Grandmaster Richard Byrne founded Byrne’s Tang Soo Do Karate Studios, the American Tang Soo Do Association (1973) & the United Tang Soo Do Congress (2006). He began his illustrious career in 1969, while stationed at Osan Air Force Base in South Korea. He obtained his 1st degree black belt in 1970, & after concluding his tour of duty, opened his first Tang Soo Do school, the Medford Institute of Korean Karate.
Grandmaster Byrne obtained worldwide recognition as an expert in board breaking. He held 3 world records, including 15 board with an elbow strike, 10 boards with a chop and 8 boards with an instep round kick. To this day, these records have not been broken. He shared his expertise with an international martial arts audience, through his book The Complete Art of Breaking. (Ohara Publishing 1983).
In 2001, he added to his publications by authoring This Is Tang Soo Do, one of the most complete and highly regarded books ever to be written about Tang Soo Do.
Grandmaster Byrne also captured public acclaim in other areas. In 1992, 1993 and 1995 he traveled to Japan, where competed in the worldwide shoot fighting circuit (a precursor to MMA style fighting) and became a World Shoot Fighting Champion.
By the year 2012, Grandmaster Byrne had promoted over 1,500 students to the rank of 1st degree Black Belt. Of this number, many have been promoted to the rank of Master (4th degree Black Belt or greater). Many have gone on to spread the art of Tang Soo Do by teaching their own schools.
Grandmaster Byrne’s career was vast. Including over 20 years as a Professional Wrestler – trained by the legendary Killer Kowalski – in which he traveled world wide and wrestled many of the top names in the business. In addition, he make his mark in movies and TV, most notably appearing in “Against the Law”, “Lift” with Denis Leary and “When Death Comes Quickly” with Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and Professor Toru Tanaka.
Grandmaster Byrne passed away on September 4th, 2012 and left an incredible legacy. He was an incredibly talented martial artist, accomplishing feats that no man will likely be able to duplicate. He was an articulate and motivating instructor who taught thousands of people around the world. He was a humble, gentle, kind, honorable human being.
He will be missed by so many and most certainly never forgotten.