To all C.T.F. members and friends, please take a moment to reflect on the loss of the following C.T.F. members:
It is with deep sadness we must announce the passing of our Great Grandmaster Howard Y. Kang. Kang, Yon Ho passed away on Easter Sunday at the age of 89, he would have turned 90 on April 23. Great Grandmaster Kang was a not only our highly respected instructor, a true original founder of Taekwon-Do and our Chin Mu Kwan Federation, but to us a father like figure, a mentor, and a loved friend. Passing on Easter Sunday, a day of hope and resurrection, his work is done and now his legacy continues through us.
We are very sadden and shocked to report Grandmaster Harry Plichta ninth-degree black belt (9th Dan) with CTF Taekwon-Do has passed away unexpectedly.
A large group of people gathered at the Norristown Area Taekwon-Do (NAT) gym at the First Presbyterian Church that holds the distinction of being Norristown’s oldest martial arts school. A table in the front of the room held a framed picture of Grandmaster Harry Plichta, a man with a big, mischievous smile whom most of the individuals in the room only referred to as “Grandmaster Plichta” or “Sir.” They felt compelled to meet, mourn and share memories of a man who dedicated his life to learning and passing along everything he possibly could about our traditional Korean art form. There have been thousands of students who walked through his doors over the years.
A few nights before the informal gathering in the gym, around 40 mostly Hispanic NAT students and their parents held an unplanned mass and candle-lighting ceremony on the steps of the First Presbyterian Church. “Somebody even made sure those candles stayed lit until GM Plichta’s service the following week. Then there was the funeral itself, a celebration that brought more than 300 people, dozens of whom donned their Taekwon-Do uniforms, to the church where GM Plichta served as the official historian to pay their respects. GM Plichta was also CTF’s historian.
That Plichta’s passing caused such an outpouring of love and support from the community will come as no surprise to anyone who knew him. In addition to Taekwon-Do instructor, he was a long-time soccer and dodgeball coach, loyal church member and active participant in a variety of community outreach programs. Still, it’s the longevity of his martial arts school that warrants the most attention
It’s hard to overstate just how many students GM Plichta impacted over the years. In addition to the more than 40 years at East Norriton and Norristown schools, he taught Taekwon-Do at Eastern University for five years, where he averaged 50 students per semester. In an industry that often charges hefty monthly fees and minimum yearly contracts to students, GM Plichta’s school was an outlier, he always made it a point to keep the costs affordable, he never made students sign contracts and he didn’t even make you buy a uniform until after you passed the first test.
While an attractive price point may have brought students in the door, it was ultimately GM Plichta’s teaching that kept them there. GM Plichta was able to create a loyal student following, dozens of whom went on to become instructors themselves, through his unique teaching style. “Grandmaster Plichta was able to run a strict, disciplined class while at the same time maintaining a sense of humor
The NAT’s website offered perhaps the best description of GM Plichta’s teaching philosophy: “What is taught in our schools is original Taekwon-Do, we are not a business school churning out black belts.”
GM Plichta would want to leave behind a legacy of honoring the past, going into the future with confidence and lessons learned and imparting that knowledge on future generations.
The impact the late GM Plichta had on future generations of martial artists was on full display during the gathering at the NAT gym. Toward the end of the sharing session, a teenage boy walked up to the front of the room to speak. He fought back tears as he reflected on his time with GM Plichta until, eventually, he just broke down, the young man finally found his voice and said, “I loved him.” So many of us did, too.
Senior Master Rianard Jackson – We have lost a beloved CTF family member, instructor, mentor, great friend and beautiful soul. He was an advanced master of many martial art styles including our Chin Mu Kwan Taekwon-Do. His teaching style was harsh but realistic and he could turn the simplest action into a lesson. His knowledge will carry on through everyone that has had the pleasure to know him. He was one of the kindest and most genuine people, every time you saw him you were greeted by a bow and then he would beam from ear to ear, grab you and give you the biggest hug imaginable. He was training, teaching and spreading martial arts before most people knew what karate, judo or Taekwon-Do even was. He focused on helping our youth especially the disadvantaged, we had after school programs for kids in trouble, a class for the deaf and our main classes were located where people from all walks of life could attend. You couldn’t miss the love he showered on his martial arts family and the a spiritual aurora that surrounded him. He will forever be missed, love you man!
Master Norbert “Butch” Avila 1951-2020 5th degree Black Belt, Master Instructor at Bob Davis Martial Arts for over 30 years. Chief instructor at Hidalgo Texas Youth center, for 21 years. Specialist teaching disabled, autistic and ADHD children. Senior member South Texas CTF demo team. Martial arts competitor in both open and CTF Tournaments 1985-2003. His passion was to help and teach disadvantaged youth in our poor neighborhoods. Master Avila believed everyone needed to learn Taekwondo no matter their economic status nor their physical/mental situation. His own struggles with his health drove his passion and he fulfilled these goals by starting TaeKwondo programs in poor neighborhoods throughout the area he lived in. He was a fine example of the True spirit of Taekwondo.
We lost 3rd Degree Honer Scroggins on 7/7/17, her favorite number was 7 and her daughter is 7. She is the daughter of CTF Master Instructor Roger Scroggins in Florida. Honor bravely fought cancer for years, she will be dearly missed.
How I will remember Senior Master David Burns 7th Dan and founder of Burns Taekwon-Do. Submitted by Senior Master Lenny Young. I first met David while attending Lock Haven State University in the 70’s. Our relationship created many years of countless memories. The expression “take a big bite out of life” certinally applies to David. Some people like to take a leisurely drive, David drove to Wyoming. Some people like to go camping, David would go with just the clothes on his back. Some people like to go for a jog, David liked to run up and down mountains, I joined him one time and the next thing I knew I’m at the top of a mountain gasping for air and he just has this grin on his face, some of you may know this grin! Some people like to go for a bike ride, David rode with some of his students from Selinsgrove to Bellefonte over the hilly terrain. David was very smart with a fantastic memory, he would pick up new forms the first time, when asked how he could do it he replied “I just see it, I picture it in my mind and it stays there”. As the years progressed we grow very close along with my love and admiration of him. When people asked how Master Burns was doing they always said what great memories and what a huge inspiration he is. When we talked about his medical issues he never said “why me”? He never felt sorry for himself. He just knew the facts of the situation and go full speed ahead with all the steps to get better. He NEVER gave up! David was a great man, father, husband, brother and son. Although he has left this earth, he will be with me FOREVER. David, save us a spot – we hope to be with you someday. I LOVE YOU MAN!!
Juan Gonzales trained with Galvans’s Taekwon-Do Martial Arts in Brownsville, TX. He died in an unfortunate accident November 11th, 2013 at a young age of 20. Many of you will remember Juan when he tested for Black Belt in Danville, PA in 2009. An exceptional fighter he tore up the tournament circuit in Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. He was buried in his C.T.F. uniform.
With deep sadness we honor the life of Mr. Richard Stroh, 2nd Dan C.T.F., one of Senior Master Doug Eatons first Taekwon-Do students. His obituary states; “He enjoyed the spirit of adventure and embraced life to the end”, that was Rick. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Stroh family. He was buried in his C.T.F. uniform and wearing his rank. I’ll miss you Rick.
Master Alma Roque 4th Dan 22 years as Master Bob Davis Student. The first Instructor of Taekwon-Do at The University of Texas Pan American. Passed away in 2011