Stratford Karate: More Info


         Our instructors all have earned black belts in the traditional Korean style called Tang Soo Do, which is very similar to the other Korean style, Tae Kwon Do ("TKD"). The primary difference is that TKD is more focused on kicks and we are more balanced between hands, feet, elbows, etc. Dr. Kennedy was awarded his belt by Dr. Robert Suggs in 1982 and has been teaching for over 30 years. Mr. Hathaway has been a black belt for almost 25 years. Other black belts often contribute in teaching the classes. Our group in northern Virginia is known as Stratford Karate. The lineage of Stratford Karate back to the founder of the Tang Soo Do style is provided here. Senior students are encouraged to visit other instructors' classes to learn a wide breadth of techniques.

  Other Styles:

        We respect belts awarded by other styles and other instructors. However, advancement in our style depends on learning our techniques. Students are welcome to wear a belt awarded by another style in our class,but students are taught with students at about the same level of knowledge of our style's technique.


       Our classes are conducted in English with counting in Korean, some commands in Korean, and, of coures, the kata's are mostly named in Korean. In the '80s or '90s a former student compiled a list of term. They can be found here.


       Our style uses only five color belts: white, yellow, green, blue, brown, and black. Therefore we expect more for each promotion. However, in some cases, a stripe of the next higher belt color is used to indicate progress, approximately halfway, toward the next belt, for example, a yellow belt with a green stripe. Advancement is based on the student learning and demonstrating techniques of the next belt level during class and in an in-class test and is not based on attending a minimum number of classes. Each advancement to the next belt level generally requires learning two more katas (or forms), three more one-step sparring techniques, three more Jujitsu-based grab arts? techniques, and for some levels, additional blocks, punches, and kicks. The advancement is based on the student knowing the material. There is no expected or scheduled promotion tests. Sometime it takes 12-16 weeks for each of the first two promotions for adults and usually longer for younger students. Learning martial arts takes time and practice. There are no short cuts, no royal road.


        In 2019, before the COVID pandemic started, we had a test for several students. The new blue and brown belts test pictures are here) and pictures of the two new black belts are here.   In 2017, we were in the Falls Church Memorial Day Parade (pictures by Annie).   In the Spring of 2011, we produced a new 3rd Degree (Dan) Black Belt, a new Black Belt, and a new Blue Belt (pictures here).  We also participated in the Memorial Day parade in Falls Church (pictures here).  Two previous promotions to yellow belt are shown here.  In 2010, the senior instructors were promoted to 4th Degree by their original instructor, Dr. Suggs. In 2009, three students were promoted to Black Belt. In 2008, we had a major Black Belt test with two promoted to Black Belt, three promoted to Black Belt second degree, and one to third degree. Pictures are available here. In the fall of 2006, Mike and Michelle became our first teenage Black Belts. (A picture is available here. )