Welcome to the
American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute
In 1970, Grandmaster David J. Schmitt opened the first Dubuque Karate Club. Later that same year, he opened the University of Wisconson-Platteville Karate Club. In only a few short years, his dream of spreading his art of Tang Soo Do across the area began. He soon realized that to continue to offer quality martial arts program, he would need to create a new organization to control the teaching standards of his martial arts.
In 1975, he founded the new American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute (ATKI) with the purpose of uniting all of the ATKI branch studios. These studios were opened either by Grandmaster Schmitt, a school that was opened with his approval or by one of his black belt instructors that had trained under Grandmaster Schmitt, one of his ATKI Black Belts that could trace their roots directly back to him.
No other martial arts schools were allowed to join the ATKI in order to keep the linage from Grandmaster Schmitt and his black belts pure. This unique organization continued to grow across the Midwest, from Iowa into Wisconsin and Illinois.
Every Black Belt promoted within the ATKI received a Dan Bon # (Black Belt number), starting with the number one. Black Belts who earned their black belts under Grandmaster Schmitt take pride in being part of one of the finest traditional martial arts organizations in the world.
In 1990, the American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute voted to join the World Tang Soo Do Association. The purpose of joining the WTSDA was to allow Master Schmitt the opportunity to train under the instruction of Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin. For the next 20 years, Master Schmitt trained under Grandmaster J.C. Shin. He held the position of Regional Director for 19 years, and was on the WTSDA Board of Directors for those 19 years.
In 2011, the ATKI Board of Directors voted to drop out of the WTSDA; this provided Master Schmitt the opportunity to move in a new direction. In January of 2011, he founded the American Tang Soo Do Karate Alliance (ATKA). This new organization allowed Master Schmitt to introduce a new curriculum into his traditional Tang Soo Do program. In May of 2011, at the annual ATKI/ATKA Black Belt and Masters Clinic, the ATKA master’s council bestowed him the title of Grandmaster.
Students who wish to open an ATKA studio are provided with the training to help build the future of the American Tang Soo Do Karate Alliance. The Alliance brings together all ATKI studios and those who wish to continue to learn the traditional Korean art of Tang Soo Do.