Ted Mason Oral History

Ted Mason Oral History

ONLY the first paragraph is an end to Seiberlich SBN's oral history

 This is the second part of Mason SBN's oral interview.

Listen to this recording first.

Larry Seiberlich: One of my, the worst moments in Soo Bahk Do  was when I was the chairman, it was necessary for us to take legal action against the Shin Sa Bom Nim and it was concerning a trademark violation and certificate problems.  It was the first time that the organization had taken legal action to follow the charter and by-laws requirement of protecting a trademark for the member schools, and that it was very expensive, and there were many meetings with attorneys and the ultimate resolution was a meeting with myself as the board chair, Master Hwang and the Kwan Jang Nim had a restaurant in Springfield where we discussed the issues and brought the process to a certain resolution.  And I highly respected Master Shin  and I found it very difficult to be in this position, to take this action, but as chairman on the board.  And understanding the charter and by-laws, it was required that we act in support of our members and our member schools.  This was in, I believe, 1982.  One of the– the truth- the truth is the philosophy book written by the Kwan Jang Nim the founder, and it was originally translated approximately four years ago.  Since that time, the Kwan Jang Nim, and H.C.  Hwang  and I have been working many hours to assure that the founders' meanings were appropriately expressed in the wording of the book.  It's a very complex book, expressing a novel philosophy of the moo do.  And it is our feeling that this book is as much a philosophy book as it is a moo do text and we would like to expose it to the greater circulation of philosophy.  My vision is that the Kwan Jang Nim was a philosopher, a phenomenal philosopher, and he used the moo do as the vehicle to express his philosophical opinions and position, and this book captures that very well.  Today marks the point where Karen Mead, a student of Johns Sa Bom Nim , who has been working arduously to rewrite some of the areas for us, will meet with us and will finalize the document, so that it can go into publication and the final piece will be ready for our members and for the greater community.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, great.  I didn't know about that.  Wonderful.

Larry Seiberlich: It's–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Alright.

Larry Seiberlich: It's coming forth.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, good.  The above is an addendum to Larry Seiberlich SBN's oral history.


 

Ted Mason: –little.  You get it in Japan?

Sandra Schermerhorn: __________.  No, I'm sorry, it's- it's federation.

Ted Mason: Oh.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: __________

Sandra Schermerhorn: This is Sandra Schermerhorn, it's August 11, 2006, and I'm in San Diego, California, USA, talking with Ted Mason, Sa Bom Nim.  First, though, could you tell me where you currently live and your Dan number? 

Ted Mason: I live in Carlsbad, California.  Dan number is 12896.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And your current instructor __________

Ted Mason: 12895.  12895, I don't know where the 96 came from.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: I have a senior moment every once in a while.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  So, it's 12-9

Ted Mason: 12895.

Sandra Schermerhorn: 12895.

Ted Mason: That's why I wrote it [laughs]

Sandra Schermerhorn: [laughs]  He's got it.  Your current instructor and the name of the studio that you own, or where you teach and you train.

Ted Mason: You're asking my current instructor?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Of record, it would be at this time, let's see, we went from Master Ahpo to now my current instructor would be Master Martinov I believe– Oh, Kwan Jang Nim.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Kwan Jin Yim?

Ted Mason: Is what I have listed now as my instructor.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  And do you own a studio now?

Ted Mason: Yes.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And what is the name of your studio?

Ted Mason: Called the Oceanside Institute of Soo Bahk Do.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And where is that located.

Ted Mason: Oceanside, California.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oceanside, California?  Alright.  <break in audio>  And just let me check this one, just making sure that– that my batteries are–

Ted Mason: __________

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Alright, sir could you tell me something about yourself, such as your education or employment history, family, hobbies?

Ted Mason: Hm, let's see.  My hobby was and still is guitar.  I play flamenco guitar.  And that was my hobby when I met my wife to be.  And then, after I met my wife, I got the job with the California Harbor Patrol, and I was a California Harbor Patrolman for 27 years, four months and 21 days.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And that's– the CHP in this state handles the freeways, as far as traffic.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Did you work all over the state or just in a certain area?

Ted Mason: Good questions.  Let's see, when I first got hired, I lived in San Diego, and we hadn't married yet, but we were going to be.  And they sent me to the academy in Sacramento, but when I graduated from the academy, they assigned me to the San Francisco area.  So I– that's 500 miles north of San Diego.  So, because of that, we were married in San Francisco.  And I worked the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, and for a year and a half, was able to transfer down towards San Diego.  But I picked Oceanside because it was a better office, according to information I had; people that had been around said that I shouldn't work in the San Diego office because of some political turmoil that was always going on there.  So Oceanside was a smaller office, and it was in San Diego County, so I moved to San Diego in 1967.  And I previously, before I had joined the Tang Soo Do school, so I was at that time I was __________.  And so I started training in San Diego again.  It was difficult traveling that far, so maybe I'm jumping ahead of the story, but that's when I opened my own school, with permission from my instructor, I opened school in my area.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.  What motivated you to start training in the martial arts?

Ted Mason: Oh, that's a good question.  You may have heard this before.  When I was dating Kagel [ph?], Mrs. Master Mason [ph?]

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: She got me to quit smoking.  She requested that I– she suggested I should, and I did, and I started gaining weight rapidly.  In the meantime, because of my interest in her and things Asian, I started reading books on Japanese art, and I bought a book called “What Is Karate?” and it was written by a gentleman by the name of Oyama.  That turns out not to be his real name, because he's actually Korean, and he has another name.  In reading that book, I became interested in learning that, and at the same time, when I started gaining weight, and these things kind of came together where I realized, “Okay, I need an exercise, and I want to learn this.”  So there was a school near me, near the place where I lived, in Hillcrest, which is like a subsection of San Diego, it's called North San Diego maybe.  It has a judo school.  And in those days, in the Yellow Pages, there was no, you didn't look under karate, you looked under judo to find any other martial art.  So, that existed for a good ten years in the United States, I found Yellow Pages from New York the same way.  It's a strange situation, 'cause there are hardly any judo schools listed there.  So you look under judo to find karate, and I looked under, I finally found it, and it was the Southern California School of Judo and Jujitsu, and I remember it well because in high school I walked by that location.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, __________

Ted Mason: So, it was like two blocks away from me.  So, I mean, how can I lose, so I went there and I, it was closed when I went there, and the sign on the door that gave the hours, and there it was, it said karate was taught every Friday, as I recall, or Wednesday.  So, I returned at that time to see the class, and watching the class in progress, which was a Ton Sito [ph?] class, identified as karate, taught by Don Gerrick [ph?] who taught a very rigorous, very strong class, we'll call it, exercise oriented.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: And after watching that, I knew that I was never going to smoke again, and I started doing this.  This is– I said, “This is for me.”  Because I'd played tennis before, and the difference between tennis and bowling, is you know, intensity level, so it was for me.  But I wasn't ready for that, at that time.  It scared me.  I didn't want to puke or anything on the floor, you know, and so I told the owner, who's a judo teacher, that ran the place, I told him, “I'll be back.”  Said it that way.  He didn't believe me, I know, but I had, I spent a week kind of like tuning myself up for that- that kind of training.  And I maybe should've done it longer, but I couldn't wait, and I got back into it.  I had been practicing some of the moves in that book, by the way, that was– that's something I <overlapping conversation> it was kind of a funny thing, but I was showing Keiko these things that I learned.  And it's a true story.  At the beach, at night, I showed her these moves, and she said, “But Chan [ph?], Cho Dan, was identified as Cho Dan– Cho Dan Yi Dan [ph?] as we know it, was identified as a Cho Nan Cho Dan [ph?], but they pronounce it Pi Non [ph?].  In Okinawa, that's the way they're numbered, so the reverse is true of what we know.  And so, for some reason or other, it's– that's the number sequence, and that's the first for my limit, well, out of the book.  Showed here that, and she said to me, “I think maybe you should take lessons.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: <laughs>  I did.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's great.

Ted Mason: I said, “You got me.”  I mean, that's true, I said, “You're correct,” because I really don't know what they're doing here, you know.  <overlapping conversation>  So, when I saw these people, it showed me some things that were not explained in the book, how to get from A to B, they didn't show immediate positions in the book, and I'm looking at these people move down the floor <clap> well, that solved the problem, and this is where I have to be.  And so, upon returning and joining the class, buying a uniform and I was rewarded from then on.  It was, that was it, it was just wonderful.  And I was the oldest one in this school, I was 25 years old.  Everyone else in the class were teenagers.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And was it all boys who __________

Ted Mason: No women within sight.  The owner, strangely enough, this is his idea attitude at that time, the owner made a statement that watching a woman do karate is like watching a dog walk on its hind legs.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: Okay.  Well, this is before, you know, women's lib, and it's before the influx of some women.  And at that time, I asked Keiko if she wanted to train.  Well, she didn't want to be the only woman in class, and she wanted to be, she said, she wanted to be ladylike, and ladies call for help.  And I tried to convince her that help sometimes does not come, and that she should, but she didn't listen to me.  __________

Sandra Schermerhorn: What year was that about?

Ted Mason: 1964.

Sandra Schermerhorn: '64.

Ted Mason: I joined the class May 8th 1964, is when I began training; which, coincidentally, is when Damon Kenyon [ph?] was born, in Frankfurt, Germany.  But, you know, well, his father, Fritz Kenyon [ph?], became a student of that club about a year later, year-and-a-half later.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, so you trained together.

Ted Mason: We didn’t' train at the same time.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.

Ted Mason: He joined after I was in the Highway Patrol Academy, and I heard about him, letters, from one of my stable mates who more or less was teaching a class for Don Garrett, and he said, “You got to get down here, we have a guy that's really strong, fast, he has boxing training, I'm told.”  And that he was not difficult to handle, but they didn't have anybody to spar with him that was his- his level, even as a white belt, he was a very good white belt.  And progressed up, and __________.  And so we never have sparred, we never have trained in the same room, at the same time, until the federation was born.  We were separate, it's interesting, you know, the same teacher.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes.

Ted Mason: And so that school is where I stayed until I got the job, in 1965, December.  And I was still a red belt.  And so, I was at the Academy when I heard about Fred, and then when I got assigned to San Francisco, we had to move everything up, you know, 500 miles north, it was a– But it's the best thing that ever happened to us, because being newlyweds in the situation we were in, it was good to go to a far away city.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Mm-hm.

Ted Mason: Although we did miss out on our wedding and all the stuff that goes along with a big reception.  We had a court wedding ceremony.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, yeah.

Ted Mason: Judge Brown.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: <laughs>  And so I stayed there for a year-and-a-half.  So I transferred back down south November of '67.  And in the meantime, though, while I was out there, I practiced my forms.  I had no one to practice with, so I got bored, not having partners, and I looked around for a school.  There's no Ton Sito up there, that's what they were calling them here.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes.

Ted Mason: And if you wanted a school, they did the same forms we did, and so it's a Shuan Ri school.  And fortunately, we had some Shuan Ri connections in our school in San Diego, also.  But it was really Ton Sito.  And so I joined this Shuan Ri school, and I practiced Shuan Ri Okinawan style, for only a short time, while I was still in San Francisco.  And so, one of the teachers, this friend of mine I mentioned that was teaching a class, this is before Don Garrett, he was sent up to check me out and witness my performance, and he agreed that I should be promoted to Cho-Dan, and that's how I got my Cho-Dan.  By- by showing how I still know how to do __________.  And so I did.  And then he said, “You still remember how to do your forms?”  “Yeah.”  We cleared the furniture in my apartment and I did the Bassai [ph?] and he said, “Well, I've been sent here to give you a certificate,” so–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Well, I don't think anybody's ever __________ to us about that, sir.

Ted Mason: Oh, worse things that happened.  The best stories are the people that send film to places, and they look at the film and come watch you.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.

Ted Mason: You send a film of your forms, and then most days, when travel was difficult for people <overlapping conversation> or you know, we had no teachers, and so that was done quite often.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.

Ted Mason: But they give you little sidelines, that's what happens.

Sandra Schermerhorn: People probably don't know about that.  You know, and it makes, it makes perfectly good sense because of the distance.

Ted Mason: It's in the __________ of Korea, happened in Korea, in __________.  That's what I hear.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Huh.  __________  Oh.  Have I ever seen you with a– before you started training, was there any tradition of it in your family, of anybody training?

Ted Mason: Hm.

Sandra Schermerhorn: You're the first one?

Ted Mason: My uncle was a boxer, that's about it.  No.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.  Do you have a favorite story about your early years of training?

Ted Mason: Favorite story.  Oh.  Well, most of the stories I have are about other people, which is <laughs> but about myself — Okay, this is great, great.  When I was a– this is a sideline.  Lee Hyun Wang [ph?] was the person who started Ton Sito in San Diego County.  Master Lee, a Korean marine, was sent to San Diego in 1960 to train with the marine corps to learn regular procedures, regular operation.  He was an interpreter, so he spoke English.  And because of him, we probably, in the United States, we probably have the only Marine Corps connection.  Every other connection to Korea is through either Air Force or Army, 'cause they're the ones that have bases in Korea.  The Marines did not have bases in Korea, at the war's end.  So, but because he was sent to a Marine Corps base, and was at fourth Dan in Ton Sito, he started Ton Sito in San Diego.  And everyone in San Diego, except a few transplants during the last ten years from Pennsylvania, who went into another splinter group, everyone from San Diego comes from __________.  So, my instructor, Don Garrett, trained with Leroy Edwards, a master sergeant.  And I'm leading up to my story.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Sure.

Ted Mason: This is another story, too.  I got a million of 'em, but I- I need to be careful.  We were, it was taught Okinawan style, Kimbo [ph?], Okinawan Kimbo system, and was doing it on the base, the Marine Corps recruit people, we call NCID [ph?].  And he did a demonstration for spectators, and who knows who was there.  Master Lee saw this demonstration, and afterwards contacted Sergeant Edwards and said to him, the way I heard the quote is, “If you practice with me, I will teach you good karate.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: In those days, you didn't– today, you just look at a person's form to determine what he's like, or watching classes, watching the basics or something, but in those days, in order to test somebody's ability, you fight– well, not fight, spar.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: But it was close to a real fight, you get– I mean, we're talking <slaps hands> some impact.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Contact and–

Ted Mason: Lot of contact.  And so, but that was simply a custom, and everyone kind of accepted that.  So, Sergeant Edwards didn't challenge him, but he said, “Well, you want to spar, and we'll see what you're made out of,” type of thing.  I was not privy to that, of course, and I didn't start training yet, but when Sergeant Edwards tells a story, this is hilarious, he said, “That little Korean kicked the crap out of me.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: You know?  And he said, “I've never seen anybody jump and do screaming kicks and didn't really hit me,” he said, “Everything was pow-pow-pow!”  So, I said to him, I said, “You know, you're right, I would like to train with you.”  And overnight, that school that __________ Edwards had became Ton Sito.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I see.

Ted Mason: Just like that.  And Master Lee taught that class, so all the early participants were marines.  And all the early black belt level people, and he was a black belt, to a– you know, color system that, this had only been two years, the color system was different than- than you hear anyone else use.  And I think it's Master Lee's idea, 'cause I never heard anybody else say they did this.  The color system on belts was taken from the Korean flag, and so if you were a white belt, and you get a stripe, a stripe, and a stripe.  Of course, that's true in Korea even today, I think but __________.  Orange belt is an American idea.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: Then you went to a blue belt, which is the equivalent of green today.  So you're sixth- you're sixth belt was a blue belt, it's kind of light blue, light-colored blue, skylark blue they call it, skylark.  And a stripe is stripe, and a red stripe, stripe, and black.  No such trainers had a red stripe in the middle of the belt, no one had that yet.  Nationwide, that was something that happened in like 1960, or something, I can't remember the date now, when they had red stripes put on.

Sandra Schermerhorn: But what about the black?  Did they wear black trim?

Ted Mason: Yes.  Yes.

Sandra Schermerhorn: ‘Cause trim was saying that–

Ted Mason: __________ all black.  Black, black.

Sandra Schermerhorn: __________ in it to blue?

Ted Mason: We first heard about the blue belt in 1970, through a newsletter from Detroit, when the American Ton Sito __________ was active, __________ Kim in Detroit was the president of it, and that's where Chuck Norris tested for his fourth.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.

Ted Mason: Things like that.  That's where we heard about blue belt, we'd never heard of such a thing.  For the Dan member, okay?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: So this- this other method, totally Lee Jin Yin's [ph?] idea.  Okay.  So, I got sidetracked a little bit, but I had to tell you about that, because that was the system we were in.  So I never in my life wore a green belt, ever.  So, when I was a blue belt– by the way, I have an ID card I should've brought with me, which says, on my– when I got sixth gup [ph?].

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And I had this crew cut and I looked like a marine, you know, it says “Sixth- Sixth Degree Junior,” it said, my- my rank is Sixth Degree Junior Blue Belt, or Sixth Degree Blue Belt Junior, which is the degree was Junior, meaning gup.  I don't know why they didn't say that, they didn't say the work gup, except maybe it was written in Korean, perhaps, but–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: And that's the ID card that I'm very fond of, 'cause I was a Sixth Dan long before I was a green belt, you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Well, I was going to ask later on if you have a treasured item, and if you could do __________, if we could have a picture of it.

Ted Mason: I don't have it with me, but I can get <overlapping conversation> no problem, yeah.  I really enjoyed that one.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, yes, sir.

Ted Mason: I enjoy the photograph even better.  But we're all younger then, but anyway.

Sandra Schermerhorn: So the photograph would be nice for copy.

Ted Mason: Sure.  Now, here's the funny story.  While training in this school, we were like stepchildren.  The karate people were like forced to share things and– outside.  We had to train outside in the backyard of this school, on a canvas laid out on dirt.  Yeah.  And it turned your feet green, 'cause it was green canvas.  And I know, I don't remember bad weather, Southern California.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: But I remember when I was dating Keiko, it was on Fridays, and we started class Wednesday, so Wednesday and Friday, that was what, because that second day they offered, I jumped on that, and it was for no extra money, and so I'm training now three days a week now.  And because of that extra day, we shared that room on that day with the Aikido people.  So, they let the Aikido have their- their mats inside, then we swapped mats.  And that's where I think, canvas.  So I- I had a date with Keiko that night, and so I brought here to the school, to see me train, she'd never seen me train before.  And she was dressed to kill, and I've got my change of clothes, there's a shower in the locker room in the back.  So I bring her in, and let her have a seat there where the spectators watch, you know.  And I go to the back to the dressing room.  Well, in the meantime, we had the Aikido people, and the guy who was in charge of the Aikido group, wore of the highest rank in that group, it was a purple belt or something, but we had this going argument, or contest, in verbally, about which art is best, typical low rank conversations.  And he's- he would rag on us, and we'd rag on them, and we had names for each other, but in a friendly way.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Like the comedian says, “I meant that in a good way.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: But you know, not really.  He would say, “You know, the difference between us and you, our and yours, is if a boulder was rolling down the cliff, an Aikido person would just step out of the way, but you people would try to smash the boulder with your punches.”  I said, “I don't think so.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: No.  __________  So this guy, he didn't know she was with me, because we separated as soon as we came through the door and she had a seat.  So, when classes were over at the same time, we came, I came in from the outside, she– by the way, she'd be walking around the skirt of the– there's like a walkway and she could watch us from the back porch.  She watched a lot, but there's not chairs out there.  And she got tired of standing, she went back inside, and so classes are over, 9:00 o'clock, and I wave at her as I go in the dressing room, from outside to in, you know.  And he's- he's talking with her when I- when I get out of the dressing room, and he's hitting on her, sort of.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: He said, now I don't blame him, you know.  And she said, she's not blonde now, but she was this special, you know, young thing then, and I went up to her as, and __________ was right there, and she gets up in the middle of this conversation, 'cause he's trying to talk her into joining an Aikido class.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yeah, sure.

Ted Mason: But Aikido's more suitable for women, than karate, because karate's too brutal and __________.  So, she gets up and she puts her arm in mine, you know, and hug, I have this, gave me this beautiful arbitrary hug, I could not- could not waste this opportunity, I said, “Hey, don't you know, didn't you know, the karate man always gets the girl?”

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: You know?  And I walked out.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's great.

Ted Mason: I said, “Love it, love it.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: I'm sorry.

Ted Mason: I walked over to Herbie, he goes, “Yeah!  That's right,” because you know, he's always __________

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's right.

Ted Mason: But that's a funny story.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: I told you a lot of other stuff leading up to it, but that's my nature, you know.  So I went, I trained there until- until before Cho-Dan, and then I had to, because of a job, I had to move to San Francisco, and I got promoted to Cho-Dan in my apartment, in San Francisco, and then eventually moved back toward the area.  I didn't go all the way to San Diego, I went to Oceanside instead, as I explained, and got tired of driving down to San Diego to train.  And so, my instructor said, “Well, why don't you open up a school in your area?”  And I said, “Good idea.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: And were you a Cho-Dan then?

Ted Mason: Yeah.  By that time.  And I found a spot, 'cause I was up– I tried to get all this with the California Highway Patrol, so I wanted mobility.  And I could, while they were driving around writing tickets, looking for a place to open up, you see.  And I found the place through a friend, a connection, through a fellow that ran a gas station.  He told me about an old structure that was on the edge of being, was going to be torn down, he said, “But you can have it, really reasonable,” because the owner is interested in martial art, and he'll use you.  Okay, so I went and talked to the owner.  He said, “I'll tell you what,” he says, “You can have that place for $5 a month, 'cause that'll pay for the utilities.”  So, it had a lot of windows in the front, and I was worried about people falling through the windows, so I got two-by-fours from a friend who tore down a fence and had bunch of leftover two-by-fours, and I put two-by-fours in the window, like railings.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes.

Ted Mason: To keep them from going through the window.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And my first sign was made on typewriter paper, each one for a letter, KA-RA-TE, __________, taped together.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And tacked to the inside, the outside of one of those two-by-fours.  That was my first time, and a kid painted that sign for me, that I still have today, that was put in another place, on the side of the door, so when you're driving you could see it, as you, when you were looking to the right, you could see __________.  It was in color, and it was red and, on white, you know.  That was my first sign, and that was in 1968.  I opened that school officially August 8, 1968.  And as a Cho-Dan.  And my first students were actually my children.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.  How old were they?

Ted Mason: I had stepchildren, by her previous marriage, my stepchildren.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: The boy was seven, and she was eight, nine.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Now, at that time, was it unusual for children to train, or had it changed by then?

Ted Mason: It's by mutual, for children and women.  Children and women did not, really see 'em train in those days.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.

Ted Mason: At any school, __________.  And so, my wife and daughter, the wife began training shortly after that.  But with me, she became my best student overnight because she's very disciplined.  But the two- the two kids were the first students that I had, and I trained them, I kind of like, in my garage, more or less, and practiced, you know, in the backyard and so.  And in San Francisco, for example, the daughter was going to enter a talent show, not a contest but her and her girlfriend were going to sing, and it was terrible.  I said, “You know, why don't you do a– something, some martial art,” and so I taught her to do bashai [ph?].  She had never trained before.  I taught her bashai.  And my wife knit a uniform for her, and she did it very well.  Surprised me, I thought, you know, she's a good student.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: I know it's not really proper to do that, but– you know, today I know, but back then I thought it was cute, and she at that time, let's see, 1967, she was born in '67, she would've been ten.  So, if she's ten years old, I taught her bashai, and she was a hit.  She can't sing.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: But when she became my regular student in the class, started over again, basic one, and the boy, too.  Boy was younger, two years younger.  And they were, they were the only children in the class, and so they were used to sparring and doing things with adults, and doing very well.  I have students, potential students, that did not enroll because my children scared them.  It's a macho thing, but one of these __________ gentlemen told me, “I didn't want to get my butt kicked by some little kid, or your wife.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, dear.

Ted Mason: For that matter, you know, “So I don't want to deal with that.”

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And so, it was years later before I separated kids and adults from the classes, you know, they were, they all, doing that.

Sandra Schermerhorn: So you were pretty much a pioneer in training children and women and–

Ted Mason: I don't know whether to call that a pioneer or not, but you know, I– You know, it's like, you know, sometimes you- you find yourself doing something that no one else is doing, but they ignore 'em, but- but in L.A., I'm sure that was, there was more going on.  But Los Angeles being a city with so many people, you know, a lot like New York, that there probably was a lot of children's classes going on that I never heard of before.  You know, but in San Diego County, at that time, when I started training, there was only three martial art studios, just three.  One was the one I trained at, then there was East San Diego was a Kempo [ph?] school.  The- the one on the Marine Corps base had more or less fizzled, when Lee __________ when back to Korea.  And so the Master- Master Gunner Sergeant Leroy Edwards, so they didn't have that there.  And they had that school at the University of San Diego, __________, Japanese style.  So we had the three, they were the Chinese Kempo, we had our school, and we had the Japanese style on the ba– on the, at the campus.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Did you have much to do with each other, the schools?

Ted Mason: We didn't visit the Japanese style because they– Only as spectators, but you- you couldn't mingle with them very well, they're very, how should I say, we thought they're just being stuck up, but they're very independent, and didn't want outsiders training with them unless they were actually students.  But the Kempo school, a open-minded school, and they kind of enjoyed us coming to visit, and we just came there to spar with different people.  And the teacher enjoyed having us, apparently, and we would spar on weekends, we'd go down there on Saturday and they'd arrange for like a, almost like a contest, with, and awards, you know.  And matched us with good people.  That was entertaining because their style was mostly fast hands and low kicks.  And just totally opposite of us.  We did very few hand __________ in those days, and a lot of high kicks.  And we didn't do a __________, ever.  We did the __________.  And but I remember, you know?

Sandra Schermerhorn: About how many people were in your school?  In the early days.

Ted Mason: My school?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Your school, yeah.

Ted Mason: My school started off with five, and then I, it grew to a dozen.  And I never had more than 15 people at a time, at that time.  I never– when we moved from that school, and we moved from there because they were going to tear the building down, a year later.  Said, “I'm sorry, but you know.”  You can't beat it then, five dollars a month rent, so I charged my students ten dollars a month.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: It's fair.  And so we're pulling down enough income from that group to pay for a place that I moved to, the rent was $50 a month.  Today, it's a bar called “The Alley.”  It's on an alley, the front door's on an alleyway.  So.  $50 a month, you can't beat that.  And so, then we raised the price to $15 a month for students, you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And that was in ‘6- '69.  And that is, I moved there also coincidentally when I, I bought a home in Carlsbad.  So, it worked really well.  And then I got, I was asked to leave because the noise we made, there was a hotel in that building, and stupid me, I hung the goldarn kicking bag from one of the pipes on the ceiling, and it made, it made the whole building shake.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: I didn't realize the noise I was making, you know, some people were trying to sleep maybe at 8:00 o'clock in the afternoon, evening.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes.

Ted Mason: And he– we would rotate it, and it <snaps> you know, so then it, I didn't really it was happening, and I <clap>.  If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have done that.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: But probably the straw that broke the camel's back is there was a, it was a doll case and picture frame store, adjacent to us.  We had a common door that was locked from both sides.  But there were, they had the– storefront on the regular street, and we were like around the corner, behind them.  One night, jumping around, I heard a god-awful crash, tinkle-tinkle-tinkle, broken glass.  And I think our vibrations caused something to fall.  And shortly after that, I got the letter from the landlord asking us to leave.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's– <laughs>

Ted Mason: So.  We found a new place, downtown Oceanside, in 1970, and I've been there ever since.  That was for $150 a month.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: It was a good price, then, too.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That went from $10 to $150.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Five dollars a month, to $50, to $150.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, five dollars a month.

Ted Mason: For rent.  And so I raised my price for students, well not the regular students, I kept that the same, __________ 'cause there were not that many of them, you know, anyway.  So it's the new people had to pay $25 a month.  That's the way it went.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: It works very well, the landlord I have is the same landlord I had– Oh, I'm sorry, 1970, that one died.  And the new owner was a real estate man, 1975 I think, and he's been the same landlord since.  Nice people.  I've only met him three times since.  He's in- he's in San Diego, he's got some trust company that has some real estate group.  And he might have someone else inspect the property, then I've only seen him by accident once in a while.  Nice fellow.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yeah.

Ted Mason: And I think he lets his wife run things now because I see her name on a lot of material I get.  The floor we have, we had when we moved in is concrete, with a rug like this on it.  And it used to be a beauty shop, and so it had bobby pins here and there in the rug, and so we bought a new rug, and you know, cleaned it, and then it was always difficult to clean.  And so, in 1991, when the Gulf War, Desert Shield began, before the real things started–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: –we went to a wooden floor.  And plywood, set on two-by-fours, about that high off there.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, about two inches?

Ted Mason: Yeah.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Off the concrete.

Ted Mason: Off the concrete.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: That is the best thing we've ever done.  It feels a little harder on the feet at first, but eventually it was easier to keep clean.  I realized I had to get away from that rug because on a weekend, we would practice during the day, the sun shine through the window would pick up the lint and stuff that was in the air floating.

Sandra Schermerhorn: From the–

Ted Mason: From the rug, even though we– you shampoo a rug, there's just stuff in there you never see, and you breathe it.  So, I did that in 1991 and I haven't had to recoat the, you know, the two coats of polyurethane–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: –on that plywood, and haven't had to resurface it since.  It's just great, clean and it– When we practice falling, we either use the wood floor, or I pull out some mats, we roll out some mats.  It's plenty good, if you fall.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I think a lot of us have had the experience training on concrete.

Ted Mason: Yeah.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: That's the worst.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir, it is.  <laughs>  Alright, fast, do you have any favorite memories of your early training partners?

Ted Mason: Yeah.  The one I mentioned before, his name is Fidel Mack.  Fidel, he was a– he became an assistant editor of the Evening Tribune, later changed the name to Union Trib, a San Diego newspaper.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, so do you still have contact with him?

Ted Mason: Not unless I want to go out of my way to find it.  We don't, not regularly, no.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Mm-hm, I see.

Ted Mason: He was very nearsighted, and he wore real thick glasses.  But he never practiced with the glasses because he wanted to be, he realized in a fight, these glasses would probably be lost anyway.  So, if, I have fond memories of sparring him, because here's a guy who can hardly see you, and yet his control was very good, very good.  Just, I mean, you know, you know, like would not hit you, but could've any time.  The guy can't see, and he's- he's, you know, like almost blind, he's fighting a blur.  And yet he can, amazing man.  And he was, at that time, a college student.  And he was my partner for demonstrations always.  Him and I would put on demonstrations.  In those days, the judo school and the Aikido people, whatever, would put on these demonstrations, and we were the third group, and we'd always come out last.  And we performed– they had mats on the ground, or wherever, the stage, for the Aikido and judo.  So, when we performed, we moved the mats off the stage and practiced on the wood floor.  And we did some hard stuff on that wood floor, just to come right– to look stronger than anybody else, you know.  And show off.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: We were crazy.  And so we did some demonstrations that were, in my memory, were very good, for just two guys out there.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.  Yeah, did you have a favorite thing you liked to demonstrate?

Ted Mason: My favorite technique was breaking would with a jumping round kick, held real high.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And the other thing, we broke rocks a lot, in those days.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Rocks?

Ted Mason: Rocks, and I have this on tape, on video, old video.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Which tape?

 

Ted Mason: Super-8 millimeter film.  Master Lee, __________, is famous for rock breaking.  And so in tests, he would always have you bring a rock to break, or your own rocks.  So, anyway, the Chuck Norris group will laugh, I mean, will tell you about this, how- how they were surprised by this, that __________, instead of bringing out lumber, he had a- a bucket of rocks.  And you broke them either on one another, like one rock on top–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: –or on a five pound dumbbell weight, that you put on the floor.  And the trick was, you hold the rock just off the floor, like this is the rock–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: –And that- that motion there would help break it.  So, you'd hold the rock, and you– when he did it, he would press on the rock with his hand, and then come back and he'd lift the rock up, like– it was almost like cheating, like- like no one could chew that.  But you know, then he's sit up and then he'd break it, like against metal.  The speed of the rock hitting the metal is what- what breaks the rock.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I see.

Ted Mason: The hand hitting the rock produces the speed and the power necessary, but it's almost like, you know, like taking a rock and throwing it down real hard.  And that was done very often.  Well, my– that was my favorite break, right, because I- I don't know why, I like doing that.  And the favorite incident that occurred was one time in front of, everyone looked what was a dance studio, it was a dance place, where singles would meet, I guess at a singles club.  And we put on this demonstration in the middle of that dance floor, and so the audience was really close to us.  And when I hit their rock, it squished out of my hand like a bar of soap.  And it whipped off of my face, and it cut.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh!

Ted Mason: I got a standing ovation for that.  I hadn't broken the rock yet.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>

Ted Mason: __________ like that.  Then I realized as time progressed that all this time, I never was much of an athlete in high school, 'cause I smoked.  I realize this martial art has given me a good reaction– call it good sensitivity to things, and awareness, and a reaction that I never had before.  I never, you know, didn't do that before.  And so in the beginning I had, so a lot of, I was sort of a green belt down there, or blue belt.  You don't tell anybody that anymore.  And all that time I thought everyone nationwide must have the same belt system.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Nope.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Can I ask you about the rocks, about what size were they?

Ted Mason: Oh, __________.

Sandra Schermerhorn: What did they look like?

Ted Mason: Beach rocks, mostly, smooth, the kind that, I don't know if you've seen __________ films.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: But the flatter the better.  This would be ideal, it's long enough where it'd break easy, this'd, if it was a rock.  You know, but usually they're more like half that size.

Sandra Schermerhorn: So about four inches by two inches by one inch?

Ted Mason: Yeah, usually, yeah, usually–

Sandra Schermerhorn: About an inch thick?

Ted Mason: Yes.  This thick's good.

Sandra Schermerhorn: One inch thick is good.

Ted Mason: Yeah.  But the more round they are, the worse it is, because it's– you can't hold 'em, and they don't- they don't– there's no place for 'em to break.  But if they're flat, like a bar of soap, a bar of soap is ideal, if it was a rock.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's right, yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And jagged edges are frowned on.  <laughs>

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: It happens, you know, and there's tricks to everything, you know.  You don't want to get your fingers between the rock and the hard place.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: <laughs>  And what else?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Do you– have you taught that to your students?  Do you teach them that?

Ted Mason: I don't do that in my school, no.  It's funny how we've graduated from that.  It's a lot cheaper than buying lumber.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Hey, I've never heard of that.

Ted Mason: Yeah, isn't that funny?  Yeah, now that you mention it, yeah, I've never been asked if I taught any of my students it.  I don't– I tell my students the way we used to do it.  No one's ever volunteered to start that up again. <laughs>

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And we're close to the ocean.  I mean, there's beach- there's beach rocks out there.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Yeah, maybe I'll- maybe I'll start doing that again.

Sandra Schermerhorn: <laughs>  That would be unique, sir, because I've never heard of it and never seen it, no, sir.

Ted Mason: ‘Cause I have, like I told you, I have it on a DVD now.  It, what it was, was Super-8 millimeter film, in these little five minute reels.  There must've been a good 20 of those put together on one VCR tape.  This off __________ people, and him.  And I got a copy given to me by a fellow in Hawaii, who's no longer living, okay.  Recently I was told he died of leukemia or something.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh.

Ted Mason: He gave that to me 'cause I was interested in it, and then I made copies for my friends, but because it shows what we were doing back then.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yeah, sure.

Ted Mason: And Don Garrett is on this tape as a red belt, sparring with __________.  And it's fun to watch.  The sparring was, the sparring they did was very good, this was before I started training.  But that period, between 1961, '60s, right in there, the sparring ability was great.  The forms are not so.  The way they performed their basics, not so great, by our standards today.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And we've come a long way in looking at that.  And even a tape I have from Korea, same thing.  So, what we were doing in San Diego in '61, is the same thing they're doing in Korea, same period.  So, you know, let's face it, __________ was trained there, so not a lot of __________ going on in the punches.  The blocking, the defensive technique had- had the motion 'cause __________, __________ was there.  But announcing the punches, it was hard to see the- the exaggeration of __________, is the point.

Sandra Schermerhorn: So, they're outstanding area was in the kicking?

Ted Mason: Oh, yes.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That where it was, the strong point.

Ted Mason: Oh, yeah.  The kicks are wonderful.  Yeah.  I think we've come farther than that since then, even, you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Were there any major changes affecting you as a student, like illnesses where you had to take off time, or family responsibility, or job responsibility, where you've had to take off a chunk of time from training?

Ted Mason: Hm.  Well, when we moved to San Francisco that was a problem because, I mentioned, I ended up joining a __________ school, you know, to fill that void.  But it- it helped in another way, it gave me some insight.  We did things totally different in the Ton Sito school I was at, compared to now, anyway.  And so, for example, we did low defense, we brought both fists up to one side of the body, this is Hada Maki [ph?] from here.  And we didn't use Korean terminology, ever.  Not in salutation, beginning, at the end, nothing, no Korean was ever spoken, not one word.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Funny, huh?  And we didn't emphasize saluting the flags or bowing to each other very much, as I recall, for __________ school, necessarily, you know, it's very funny.  But we did Hada Maki [ph?] from here.

Sandra Schermerhorn: From that __________

Ted Mason: Both this–

Sandra Schermerhorn: From here, __________ here.

Ted Mason: Right in here.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: And then here, High defense, I think from the belly up.  When you cross your arms, you don’t think about, when you lift this arm up.  _____________ was from the armpit.  And this is _____________ was from the armpit out.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  I think you crossed your arms on that one.  Some of the weird stuff, you know, and so I go to San Francisco and _____________, the Sudamaki [ph?].  Trindar [ph?] Sudamaki, trying to remember now.  Both hands would go to your hip.  And nope, nope, fists.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Fists closed?

Ted Mason:  Fists closed at the him, back-to-back.  And then when you come out, fan it open, fan it open.  Your fist, and then open.  Yeah, weird.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  And then Hadam [ph?] Sudamaki, just close it here, and then open.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Then open.

Ted Mason:  Yeah.  It’s terrible.  So I go to San Francisco, and they were doing this, and this.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Elbow to elbow.

Ted Mason:  Elbow to elbow, and do like this.  I loved it!

Sandra Schermerhorn:  <inaudible>

Ted Mason:  Oh, and then this here low, turned into low.  They put their elbows together, and they did things that I thought we should’ve done, and I was right.  They did this, and this Okinawa stuff, you know?  So I came back to the home area and had to go back and train with the regular schools.  It was hard for me to go back to the same thing that broke this up.  That was because we were removed from talk of instruction.  And we have to blame Master Lee a little bit, because he might have been a renegade.  It turns out that all the Dan [ph?] numbers that he was issuing were not _________ in Korea at all.  It’s only don number system.  So Don Garrett [ph?] and the rest of them all had bogus phone numbers.  They’re not listed in the regular book.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  And your shodan [ph?] number?

Ted Mason:  My shodan number also.  But by that time we had left Lee Zhong Young [ph?] because of differences my instructor had with him.  That was over an issue– it was one of the students that couldn’t afford to pay for his shodan test, and it grew into an argument that caused us to become renegades.  We left Li Zhong Young.  Not knowing that he had already left Korea anyway.  But we thought we were dead in the water.  So we were independent of him.  So when Fred Kane started training with Don Garrett, it wasn’t long before he realized that Don Garrett wasn’t going to promote him beyond shodan after being shodan.  He left Don Garrett to go to Li Zhong Young to get higher rank or to get more instruction.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  But he didn’t know.  I mean, none of us knew.  And all we had to do– I mean, we had the right address and everything– we coulda wrote headquarters.  We had their address!  But we assumed that Li Zhong Young was connected very strongly with headquarters, he’s Korean, and they weren’t going to listen to us.  Maybe they couldn’t read our letters.  But that’s what we should’ve done.  Hindsight.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Looking back, yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  Could’ve wrote the letter, because when I wrote a letter complaining about something that I saw when I went to my third don test in Detroit, there were some problems, not only in quality, but some strange things were going on there that I had bad vibes about, and it was all about money again.  And so I wrote a letter.  I got an address from a friend across the street.  He led a wig [ph?] shop.  He was Korean, and he knew the person in charge of the South Korean Physical Education Department.  Federal grant, she owns a <inaudible>.  And so I wrote him and asked him for Kwan Ki’s [ph?], address, and I got it.  And it was the same as that address that was written on that old piece of material that I had.  Ha!  I had that address all along!  So I typed a letter and I wrote, said, “What’s going on here?  This is Jijung Kim’s [ph?] doing this and that and that.”  And I said, “Doesn’t look right.”  And he said that Li Zhong Young was his _____________.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Still recording.

Ted Mason:  I think the point I was trying to make was that the answer I got was from Kwan Jung Nim [ph?], Kwan Ki written by someone who spoke English as a second language, and it was well-written, even though you could tell there was some problems with grammar, but who cares?  It was typewritten, so I could read every word.  And he told the that Jijung Kim [ph?] had been expelled from the Mudu Kwan [ph?] because he was not a true sportsman of martial art.  The expression was kind of strange.  I have that letter.  You might want to copy it.  It’s kind of interesting.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  That would be nice.

Ted Mason:  And so then I realized I was belonging to an organization that was not– how should we say, authorized or whatever.  So he promised that another organization was about to be formed, or make an attempt in the future.  So the next letter I got was from his son, who identified himself knowing that I was training with, or had trained with– I didn’t tell you this– with another teacher.  I was teaching a class– my class, and one day one of my students who was a Marine Corp officer told me that there was a Korean assigned to his area that was at Fort Don in Kwan Sumuda Kwan [ph?], and that he asked me if I wanted to meet him.  I said, “Of course!”  Because at that time I was, you know, judging Kim, and had received promotions of <inaudible>.  It’s when we send films back to Detroit.  And at that period of time his name was Li song Ku [ph?].  And he was adopted by an American family, and he joined the Marine Corp because his stepfather was a Marine.  And Li Song Ku visited my school.  At that time I was training– one of my students was Howard Jackson, who had been in the Marine Corp and had originally trained in Detroit.  There was a shodan from Detroit already.  And he became world famous and just recently passed away in March of leukemia at age 55.  But this student of mine was pretty good.  And this Korean gentleman came and he asked, well what he said was, “Can I join your class today?”  And I said, “You can teach it if you like.”  And he said, “I’m only a shodan.”  In those days it was very common.  Shodans had their own schools, even lower rank, for that matter even.  So he said, “No, I just want to practice, because I haven’t practiced for a long time.”  So he practiced in amongst other students, and Howard Jackson was– I think Howard was the only other black belt I had that day practicing.  So during the course of the class I had them face each other for one-step, so during isusit [ph?].  And I’m just watching what kind of guy this gentleman is, and he’s fantastic.  He’s doing things that are a little better than us in a different way than I’ve ever seen performed, you know?  So in one-step, he had technique, for example, one of the techniques that caught me off guard, was after he did an inside defense <inaudible>, he grabbed this fellow’s, this Howard Jackson’s wrist, and turned his back to him and went to his face with the back of his head.  Now I’d never seen a head butt done that way before.  I’d seen it from the front.  And what he was very unique.  He arched his back and, you know.  And I thought at the time, my computer kicked in and thought, this would never work in a real fight or sparring, for that matter, and it’s not realistic in my mind.  But I’d been proven wrong before on other techniques, the most notorious was a punch to the foot, which is done in bo– in ro hi [ph?].

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes.

Ted Mason:  And that works!  If you hit a person in the foot, you’re gonna <inaudible> <laughs>.  So I had him spar.  Now he’s sparring Howard Jackson, who within the year became number on in the nation in sparring, okay?  He became General Assist to _____________.  And he’s so _____________.  And this Korean gentleman hit Howard in the face with the back of his head sparring.  I don’t know how he did it.  And that’s just one of the many techniques he did.  Swinging back thrust, when we podo chungi [ph?] in our class, you’re lucky you didn’t get hit.  He did it in a way, where he pulled it off so fast, and so short, it was not dangerous at all.  I never seen anybody do it that way.  It was like done half-way.  He turned all the way, and his foot was caught for him to hit, and it just stopped right there.  And you said, “Ah-ah!”  I was looking at this.  And I did look in Howard’s face, and he remembers it differently, the poor guy, when I talked about that, he said, “Who was that guy that was in the class?”  In his mind, he thought he did very well against him.  But you know, the older I get, the better I used to be also.  So anyway, that’s the way I met my second teacher.  I wasn’t training regularly with Don Garrett anymore because he was in San Diego, 40 miles south of me.  And you know, I got Miles Grueing [ph?] in Oceanside, and, you know, my hands full.  So I asked after class– before class ended if he would like to demonstrate something for the rest of the class, and he put on performance that was unbelievable!  He demonstrated a weapon form, took a staff off the wall, and did all these twirling techniques.  He also pulled out some needles, insert– these are acupuncture needles– in so many words, they’re used for healing.  And he pulled out two small needles shaped like– I would call them spears, miniature African spears.  And he said, “These are for lacerating certain wounds, and they’re also weapons,” he said.  And he held them between his index and middle fingers, and with a thumb with these needles.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Oh.

Ted Mason:  And it was interesting, and that was before video cameras.  We had two great– normally the film that didn’t take well indoors half the time.  And so after class I asked to be his student, and he agreed.  And I arranged to meet him on the base at Camp Pendleton.  It was like a Wednesday I had free, or a Thursday, I can’t remember what it was.  I didn’t teach for the recreation department at that time, I don’t think.  So I didn’t start teaching for them until 1974.  So 1971 is when we met.  And I trained with him while he stayed– before he was sent Okinawa for the Marine Corp.  And I learned a new seung [ph?] almost every week.  And I see, I didn’t know na hon chee sumdrum [ph?], nor nahon chee eedon [ph?].  We call them Side Form 1, 2, 3.  They’re called Side Form.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Side Form.

Ted Mason:  Side Form 1, 2, and 3.  I did Side Form 1.  And so I told him, I said, your _____________ was my second dan, I need to know Side Form 2.  He said, “Well, I’ll teach it to you and others.”  Well, I got a hold of a camera, a su grade [ph?] camera, and I arranged for this meeting, and I went up there and I taped, filmed Side Form 2 at Tungo [ph?], and I ran out of film before we finished kyung san kyung [ph?] completely.  But I got half of that.  And I worked on those at home until I had them to a point where– you know, this is like during the week– and the following week we went over it again.  And he taught me the rest of kyung san kyung.  It went on from there.  And then after that many other forms.  Some of which are not in the curriculum in our federation.  But in addition, he taught me ti wan [ph?].  I don’t think he taught me ro has [ph?].  Ship su [ph?].  He taught me shung pa [ph?], it’s a woman’s form, which are just recently taught at Region 10 summer camp.  And good form, too, so I don’t know why it’s a woman’s form.  But it’s a woman’s form.  I asked him why he learned it, he said, “I was curious when I heard about it.”  A form called San ku kwang [ph?]. It means literally “high ultimate punch.”  Oh, I forgot.  I have them listed somewhere.  I learned 12 forms from him.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Had you ever seen anybody do those before?

Ted Mason:  Never.  Never.  He taught me Ju Wan [ph?], what we call Jeoung [ph?] today.  Jeoung.  He said, “If somebody in Korea knows you knows this form, he’ll assume you’re at least a Fifth Dan, because he said, “This is a Fifth Dan form,” and so forth with all these.  So I learned so much from him in the course of maybe a year before he was transferred.  And of course, passed that onto my students.  Howard Jackson later became famous when he went to Chuck Norris and became part of his group, then his reputation took off really well.  And now I’m working with this– you might have heard us talking yesterday.  You might have been there.  But the ladies that’re with your group, your school, the illustration desk.  I was talking to all of them about this– about his fiancé, and the fact that she has the material for a book he was writing that she’s gonna complete.  And I’ve been trying to get her to change the name of the book from– he wanted to call the book “Choices,” that he’s made in his life.  I said, “No, really, you should put your name on that.”  Put, “My Life with Howard Jackson,” or “Howard Jackson and I,” or something like that.  Because the family and others, they want that material so they can make a movie out of his life, and they want to do their own thing.  I said, “Don’t let them have it.  It’s yours, because your significant other, Howard, wanted you to have that. So you go with that, it’s yours.”  And it helped with a lot of stuff that’s mentioned about his life.  They skipped the parts where he was me.  That hurts.  And so I gave them information, you know, and I said, “When he was at Camp Pendleton, he wasn’t discovered by Chuck Norris when he was in Camp Pendleton.  He was trained with me, and then about his fifth tournament, they saw him for the first time.”  And they treat it like, well, this guy <inaudible> of his life.  They want to act like taught him how to punch.  Trust me.  He knew how to punch when I first met him, ’cause I know, because we sparred.  Really fast hands and good kicking technique.  And so he had that all down, but he had bad control in his technique.  He hit a lot of people by accident, and got disqualified a lot.  As soon as he simmered down a little bit, he was okay.  But that’s a side no one _____________ on him.  They’re working on that.  So what else?  I got sidetracked again, I’m sorry.  <inaudible>

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Okay.

Ted Mason:  Oh, the ded ju kim [ph?], yes.  So then the Federation was formed, and we got a notification by mail that they’re gonna have a meeting back East, New York.  And that they named all these people who were invited, and I was invited.  But I gave Chuck Norris my proxy, but he didn’t show up either.  And so I’m like, “Oh, thank you!”  Cream and sugar?

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Still recording.

Ted Mason:  So I was not one of the people that went to that meeting in the early formation of the Federation, or as I tell people, I would have a gold patch today.  But then, this is off the record, I don’t need no stinking gold patch!  <laughs>  But it’s okay, because it was so far away, I’d never been to New York before.  I didn’t feel like traveling all that way to be with people I didn’t know.  You know, I wasn’t pumped up for that.  Besides, I couldn’t get that day off.  I had maybe two weeks to get ready to go, and in the California  Highway Patrol– we only got one weekend off a month.  The rest of the days were during the week.  And so if you get lucky, you could pick your own weekend, the weekend you wanted, so you could– certain events you could go to.  And that was okay.  So I missed that meeting and others after that.  But I got the results for the meeting, and they looked good except I was surprised that Chuck Norris didn’t show up, and other people that I thought were high enough ranked and respected in California didn’t go to that.  I found out later that a couple of them did, but it didn’t look like they were going to be in charge.  Everybody wanted to be in charge.  Or they wanted some position of super authority, it looked like.  And they’re all lobbying to do these things, and so we don’t mention their names, but they fell by the wayside, because they were not into the democratic aspect of that kind of organization, see?  But I think they did very well, even– then it’s years later, so I was asked to– if I would accept the nomination for a member of the board, you know, in 1978.  And so I said, “Well, sure,” because Master Friar [ph?] called me.  That’s the first time I’d talked to him, or the first I’d ever met him, in fact.  And he was secretary at the time.  And so I said I would accept the nomination, and I was elected, so that 1978 meeting which occurred in LA, which was– that’s when I first met Master Wong [ph?], then.  A _____________ Grandmaster.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes.

Ted Mason:  And I know you have other questions about that later, but I can get to those if you want in turn.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  You can talk now about it if it seems natural progression.

Ted Mason:  To back up then to 1977, we had a meeting in San Diego with Grandmaster Wong Ki [ph?].  This is when I first met him.  I know that question’s on here.  He sat in on the Dan testing.  And the night before, when I first met him was at a restaurant, called “The VIP Restaurant.”  And it was a Korean restaurant.  And my wife was– I was asked, “Does your wife speak Japanese?”  And I said, “Well, I hope so, she’s from Japan!”  You know, I could have said, “Is the Pope a Catholic?”  But I didn’t.  But they said because their interpreter that they had selected, his English is so bad they’re not gonna understand his English.  He was an employee of the restaurant.  So they said, they learned that Grandmaster spoke Japanese, because of the Japanese occupation, and was raised with that occupation, and forced to learn Japanese.  So they asked for my wife to interpret, to _____________.  And that was a wonderful thing, because you know, I got to hear a lot of inside things that I would not have been privy to.  And she was an interpreter at this restaurant when _____________ talked to the group.  And the next day, she stayed home preparing a meal, because I think we end up taking Grandmaster to our house for supper or something.  So we had a Dan test.  My instructor was present for that, and he interpreted.  My Korean instructor, _____________.  And Grandmaster spent a long time with him trying to get him to become active again, but he didn’t want to get involved anymore in the politics of whatever’s involved.  He didn’t want to screw anymore and so on and so on, and so he didn’t.  So it was good.  We had a Dan testing, and a clinic, and I have photographs of that.  It’s interesting to watch the people in the back row who are now well-known, but they were children then.  Grandmaster Kim [ph?] was there, and he was a kid.  And Master Francis and I were in the front row with others, and it was one heck of a clinic.  And I don’t think I ever stood in a forward stance so long.  I was in _____________ for a good 20 minutes while he explained things.  In my recollection before that, the challenge to stand in a forward stance for a long time was a big deal.  Never thought of a forward stance as being more difficult.  But I realize now that it’s because all the weight’s in the front leg, it’s worse than a side stance.  If you stand there 20 minutes.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir!

Ted Mason:  And so my front leg started bouncing.  My knee started going, “Oh, my.”  And this one fellow, he stood in his own perspiration.  There was a puddle around him, and it was an amazing experience, and something as simple as basics.  And that was great.  And then the Dan testing.  And then afterward we took him to our house, and my wife just made Kim-Chi, first attempt at the Kim-Chi.  And his only complaint was it wasn’t hot enough.  Those’re good memories.  And my opinion of him at the time, very kind, courteous, sensitive man.  Who, as I learned later, through the years, when you ask a question, if it’s not a good question, the answer will tell you.  Instead of putting you in a place in a way like, well, that was not a good question, he will answer the question that you should have asked that’s related to that subject.  It’s very well– it manipulates the whole thing in the direction that’s proper.  So if you are wrong, he doesn’t tell you you were wrong.  He’ll just tell you what’s right.  It’s great!  It’s great.  I really enjoyed that about him.  And the best thing about it for me is that my wife could ask him questions for me easily.  So I learned also during the years, you had to be careful what questions you asked, because of those reasons stated above.  If it was complicated, it would take him some time to finish.  I mean, he would tell you everything there was to know about that.  So I had to be careful.  I had to be very selective on the questions I asked, because I know that was the only questions I was gonna be able to ask that day, so I kind of catalogued them.  And as I progressed, I found answers to some of those questions on my own, and it wouldn’t bother him _____________.  He went on like that.  I don’t know, a lot of interesting things happened.  And then boat rides in Ft. Lauderdale.  We were on a boat.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  We were with him at a dinner.  And so I asked my wife, could you ask him about the beginnings of Su Dak To [ph?], and when the expression was first used?  And on the back of the ticket that we had to get in, the little invitation card, he wrote a series of Chinese characters as it progressed.  It really is, his expression was Fak [ph?], and then it was Su Fak [ph?], and then it was Su Bak Hi [ph?], and then Su Bak Ki [ph?], and then Sub Bak Do [ph?], he said I coined that phrase because I wanted to fit in with _____________ philosophy.  So he used the word “Do” first.  Well, as he’s writing this down, I want this as a collector’s item really bad, this piece of paper.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  And he’s scribbling on it as a teacher does on a blackboard.  With a pen, he’s doing this.  He’s ruining it, you know?  And but I got that, and I copied that, and then I took white out and white out the scribbles, and recopied it so it’s clean.  I have the original copy, and the clean copy.  But all this has been produced since in the “History of the Muda Kwan [ph?]” book.  And what he said is there in the way he told us.  And so that part wasn’t missed.  But every time I– it was just all in Japanese, and I don’t– and my Japanese is very poor, and so I can only catch every other word or less, and so I kept asking, “What’d he say?  What’d he say?”  “Later, later.  You know, I’ll tell ya later.”  Well, we’re talking about a whole hour we’re talking here, and so a lot of “later” is missed.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Oh, yeah.

Ted Mason:  Later is like, okay, I got a _____________ of it.  It was– that day was good in spite of everything.  You know, and those days, and the way I met him was great.  And we have come a long way since, is all I gotta say.  Every time I look at the movies from the past, or the films, saying, “We have learned so much since then, because we were operating on a shoestring of knowledge.”  We only knew up to, as I mentioned, Side Form 1.  And basics.  And a lot of sparring, and no one steps– and so we did things pretty much on one side only.  Right-handed people do the right, and left-handed people do the left, and that kind of thing.  Probably why I have arthritis in my right hip now.  Yeah.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  You were gonna mention about the isolation of the schools and your talking to the founder about his answer about that.

Ted Mason:  Well, the kid asked about how many styles of Tong Su [ph?] are there?  And he said, “For every face I see in this room, there’s a style.”  Meaning, I’m sure that it’s a personality– it’s you that makes a difference.  So the way you do Tong Sudo [ph?] is different than the way another person does it perhaps, because of your own condition of body features, whatever.  And so in this country we were separated by miles and miles and different teachers taught different things, even in Korea we had differences.  As he says, the present Grandmaster says, “The country doesn’t appear to be very large.”  It’s a small country, but because of transportation problems, it can be a very big country, because travel’s difficult. So you can be a mile away from somebody, it might as well be 100 miles, because it’s on the other side of the mountain.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Other side, this mountain.

Ted Mason:  So this country here it was separated by that, and add some ideology differences, you know?  And so we didn’t get together hardly at all until tournaments.  We might see each other at tournament, open tournaments.  And then we collectively gather in a special way that we’d cheer each other on.  So, you know, Chuck Norris and I didn’t practice at the same time.  You know, he didn’t belong to the same group exactly.  The tournaments we were together in that way.  We were all Seoung Sadobe [ph?].  And so we didn’t have patches in those days.  You know, the time the Chuck Norris Organization got their own patch, I guess they had a jumping sidekick on the front a Um Yong [ph?] symbol, which is kind of– but we never wore patches until we joined Ji Yeoung Kim’s organization out of Detroit, called the American Yudo Kwan Sudo [ph?] Association, it’s called.  But when I found out that he was no longer connected to Grandmaster Won Ki, then we didn’t stop wearing the patch, we stopped– well, I sent a resignation letter.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.  When did they do tournaments, all the computer people had trim.  Did everybody else have trim?

Ted Mason:  Oh, nobody else had trim except– no Teoung Sudoki [ph?].

Sandra Schermerhorn:  What was tournaments like?  In that they might be different from what we have today.

Ted Mason:  Well, the worst part of them was a uhm.. a feeling that you’re going to get hurt, or a feeling like everyone was there to show that they were best in the world.  Or you know, you weren’t good enough to be even in the same room with them.  So we had that feeling.  Sometimes among Teoung Sudo [ph?] people, too.  Different Teoung Sudo people would do that.  “Our Teoung Sudo is better than your Teoung Sudo attitude.”  One of that.  But we tried our best to look good, because we had strength in numbers, if you wanted to use that.  And that was the first time I heard the word Teoung Su as a battle cry type thing, you know, “Teoung Su!”

Sandra Schermerhorn:  At the tournament.

Ted Mason:  I heard a rumor that that came from some place, originated in Panama.  The people in Panama, the group that Teoung Sudo group in Panama started that.  I don’t know that to be true, but it was C.S. Kim [ph?] from Pennsylvania area.  He brought that back with him, and then we all liked it.  We started doing that.  And I traced it.  Where’d you hear that phrase, and where you’d hear that.  And I finally C.S. Kim said, “Well, in Panama they do that,” when he visited Panama, ’cause he had a lot of students there.  And that’s nice, you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  It’s nice to know where that came from.

Ted Mason:  Yeah, I don’t know how true that is, but that has its own claim to fame.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Do you have any favorite memory of your tournament experience?

Ted Mason:  Yes.  My favorite memory is the California Police Olympics.  My favorite memory.  There’s other memories of other tournaments before that, but successful memories are the best.  I don’t like to remember when I lose.  But those, you don’t forget those either.  I remember I was out of the 25 people competing in forms contests, I was numbered 17, because I knew the person that was handling the sign-in– the ordered those things.  And because he was in charge, he asked me where I wanted to be.  Said, “How many people competing?”  He said, “Twenty-five.”  “Eh, somewhere after 15 and before 20, right in there.”  You know, that was the place to be.  So I remember all these people, none of them I knew.  And so because I didn’t know them, I figured I could win.  Nobody famous, like, you know, the contest where, “Oh, my lord!  Chuck Norris is…”  Big names.  So that we’re all nobodies in a land full of nobodies more or less, and so I gotta an equal chance at it.  But I felt I had better than equal chance.  Five judges.  One was a Teoung Sudo judge from, Master Young [ph?] from Pennsylvania, lived in California at the time.  Chinese Kempu [ph?] judge.  Filipino judge.  Okinawa, true Okinawa judge.  And a Shuru [ph?] judge was E. Fisher [ph?], who was famous at the time.  He was the head judge.  So everyone was represented pretty good.  A wide spread of people, and during the contest I figured I wouldn’t want to be bothered by anybody else’s form until I did mine.  So I kept my eyes shut and pretended to meditate.  Just thinking about my first few moves and form, right?  And so I did get off to a good start.  And this is a fond memory now, okay?  I’m sitting cross-legged, back in the days when I could stand up easily from that position.  Just stand up straight.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  Now I have to use my hands.  And this is the plan to look good.  You always want to look good, because we know it’s better to look good than to feel good, so I’ve been told.  When I stood up and turned– you stand up and turn because your legs are crossed, you can do this, you know?

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason:  I stand up and pivot 180 degrees to the rear and straighten the uniform, adjust the uniform.  When I adjusted my uniform, I ripped one of these cords here, the ties.  I heard the thing tear, and I knew right away what it was, but it’s not an important thing.  But I couldn’t help smiling when I heard this rip, but it relaxed me, you know?  At that time, I’m looking eye-to-eye with some lady in the audience, and I couldn’t help myself, I winked, because I felt like, “You’re gonna see something really good now.”  This is my feeling.  I motivated myself feeling, “I’m gonna win this.”  And I performed with Wong Shu [ph?].  This is Wong Shu now.  And so I did Wong Shu.  When I was half-way through the form, there was a place in the form where the form was through me.  I was not doing the form.  That is a scary thing.  It’s the first time, the only time, that’s ever happened in my life.  It was– I would say something bordering on insanity.  It was like I was being controlled by the form.  And I don’t like that, you know?  It scared me, so I slowed down a little bit, and it was a key moment where I got relaxed, you know?  Fortunate little _____________ move.  And I think it’s during that time that I must’ve got turned around, and ended up facing the wrong way, because to finish that form where I’m supposed to be looking at the judges.  My back is to the judges.  What to do now?  So I just finish with the turn, a 180-degree turn, a _____________.  And you know, I finished it with that movement, which ordinarily would’ve been the end of that, but the Korean judge didn’t care, he wanted me to win, I think.  We didn’t know each other real well.  So he didn’t discount.  He didn’t give me a low score.  And I won!  So I get a gold medal for this.  This is the Police Olympics.  The California Police Olympics, they don’t call it the  Police Olympics anymore, they call it the Police Games.  Okay, so now I’m on a roll.  I won my forms division, and now I’m competing the heavyweight fight.  And somebody came up to me and say, “Hey, you know they’ve got brown belt here that’s gonna buy the first round.”  And you know, the rest of us are black belts.  He’s a nobody.  We don’t know who this guy is.  And he appeared to have some connections with the people in charge.  I don’t know how they figured that out, because my wife and I did the Kindo [ph?] demonstration.  We did the Kindo demonstration in between the forms and this _______.  And they all enjoyed that.  There’s an expression in police work, “When all else fails,” they have this expression, “Choke ’em out.”  Choke ’em out means to put somebody to sleep with a hold around the neck, and it’s a cop talk.  And these are all policemen and their wives, or wives– policewomen and their husbands.  And so when my wife and I face each other with bamboo swords, it’s Kindo, somebody in the audience yelled “Choke ’em out!” because she’s very small compared to me.  And really had a ___________ demonstration.  And now there can be in sparring, and the guy came over to complain to me, one of the competitors that knew me, he’s in my division.  He said, “We shouldn’t allow the brown belt to get the buy.  If anyone gets a buy, it should be one of us.”  He’s right!  So I went over to my friend who is in charge of the lineup, and I complain to him, and he says, “You wan the buy?”  “Well, heck yes!”  So I get a buy, which really paid off.  I only had to fight two people to take first place.  And I beat them both, and it was home free.  So I got two gold medals, so that’s my fondest moment.  Although, you know, I faced a little bit of rocks along the way, and being in the right place at the right time.  And this is the same enjoyment is this <inaudible> as the things you came in.  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Who you know.

Ted Mason:  But those little things give you an edge, you know, and if you’re not famous, it always helps, but that’s my fondest memory.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Back then did they have different weights competing?

Ted Mason:  Yes, oh yeah.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Really?  How did they decide who was competing against who?

Ted Mason:  Random usually.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Really?

Ted Mason:  In tournaments with limited participation brown belts, and lower even, often fought with the black belts.  And people like Mike Stone [ph?] as a brown belt beat so many black belts that they all chipped in together and got him a certificate.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Oh, wow.

Ted Mason:  I hope he kept it.  He’s in the Falkland Islands somewhere.  No one knows exactly.  They made a certificate, and he’s got signatures of at least a half a dozen well-known black belts.  I think Chuck Norris might have been one of us to say, “We’re black belt.  We can’t have a brown belt beating us.  The reasons he’s a brown belt.  His teacher was a brown belt in the Army at Fort Chappie, Arkansas.  I wish he was a top sudo [ph?] man but he wasn’t.  So it was very common when you had small numbers, very mixed.

Q:  Did you have facing competition at tournaments  at that time?

Ted Mason:  It was rare.  Yeah, I’ve only seen one breaking heart just.  And I read about one back East in Black Belt Magazine.  And it was a Teoung Sudo guy that one with a round kick with his instep.  He broke more than two boards.  And the photograph shows it clearly, his instep.  And we were talking at that time that you shouldn’t kick with your instep.  Okay, you know, that’s the drawing board.  Yeah!  I can’t remember who he was, but you know, I saw a picture.  Yeah.  I hope you don’t mind this little sidebar stuff.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Oh, it’s very interesting.  Very, very interesting.  I think we talked about some of the things about what early training, what classes were like.  Just wanted to ask, is there any kind of discipline used, like push-ups?  Like what do people do?

Ted Mason:  Okay, most problems in class– I remember in our early training, mine anyway, was if you hit somebody harder than you should, if it was violation of that kind of thing, and we were prone to do that, we got push-ups.  Of course, on your knuckles.  But because we had a soft floor, we had a judo mat.  Well, you know, soft judo floor, we had to do the push-ups on your knuckles off that floor, on the edge, you know?  No point in doing it on the soft.  And I remember doing push-ups a lot, because I liked to hit, you know, maybe too much, certain people.  And that was very common.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  What in the general population, back when you started training, what was their attitude towards the martial arts?

Ted Mason:  Well, you know, mostly they were ignorant of what we were doing.  So they still today have the same attitude, mostly making fun of what we’re doing.  So if you wore your uniform in public, you know, it wasn’t done.  But if you had to go from your cars to a venue, it’s best done without your uniform still today, because it attracts attention.  But there wasn’t a lot of things like movies and television didn’t have a lot of that activity.  So it’s kind of rare, you know, there wasn’t that many people doing it.  You know, I don’t know, it’s hard to say what their attitude is.  You know, it’s like, how do you tell as a general population, you know, like <inaudible> last time,” but we were subjected to some ridicule.  You know?  Here and there.  And some of it’s deserved, because some of these people who were wearing a uniform were acting strangely, you know?  Still today.  One guy had a school at Downtown Oceanside.  He was throwing stars at a telephone pole.  Missed the telephone pole, and hit a passing motorist.  Stuff like that, you know?  And he was in uniform.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Oh!  In your early years of training, who was your hero?

Ted Mason:  Hm.  And you’re talking about just anybody as a hero?

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Uhm hm, yeah.

Ted Mason:  In my early days of training.  Boy, that’s a good one.  Heroes.  But yeah, I have to think about that a while to have to talk on.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  When you started training, what were your ambitions in martial arts?

Ted Mason:  Well, initially, the purpose of training was to learn a self-defense to become more secure.  I think I was insecure.  I had especially, because I’m dating a beautiful woman, which provoked things.  So when we went out, you would have people come up and ask her to dance, and she’s with me.  But she handled that herself, just said, “No, thank you, I’m with him.”  You know, and that’s the way we did it, but I felt like I needed to be ready for some physical confrontation at any moment, and that’s before I even– I was a military policeman in the army, so I knew what it was like to be a policeman of sorts.  And I wasn’t kidding about being a Highway Patrolman, until my wife saw an advertisement, you know, on television, and at that time I realized that this martial art might come in handy, at _____________.  And it gave me confidence, and that’s what I wanted.  So initially it was the desire to become more confident, and then later on, as I went through that role, then it was for the sheer pleasure of practicing.  Quite honestly.  And then as I continue to grow older, then it’s this little added thing call “responsibility,” and things I owed my students and others, and I felt like, “Well, I gotta stay with this, b//c they need me, you know?”  It’s a little bit of that.  That’s about it.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  I have a section here on bowing testing.  We talked about your Shodan test.  Anything about your Ee don [ph?] or Strom Don [ph?]  test that stands out your mind.

Ted Mason:  The Ee Dan test is done by _____________ terminal.  Some Ee-Don tests is done by somebody filming it.  Son Don test is done by visiting <inaudible>.  And nothing outstanding that I can think of except for what I saw there.  The badges I got there.  Trying to think of something else that might be important in that area.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  For the Son Don test was it like for you had to skip class for a week, or does he actually let them perform so _____________.

Ted Mason:  Yeah, there was a guy in the room in this place outside of Detroit City– can’t remember the name of it now.  He _____________ something our gym, and you had to perform.  And really, really interested in breaking it seemed like.  More interested in that than anything else, sparring.  But the films, for example, all we wanted to see on the film was all your forms, well, they were taught in five, something like that.  You want chi [ph?] done, chindo.  I’ll sign.  I don’t remember doing anything else.  Now I took all three of those on one five-minute real, and I had left over, you know, so then I figured, “Well, let’s do some one-steps with son.”  I had to do _____________, so I can do one-steps.  That’s it, you know?  Nothing, kind of uneventful.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  How about for Ko Don Jim?

Ted Mason:  Oh, yeah!  Oh, yeah, I’ll tell you that one.  That’s good.  The first Ko Don Jim test was done, of course, miniature <inaudible>.  And we didn’t have a Ko Dan Sho [ph?] week.  So, Master Francis and I both tested the same day, and we both failed.  Because primarily we didn’t know the right terminology.  We’re both looking at each other.  We talk to each other afterward.  They’d give a command.  They said– I swear it was, “When Jeng Kong Go?”  I thought that was a reverse middle punch they wanted.  So thought it was “Yub Ching,” or something, see?  So I move first, and he just copied me.  So we both– we were like the blind leading the blind.  And so I remember a lot of things we just, oh, we just didn’t know.  We didn’t know, because of terminology.  And in one steps I remember I’m standing there, I’m holding this <inaudible> with this– I got hit in the side of the head with his crushing kick, and I’m not moving.  I’m not suppose to move.  <yells>  “Wow, gees!”  And he liked that.  So we test, we’re done separately, I couldn’t go the first re-test that was available to me, and so Master Francis passed that one, and then I retested latter.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Where did you go for this?

Ted Mason:  The retest was done in Lakewood, Master George Dolbee’s [ph?] studio, which still exists today.  I had a <inaudible>, really during the clinic, a Master Onessismith’s cuff, doing the outside crushing kick.  On the way up, my __________ and it’s _____________ weight.  It healed quickly.  And it was a little toe that had been broken before, and probably healed quickly before.  But like the doctor said, “Did you ever break this before?”  And, “Yep.”  “Well, you did it again!”  And on the way going outside, I caught on the way up on his cuff.  And oh, boy that hurt!  And so I taped it to the next toe, and I had to test that afternoon or evening.  And I’ll never forget.  I had to spar with two people, and one fell out– grabbed my leg by the ankle, and when it pulled loose, oh! that hurt!  Because the little toe was involved.  Will never forget that.  Never passed the retest.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  And where was the first test?

Ted Mason:  The first test was held in Santa Barbara.  Master– the same school that Master Pock [ph?] trained at.  His teacher was called Li Zhong Suk [ph?].  Li Zhong Suk was like a sixth Dan at least.  It was his school in Santa Barbara.  And when he moved to Seattle, Master Zhong, you know, was teaching in Santa Barbara still.  They had a kind of a split.  Well, Master Li Zhong Suk left the Federation.  Well, anyway.  That’s who I guessed had failed with Master Francis for this– my O Don test was held with Ko Donja [ph?] week, on the early ones, you know.  The Sa Don test was held in those veins.  When everyone else was testing for the Shodan and above.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Great.  Any other memories of any of your other _____________ tests that stand out in your mind?

Ted Mason:  Wow, lots of memories.  ’Cause, you know, those’re long weeks.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  <inaudible>

Ted Mason:  That’s an outstanding, and I continue them.  Let me think.  No, I can’t remember.  You said that we were allowed to perform anything additional.  I performed the woman’s form I mentioned for my– might have been my sixth round test.  I forgot.  I performed Shim Pa [ph?] for my sixth round test.  And Master– Uncle Bob we call him– Master Shipley [ph?] performed– you know, the boss _____________, the other Kung-son _____________.  It just two traditionally.  We only know one of each.  The Bossi [ph?], so Bossi Teh [ph?].  It’s Kung Son Kung Teh.  Large and small of each.  We only know the date of each, ordinarily.  And that’s part of our curriculum.  But he performed the So [ph?], the smaller of the two.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Are they very different?

Ted Mason:  Oh, yes!  Oh, yeah.  Yeah.  Different in a lot of ways.  Short moves, I explained.  I don’t know, I don’t do the forms.  I didn’t ask if I wanted to learn them, but I’m too busy learning other things that I have to know.

Sandra Schermerhorn:  In the time you’ve been in the Mudu Kwan, you mentioned that you are on the Board.  Did you hold any offices where you were on the Board?  And you were the chairman, you said.

Ted Mason:  Yeah, _____________.  I brought this with me, so if you…

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Good.

Ted Mason:  Okay.  Elected to the Board of Records in ’78.  I was the treasurer, elected treasurer of the board of directors 1980.  Secretary of board of directors in ’81/’82.  Chairman of the board of directors ’86, ’87.  Chairman again 1990/’91.  Secretary in 1993/’94.  Regional examiner, shall I?

Sandra Schermerhorn:  Yes, please.

Ted Mason:  I was regional examiner of Region 9 from 1994 to 1998.  In 1993, I assisted Master Opal [ph?] in that capacity.  I remained on the Board of Directors until 1996.  And then I was awarded “Outstanding Member” in 1997.  TAC member of an Mego Mu [ph?] with Master Shipley and Master Bosanori [ph?] of the Mego Mu in 1999.  And TAC chairman after the death of Grandmaster Won Ki.  Then I was– I became the chairman of the TAC.  And this is like individual stuff there.  You want to do that, too?

Sandra Schermerhorn:  We can do that, too.

End of OH-Sei2_Mason1.dss ####

 

Sandra Schermerhorn: We are recording now.  This is Mason/Schermerhorn, the second part of his oral history. 

Ted Mason: So I already mentioned that I was regional examiner, and the period that I was regional examiner, and then I was asked to be on the T.A.C., which I guess the word is chosen.  There's a new group of us and there's nine T.A.C. members, and there were three officers.  This is all new at the time and that was in 1999, and so I became part of the Neh Gong Bu at that time.  It was three member.  It was a total nine on the T.A.C. at that time and we had three in each office, and the Neh Gong Bu was the office that I was in on, and then Weh Gong Bu, your husband was on, and then the, or maybe Shim Gong Bu, maybe.  No, he was Weh Gong.  So those three offices and so that was 1999, and then there was a three year term and then we were, the word elected is not proper, reassigned for another three years.  But Kwan Jang Hwang Kee died in 2002, something like that, and because of that they needed a new chairman of their T.A.C. because of his son became the president and the grandmaster then of our association.  So I was then appointed, appointed is the right word for all those offices I think, then I was appointed of chairman of the T.A.C.  Then the Hu Kyun In was formed July 23 of 2005 and a new T.A.C. was assigned, and I was put on the Hu Kyun In July 23 of '05, and then appointed as its chairman.  And the rest is just, I'm really proud of it, that took place through the years.  May I go through that?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  Please, sir.

Ted Mason: In chronological order, in 1982 I designed and produced the California patches for the team members in region nine.  In 1985, for the national championships, Master Walsh asked me to handle the awards and I got approval and originated an overall grand championship award for the person who won both forms and sparring.  And I think Master Lisa Kozak was in a third dan then and she won that, and I'm very happy.  I also found the trophies.  They were dishes, silver-plated trays, and we had them engraved, and they had to be carefully selected because my friend who did the engraving said if they were shallow plating and everything it would show a different color I guess when you engraved them.  We went through a lot of problems and also I was able to start to award two third place awards, and that was the first time that was done in the 1985 national championships.  I designed the medals for the nationals in region nine, and also they had a good discipline award.  It was a medal that was made probably in Korea.  I redesigned that and had that produced.  Now, we're not longer using that of course but the good discipline medals.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I remember them, sir.

Ted Mason: And I still have a few of those left over from the ______________.  I never got one.  It was 1986.  I designed and produced the USA patches for the team members that were training in international championships in England, and of course I was board of directors chairman then, and so we had a national advertisement in Black Belt Magazine, that the concept was to make ourselves more known, but advertise in all the studios.  And that increased enrollment that year, and our budget really increased tremendously from $125,000 to $500,000 because of that.  It's amazing how many new students we had because of that.  It was a drop off after that because a lot of new studios realized they had to jump threw a few hoops that were difficult to learn a whole bunch of new hyung and so forth.  And I didn't reside over it but initiated the first national summer camp.  There was other summer camps held in Nguyen II [ph?] and California also, but they weren't considered national summer camp.  And so on July 25 in 1986 we had the first national summer camp in Upstate New York.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Phoenicia.

Ted Mason: Yes, Phoenicia, that was the one the following year, but I didn't go.  In 1989, this is where it gets into the good stuff now, this is trivial at first but I noticed before that we used a score sheet, a piece of paper that you had to mark all the scores of the participants as they did it.  And these were all thrown away after each bout, pretty much became trash.  I realized that it would be most simple to use blackboards, and so I bought a bunch of blackboards, and so in 1986, 1989, I'm sorry, in Anaheim we started using chalkboards in each ring.  I think we're stilling do that, I hope, still.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Instead of the paperwork, that we have a scorekeeper that writes the score, and that way the referee can see the scores as they're done.  I started doing that.  I still have the original __________ of blackboards too, in my garage. But since then other people have–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir, other people do that.  It was a good innovation because people picked up on it and.

Ted Mason: I needed it real bad.  I needed it. Still today you have to watch them because the kids, you don't know, they hold it so they can see it, nobody else can.  Sometimes it could be upside down, but I'm very happy that that was accepted.  But my pride and joy based upon and injury I got in a tournament in the California Police Olympics, actually it was the International Police Olympics held in Long Island, in 1980 I got about 15 stitches in my head from being knocked out, and landing on my head on a hardwood floor.  So I had a personal thing about safety gear from then on and I had a heck of a time trying to get my seniors to agree, or the board, or anybody to want to go along with it.  And their primary objection was it looked too much like another art we won't mention, and so I kept trying to tell people, well it's called safety gear or safety equipment and what you're telling me is you're not interested in being safe.  And so I just kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing.  Well, when I was elected chairman of the board again in 1989, this is after another term where I wasn't because in 1986 and 1986 I was chairman of the board.  In 1988, Master Moonitz was.  In '89, I was elected again.  Master Pryor was elected ____________ '89.  So 1990 I was chairman of the board and I had a little more influence to get that changed, and so I initiated the use and it was accepted, and as long as I was on a role I also snuck in the hand gear.  I figure as long as they're going to accept that, than we go to hand gear, but it wasn't truly accepted, and only I think they were interested, it was like optional for adults and children must.  So we purchased some fort he kids and all the kids wore the headgear then in the 1990 championships.  I had a heck of a time getting our region nine to go along with that, but soon there was accepted.  I think those couple injuries when they didn't have it and they said, “Well, he must be right.”  But that's the thing I'm most proud of, and in a newsletter article that was supposed to be mentioned, that line was omitted somehow.  So the way it reads is, the thing I'm most proud of is the initiation of the region nine championships, which is not only incorrect but–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Anyway, so the other things are, let's see, then later on in the year 2000 I designed and produced the region nine patches that we're using now.  That is it pretty much.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's wonderful, sir.  Thank you.  That's really wonderful.  Let me play it back.  Yes, sir.  We'll continue with that.

Ted Mason: At the time, in my early training of course the people I was awe of in course were my instructors.  And Don Garrett would be, and I don't call him a hero.  He was just impressive and he was the one I wanted to emulate.  But we were totally different in regard to physique. He was a small person, or he is now, but very powerful, dynamic individual.  Very quiet when it comes to speech but a very good instructor and he had black belts in Judo and Aikido also.  So our class included other arts in the way he taught it.  One step, for example, he included the jump kicks and punches but then we had a take down, a throw always, because he had a soft mat for throwing.  So we had a lot of we might call it Judo involved in that.  In our self defense techniques we had a lot of Aikido involved in that, especially knife defense, and with respect to the Si [ph?] Form that I taught in a recent– that is the reason I think Aikido people do that.  And I learned that from Don Garrett who was high _______________ in our organization, call it an organization at that time, was the third dan.  He got that from Jaegwon Kim  [ph?] the way I did mine pretty much.  He had some innovations in the way he taught it.  I feel he does it more softly and without a lot of focused power, no shi jok [ph?], no strength in the way we think of it, as in like in our punches for example.  It's done softly, and it flows a little better, and it's pretty.  But Don Garrett didn't want it to be pretty and so the way he taught it, and the way I practiced it, and the way I teach it is more in attune to the way Soo Bahk Do is practiced, with speed, and power, and focus, and it's a stronger form.  Whether it's more realistic, more effective or not, that remains to be seen, but I think so.  So he was my, you know, hero is the wrong word because it's more like someone that you feel has gone like above and beyond the call of duty, and you admire them for that.  In that regard, then my wife would fit in that category from the very beginning when she started training because women did not do this.  We didn't see any women doing this and so she, one day, spanking the kids or trying to, they were doing Ha Dan Mahk Kee against her action.  And so she ordered them to put their hands, this is one kid or the other, I can't remember which one it was, “Put your hands on the bed and let me hit you,” that kind of thing.  And she decided then that she wanted to take martial arts, and she became overnight my best students, and very easy to teach her compared to previous students that I had.  I didn't have that many, and so she became a star in our area, and in competition was just magnificent.  But you understand, this women, she won 1954 Ms. Sasebo beauty pageant. Sasebo is a city the size of San Diego.  Well, I know where it is now but the last time I was there, it's a port city in Southern Japan, and in 1954 when she was, I think she was even 21 years old.  She was born in '35, she won Ms. Sasebo contest.  I have photographs of that taken.  And so very good looking woman.  To practice a martial art and especially in a tournament at that time when the women started being involved, it's bare knuckles and you had a good chance of having your front teeth knocked out.  So even though you were wearing a mouthpiece, you could get your nose broken easily, and still today maybe.  But bare knuckles is, you know, not a thing that if I had to do over again I probably in my attitude now would not let her compete.  But back then we were young and stupid, and not really thinking of the danger of it so much. Although, honestly I did worry about her a lot.  She became a local champion. She was the woman to beat and there were many women that would not enter a contest if she was going to compete in it.  They'd back out and so one particular time she told them that, well, “Will you compete if I don't?” and they said they would.  And so she chose not to compete and let them.  Yeah, amazing women, ________________ mine, this girl she was so afraid before the contest.  She said, “Please don't hurt me,” and Keiko said, “Don't worry, just do your best.”  That's kind of a psychological blow too, see, but that's the way she was, and she says that she did that primarily to enhance my name, see.  That's the way she is.  It's very Asian, you know.  The husband and wife thing is like, the wife will sacrifice herself forever to make sure the husband has a status, you know.  It's kind of an unusual situation.  It's the reason why I probably married her.  My previous girlfriends were not like that.  So I got to tell you about that, you know.  So she would be my hero.  Even today she's a model and is amazing.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yeah, you talked about her being a champion with the sparring.  I saw her do forms with you.  Did she like to do this and <inaudible>?

Ted Mason: Yeah.  She did very well.  Now, you know, we have physical problems, both of us.  She's got a bad knee.  She had surgery on it but those things never really heal right and she has foot problems, bone spurs on her feet that irritate her quite a bit.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Painful.

Ted Mason: I'm getting that now, and so she's not as active as she used to be in that regard with class.  In class, she occasionally gets up and grows through some of the basics, and we do forms together, but that's about it now.  You got to be careful at her age, you know.  She's 72, I think.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Was there something else that you had thought of that you wanted to mention?

Ted Mason: That's as far as heroes and people I looked up to.

Sandra Schermerhorn: All right, if we could go back to the offices that you held.  One of your offices, was there an especially challenging time because you were on the board for quite a while, and a brand new organizational T.A.C.?

Ted Mason: The worst time, the most difficult time was as chairman of the board in 19– the last one, 1991, I think.  We had a problem with some money we owned Grandmaster Hwang Kee, and not only did we have to come up with some funds, about $64,000 because we had promised earlier in our history to give him like $7 out of every membership, or $3 out of every membership fee.  And the membership fee kept going up but we still had this money back payment.  So there was some pressure there with the budget and it really all happened at once.  You know, we had to send a team to England the year before, you know, that kind of thing because we had one this newsletter.  But we won't mention any names, but his initials are Master Awful, he threatened to leave the organization at the time, and in fact resigned from the board under protest about a number of items having to do with money.  He didn't like the idea of having to pay that debt off, I don't think, and there were some other reasons, like we couldn't afford it.  We made a settlement anyway and we did pay it off the following year, but there was a lot of pressure on me at that meeting because they were going to, they, it was more than one board member, were going to stage a walkout of some kind is what I was warned, you know, because of several issues going down.  And so I was real sweet because Master ____________ called me at one o'clock to vent his frustration, and the lack of sleep.  And I'm chairman of the board.  I could've run the doggone meeting, but I was told by Master Martinov, known Messersmith told me that, he gave me the nickname flat liner because I appeared not to be influenced one way or the other on the issues.  I did not appear to be excited or concerned about them.  I just ran the meeting very systematically.  Well, it was because I was a zombie, you know, I was so tired, I just did my job.  He called me flat liner after that.  Master Kwon [ph?], at that time T.A.C. chairman, he congratulated me on a very well organized meeting, but it was only because, I'm being a pragmatic or simpleminded person, I just kept things simple.  And, you know, there was a Korean contingent there that visited and they gave us gifts of a belt buckle with a Moo Duk Kwan emblem.  Even people like Master Oppel [ph?], they kind of like ridiculed that saying that that was like a buyoff or something, like that was going to excuse this other financial move.  But it had nothing to do with that.  It was a gift and you just take it, you know, at face value if somebody gives you something like that.  But you know how people are sometimes.  Well, it was very volatile and there wasn't a walkout after all.  The meeting went smoothly and concluded very well, I thought. It came out even at the end and then they resigned afterward, these two men.  So I got credit for running a good meeting.  That's all I care about, but let me tell you, this was not enjoyable.  This ______________ had me under a lot of–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Internally, yes, sir.

Ted Mason: That's the worst thing, you know, that I went through.  It came out all right, _____________ care what that path really looked like.  It's like a good sparring match to win.  Sometimes it's difficult but you're so glad it's over, you know.  That's about it as far as the worst thing.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Well, what was your best time in the Moo Duk Kwan?

Ted Mason: Best time, oh, let me think.  Wait, make sure we get all these, there were so many good times, so many.  And, you know, and if you have one come to mind just offhand, favorite moments of course, I just had one yesterday when our son looked so good.  This is going to be his last competition.  It was so much fun to see him look that good because you know how children are. Sometimes they don't train as regularly as they should and he's been practicing, and he did himself proud.  You know, that's the way he wanted to leave, not to compete anymore.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Is that because, sir, he's a third dan?

Ted Mason: It's for his own personal reasons.  I think he thinks that he wants to quit while he's ahead.  He doesn't want to be like some other people we knew in the past who didn't quit until they were losers, you know.  Well, I told him there was nothing wrong with getting old, and slowing down, and having younger people beat you.  That's just like Roop Ah [ph?], it's going to happen, but he said, “No, no.  I want them to remember how good it was,” and I said, “Well, they remember how good.”  So will mention names, how good they were when they were in their prime.  We still remember that.  Yeah, but do you remember how bad they were later?  So I don't want that.  It's a lot of what do you call it, a lot of ego going on there.  But he did very well.  He invited all his friends from the past that were there watching him.  He was under a lot of pressure to do well and God, he looked real good.  He looked good.  That was one of my proudest moments.  Going back in time, when our oldest daughter was still performing and she won some contests, she really looked great, I mean just shined.  And when my wife one a few of those things, it makes us all feel good.  And I think it's so funny how when you talk about what makes you happy, it's not usually what you do, it's usually what your children do, you know.  Do you find that true?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: See, that's what you want them to be.  I mean that's why we're here.  If you talk about what made you the way you are, when people ask you who you are, I always feel like I have to start with my instructors because that's who I am.  They made me who I am, my instructors so far.  So I got to give Don Garrett some credit for his method of training because it did me a service, and when I became a traffic officer on the highway patrol, there's things in the martial arts that probably saved my life, the martial art training, you know.  Sometimes it's hard to say whether it did or not, but I'm sure martial art training, this martial art especially, because I've had some other influence, made me a better person.  And I think it makes me able to deal with people even on these levels that we do in law enforcement with a volatile, hostile environment.  I have always showed people respect even when they didn't deserve it, and we're talking about some real scumbag, like, you know, those kind of, you know, people, dangerous elements, criminal people, you know.  But I've always kept my guard up but yet spoke to them, you know, in a way that would bring a good response.  And I've had partners that didn't like that, the way I handled that.  They thought it was strange but it really paid off a couple of times because you get a lot of cooperation from people.  You tell them, you know, to do this and that in a nice way, to look at this as an unlawful assembly.  If you don't leave now, there will be some force exerted upon you, and they leave.  Instead of yelling at them, saying, “Move it, or I'll bust your heads,” you know, you don't have to be that way.  I think I got that from martial art training.  Jumped around a little bit too much?

Sandra Schermerhorn: No, sir.  No, sir.  We're fine.  Do you have a photograph or remember a photograph that has special meaning for you?

Ted Mason: Wow, you asked a good one.  Let me think.  Well, of course the first photograph that I had taken of me with Grandmaster Hwang Kee is a nice one.  It doesn't reproduce well.  It's in color, you know, how that goes, but it's a snapshot.  And a couple of photographs with Howard Jackson when he was with me, you know, those are kind of special for me, those good old days, you know.  And, what's another one, photograph.  You know, it was all the martial art things primarily but, you know, there's other things from the past.  My wife and I, she has it with her, a picture of when we were dating and we were so skinny it's scary.  I weighed 175 at that time and she weighed 100 pounds maybe.  It's amazing, and she had the beehive hair, you know.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I remember those, yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Yeah, Priscilla Presley, and those were ________________ and photographs of my youngest son when he was a baby, and my oldest son, he was my first student, actually.  We gave our students, Duk numbers our own.  We didn't have a system of federation given to us, and so Michael was my student.  I gave him number one, and Brenda was ________________.  I gave her number two as my second student, but technically she probably should have been my first and best student because she's older.  But I think started showing Michael how to defend himself early, so he was my first student.  I'm proud of him, in those days, I have some pictures of him.  He was a very good fighter.  His form was so-so.  He did forms like he was fighting, which was not bad but it's not real good form, and _____________ he had very good technique, actually.  Not real flexibility either, but technique.  But, you know, Teddie had it all from the beginning because we had the federation at the end with the proper methods of teaching and methods we didn't have later on, I mean early on.  Very limited in those days, what we taught was funny with no curriculum, you know, just our own, you watch that spine, just kind of like made up stuff as you went along.  You did techniques you wanted to practice.  The closest thing to a system I ever came across was a recommendation by my second instructor, the Korean instructor told me to take moves out of the form, out of the count and put them _______________.  That wasn't a bad idea, and so we did that.  It was kind of funny to block a punch with a backhand and then coming into a crescent kick in your palm, right in front of the person's face because, you know, it looked and sounded like you hit the person in the head.  You're slapping your hand right by here and we did things like that.

Sandra Schermerhorn: That's creative.

Ted Mason: We had to do it like this.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Such a nice change though, when you started giving, you know, giving clinics by the president of ________________, these clinics, every time you went them, new people, experiences, and more than we because you were closer to them than us.  But every time we had a contest it was a clinic, so we had two of these clinics and contests a year, and he taught them.  And some really good things came our way then, said holy cow, got things to work on, and then it would pay off, in funny ways too.  The technique, we mentioned when it was, but he taught a technique in 1978 in Santa Barbara and at a ______________ test I had in 1980-somethng he was about to teach this technique.  And the way he did it was, “Now, what would you do if such and such happened?”  And I raised my hand and said, “I would do a Gi Cha Gi [ph?].  It has to do with, after a crescent kick is blocked, after you do a Ahneso Pahkuro Cha Gi [ph?].  It's defended then you drop your foot to the floor and come out with a short ____________ Cha Gi.  I'll say ______________ and that or a Gi Cha Gi.”  He said, looked so shocked, because that was what you're going to teach, and he said, “How'd you know that?”  I said, “You taught me that form in 1978.”  He said, “Oh,” he says, “You have a good memory.”  I said, “Not necessarily.  I've been practicing ever since.”  It's a good technique so I practice it, that's all.  I didn't tell him all the things I didn't practice, but that one I liked so much.  I said hey, I took it back to my students.  He said outside crescent kick with a Gi Cha Gi, that's it, and it's a real short, round kick because you're so close, and it's fun to teach.  I can still do it too which is nice, in spite of the other problems we have.  That's about it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: All right, do you have a treasured item from your training?

Ted Mason: Well, I mentioned the ID card.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, that's right.

Ted Mason: I can send that to you easily too.  I'll take a picture of it and mail it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Oh, that would be good, sir.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Yeah, that's one of my treasures.  There's some other things besides the photographs at that time.  There is some handout material, some papers that were given to us when we were white belts that gave us a background of the art and that is basically one and two.  They call it primary form number one was ___________________, and then they had primary form number two ________________.  And the history of it was brief, but it was funny, they didn't call Grandmaster Hwang Kee anything other than either Professor Hwang Kee or Master Hwang Kee.  His rank was eighth dan and we were told, and it's in the writing, I have it, I can mail it to you, it's interesting to read, they said, “Art is called Tang Soo Do and there are two divisions of Tang Soo Do.  One is the Moo Duk Kwan and one of the others is Soo Bahk Do.”  And we belong to the Moo Duk Kwan branch, so actually it was like all kinds of it is going on.  This country was '64, so 1964 we had a lot of misinformation or misinterpretation of what was happening in Korea, even though we had a Korean to tell us at that time.  I didn't train directly under Lee Jong Hyan, but my teacher did.  So you had to see that to believe it, where it come from and all, and I found it sort of distorted from what we're told now.  But that's __________________.  I got that.  I didn't throw that away.  It includes also my little area, the doodles.  I doodled the direction of the form with lines, you know, ________________ here and you go that way, you know, little _______________ thing with, you know, I see people do that today.  I laugh.  I say, I did the same thing and I still have it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Did we talk about your first meeting with Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang?

Ted Mason: Oh no, we didn't.  I have a photograph of that too.  The first time I met him was in a board meeting in 1978.  Yeah, in L.A.  I was a new board member.  The first communication we had was by mail and he was still calling himself Jin-Moong [ph?] Hwang at the time.  And he wrote me a letter when I first started, ______________ new member of this new federation that was not really formed yet.  So I joined the Korean Soo Bahk Do through him by way of Korea to register, and sent him a copy of certificate I had from Ja Jung Kim [ph?], and then they gave me a certificate for third dan in the Soo Bahk Do Korean, and that was more official, and explained that my dan number that was given to me by Ja Jung Kim was dan number six thousand something, but that didn't fit in with the numbering system.  The dan number I got from Don Garrett was like number six because I was his sixth student and he was already broken away from.  The dan number that Don Garrett was given by Lee Jong Hyan was 5991.  Yes, I got it here, and that was the list that Lee Jong Hyan just started issuing dan numbers, but Don Garrett never joined the federation that we have.  When it was forming, he was not interested in, kind of like he faded way, and I wasn't sure why.  But he had a strong dislike, distrust of most Koreans because of Lee Jong Hyan.  But I tried to explain, they're not all alike.  I said, “It's like one American crook out of a hundred good people.  Come on.”  So, you know, my treasured items,  _______________ that.  Every once in a while I come across other things.  That's really it.  I have a copy of the suggested, there was a time when the federation was being formed where I wanted a patch, and we had a patch contest, a design contest.  I have a copy of my submitted.  It looks like this but the difference is I didn't use Korean letters. I didn't use Korean words.  I had United States Soo Bahk Do, Tang Soo Do, what it's called.  The coloring's similar as I recall, because I remember we knew what the colors had to be, and I have a copy of that.  I enlarged it.  I didn't win the contest.  I don't think anyone did, but my suggestion was really–

Sandra Schermerhorn: Very close?

Ted Mason: Yeah.  So at least it gave somebody an idea.  The fish itself, the emblem I took off a rubber stamp that I use for, you know, for other purposes that I had made for posters.  And I used that design, and that design, a fist, and I collect those by the way.  I have tons of those, different Moo Duk Kwan emblems through the years.  I got maybe 40 or 50 of them, the ones that were used back when in all these different organizations that are Moo Duk Kwan or say they are, or not, and I have most of them identified, also foreign organizations.  In early times it didn't seem to be any regulation how many leaves are supposed to be there.  Some had 13, some had 17 <inaudible>.  It's supposed to be 14 in the beginning, but some people didn't count very well.

Sandra Schermerhorn: You said that you had met Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang at a board meeting?

Ted Mason: Yes.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Do you have any favorite stories about him and you or your time together?

Ted Mason: No, let's see, not at the board meeting so much.  It's just that he knew my instructor, my Korean instructor.  Okay?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir, we are good.

Ted Mason: He knew my instructor real well and so that was the connection we had, and there was another connection with the Argentine fellow that trained with me a short time, when he was back East training with him.  Roberto Villalba was his name.  He's now in Rome somewhere.  He's not in our organization.  There was a situation where Kwan Jang cut his foot real bad on a technique.  You kick an apple off of a knife.  I didn't see this but I heard about it and it's something I've seen other people do, and he cut himself so bad he couldn't proceed.  And so Roberto got out there and did a reference form that I had taught him with a sword, and Kwan Jang, at that time the son of Kwan Jang asked him where he learned that.  He said, “Well, Mr. Mason taught it to me.”  So getting all these little nods, and kudos, and things from other people, and we hadn't met yet.  So in the letter he said he couldn't wait to meet me at the board meeting, and so we met, and we got along fine, and you know how that goes. But as far as funny experiences, memorable thing or wonderful thing, at my test that I passed for fourth dan, there were people on that board that there's a lot of friction and maybe even a competitive spirit we call it in a nice way, based upon jealousy, envy, greed, whatever, they didn't want me to pass.  There are, I won't mention names, and he overrode their decision, and he told me what he told them.  He said, “Sometimes,” and I use this quote many times now, “Sometimes a good attitude is better than a good kick many times.”  Sometimes attitude is most important and he said my attitude was good, and he told me ________________ said, “Don't worry about these other people.”  He said, “You don't have to work with them real close, but they're in our organization so you got to get along.”  He said, that kind of thing, he said, “As long as you get along with each other we'll have a good organization, but don't let them bother you.  Just do as you've been doing because you have good students and a good reputation.  You'll be okay.”  And those people are no longer with our organization anymore, the three of them, and so glad.

Sandra Schermerhorn: I know you had already talked about our founder and when you met him, and we went over that too.  So besides our founder, and Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang, if you had to choose a memorable person of all the people you've met, who do you think you'd pick, somebody who made an impression on you?

Ted Mason: So many have, you know, so many have, favorable, you know.  I'm sure you're _______________ with that, but Don Garrett really impressed me with his ability and, you know, I can't think of anyone off the top of my head but him like that.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Did he pass on any traditions that you still have today in your training or teaching?

Ted Mason: I don't know because so many things that he taught are no longer practiced in the federation, the way we did them then, whether it's his way that he, you know, was taught that way, I don't know.  But a little bit of time I had to make those changes to come into line with what the federation wants us to do.  And so a little bit at a time there's not much left of the way I used to be taught.  I see it in the old films that other people taught that way too.  Things just, ready for kicking, ________________ was not with your fist up like in a sparring position.  It was with a fist out in front and low by doing ____________________.  That was when you got ready for kicking.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And were <inaudible>?

Ted Mason: Yeah, a little bit in front.  That's what, you can see it in the tape.  I have a video of the way they were doing it back then in Korea.  That's what they were doing.  Now, when you come to attention like this, when we come to attention, that's an old tradition we stopped doing.  You come to attention like this, very, like this, hands open, okay.  That's attention.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Never seen that.

Ted Mason: No.  When we did ___________ Gi, like this, we wound up like this, and this is pigeon toe, pigeon toe <inaudible>.  We don't do that anymore.  I was the last one in California to change it from _________________ and this thing here, and to block the __________________.  A little bit of time, we're not doing any of that anymore, but maybe one thing held over is some of the techniques in self defense, I do the ___________________ that the federation wants me to teach.  I teach that and then I teach the other things that I learned from Don Garrett.  That still remains.  We'll call that extra technique, or additional technique, or another way to do it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: And that's the one that had the Aikido in it or– ?

Ted Mason: I believe so.  I believe it's Aikido based because Master Martinov still teaches it that way because he has an Aikido background also.  His Aikido teacher is really a wonderful man.  I met him at the birthday party.  He plays flamenco guitar also, and so I got to play flamenco guitar up there at the birthday party for him, you know, more or less.  He's got an injury that he can't play guitar right now and we got along fine.

Sandra Schermerhorn: So from what area of your training now do you get the most satisfaction?

Ted Mason: Oh yeah, I love to teach.  I've always liked to teach and I enjoy teaching things that students enjoy learning.  So the things lately that have been mostly _______________ clinics that cover either a form that they never learned before, or self defense techniques.  Or we had local clinics in region nine twice a year that superseded the one with the masters concept, and it raises money for the region, and I enjoy teaching those because sometimes they really click.  I mean things, I do the research all the time, and I'm always trying to learn new things, but when I'm able to teach that in a nice way, in the best way possible, I really get a kick out of that, if the students do.  If the students receive it very well then I really like it.  We had accidentally or on purpose once we had some techniques that I learned from Don Garrett mixed in with some recent things with Master Seiberlich, defensive from the floor.  And Master Seiberlich started teaching this method, and he told me his way was similar but it added to it, the information was added to it.  So now I had this one hour class I could teach on floor defense, and then another hour Master Messersmith took over grappling.  And it was those two classes back to back were just so complete together.  There was kind of an interesting _______________ continuation of the subject.  It was like first you're on the floor defending and then later he's on top of you and now you got to wrestle, grapple.  And so our two classes back to back, you could see the students were like, this is great, because it all blended in to something that worked from one level to another.  And I like it when it clicks like that, and every time you teach you streamline, and things get better and better, and, you know, I like that.  In researching a subject, I learn so much researching on a simple subject that all of a sudden expands into something else.  I learned maybe seven ways to draw a bow now, and any one source I have doesn't have all seven or eight, whatever, you know. We got these things, and these things, and these things, and then we have the Asian way and another Asian way.  You know, it goes on and no, the Mongolian goes on and on, and it's so fun, and I discovered this fun in _______________ artwork.  They're shown depicted in a 17th century depiction of some combat, people drawing a bow, and it's war, and we see that the artist has drawn them with this finger sticking out, but this thumb is obviously being used a Mongolian bow should be used instead of doing this.  This is standard today.  In Turkey, and Mongolia, and Korea, and Japan, this is the way they draw their bow.  They wear a thumb ring and the string hooks on the thumb ring, or they use a glove, and that's the Mongolian way.  So I'm teaching a class on wa dong [ph?], the wa dong do [ph?], whatever, you got to include that because they're very good archers.  And so I'm researching this and I'm stumbling onto all these different things. I said, “Wow.”  Well, then I get to pass it on to the students, and my wife warns me, as Grandmaster told me this, “You don't have to tell them you just learned it.”  Leave that part out.  Just tell them this is what you know, but I'm really too honest for my own good.  If I just learned something, I want to pass it on, just like you find gold and you got to yell, “Eureka.”  Sheesh, you know, and that's the way I am, and she said, my wife, “______________, don't tell them everything, you know.  Just tell them what you want to tell them.  Don't tell them,” but I want to tell them this.  And that's one of my weaknesses, maybe, of being too honest, too forward.  That's me, you know, take it or leave it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Has your, and I think maybe you probably talked about this, but has your approach to your own training changed over the years?

Ted Mason: Had to be, yes.  Got to be careful what I do now and so my approach is to do what I can and the best I can, but I have some problems in time spent to train.  You know, I'll put off training when I shouldn't because of other, go off doing things that I shouldn't do.  I mean I should do them right away but, I'll do that tomorrow, you know, and I'm doing that regularly more and more.  And then when I go to do it I'm not as prepared as I should be, but mostly that's because, you know, I don't have to be prepared so much in that way.  But it comes back to bite you when you go to demonstrate a technique and you haven't done it for a while, you know.  It's tough, especially like you were with _______________ not ready, you're in deep trouble, you know.  But my memory is getting bad, so I forget, like, parts of hyung, or I'm teaching them, I leave things out.  I just do that in Jersey this recently, one staff form I left about three moves out of that thing and I don't _________________.  It's like, it's gone, and I get, you know, send e-mails to these people that they give the e-mail address, like send the whole thing in writing, and that's when I saw, moving down to 19, 20, 21.  I look down, how'd that happen?  Maybe subconsciously I just didn't want to do it, or maybe just wanted to shorten the form somewhat.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  It's a time issue.  Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: Honestly, I just forgot, period.

Sandra Schermerhorn: What do you think is the most important thing a senior person in the Moo Duk Kwan can contribute to the juniors?

Ted Mason: I think, and we have done this, probably one of the most important things is to let them learn from our experiences, like our children, say, “Don't do what I did in this way because that doesn't work.”  Do it this way and you'll be better off than we were, because we did it the hard way.”  It goes on and on, and I'm talking about everything from studio operation.  You know, they want to open up a studio downtown in a higher end district right away, start small, build, and then you can move up, move on downtown.  Things like that, that kind of advice.  I've been telling my students this too, you know.  Young people don't listen very well to things like that, but, you know, it's important that they know that when we did those things it was incorrect.  A lot of us old-timers maybe had fun talking about the good old days, but they weren't that good.  They were real ignorant of a lot of things and so we did things the hard way, and some of us got hurt doing them.  And it pains your teacher, but you don't want to cripple yourself, you know.  So I warn people, like the stretches.  We do ballistic stretches.  We throw our leg in the air and see how far it'll go, and pretty soon it's flying up in the air and we're <breaking noise>.  And that's the way we were taught, and so we pass that on, and I said, “No, no, no.  This is, you're much better off doing it slow and easy at first and kind of gradually build up to it.  Got to get you warmed up first.”  We did stretches before warm-ups when I was a beginner.  Stretches were part of the warm-ups.  We didn't really warm up.  We were stretching.  That's not a warm up but everything is backwards.  We had water discipline.  We said it was not good to drink water during class.  It was a matter of discipline not to.  After was okay, and so that didn't enhance our ability.  I think it hurts physically, you know.  I lose six pounds in moisture in a class, hour and a half.  I remember weighing myself before class and after.  Five to six pounds every class, and then of course the water tasted after class, but there should have been more breaks in there, every half hour maybe to chug some water.  And we were told in those days it would give you cramps or something if you drank water and then worked out, but to the contrary, it's the opposite.  They said if you don't drink water that's the worst kind of cramp.  You might get some stomach sloshing around in there, you know, but it's not going to hurt you.  A lot of things, I think the seniors have a lot of that to offer.  We probably had more fun telling about the way things were done in the old days because _________________ now.  I don't mind telling about that if it means you're going to ________________me, I don't mind talking about that now.  I don't know, it might be like the rock, breaking rocks is, I realize now, I didn't realize it much, you know, that a lot of people didn't know about doing that.  I don't know nationwide what we're doing.  I can't speak for others but I saw literature that was handed out from those places, like from Detroit to New York, photographs and statements made by stuff in Black Belt magazine that there was something similar going on in every place else too.  Not a lot, you know, and they were all doing the same things we were, kind of, but every instructor is different.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Do you have any story with a moral that you like to tell your students, any particular story?

Ted Mason: Yeah.  You're asking the wrong man.  I have too many stories.  You know that _________________.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Well, you could tell a couple.  That would be fine.

Ted Mason: Okay, here's one.  There is a tradition in the Kiowa tribes that before you enter a cave, and this is an ancient tradition.  It's probably gone by the wayside, but before you enter a cave and they had different things, different incantations, that you chant before battle, before you get in the water with a canoe.  There's like a prayer but it's a song and they sing this song to the spirits of the water or the spirits of the cave to appease them before going into the water, you know, before going into a cave.  The story goes a young Kiowa hunter following the tracks of a deer into a cave, but he's hot on his trail.  He totally ignores the custom, tradition, and enters the cave after this deer, and is killed by a grizzly bear who slept there.  Moral of the story is, some tradition has value because he could have woke the doggone bear up and that might be the ______________________.  Before you go into a dark cave <imitates Native American prayer>, hear that roar.  That's one of my favorite because, you know, tradition, what are you talking about, tradition, you know?  What good is it?  What good is it?  I tell you, there's a reason for everything.  That's one of my favorites, and just off the top of my head. But like the guy said, I have a million of them.  We're trying to come up with several that fit each of the things, like the Moo Do [ph?] values and other aspects, and I was working on them, and that was one that I had come across within this past year.  My wife said, “You shouldn't tell people that you just learned it,” but, so I mean _________________.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Great, yes, sir.

Ted Mason: My attitude __________________.  It's like that in today's society having to do with respect for people is one that, this really happened.  A friend of mine, thanks to his kid, this is a new tradition, okay.  He calls me, I won't say his name because there's probably a lot of people who have the same name, but I was in the army with this fellow, and we weren't the best of friends but because we were in the army together, we ran across each other, recognized each other somewhere downtown.  And we struck up a conversation, and exchanged phone numbers, you know, something to do with we were young and single then.  I was thinking about, well, you know, if you know any good parties let me know.  Because the Jewish people throw some really good parties.  I wouldn't be invited to those, but he called me one day years after we were both married and he said, “I got a problem.  My father is dying and he wants me to come and say this prayer.”  It's an old Hebrew psalm prayer.  It's an ancient tradition in the orthodox faith of the Jews.  He didn't practice orthodox.  He's, like, reform, and really not very that much active anyway.  But he didn't want to do it because he didn't like his father.  His father and him didn’t get along.  He didn't approve of his marriage, that kind of thing, you know.  He might have married outside the Jewish faith.  That's another thing.  And so he asked me what I thought because he really enjoyed my insight to things outside of his customs.  And we got along fine.  I was a really good soldier in the army.  I knew things that he didn't know about the army because he ___________ in high school.  And so I gave him some advice that saved him in peacetime.  So that's our connection.  So he said, “What do you think I should do, because my father and I hated each other?”  I said, “He's your father.  Say the prayer.  If you want to cross your fingers behind your back or something, you know, it's your father.  He's dying.  Yeah, I think you should say the prayer.”  He said, “Well, I don't even know the blankety-blank prayer.”  I said, “I'm sure they'll give it to you.  You can read the thing and say it.”  And I always joked with him that I was related to Jackie Mason.  That was not true, the comedian, that's my connection also.  And so when I came this kind of advice I was like, “Say the prayer.  What can you lose?”  Well, he didn't say the prayer.  His father died and disinherited him.  His sister got everything.  We're talking about $1 million worth of ______________ plus, I think he said more than $1 million.  We'll leave it at $1 million right now, whatever it was, and then he calls me says and how irritated his father is, again, pissed him off even after death.  And I said, “Hey, you had your chance.  That was the time.”  I said, “Right now, I could think of a million reasons why you should have said the prayer.”  And, you know, some things are so logical.  It goes beyond tradition.  It goes to doing the right thing, period, and sometimes you have to weight what's right.  In this sense, what is the right thing?  Okay, I don't care if you hate your father or not, there's something there that goes beyond personal feelings.  It's a matter of discipline and _____________ would agree with that.  So I think, yeah, that's another story I tell to adults, tell a story about how this guy screwed up.  And, you know, right or wrong it had nothing to do with money. I think it's the principle of it.  I would've said the prayer.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.  What would you want students to know about you?  Or how would you like to be remembered?

Ted Mason: Now, someone asked me that recently.  A young student of mine doing an essay thing for school, a high school kid.  He asked me what my legacy was, would be, and I told him my legacy is my students because I couldn't think of anything else at the time. But how to be remembered, that's another thing.  You know, I've always wanted to do a video tape, to have it played at my funeral.  It would be too humorous for a funeral but I'd just like to say, I really hate funerals, you know, especially this one.  I would like to be remembered as being someone who tried to do the right thing, you know, for better or worse, and who probably had a good sense of humor.  I don't know.  I never thought about that too much, like what I want put on my gravestone.  I can't give you very much other than, you know, the standard thing, husband, father, _______________.  I'm hoping I was a good father at the end, you know.  So far so good as far as the kids turning out.  That makes me happy, you know.  As far as a good husband, you'd have to talk to Keiko.  I don't know whether I deserve that or not but, you know, ________________.  Like Keiko said, “they're going to miss you when you're gone.  Yeah, they'll miss you too.  Yeah, they'll miss both of us.”  She's worried about this family trust thing she wants me to _______________ because she don't want the burden on our children to have to worry about.  So sorting the gun collection goes to the son, and the diamonds, and rubies, and jewels go to the daughter.  With two daughters that's a problem.  So we got to figure that out.  We will.  I think I covered, good?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Is there anything else you wanted to say?  Anything we didn't cover or if you think about something I'll be carrying this around Sunday, or tomorrow, or whatever.  We can put a little extra on, okay.

Ted Mason: Okay, thank you.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Great.

Ted Mason: I enjoyed it.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Okay.  We're back on.

Ted Mason: And this fellow, Roberto Villalba visited our country in 1973, ‘4, something like that.  And he was a Taekwondo man from Mar del Plata, Argentina, which is in the super south of their country.  He had connections and more or less the president of a martial arts group that had studios throughout the country, Taekwondo studios.  And very dynamic personality, was a character, you know, super loud individual.  He read a letter I wrote to the editor of Black Belt magazine discussing the situation in Korea and the way, you know, it had something to do with the forms and stuff. And this letter was read at the first meeting of their federation.  I wasn't there but this is the kind of thing they said they wanted more publicity.  They wanted us to be visible, and as I complained about certain things and the way the Korean government had treated Moo Duk Kwan, and Hwang Kee, and everybody else.  And I vented.  This is before word processors that I had control of and I know what cut and paste was, because I took scissors, and had to cut this, and rearrange thoughts because I wrote it in kind of a scatterbrained way, because this is the way I talk.  You know, I rewrote that damn letter a dozen times, and they corrected my spelling, Black Belt magazine.  There was one thing I spelled wrong and, you know, thank you, thank you, I caught it after it was too late.  And so he read this letter while he was in L.A., very dissatisfied with the instruction he received.  This is a thing by mail.  He found this Taekwondo instructor in L.A. and at great expense to his organization they sent him off here to learn new forms and get a promotion test.  And he was on the edge of suicide because he had nothing really of great value to bring back.  So he read this letter in, I think it was Karate Illustrated then, and he got hold of me, and he asked to come and see me.  And he came to our school, watched me teach.  He said, “You will not believe this, but I teach exactly like you do, only in Spanish.”  I didn't use Korean terminology then.  This was before the federation.  So he moved to Oceanside in an apartment, and lived there for a month and trained with me, and we didn't have tape.  We filmed it in on Super-8, our forms, up to the rank that he was at.  I think the highest rank, maybe Jin Don [ph?], Jin Don and Han Gi [ph?], one and two, something like that.  Could have gone further but that's the things he brought back to his country.  And he writes to me afterward, and he writes just like he talks, flamboyant, ________________ paper for that.  Said, “Hola, che [ph?] Que Tal?”  Means, “Hello, brother.  How are you?”  And then the rest is in English.  God, he says all these studios changed to Tang Soo Do this day.  He was a dictator.  Yeah, he had ________________.  He was all for Peron in those days, you know, little bit of a Nazi type character.  Degree in philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires.  So because of him they became Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan because of this visit, because of him.  I get credit for that.  He called me El Pedrino del Tang Soo Do, the Godfather of Tang Soo Do in Argentina.  Lovely.  So then Grandmaster gets a hold of this information and of course he lived there for a while and trained with him, Roberto did.  And so Argentina now has got this contingent because of this connection.  Wonderful, and then I never did visit Argentina until 1999.  Grandmaster was going down there to have his celebration.  Their federation is older than ours because they started right away.  They started in 1975 or '74, as soon as he went home.  Typically ours started in '75 even though they keep announcing '76.  I don't know how they get that wrong.  Anyway.  So I went there in 1999 and they let me teach a clinic, and I got to tell you this as an ________________, you know.  I come around the corner in this car to go to the studio to teach a clinic that night after I had some rest, and there's a banner across the entire street that says, “Welcome, Ted Mason.”  Sheesh.  I said, “Never in my country,” you know.  I said, “You know in my country that's illegal.  You can't do that.”  He said, “Here too, but you have to catch us.”  So I got a picture of it on the way back, taught the clinic.  Then we, you know, long story short, ________________ Mar del Plata which is quite a ways south of Buenos Aires, and Grandmaster taught his clinic on the _______________.  And I had a déjà vu experience there too, by the way.  Better than that, I had __________________.  Do you know why we do, you notice you're doing middle punch going this way, where you turn, you go hadamake [ph?]?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: You ever wonder why we don't do a middle punch turning?

Sandra Schermerhorn: Yes, sir.

Ted Mason: I wondered.  High punch, you do a turn, you do a little ______________.  Well, I've always wondered, and the joke in my studio is, when I make Grandmaster, as if, I will change that.  But I discovered that day in Mara del Plata why, because in his clinic he teachers the __________________ this stuff, right.  And we turn like this, and like this.  Well, when you're doing the punch thing, you're doing the hip going forward.  When you turn, it's very difficult to turn all the way around this way.  So you don't.  You'd just rather to this, and it came to me, I said, “That's it.  That's why it's done this way.”  And so I wanted to scream, you know.  It's like the other things I mentioned.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Eureka.

Ted Mason: I found Eureka.  I found it and that day.  Well, after he finished teaching he divided up the group into dans, adults, kids, and Cash Cooper was there.  He was teaching in one corner and I came out.  I got the dans, you know, because I was more senior probably.  I got an interpreter there that considers himself my student.  Roberto's no longer in Argentina.  He's in Rome.  So, and he's not with anything connected to us.  He's his own guy.  Anyway, that's the way they go.  So I'm teaching the class.  To make a long story short, you know, start with the form.  We do it by the numbers and then I talk.  Well, we do it without the numbers first.  It was interpreted.  We did this several times and made several corrections, and then somebody in the front row, some senior _______________ level asked a question, who am I?  I wasn't introduced and so I didn't realize it was important, and my interpreter, said, “Oh, I'm sorry.  I forgot to introduce you.”  So he tells them, “This is Ted Mason.”  They go, “Oh.”  They gasped.  So then I told them, I said, “Well, you know, even Jesus said he wasn't a prophet.  He's not respected in his hometown,” and he wasn't.  When he went back to Nazarene, right, he was a Nazarene, and so even he said that, and they all laughed.  They're all Christian, Catholic types, and I said, “It's funny,” I said, “I don't get this kind of response in my country.  I really don't. I  really appreciate your hospitality.  You've been very good to me and I'm just passing on to you what I have learned from him.  From Kwan Jang Nim.”  At that time he wasn't Kwan Jang Nim.  So I gave him all the credit for this, but I said, “I have to teach you because there are so many differences, just like here,” you know.  Anyway, that's my favorite connection there.  So I'm a godfather of Tang Soo Do.  Of course now, they call it Soo Bahk Do too.  Very good group of people and I really, really liked them a lot.  I'd like to go back with Keiko to enjoy that kind of attention to, you know.  She doesn't like to travel that far unless it's to a home country.  So I thought ________________.

Sandra Schermerhorn: Thank you.

#### End of OH-Mason2.dss ####

 

Oral History

Oral History

Sandra Schermerhorn, Sa Bom Nim initiated the oral history project to capture and preserve accounts of authentic Moo Duk Kwan® history from various active senior members.
Oral History

Latest posts by Oral History (see all)

  1. Roberto Bonefont Roberto Bonefont says:

    Went through the entire audio, a long interview, starting making some corrects and still researching some Korean names that are mentioned, they actually sound familiar to me, so I’ll try to find the proper spelling, there are still a lot of misspellings that need to be fixed. Getting there but very slow process. Only the first long paragraph pertains to Seiberlich SBN, the rest is Ted Mason SBN’s oral history. Again there is some mention of Korean instructors like Jae Joon Kim and Shin SBN and others in some negative comments, but to be honest, the other oral histories are very similar in context and some negative comments. I’m seeing the Kwan Jang Nim this Sunday at our local tournament and will address this with him. I think maybe we should consider just putting out some questions to the seniors and let them write their “Reflections from the Past”, if they want to participate, the questions we send out can guide what they decide to write. The Skype video idea is not looking promising without some expense to those to volunteer to do it.

    Mr Bonefont

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