July 23, 2024



Introducing GM Donald Moore President of Synergy Combat Arts Inc

Introducing GM Donald Moore President of Synergy Combat Arts Inc

My interest in martial arts can be traced back to the mid 1970’s. The Kung Fu craze was sweeping the world at that time, and the unequaled Bruce Lee was my hero! I was in 2nd grade and had Bruce Lee posters all over my bedroom walls. The funny thing is I was not allowed to watch his movies! Because, they were rated R! But somehow I knew that this little Chinese man was doing something really special. But, I had no idea it would become my life’s passion.

Since this time it has been my dream to be a martial artist.  So at the beginning of 4th grade my family moved to South Elgin. Low and behold I looked out the window one summer day and realized we had Chinese neighbors. So I went over to their house and asked the boy who was closest to my age. “Hey you’re Chinese, do you know kung fu?” He said “No, do you?” This part didn’t exactly work out the way I wanted, but I had made a friend. One who was interested in martial arts as well. He did however have an uncle who trained in Tai Chi Chuan. Now many of you might think that Tai Chi is for elderly in the park, but this is not the whole story. It is also a very dynamic and devastating fighting art. We trained together in whatever we could find and Okinawan weapons for several years. So I count this as my first training in general martial arts.

Then in 1984 when I began my early training in Tae Kwon Do (Mu Duk Kwan but we used ITF Hyungs) and Hapkido. I was at that time, a young teenager, and devoted much of my time to perfecting my technique. The problem was that even at such a young age I still had ideas of my own. The environment of martial arts back then however, was very restrictive. There were no other Children and I could not voice my thoughts and ideas. While remaining loyal and respectful to my instructors so I began the unthinkable! I began to explore other ideas and arts! I began to think outside the box. I read about Kenpo, Arnis / Escrima and Kung Fu and dreamed of the day I could learn these wonderful things.

Then one day the unimaginable happened! I went to class and found a sign on the door that said the school had been permanently closed!  The instructors of the school were unable to continue because of personal problems. Then, even worse, with the other senior students of the school we found out that our rank was not endorsed by the I.T.F. like we had thought, and been told. My instructor was not truthful with us. Here I was, after training for nearly 8 years, no school, no rank, and nowhere to go. I had not been allowed to test for any rank higher than brown belt because I refused to fight in tournaments. I honestly felt that it was not right to try to hit someone I did not know so that I could earn a trophy. I tried to continue the school with some of the other students. After another year I was not allowed to test for my black belt because I had not been a member of the federation long enough. Shortly afterward, despondent, I left. Never to set foot in that school again. It soon failed. This once great school had lost its touch. I tried to find a new home school, but again no luck. No one had the open minded attitude that I was looking for.  Then one day, I contacted a Grand Master in Kansas city and told him of my plight. I was advised to make a video tape of my ability and send it in. I was quickly told that my skill was some of the best they had ever seen. This was GM Christopher Kemp and The United States Combat Martial Arts Association. I was granted a 1st degree black belt. With this it was my plan to quit martial arts, knowing I had accomplished a goal, but having nowhere to train. I was then contacted by the Village of South Elgin. They asked if I could begin and oversee a Tae Kwon Do program at the Village Hall.  I jumped at the chance. For $100 a session. But, no matter, I was elated; I finally had a place to train and people to train with! This was June 1st 1993 when the first class was taught. 1 hour a week. The first class had 12 students in it. I could probably name most of them to this day.  

In 1992-3 I met Grandmaster. GM John Pellegrini. He has believed when no one else would. He recognized not only my physical ability but my mental approach to the arts.  He was a very supportive and helpful Grand Master.
In 1993 we became affiliated with the International Combat Hapkido Federation. But I still did not have a viable Tae Kwon Do home. In Tae Kwon Do I became involved with the Korea Tae Kwon Do Chang Moo Kwan through Dr. Daeshik Kim to charter the school. I received my 2nd and 3rd Dan from them. This organization is based in Korea. The problem was that except for Dan testing it afforded very little benefits to the general student. I received my 4th degree black belt from GM Pellegrini’s schools, The American Tae Kwon Do And Hapkido Academy. So, when I decided it was time to start looking again, I naturally went to GM Pellegrini. In 1996 he founded the Independent Tae Kwon Do Association. We became the original charter members. I have received my 5th through 8th degree black belt under this banner. I also received the first ever ITA issued Kwan. This would be for my style of Yeon Oh Kwan. I could not be more excited.

Before I met GM Pellegrini in 1992 I met and trained with GM Seo in Akron OH at GM George Anderson’s Dojo, (Kwanmukan). In Sun who was and is GM Pellegrini’s Grandmaster. His skill is second to none. I have continued to train with him at various seminars worldwide as well as his son (My friend) Grandmaster Steve Seo. After I left GM Pellegrini they accepted me and our school into the fold of the World Kido Federation.

In 2000 I was blessed to go to Korea and meet GM Suh, Bok Sup, the first student of Hapkido. With him & GM Seo I visited the graveside of Dojunim Choi, Yong Sool the founder of Hapkido.  

In 2017 I left The ICHF & ITA due to the changed direction in the organization.

We are now in control of our own Federation, Synergy Combat Arts Association and are affiliated with the World Kido Federation, and National Karate Jiujitsu Federation, Gracie Underground, DKI International and the Peng You Tai Chi Group in Thunder Bay Canada. (And soon hopefully USA Hapkido & KMAIA)

Because I have always viewed myself as a student of the arts and Asian culture first I have continually cross trained, tested and ranked in many different styles and approaches to martial arts. I have attempted to take what is useful and discard the rest as Bruce Lee said. And have had the pleasure of working with some great masters and Grand masters including, GM In Sun Seo, GM George Dillman, GM Peng, Youlin, GM Thomas O’Shaughnessy, GM Ramon Ribay, GM Brent Thompson, Sigung Joseph Prignano.

In 2024 GM Paul Holley recognized me as the DOJU and 10th Dan of Hapkido Yeon Oh Kwan.    (So others can call me Doju-Nim) His organization also recognized Yeon Oh Kwan Tae Kwon Do .

Today we have come a long way. We are a Martial Arts School in Metropolis, IL a kwan and are recognized throughout the United States and in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and the world. We shall continue to grow and expand, into the next generation of instructors and students.  

Founder / President Synergy Combat Arts Association
Founder/Grandmaster “Synergy Tae Kwon Do / Yeon Oh Kwan”
Founder/Grandmaster “Synergy Hapkido”
Founder/Grandmaster “Synergy Tai Chi Qigong”
[ 45 years of  Martial Arts experience

[ Founding  member Master’s Council  “Independent Tae Kwon Do Association” (ITA)
[ 10th Degree Black Belt – Synergy Tae Kwon Do (IFKMA & NKJF) (KWAN FOUNDER)
[ 9th Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do (IFKMA & NKJF)
[ 10th Degree Black Belt – Synergy Hapkido (IFKMA & NKJF, THHF) (KWAN FOUNDER)
[ 9th Dan Tae Kwond Do (NKJF)
[ 9th Degree Black Belt Hapkido (IFKMA)
[ 10th Duan Black Sash Synergy Tai Chi Qigong (ICMAF & NKJF)  (FOUNDER)
[ 10th Duan Black Sash Synergy Gung Fu (Jeet Kun Do/Wing Chun) (ICMAF & NKJF)
[ 8th Degree Black Belt Hapkido-World Ki-Do Federation
[ 10th Degree Black Belt Chinese Kenpo Karate (NKJF)
[ 7th Degree Black Belt American Kenpo Karate (WTKKA)
[ 7th Degree Black Belt Ryukyu Kyusho Kempo (DKI)
[ 6th  Degree Black Belt in Shen Do Ryu Aikijutsu  (IFJMA & NKJF)
[ 5th Duan (Red Sash) Wing Chun Gung Fu (NKJF)
[ 5th Degree Black Belt Judo  (IJMAF)
[ 5th Dan Go Ju Ryu Karate  (IJMAF & NKJF)
[ 5th Degree Black Belt in Arnis de Mano (IFMAA & NJKF)
[ 5th Degree Black Belt Kobudo (NKJF)
[ 3st  Degree Black Belt Ninjutsu (IJMAF)
[ 2nd Degree Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu  (IFJMA, NKJF& Gracie Underground)
[ Master Instructor Jeet Kune Do
[ Founder / Grandmaster Synergy Tai Chi Qigong
[ Founder / Grandmaster Synergy Gung Fu
[ Founder / Grandmaster Tae Kwon Do Yeon Oh Kwan- (ITA)
[ Founder / Grandmaster Synergy Hapkido Yeon Oh Kwan Yeon Oh Kwan (School of the 5 Lotus)- (IKMAF)  
[ Grandmaster Certification – “International Combat Hapkido Federation” (ICHF)
[ Master Instructor Certification – “U.S. Martial Arts Institute” Hosinsul (Self Defense)
[ Aiki Arts Accredited Master – (IAACAB)
[ Sr. Professor Certification in Kenpo Karate- (ICMAF)
[ Certified Mixed Martial Arts Instructor (DSI)
[ Certified Professor Medical Qi Gong and Traditional Healing Arts (HPTCQGA)
[ Certified  Military Combatives Instructor (MCA)
[ Certified Instructor Six Forms for Health Taiji Qigong
[ Certified Herbalist – Herbal Healer Academy
[ Creator and Former Director of ICHF Dan Bong (Short Stick Fighting) Program
[ Creator and Star of  ICHF Dan Bong training films

[ 1995 – Inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame – Instructor of the Year
[ 1996 – Inducted into the International Martial  Arts Hall of Fame – Master of the Year
[ 2002 – Inducted into the Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame – Outstanding Contributions to the Martial Arts
[ 2005 – Inducted into the Budo  Martial Arts Hall of Fame – Outstanding Contributions to Combat Hapkido
[ 2022 Inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame
[ 1994 – First ICHF Instructor Honor Roll
[ 2000 – First ICHF Master Instructor of the Year
[ 2022- Inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame Master of the Year
[ 1995 – Cover of “Martial Arts Business” Magazine as Grandmaster Pellegrini’s uke
[ 1997 – Cover of “TaeKwonDo Times” Magazine as Grandmaster Pellegrini’s uke
[ 1994 & 2000- Commendation from the World Ki-Do Federation / Korea Ki-Do Association (Ki-Do Hae)
[ 2006 – Received Kwan Status Founder for Yeon Oh Kwan Tae Kwon Do.
[ 1999 – Awarded Commission in the “Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels”
[ 1998 – Registered Police Defensive Tactics Instructor – Police Self-Defense Instructor International (PSDII)
[ 1998 – Certified Pistol Instructor – National Rifle Association (NRA)
[ 1998 – Certified Distinguished Expert with a Handgun – National Rifle Association (NRA)
[ 2000 – Nominated to the NRA Millennium Honor Roll – National Rifle Association (NRA)