Hong Moo Kwan Masters' Profile

Master Albrand Jo (7th Dan)

Head Master of HMK,
Professor of University of Bridgeport

Ken(The Sword) ensures prosperity and Do (Doctrine) unites people in many blessings

To me, Kendo is far from a simple sport. It is unrelenting in providing new challenges and opportunities for me to learn and grow from-thus practicing Kendo has provided me with a level of peace and tranquility in my life.

Through Kendo, I can look within and improve myself which has led to better interaction with others and a more fulfilling life. Kendo is one of the greater martial arts because it is not based on self-defense but it is geared toward the development of the human character and you can practice it your entire life. You are able to practice with people of all ages and enjoy class when you are in your 70s, 80s and beyond.

The purpose of kendo is not to harm or win. It is to mold mind and body, cultivate your spirit and share what you have learned with others by penetrating through the gap of your opponent’s spirit. Both the striker and the receiver must be able to exchange smiles after the match.

Moreover, Kendo is more fun when enjoying it together. You can share in the joy and pleasure as you teach and learn from each other. Kendo is not an individual sport. You can only experience its true joy when you have a partner.

It is a gathering of diverse individuals and a uniting the swords. You can learn from elderly or the young and build integrity through mutual experiences. It is my desire to share kendo with more people. This is the reason why my wife and my two children also enjoy the sport of Kendo.

Allow me to share one of my favorite poems:

"My sincerity wakens thine.

My passion touches thine.

Kendo is a dialog between spirits.

A graze between personalities.

A response between sincerities.

And an encounter between passions."

1st Place in Senior Individual Division of Garden State Kendo Tournament (2017)

2nd Place in Team of 10th Goyokai Kendo Tournament in Boston, MA(2009)

3rd Place in Team of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation Tournament (2007)

1st Place in Team of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation Tournament(2005)

2nd Place in Individual of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation Tournament (2005)

Best Judge Award of 5th BRG All U.S. Championship in Colorado (2005)

1st Place in Team of the 15th Cleveland Kendo Tournament (2003)

Distinguished Conduct Plate awarded from Korea Kumdo Association (2002)

3rd Place in Individual Tournament of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation (2001)

1st Place in Team of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation Tournament(2000)

1st Place in Team of All Eastern U.S. Kendo Federation Tournament(1999)

1st Place of the 6th Korea Kumdo Championship for social members in Team Div.(1993)

Master Cindy H. Jeon (5th Dan)

I injured my lower back in my twenties. I don't recall the specific cause of my injury, but I figured my sedentary lifestyle coupled with a desk job certainly didn't help. As I received physical therapy, I searched for an activity that will strengthen my lower-back, and someone recommended Kendo. At first, I was a bit skeptical as to how shuffling my feet will help me with my problem, but I was drawn to its mystical beauty.

So began my training. Needless to say, Kendo fixed my lower-back and more importantly, it prevented future injuries. Some people found me, a female Kendoka, intimidating due to the preconception / misconception that Kendo is even more difficult to master as a woman. Little do they know that I am first and foremost, a gentle woman.

Often my arms would be covered in bruises from the miss-hits from practice. Nevertheless, the bruises constantly reminded me that I was alive as they disappear under my new skin that regenerated over time. As I practice Kendo, I frequently feel powerless as my mind and my body fail to become one. But I feel proud on the occasions when my mind and body are in sync. These moments prove to me that nothing is impossible with hard work and strong determination.

No words can describe the pure joy I feel after a hard session of training. Through the special bond I share with my fellow Kendokas and Masters, I found myself as a member of a very special community based on mutual respect irrespective of age, gender and skills. The fact that I can continue to practice Kendo together with other generations for years to come is certainly an exhilarating thought.

After 25 years of training, I finally achieved 5th dan. It took a long time considering I had to split time between Kendo, my two kids, my husband and my work. It was a challenge, but I look forward to many more years of training. Obtaining higher ranks is not my ultimate goal. Instead, I wish to continuously strive for improvement through Kendo.

Master Tsugio Imai (4th Dan)

When I was young, I played judo. After I grew up, I never had a chance to retry judo because of my busy life.  I was also afraid of any injuries from practicing judo which could cause a slower recovery compared to when I was young. That's why I have been hesitating to continue judo.

After my life got settled down, I was looking for a healthy and enjoyable sport. That was kendo to me. Kendo is a life-long martial art for everyone. Anybody can start it anytime and it is not as risky as it seems.

Now, I am in my mid 60's. I really appreciate that I can enjoy kendo whenever I have the time. I own a company and I have many business trips that prevent me from practicing kendo more often, but whenever I come back home, I go to HMK first. Doing kendo refreshes my mind and body, while relieving all stress from the business. HMK is the charging station in the vitality of my life!  

Master Tyrone Bentley (4th Dan)

I started training in kendo because one of my seniors and mentor in another traditional Martial Art suggested that swordsmanship would enhance my life and it would fit me like a glove. I wanted to find a Kendo teacher who would help me to build on skills I obtained while studying medicine-self-discipline, concentration, perseverance, decision making ability but also maintain and improve my health and physical fitness.

I have been training in Kendo, also known as Kumdo, as a Student of Master Albrand Jo at the HMK Kumdo Academy for more than 10-years and it has been an essential part of my life. Throughout my training there have been times where I have been tested, I have been hurt and I have failed, but I remain motivated to constantly improve my basic Kendo skills and to continue to build trustworthy relationships through practicing courtesy, respect, humility, and responsibility as a Senior member of our school and in daily life.

I was awarded the title of “Master Teacher” and received my Master Kumdo Instructor certification in 2021 by the Korea Kumdo Association. I currently hold the advanced rank of 4th Dan and I have accumulated Kendo teaching experience with children and adults. I have also acquired an impressive regional and national reputation as a Kendo Player and Team Captain, winning in individual and team Kendo competitions.

Most importantly, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in national and international Kendo training seminars accredited by the AUSKF, USKF and Korea Kumdo Association and develop friendships with players from around the world, practicing Kendo and breaking bread with likeminded people of different cultures truly defines the human experience…and the meaning of Kendo for me.

Master Sam Ralosky (4th Dan)

I first started Kumdo at age seventeen. I was a timid but outwardly kind person, who had a very hard time advocating for myself as my self-esteem was very low. My parents sensed this in me and realized that I did not have much direction in my life. I did not have the discipline to be a good student and was not going to continue my education immediately after high school. They approached me and told me they were worried, and that I needed to give myself direction by picking up a hobby and devote myself to it. I had always admired and loved martial arts films and comic book series; and whenever Kendo or other sword martial arts would be portrayed it gave me an amazing feeling that filled that me with curiosity. I almost immediately responded to my parents saying that I wanted to learn Kendo, and quickly looked up schools and found HMK Kumdo Academy.

When I would see Kendo and other forms of swordsmanship portrayed in film and comics, it showed a means to not only hone your skills and focus your mind, but also a path to develop one’s character. The swordsman often represents a figure of justice, only drawing their sword to aid those not strong enough to fight for themselves. I find this to be the main philosophy at Hong Moo Kwan Kumdo Academy. My teacher has always said that the meaning of our school’s name is “Kumdo that benefits others” and I didn’t truly understand this concept until a few years after starting Kumdo. In Kumdo we never gloat or brag or furiously, unable to accept our loses. Sportsmanship is valued just as much as the sport itself, and the more time you congratulate your opponent for beating you, the more you see value in your losses. This is true of the hero’s journey in comic books and films as well.

The protagonist is continuously faced with adversity and challenge and is often tempted with a selfish means of gaining power. It is the fact that they are fighting for others that gives them strength and allows them to overcome their foes. If they succumb to greed and striving for personal strength than the hero has fallen from the path. This is true for Kumdo, when we practice with others in Kumdo, we never have the feeling of wanting to be stronger or better than our opponent. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try to win the match of course, but that we simply accept the skill level of ourselves and our opponents. If we win the match, then that means we are helping our friend by getting better and if we lose the match, then we are grateful for the lesson being taught to us and we congratulate our opponent. When we can have this mindset, our Kumdo will always improve and grow. I think this is one of the reasons why Kumdo is considered a life long martial art, because the ability to develop skill and character is infinite if we are open to learning.

Every day I am grateful for HMK, for my teachers, and for Kumdo itself. I would not be who I am today if I were to never practice Kumdo, and this is the reason I will continue to practice for my life.