Dan at Highland Park Soo Bahk Do and was promoted.

I attended the 2000 Ko Dan Ja in Carbondale Colorado from June 9th – 17th. I was promoted to Sa Dan (4th) and Sa Bom. This was truly a challenging and memorable experience. Our school continues to grow in numbers and quality. In 2002 I was asked to serve as a Regional Examiner.

In January of 2005 I attended Ko Dan Ja in Ramona California and tested and was promoted to O Dan (5th). In 2010 I attended the Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa in Ramona, California where I tested and was promoted to Yuk Dan (6th Dan).

I continue to train under my instructor Sa Bom Nim Seiberlich who is a Gu Dan (9th Dan). He is a great leader.

I have learned from many people many valuable lessons. Mr. Goodwin taught the “old way”, which was very challenging and demanding. He taught me at a young age to be a warrior in life. Ellenbecker, Sa Bom Nim carried the torch and guided me from there. Seiberlich, Sa Bom Nim continues to teach me and guide me on optimizing and maximizing my potential. I am loyal to him and proud to be his student. He is the most senior American in Soo Bahk Do (9th Dan). He is an extraordinary leader in Soo Bahk Do.

Our history continues and you are an important part of our history. We have a good base of students and I am proud of all of you.

Jack Kelly