As current President of the American Jidokwan Association, since October 3, 2017, I feel compelled to shed light on our organization's history as well as its ties to Korea as a legitimate source of authentic Jidokwan Taekwondo and Korean Karate.
By now, everyone is aware of the situation regarding my predecessor Patrick Justice (if you are not, please read these articles: part 1, part 2 and part 3) so I will not continue to speak on this matter. The facts of the situation have already been presented to the best of my knowledge, and there is nothing more for me to say.
As I have come to understand it, the project known as American Jidokwan Association stems from the collaboration of three individuals: William Sirbaugh, Shune Yung Davis and E.A. Fuzy. Unfortunately, this is where the organization's history gets... well... fuzy.
Because he was the only one teaching and promoting the art publicly, Fuzy felt he deserved sole credit for the development of the art and deliberately wrote out the contributions made by Sirbaugh and Davis. After all, why should those who aren't teaching on a broad scale be recognized for their efforts? One can only speculate what his motives would be, but there is a reason he no longer referred to his art as "American Jidokwan Taekwondo."
Now, an article has recently been published that includes an interview with one of Fuzy's students named Edward Mathna. Mr. Mathna states that the history of American Jidokwan as we have presented is a fabrication as he has never heard of Sirbaugh or Davis, to which I respond that the testimony of one person who appears to be very vested in keeping Fuzy's legacy and reputation intact is not the most reliable when it comes to either dispelling or perpetuating the facts that Fuzy presented. Far too many people take their instructor's word at face value as it is. But furthermore, one person or even a small group of people saying they have never heard of someone is far from conclusive.
Charles "Buddy" Brown was a student of E.A. Fuzy's from the early 1970s right up until the latter's death, holding the rank of 7th Dan in "Ji Do Kwan Kong Soo Do." He is also heavily active in promoting the Koroshi School of Defense where I believe he also holds high rank. I first spoke to Mr. Brown in 2018 and as someone active who was highly active in the Ohio martial arts community, it was refreshing to hear him talk about our shared and common history as brothers in American Jidokwan. In July of 2018, we extended membership to Mr. Brown as well as recognition of his 7th Dan through our organization in honor of his contributions to the art and dedication to American Jidokwan.
As I said, we can all speculate as to why Fuzy decided to claim sole credit for American Jidokwan and I won't speak ill of him as nothing can take away from the contributions and attention he brought to the art, but I will say that those who propagate the incomplete history he presented need to further their research. But to say or imply Sirbaugh was not part of the development of American Jidokwan simply because he was not public in his teaching is outright false.
Following Fuzy's split from Sirbaugh and Davis is when he began calling the art either American Ji Do Kwan Karate or American Ji Do Kwan Kong Soo Do depending on when you studied with him. Sirbaugh and Davis retained the use of American Jidokwan Taekwondo, and Justice during his tenure as President would introduce the name American Jidokwan Tang Soo Do. This was done to differentiate the art from the common image of sport Taekwondo.
On April 6, 2020, Hatfield sensei was appointed as an official branch president by the Headquarters in Korea, making the American Jidokwan Association an official representative of the organization. We are the only American Jidokwan lineage to hold such recognition. This is not to discredit any other organization using the American Jidokwan name, it's just the truth.
It was actually through a third party, an independent Daito Ryu researcher and instructor who chooses to remain anonymous, that I obtained most of my information and historical pictures of Hasaka sensei, not from my teacher. This is why I have no questions about Hasaka sensei's legitimacy and who he was. But my main point is that information is not always given freely, many times because it's simply no one's business. Unless the information affects you directly, as if you were a student or member (and this information is made readily available to my students), you really don't have a right to just know something.
Neither I or Hatfield sensei claim to know everything about the history of these arts, and as more is learned we update the information that's available in order to present the most accurate picture possible. Sometimes, that information does contradict earlier contributions but is no different than any journalist writing a retraction of a piece they got incorrect. For hundreds if not thousands of years, people knew the world was flat... All aspects of academic history, on every scale from world history to local, are constantly being rewritten as further research is done. No one questions the historian when they publish new information, even if it does contradict the old. I will continue researching the arts I have come to love, as well as teaching them to the best of my abilities, and when I know or can do better, I will.