Sahyun Rich Marinelli
~ Trained with Sahyun Shin Hyun Ok from 1970 through 1973. 
~ Began Training with Sabum Mark Weinstock in 1976.
~ Received Black Belt from General Choi Hong Hi in 1983
after training with the founder at his home.
~ Received 2nd Dan from Sahyun Kim Suk Jung in 1988.
~ Received 3rd Dan from Sahyun Hwang Kwang Sung in 1993.
~ Received 4th Dan from Saseong Hwang Kwang Sung  in 2005
~ Received 5th Dan from Saseong Hwang Kwang Sung  in 2010
~ Received 6th Dan from Saseong Hwang Kwang Sung in 2013
~ Received 7th Dan from Saseong Hwang Kwang Sung in 2019

At the age of seven I became very interested in religion, sprituality, philosophy, and various forms of discipline.  I began practicing the Jewish religion under the tutelage of Rabbi Yechiel Simon.  I was fortunate enough to study Torah with him for ten years.  I decided that the only thing missing in the beautiful loving home I lived was the discipline and fulfillment found through Judaism.  This system of ethics and morals I still practice and hold dear today.

At the age of ten my sister began bringing me to study Yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute under the leadership and teachings of Swami Satchidananda.  There I learned proper breathing, relaxation, and meditation.  I also learned one of the wisest teachings "Truth is one, paths are many".  I studied there for two years.

At the age of eleven a man named Hyun Ok Shin came to my synagogue to teach Taekwondo.  I trained with him for three years.  From him I began to learn how to apply the Taekwondo tenets of integrity, courtesy, perseverance, indomitable spirit, and self control.
I learned the importance of discipline and loyalty in friendship.  My favorite techniques were crescent kick, side kick, and jump spinning backfist.

It wasn't until college that I had the opportunity to continue in Taekwondo.  I began training with Mark Weinstock, a black belt instructor with expertise in both Taekwondo and Hapkido.  The training was "old school" traditional Korean training.  Poor performance resulted in "terminal pushups" and swatting on the rear with a bamboo stick.  We had no protective gear for fighting, no mats to fall on when we practiced throws.  Most days we could barely walk after 3 hours of Taekwondo and 1 hour of Hapkido.  After six years Sabumnim Weinstock retired due to illness.  His instruction and his friendship will always be remembered by all his students.  He passed down to all of us a love and respect of "the arts".  All the high rank students of his will always share a bond to each other and to him.  He is now a professor at a New York university. 

In 1983 I travelled with another of Sabum Weinstock's students Ronald Brenner (of blessed memory), to the house of General Choi Hong Hi, founder of Taekwondo, in Mississauga Canada.  After two wonderful weeks of training at his house we were indeed tested for black belt by the founder himself.  This was an experience I will never forget.  His patience with us, and his respect for our love of Taekwondo and knowledge of both Taekwondo and his life story, created a rapor and candor we could have never expected. 

Mister Brenner and I continued to run Pomonok Taekwondo in Flushing New York for many years after the retirement of our instructor.  We began training in Bergenfield, New Jersey with Sahyun Suk Jun Kim.  I received my 2nd degree black belt from Master Kim.

For the next several years while living in Israel I taught in several locations and developed some fine black belts.  Most notably in Modiim where approximately 100 men, women, and children trained nightly with a love for Taekwondo unparalleled.  In 1991 I was joined in Israel by a fine man who immigrated from Argentina named Mario Cosacow.  He has carried on and grown our dream in Israel since I left.  There is now a strong ITF Taekwondo in Israel.  See the Israel ITF website here ...
From 1990 thru 1991 I frequently was on business in Zurich, Switzerland.  During that time I had the fortune to find a wonderful Hapkido instructor, Jurg Ziegler, a student of Grandmaster Ji Han Jae.   His instruction was of very high quality and advanced my Hapkido knowledge greatly.     

When I returned to the United States I called General Choi and asked him who I should train with.  He responded with a question, "How far are you from Connecticut".  General Choi told me to train with the then Master, now Grandmaster Hwang (President - Unified ITF ).  I am perhaps even more grateful to General Choi for this.  Upon meeting Grandmaster Hwang I was immediately impressed by both his dignity and humility.  He is truly a class act.  No instructor goes out of his way to help his students more than he.  I have been with him ever since and have received both my 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Dan Black Belt certifications from him. 
My students have the honor and priviledge of receiving seminar and testing with him each year.

I have been training in Sin Moo Hapkido with Master Mikhail Kuns 8th Dan who was promoted by Founder Grandmaster Ji Han Jae. 

Along the way on this journey I have always had with me my partner in life, my wife Leah.  Leah has the holy profession of midwife and brings children into this world with kindness and love (
HomeBirthWithLove.com ).  We have 6 children, all of which have trained in Taekwondo.  Rafi, our oldest, is a 3rd dan black belt and is a doctor of oriental medicine and acupuncture.  Our son Mickey is a 5th dan black belt. 

I wish to thank all who have taught me, all who have trained with me, and all who have been my students.  I could not have done it without you.

I would like to conclude with 3 rules to follow to have a successful life, taught to me by my mother, and taught by me to my children and students: 

1. Improve yourself.

2. Help others.

3. Make every place you go better than it was when you got there.

Yours in Taekwondo,
Rich Marinelli