Sunday, January 25, 2009

The name of Eastern Way martial Arts has changed. I am pleased to carry on the Simba Tradition, including the name! Please see the new blogspot for:

Training Hall of Lions: Simba DoJang

Ki Whang Kim was born in 1920 in Seoul, Korea. He began training in Judo in 1931 while living in Japan. In 1936 he received his black belt from the Kodokan. While a student in college, Ki Whang Kim trained in Shudokan Karate under Kanken Toyama. He was the captain of the Nihon University Karate team and was nicknamed "Typhoon." He also spent time in China studying Kenpo and Shaolin Kung Fu.

Grandmaster Ki Whang Kim moved to the United States in 1964 where he began teaching classes in Silver Springs, MD and Washington, DC. He was also an ambassador of the Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Association. Some of the students of this school include: John Camance Albert Cheeks, Phil Cunningham, Mike Warren, Furman Marshall, and John Mickens. It was when Grandmaster Ki Whang Kim was working to unify several Korean martial arts that the name of our style of martial art was changed from Tang Soo Do to Tae Kwon Do.

Grandmaster Soo Wong Lee moved to America to assist Ki Whang Kim, teaching and living in his DoJang.

It was at the Washington, DC school that Furman Marshall and Phillip Cunningham trained with Grandmasters Ki Whang Kim and Soo Wong Lee. At some point Soo Wong Lee left to form his own school, Lee’s School of Karate, and Furman Marshall and Phillip Cunningham followed him to continue their training.

Phillip Cunningham began training in martial arts in 1956 while stationed overseas in the Navy. Grandmaster Cunningham was a Fulbright scholar who studied in Afghanistan and also at Howard University.

Furman Marshall served in the Marine Corp. He is well known for his dedication to the youth in his neighborhood. In addition to winning nearly 100 trophies in martial arts competitions, he also has trophies in auto racing, track, cycling, skiing, football and tennis.

Furman Marshall began teaching when neighborhood kids who saw him train asked to learn from him. His classes grew larger and larger until he had to find a space for them. He joined with Phil Cunningham and the found a space at the Baptist Center in southeast Washington.
They named their school "Simba DoJang." This was in the 1960’s before the Lion King was created. They chose the name "Simba" because it means "lion" in Swahili. DoJang, is a Korean term for training hall.

Grandmasters Marshall and Cunningham set a good example for their students by neither smoking nor drinking. They taught in the toughest inner city neighborhood and strove to keep their students out of trouble and off drugs. They wanted to create more than just a school, they wanted a safe place for kids to come train. They said, "Simba is family."

The students of Simba Dojang were very poor. In order to afford competing at tournaments, everyone would pool their money and the school would select a few students to represent them at a tournament.

It was at Simba DoJang that Leo Johnson and Reginald Moten studied Tae Kwon Do. When Leo Johnson moved to Wichita, KS, he began teaching in much the same way that Furman Marshall began: a few neighborhood kids in somebody’s basement. One of his students was Cali Stegall. Mr. Stegall trained under Leo Johnson until he was a green belt.

I am not sure what happened, but for some reason Mr. Johnson stopped teaching and Mr. Stegall was left without an instructor. His options for training were limited since he was still a high school student. He continued to train on his own and with a few of Mr. Johnson’s other students for a year and a half until he finished high school.

Once Cali Stegall was out of school, he drove more than 1,000 miles to the Washington, DC area to begin training with Simba Dojang again. There he trained under Reginald Moten.

Mr. Stegall moved back home to Wichita, KS. Although he was not yet a black belt, he received permission from his instructors in DC to begin teaching. He named his school Simba DoJang.

Mr. Stegall is my instructor.


  1. Greetings from Mt Shasta: I just found your blog, several years after you posted :) and thought you might find this interesting regarding the history.

    My name is Joel and i began training with Mr Kim in the late 60's in his Silver Spring studio. I was there when he brought Mr Lee over. At some point Mr Lee decided it would be best to be on his own and i helped him with locating his own place in Northern Virginia, near D.C. Also, i helped him and his brother, D.Y. Lee, with their efforts toward gaining U.S. citizenship. I trained with all of the people noted above prior to your discussing Johnson and Stegall.

    I remember those years very fondly and still practice my TKD forms, up through 1st degree Black Belt, which was awarded to me by Mr Lee in the Early 70's.

    I certainly hope that all is going well for all of you at your school. The lineage is certainly a proud and noble one.

  2. gm lee was @ 4600 duke st. in alex., va.& in va. beach..that was a long time a go..mike daiuto

  3. Greetings from Pinebluff,North Carolina. I fondly remember the early am workouts at the gym of the old Georgia Aveneue location of the D.C. Teacher's College in Washington,D.C. with Phil Cunningham, Charlie Neal and another gentleman whose name I have forgotten, and Neal Pease who became a dear friend. During those years Neal and I attended the Teacher's College. If anyone remembers Neal and can tall me what happened to him I would be most appreciative. At 69 years of age I still workout... I took my first Tae Kwon Do class at the DCTC to fulfill my physical education requirements as a student at the college. It was one of the best decisions of my life in terms of my health both mentally and physically. If anyone remembers Neal, who was a brown belt at that time and trained at the Simba Dojang in Southeast D.C., I would love to communicate with him again. I am presently 69 years old and in good health thanks to the years of working out and attention to my diet.
    Sincerely, Roger Vaughn Rodgers- my e-mail address is

  4. I trained under Soo Wong Lee at his school on Little Creek Rd ,in Norfolk ,Virginia,from 1972 til 1975,when I left the Navy..good times. He and his assistant(remaining nameless) had a heated argument one evening after class,resulting in the assistant(from Korea)packing his personal effects and never seen by students again