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Moo Duk Kwan® Oral History Initiative Background

Sandra Schermerhorn was a Board Director who took the initiative to acquire these oral histories and launch this project to preserve these important stories about the history of our art and organization.


She originally conducted the Oral History interviews during one of the National Festivals in San Diego, I believe it may have been during the 2006 Nationals in California. 

She basically used a tape recorder and sat down with each senior member and conducted the interviews including the use of interpreter.

Mrs. Schermerhorn Sa Bom Nim, is married to Frank Schermerhorn SBN #19787 (former TAC member).

She was a R2 Board Director.


Dear Senior Advisory Committee Members and Hu Kyun In,

I trust all is well.

Pursuant to the discussion held at the 03/18/2006 Guardians of the Art Meeting, Board Director Sandra Schermerhorn, Sa Bom Nim has offered her professional services to conduct an ambitious oral history project that will capture in fixed form the living history of our art which only you can relate.

Sa Bom Nim Sandra Schermerhorn has 27 years experience as a Moo Duk Kwan member and over 30 years of experience taking histories and her professionalism will ensure a quality record of your history. Her initial goals are to conduct several oral history interviews during the 2006 Nationals and she will be contacting you personally to request an interview and set a mutually acceptable schedule to meet with you for about 2 hours.

I invite you to participate in the Oral History Project and contribute your story to the archives. This is an easy and efficient means for you to tell your story and share it with future generations. Ultimately your oral history will be converted to a hardcopy transcript over which you will have final review and it will be an honor to have you participate in this long-range project that is intended to preserve your history in our art.

Some benefits of oral histories are:

  • Oral histories are relatively straightforward to implement
  • Your oral history information will help put into our art's recorded history you and others who belong there
  • Your oral history will honor your contributions for educating present and future practitioners
  • Oral histories provide information that is not readily available or recorded anywhere else\
  • Oral histories exemplify and help explain our Moo Do values in action
  • Information in oral histories can help guide future generations in their decision making

The oral history process:

  1. Sa Bom Nim Sandra Schermerhorn will contact you to schedule an interview. If agreeable, she will schedule an interview ( approx. 2 hours) in person if possible or by phone if not.
  2. If you cannot be interviewed during the 2006 Nationals, then she will contact you at a later date to arrange a convenient time and place for you to tell your story.
  3. Interview recordings will be transcribed to hardcopy form, then initially reviewed by Sa Bom Nim Schermerhorn and then sent to you for your review and vetting.
  4. You may include, exclude any information you desire as this is your history and her project is merely providing the means and support for capturing, recording and preserving it.
  5. Ultimately you will be requested to convey ownership of your finalized oral history to the Federation for archiving and distribution purposes.
  6. Your history may be widely distributed in whole or in part via many different media in pursuit of the Federation's chartered purposes.

Obviously, an initiative as ambitious as the Oral History Project cannot succeed without your cooperation and contribution.

I respectfully request that you consider the ease with which this project will allow your history to be permanently documented and seize the opportunity to participate in this important preservation effort.

Phil Duncan

HERE ARE… the suggested questions and formats to use for your oral interviews:

SBDMDK Oral History Questions

The following questions are guidelines only. Each history will vary depending on the interviewee.

This is SS., It is Aug. __, 2006 and I am in San Diego CA., USA talking with ______ ____________, SBN.

Identifying Information

Current residence
Dan #

Tell me something about yourself
Job – Jobs held over the years

Can you give me a brief summary of your training history-

Your Personal History in Martial Arts

What motivated you to begin training in the martial arts
(some will have multi-style martial arts history)
Where did you start and with whom
Current instructor
Name of studio-that you owned/own or where you trained/train/teach
(some very interesting studio history was revealed with some of Sa Bom Nim Martinov's old training partners at his birthday party)

How old were you
Your life situation-school,job,etc.

Was there any tradition in your family of participating in the martial arts

A)What was training like in your early years

Do you have a favorite story about your early training

Do you have any memories of early training partners
Have you kept in touch with them
Do you know what happened to them

Major changes affecting you as a student-
Change in instructor
Change in school
Setbacks in your training (over the years) due to illness, job, family demands, etc.
How did you get past this (these setbacks) to continue training


Can you tell me what it was like to participate in tournaments
Do you have a favorite memory of your tournament experience
Do you remember any occurrence at a tournament that made an impression on you

Early Training

A) What was class like
What kind of discipline was used
What were the physical surroundings like
(Building, inside dojang, hot/cold, etc.)
How many students trained
Who trained (men, ages, women, children)

What were people's attitudes toward the martial arts at that time
Your family's attitude/friends' attitudes

In your early years of training, who were your heroes
What did you find especially appealing about them
Do you still admire those qualities or have you modified what you admire?

What were your ambitions in the martial arts
Did they change over the years
Did you think you would still be training now (some may not be training)

Dan Testing

When and where was your first Dan test
How old were you
What your Cho Dan test like
Do you have a favorite memory of preparing for or testing for Cho Dan
Who do you remember testing with you. These names will be interesting and will connect them to others in history.

Any favorite memories of E Dan or Sam Dan testing

Where/when was your Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa (some may not have achieved KDJ)
How old were you
What was your first KDJ testing like
Were the other KDJ Shim Sa different than the first
Do you have any favorite stories from these


Looking Back

What was your best time in the Moo Duk Kwan/Worst time-What helped you through it
What photograph do you have or remember that has special meaning for you
Would you be willing to share a copy of it for this project?
Do you have a treasured item from your training?
Could we obtain a photo of it for this project?

Remembrances of Historical figures in the Moo Duk Kwan

When did you first meet our founder/what were the circumstances
What was your impression of him
Do you have a favorite story about him
Do you have a favorite time you and he spent together or a favorite story of him and you

When did you first meet Kwan Jang Nim H. C. Hwang
Do you have a favorite story about him
Do you have a favorite time/training situation with you and him

If you had to choose the most memorable person (other than the founder or Kwan Jang Nim) out of all the people that you have met in the MDK, who would you pick and why
What was this person like (personality, physical description, positive/negative qualities)
Any stories or traditions that he/she passed on to you

Present Time

From what area of your training do you derive the most satisfaction (some may not be training)
What area do (or was your favorite) you like to teach
Is there a motivational story or a story with a moral that you tell your students
What is your personal training like now
How has your approach to your training changed over the years
As you look back over your SBD training, what are some milestones that have given you the greatest sense of satisfaction
Looking back, would you do anything different

How do you feel about being one of the seniors in the MDK
Alternate question for someone who is not a senior but was a very early practitioner that may have only achieved 1st, 2nd dan etc.
What do you think is the most important thing a senior can contribute to junior students
What would you want them to know about you
How would you like to be remembered
What is your most powerful/inspiring/compelling/insightful advice for a practitioner/student


Roberto Bonefont (and whoever else) provides technical publishing skills to make it available to readers in this medium will also be showcased.

The U.S. Federation's members will be credited with sponsoring the investment required to support this important historical preservation project. ]

How Can Others Contribute Interviews To The Moo Duk Kwan® Oral History Project?

Contribute To The Moo Duk Kwan® Oral History Project

Oral History Formatting Guidelines For Editors

The Oral History site layout is designed to focus on the interview subject.  The site provides readers with a pleasing reading experience on desktop, tablets and mobile devices.

However, authors and editors control much of that experience through the use of:

  • PAGE BACKGROUND IMAGES (these images display behind the Oral History pages)
  • HEADING STYLES (The table of contents is generated automatically from text that is styled with H1 formatting) 
  • TAGS (Use of Tags creates entries in the index)
  • PAGE BREAK placement – IF ANY –  (determines text wrapping on each page and overall page height – to insert use the top menu row black page icon) 
  • Links to internal and external content
  • Strategic placement of images
  • Strategic media embeds,  (simply embed links and the embeds will autofill available width. If proportions are off, regular embed code can be used to force a specific size as shown in the 2nd instance of the video)
  • Proper use of the Featured Image,
  • etc.

Click to view and Example layout (the link is to a draft post in preview mode)

Each Oral History Interview will be presented in a single post.

The main title of each Oral History post will be the name of the person interviewed plus “Oral History”

Google refers to font Heading styles to determine how the content on a site is organized and which is most important or least important.

H1 should only be used on words that directly relate to the overall post content and reflect the most important point of the post content.

Each subsequent use of  H2, H3, H4, H5 reflect content that relates to the main subject like indented subjects in an outline.

Long or infinite scrolling (like Facebook) or pagination?   Which is the best user experience?  The debate continues…..

The presence of page breaks within the content determine page length when wrapping the text and you can move a page break around to see how it impacts the flow of content when viewed on the front end.  Since moving a page break changes everything afterwards in the document, it may be most efficient to add them AFTER all edits have been done, images have been added and media has been embedded. They might be the last editing pass before publishing and thus assure proper page length and overall structure for the readers.

  1. consistently refer to this endeavor as the “Moo Duk Kwan Oral History Project”
  2. highlight in yellow any unclear areas in the transcript where the audio needs to be referred to to clarify the transcript. The highlighting will save time when we are doing that editing pass.
  3. bold the name of the interviewer and narrator each time
  4. center all photos
  5. place photo captions in the photo using the WordPress editor tool for that purpose. Also add appropriate alt text
  6. If appropriate, photos can be linked to related offsite articles, referneces, etc. using the WordPress editor tool when adding the caption
  7. always spell out in full MOO DUK KWAN, SOO BAHK DO and other trademarks
  8. avoid using acronyms common to us (SBN, MDK, SBD, KDJ, etc) Search engines and non-practitioners will have no idea what these mean or refer to.
  9. use full names of persons in most cases without salutation. salutations change over time and with role and seniority and only confuse matters in articles about persons that covering time periods when the person may not have been a Sa Bom or the Kwan Kang Nim, etc.
  10. where a korean term is used, insert the English equivalent term first (speaking first to our English audience) and then use the Korean term immediately afterwards.
    master~Ko Dan Ja / master instructor~Sa Bom / masters test~Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa, etc. follow guidelines below if adding extra words to a transcript rather than clarifying a word already used in a transcript
  11. clarify insertions or hims and haws if necessary for reader's benefit
  12. After the audio files have been edited to match the final transcript, then we might make a final editing pass and insert time stamps that correspond to sections of the interviews.
    Perhaps a time stamp every 10 to 15 minutes or so????

[PD: after all edits, etc. and ready to publish, we'll consider a downloadable version. Perhaps protected in a way that we can monitor the scope of distribution and thus evaluate the number of readers reached and the overall measurable contribution to mission objectives.]


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