Who's Who in Tang Soo Do


Grandmaster Roberto D. Villalba
8th Dan
Pin # 16519



Grandmaster Villalba was born in 1950 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he first studied Yoga, Judo, and Okinawan Karate. In 1968 he began to learn Chung Do Kwan, a style of Tang Soo Do founded by Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee in 1944. His instructor was Master Han Chang Kim.

In December 1969, as a member of a selected team of students, he was introduced to General Choi Hong Hi, who was on an official tour to unify all Korean styles under the ITF.

In 1970, Grandmaster Villalba moved to Mar del Plata city to study Anthropology at the local University and while there, started to teach Judo at the renowned "Instituto Vecchio". Grasping the opportunity to spread Korean Karate in the territory, Master Han Chang Kim asked him to open a branch. Master Villalba was at that time just a 2nd Gup and thereby became the first non-Korean, autonomous instructor in Argentina.

In 1971 he passed his Chodan Dan test under Master Han Chang Kim. The required hyung at his testing were the five Pyong Ahn forms, Pal Che (Bassai Dae) and Chul Ki Cho Dan (Naihanchi). In 1972, as a 2nd Dan, he opened his own dojang in Mar del Plata, with three branches in the province.

Grandmaster Villalba then travelled California in 1974 and began studying Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan under Senior Master Ted Mason who introduced him to Grandmaster Hwang Kee. In association with Gustavo Poletti, Rodolfo ("Tolo") Arce of Buenos Aires and Francisco Blotta of Mendoza, founded the U.D.A.M. Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Association.



Sr. Master Villalba with the late Grandmaster Hwang Kee and Grandmaster H. C. Hwang

The next year, the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee designated him as the official representative of Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan in Argentina. He remained in New Jersey and continued study at the U.S. Tang Soo Do headquarters under Master Hyun Chul Hwang, son of the late Grandmaster and at that time Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee (T.A.C). In November 1977 he moved to Italy in order to spread Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan as a representative officially chosen by the late Kwan Jang Nim.

In 1982, at the International Moo Duk Kwan tournament held in Atlantic City, NJ, Master Villalba's team took 4th place in the fighting category and second place in the Master's demonstration (behind Master Ho Sik Pak who placed first). In 1984, he was awarded his Cho Dan in Kendo.

Under the auspices of Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim and Master Villalba in association with Master Beom Jhoo Lee of Belgium and Master Peter H. Salm of Holland, founded the European Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation in 1987. In 1990 he was officially designated By Grandmaster Kim as an executive committee member of the American Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association (currently known as the World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation)

In 1994, along with Masters George Mallios and Kostas Vakallelis of Greece, and Akkouh Moustafa of Belgium, founded the International Tang Su Do Academy (I.T.A.) in Athens, Greece. Senior Master Villalba is currently President of the organization.

At the second edition of the Budo awards which took place in Italy at the Hall of Congress of C.O.N.I. (Italian Olympic Committee) under the auspices of the Presidency of the Regional Council of Lazio, and the National Sports Veterans Federation, and with more than three hundred guests in attendance, Sr. Master Villalba was presented with the "Oscar of Budo" award for his career in Martial Arts as well as his 8th Dan.

Over the years, Grandmaster Villalba and his organizations have promoted many black belts in different parts of the world such as Europe and North America, with several up to the rank of 7th Dan.

In addition to his study of Anthropology, he also has a Masters Degree in Philosophy, specializing in Hinduism and Buddhism, and also wrote two books about Tang Su (Soo) Do, published in Italy in 1991 and 1994.

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