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 International Certified Grandmaster Instructor

Grandmaster Schmitt is a renowned martial arts expert of Tang Soo Do.  Kwan Jang Nim David J. Schmitt was born on March 14, 1947 in Dubuque, Iowa.


  • Drafted into the United States Army.  After completing his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri he was stationed with the 4th Army at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.


  • Joined Ft. Sam Houston Tang Soo Do Karate Club under the instruction of Mr. Amos Judd, a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.


  • Promoted to an assistant hand-to-hand combat instructor for Special Forces troops (green berets).  After serving his tour of duty with the United States Army, he received his honorable discharge and returned home to Dubuque, Iowa.


  • Opened the first karate school, Dubuque Karate Club, located at 527 West 8th Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa.  This was one of the first karate schools opened in the state of Iowa.  

  • Opened the first karate school, The UW-Plateville Karate Club, located at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.  


  • His son, Ronald David Schmitt, was born.  By the age of seven he began his training in the first all kids Tang Soo Do program.  Today, Ronald is the chief master instructor at the DKC and holds the rank of Yuk Dan 6th degree Master Instructor. 


  • Began teaching Tang Soo Do full time.


  • Introduced the first all women's martial arts and

       self-defense program. It was at this time his wife,

       Susan, began her training in Tang Soo Do. Today

       she is the head instructor of DKC children's



  • Founded the American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute (ATKI).  This new organization was created to identify all studios that opened under the instruction of Grandmaster Schmitt or one of his Black Belts. 

  • Hosted the first Midwest Tang Soo Do Open Karate Championship in Dubuque, Iowa which was held at the University of Dubuque Gym.  Today this tournament is one of the largest karate championships held in Iowa.  

  • Started the first all-kids karate program.



  • Became a certified judge with the PKA (Professional Karate Association) for full-contact karate fights.  He also trained full contact fighters during this time and co-sponsored several PKA sanctioned full-contact fights held at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque, Iowa.  Top ranked fighters were featured including Rick (the Jet) Rufus who went on to become a world champion. 



  • Attended a martial arts seminar in Laport, IN and trained under the instruction of some of the world's best martial artists including: Ed Parker, Aaron Banks, Billy Blanks, Tadidisi Yamishita, and many others.

  • Began training in the Filipino art of stick fighting.

  • Joined the American Arnis Association where he trained for several years in the Arnis system.


  • Publicized in Faith and Fortunes (p. 338), an encyclopedia of Dubuque County for his dedication and devotion to the growth of young athletes in Dubuque.  The last book of this kind was published in 1911.


  • Joined the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) which enabled him to continue his training under the instruction of Grandmaster J.C. Shin, 9th degree Black Belt and founder of the WTSDA. Grandmaster Schmitt became one of the highest ranking Masters in the WSTDA.

  • Appointed Region 3 director of the WTSDA and a member of the WTSDA board of directors.  His responsibilities included the promotion of all Black Belts in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. 



  • Selected to represent the World Tang Soo Do Association by

       Grandmaster Shin as a United States Delegate and a member

       of the 1993 WTSDA China/Korea team.  The team consisted

       of six members to accompany Grandmaster Shin to Korea

       and China on a fifteen day martial arts tour.  One of

       his highlights was their visit to the Shaolin Temple where

       the team performed for the Shaolin fighting monks and had

       the honor of watching the monks perform for them in front

       of the temple.


  • ​At a special awards ceremony in Orlanda, FL, he

      was presented the 30 year plus award from

      Grandmaster J.C. Shin.   This ceremony was for

      30 years or more of dedicating of their life to

      training and teaching in the art of Tang Soo Do.  

      This was the first awards banquet ever held for

      this award.


  • Promoted to Yuk Dan, 6th Degree Black Belt, "Kook Jae Sabumim" (International Master Instructor)  at the World Tan Soo Do Association Championships held at the Convention Center in Orlando in the presence of over 2,000 spectators. 

  • Certified world-class judge for the World Tang Soo Do Association and was responsible for training and certifying Black Belt judges for all WTSDA championships in Region 3.


  • Grandmaster Schmitt was promoted to the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt by Grandmaster J.C. Shin president of the WTSDA at the 2010 World Tang Soo Do Championship in Greensboro NC. Grandmaster J.C. Shin was promoted to the rank of 9th Dan by proclamation at this event.


  • In January, Grandmaster Schmitt founded the American Tang Soo Do Karate Alliance, an organization designed to blend the traditional and modern day martial arts training and to uphold the traditional values of martial arts which are: respect, discipline, loyalty and honor.

  • In May, at the 15th Annual Annual ATKI/ATKA Master's & Black Belt Clinic, Master Schmitt was bestowed the title of Grandmaster of the American Tang Soo Do Karate Alliance.



  • Grandmaster Schmitt celebrated his 50 year anniversary in the art of Tang Soo Do.

  • In May, he was promoted to the rank of 8th Dan "Pal" Dan.


     Grandmaster Schmitt has opened ATKI/ATKA Studios throughout the midwest.  Grandmaster Schmitt has trained and coached competition teams for over 40 years.  He was one of the first promoters of team matches in karate tournaments in the Midwest.  He also promoted the first Iowa vs. Wisconsin and Iowa vs. Minnesota team fights with the top rated fighters from all three states competing.  


     Over the years, Grandmaster Schmitt's students have won thousands of awards at tournaments and championships held throughout the United States.  Grandmaster Schmitt is a man who lives by his word.  He has shown this in the past and so continues in his aspiration to establish the highest quality martial arts studios.  His greatest rewards today come from seeing his students grow into strong, self-confident leaders, not only in the martial arts, but also in their own communities.


Master Gichin Funakoshi

Founder of Shotakan Karate

Great Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee

Founder of Chung Do   Kwan 1944                Style:  Tang Soo Do

Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee

Founder:  Moo Duk Kwan 1945

Styles: Hwa Soo Do, Tang Soo Do,  & Soo Bak Do

Mr. Amos Judd(2nd Dan)

Grandmaster Schmitt's first Tang Soo Do Instructor 

1966-1968 Ft. Sam Houston Texas U.S. Army

Grandmaster David J. Schmitt

Founder: Dubuque Karate Club 1970

American Tang Soo Do Karate Institute: 1975

American Tang Soo Do Karate Alliance: 2011


Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin 

Founder: World Tang Soo Do Association 1982

Grandmaster Schmitt's second Tang Soo Do instructor from 1990-2011

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