In 1963 my former instructor, Mr. James K. Roberts, Sr., was serving in the Army in Korea. While there, he studied Tang Soo Do directly under GM Hwang Kee and obtained his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dan belts in Korea. His black belt number is 6564. By today's standards, this is a low number and is considered very prestigious. Today's numbers are well above 40,000.

During the 40+ years Mr. Roberts taught martial arts, he awarded 596 black belts. In September of 1972 I received the 44th black belt he awarded. In 2004 Mr. Roberts, by then a 9th degree black belt, awarded me an 8th degree. Through this promotion, I reached the highest rank ever awarded by Master Roberts to any of his students, and was the only Roberts student ever to achieve this rank.

My black belt bears this number 6564-44. This number shows the black belt number assigned by GM Hwang Kee to my instructor and the number my instructor assigned to me. This is unique in that it shows our direct connection to the founder of Tang Soo Do as well as providing a visible preservation of the genealogy, which is especially important in Tang Soo Do if your lineage directly connects to Hwang Kee, as ours does.


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