The World Tang Soo Do Association

A True "World" Organization


Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin
(December 20, 1936 - July 9, 2012)

Robert E. Beaudoin


Studio of the Month

October   2013

Fairbanks Tang Soo Do Karate Academy

Chief Instructor:

Master Larry Wick, Yuk Dan

Other Instructors:

Master Michael Meeks, Sah Dan
Master Kristie Gebhardt, Sah Dan
John Gebhardt, Sam Dan
Tina Fitzpatrick, Sam Dan
Scott Sexton, Sam Dan
Sunnie Gebhardt, Sam Dan
Deena Jallen, Sam Dan
Mark Runion, Sam Dan


385 Chena Tump Plaza
Fairbanks, AK 99701



Square Footage of Studio:

2600 sq ft

Types of Classes:

Traditional World Tang Soo Do classes
Tiny Tigers / Little Dragons
Split Second Survival


Fairbanks Academy of Tang Soo Do

History of the Chief Instructor:

Master Wick is currently a Yuk Dan who began his martial arts training in 1967. He earned his first degree black belt under Grandmaster Hwang Kee in 1973. Master Wick opened his first studio in 1977 and transferred to the World Tang Soo Do Association under Grandmaster Shin in 1985. As a member of the WTSDA, he has served on the Board of Directors, assisted with the creation of the association books, taught at Master’s Clinics, participated in European and World Championships, and been a primary studio owner/instructor for decades. In 2002, at the inception of Alaska becoming its own region, he became the simultaneous Director of Regions 15 and 19. Master Wick has been honored to receive the Instructor of the Year award in 1992, Master of the Year distinction in 2008, and has been the recipient of the Spirit award at three Masters Clinics. He has produced students who have received the Family of the Year award in 1996, the Student of the Year in 2004, and have won the World Championship Creativity division in 1996 and 2000. Master Wick’s extensive martial arts background culminated in the creation of the Split Second Survival self-defense program as well. SSS is an ultimate personal protection system that addresses multiple attackers and the various weapons used in “street” situations, and therefore is a complement to traditional Tang Soo Do training.

What makes your studio stand out from the rest:

Nestled in the middle of Alaska, with some of the most extreme weather conditions in the country, this studio has achieved great success in the World Tang Soo Do community. This success is due to its leader, Master Larry Wick. Through his visionary leadership, passion for the martial arts, and commitment to education, Master Wick has created a learning environment where students are encouraged to excel and the art and standards of World Tang Soo Do are held in high regard. Parents, teachers, and students appreciate the atmosphere and expectations of training at Fairbanks Tang Soo Do Academy. The studio has been at its current location for more than twenty years and is well-utilized by over two hundred students and ten certified instructors. One of the goals of the studio is to enhance youthful students’ educational skills by emphasizing concentration, positive attitudes, leadership skills, confidence, and determination. By promoting an environment of mutual respect, it is easier to resist peer pressure and build self-esteem. Another belief held by students and instructors at Fairbanks Tang Soo Do Academy is that training should be demanding and challenging of our minds and bodies, but it can also be fun! The instructors are always looking for new ways to make classes interesting and exciting.



Fairbanks Tang Soo Do Academy is truly a family-oriented studio, and therefore has annual traditions. Summer picnics, the “Web” challenge, and decorating for the holidays are a few of the highlights that all members anticipate. Located just fifteen miles from North Pole, Alaska, it is not surprising that the students help fill the studio with Christmas lights throughout the month of December. Many students also gather in the warmth of the Dojang to have an excellent view of the New Years Eve fireworks from the large picture windows. Even when it is negative 30 degrees out, or even colder, students show up to sweat together, laugh together, and spend time with “family”.

Student Testimonials:

“I like my karate class because I like playing and working very hard!”
~ William Jordan, age 5, Little Dragon

“I like escapes and kicking and playing dodge ball.”
~ Saffron Temple, age 6, 8th Gup

“I like teaching younger kids and testing. I also like the games.”
~ Gideon Illguth, age 8, 5th Gup

“It’s a welcoming environment that embraces the spirit of Tang Soo Do by encouraging us to always do our best and work together as a team without feeling as if we are competing against each other. Instead, we learn from one another and cultivate the whole person concept.”
~ David Thurman, age 51, 5th Gup

“What I really appreciate about Fairbanks Tang Soo Do is that whether you are 4 years old or 80 years old you are encouraged to work within your capabilities while always striving to go beyond them.”
~ Caroline Hughes, age 47, 4th Gup

“What I like best about the studio is that it focuses on the art of Tang Soo Do and getting stronger for personal growth, not violence, and that I am always pushed to go beyond my limitations.”
~ Annabelle Heyne, age 13, 4th Gup

“One of the best things about Tang Soo Do is how you get stronger and it keeps challenging you no matter how high you go in rank.”
~ Rebecca Matz, age 9, 1st Gup

The students work well together and are respectful of each other. We always leave class with a smile.”
~ Tiana Pailing, age 13, 1st Gup

“Fairbanks Tang Soo Do has a good family atmosphere that makes the most of individual abilities and needs while working around any limitations.”
~ Melissa Shippey, age 45, 1st Gup

“In our studio, even if we are not immediately successful in passing a test or a challenge, the instructors show faith in us by encouraging us to continue training and improving until we reach our goals.”
~ Bernie Ruzewski, age 57, Cho Dan

“The feeling of unity and brotherhood between students from different World Tang Soo Do studios is amazing. I recently attended a Black Belt dinner where I was seated with students from a different school. I had never met them before and I would usually be uncomfortable in that situation, but I felt very comfortable with them because of our common martial art.”
~ Keith Nelson, 17, Cho Da

“The instructors at Fairbanks Tang Soo do are always willing to make time to help us reach our goals, even beyond Tang Soo Do, in areas such as academics. By doing this they help teach us time-management skills and we learn to make time for other people as well.”
~ Jun Shin, age 19, E Dan

“My daughters and I have trained at Fairbanks Tang Soo Do for eight years. As a parent, I appreciate Master Wick’s ability to teach his students self-discipline, integrity and leadership skills in a warm and caring environment. These qualities have spilled over to many other aspects of my children’s lives, helping them to experience success in school and other extracurricular activities. My daughters and three of their friends, all Cho Dans, compete together in annual high school robotics challenges. All five of them put their black belt training to work as they demonstrate teamwork, good sportsmanship, and indomitable spirit in these competitions. I am certain that their Tang Soo Do training has had a direct impact on their success as a team.”
~ Sharon Johnson, age 44, E Dan

“Fairbanks Tang Soo Do is honestly my second home. I was literally on the training floor before I was born and cannot imagine my life without Tang Soo Do. The Tang Soo Do spirit and brotherhood that are embraced by the members of the studio have brought us together and we are truly a family”.
~ Sunnie Gebhardt, age 18, Sam Dan

“I really respect the World Tang Soo Do Association and Fairbanks Tang Soo Do for upholding the mottos of traditionalism, professionalism, and brotherhood. It makes me proud to be an instructor within this association.”
~ Deena Jallen, 35, Sam Dan