A Black Belt Story: Grand Master Michael Clark – 8th Dan

For those new to our organization, Grand Master Clark is Master Morris‘ long time instructor and the head of the Martial Virtue Alliance. The Martial Virtue Alliance was established in May of 2011 during a meeting of 26 like minded Black Belts from Canada and the USA.  The founding members of our organization are all associated by the teachings of Grand Master Michael Clark.  Grand Master Clark has been teaching Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do for 40 years.  His teaching philosophy is that of simple yet effective martial arts.  Grand Master Clark guides the curriculum and standards upheld by the schools in the MVA.  He adheres to the traditional methods of teaching maintaining the integrity of the art, respecting its traditions, martial arts etiquette, and ethics.

This is his story:

Grand Master Michael Clark began his martial arts training during his tour in Vietnam at the age of 20. He was stationed at DaNang Air Base on the DMZ of North and South Vietnam.

Danang Air Base

He attended training 6 days a week, 4 hours per day for 10 months with the Korean Masters.  The training was gruelling and brutal in its methods.

7 Tiger Divison Martial Arts demonstration

At the end of the 10 months, Grand Master Clark made his 1st attempt to earn his black belt.  The test was to be 4 hours long with the fighting at the end.  To earn the coveted black belt, Grand Master Clark needed to knock out his challenger and physically remove his opponents black belt.  This was no easy feat.  His 1st attempt, he was knocked unconscious in the first minute of fighting.  He failed the test.  Over the next 6 weeks, Grand Master Clark tested 3 more times – all with the same outcome – failure.  He had one last and final attempt before being shipped home to the USA.  Grand Master Clark made a decision to NEVER be knocked down again.  On his 5th and final attempt, Grand Master Clark did what he set out to accomplish.  At age 21, he was able to knock out his opponent and removed his belt. Grand Master Clark had earned his black belt.

Black Belt

In 1973, Grand Master Clark returned to the United States and started the first martial arts school on the Pease Air Force Base.  The school grew from 35 students to 125 within the first few months.  He remained there until his discharge from the military in 1975.

Pease Air Force Base

After the military, Grand Master Clark moved to Massachusetts started a family, worked for the US Postal Service and continued to train at a Kenpo Martial Arts school.  For the next 24 years, Grand Master Clark would train and teach future generations of martial artists.

Grand Master Clark believes strongly in adherence to traditional Tae Kwon Do practice.  This tradition is at the very core of martial arts and should not be forgotten. Over the years, he has had the honour to meet and train with many martial artists. Grand Master Clark holds all his black belts to the highest standards and is proud of all they have accomplished. Grand Master Clark is passionate about passing on his extensive knowledge and expertise to the members of our organization and looks forward to being involved in the Martial Virtue Alliance for years to come.

Grand Master Michael Clark – 8th Dan