Canada’s First ATA Chief Master!

On July 12th in Phoenix Arizona, Scott Karpiuk was inducted as Canada’s First 8th Degree Black Belt ATA Chief Master!

The ceremony took place in the Phoenix Convention Centre in front of over 1500 spectators, family, friends and ATA Masters.  The Master’s Class of 2023 included the historic induction of three new 9th Degree Grand Masters, nine 8th Degree Chief Masters, eleven 7th Degree Senior Masters and thirty four 6th Degree Masters (including Master Wilson, one of Chief Master Karpiuk’s students).

Presiding Grand Master M.K. Lee performed the traditional Songahm ceremony in the presence of two Grand Master Emeritus’ and members of the Master’s Council.  This was the first time the Master’s Ceremony was presented in Phoenix.  The traditional location is Little Rock Arkansas, where the headquarters of the ATA is.

Mastership Ceremony

Canada’s First ATA Chief Master, Master Karpiuk, has had the honour and privilege of being a member of the ATA since 1984.  He received his first Mastership Title in 2005 from Grand Master Soon Ho Lee.  In 2014 he received his Sr. Mastership Title from Grand Master In Ho Lee.

Master Karpiuk started his training at Baptist Bible College, Springfield Missouri in 1984 under the direction of his Instructor Chief Master Tony Isaacs, 9th Degree Black Belt, ATA Hall of Fame Member.  In addition to martial arts training, Master Karpiuk graduated with an Education Degree from the college. He received his Taekwondo instructor certification in 1987 while attending the first ever Instructor’s Camp in South Korea.

With almost 40 years of experience in martial arts, in addition to a degree in secondary education, Chief Master Karpiuk is known for his excellence in instruction, and his ability to bring out the best in his students.

Watch the Ceremony HERE!

The ceremony highlights the 9 traditional symbolic steps of becoming a Master instructor. 

Part I: Sounding of the Gong
The gong, according to tradition, sounds nine times slowly, once for each level of color belt rank.

Part II. Respect
The candidate demonstrates the second level, Respect. He/she has been chosen as Grand Master Lee’s
partisan and shows respect through the traditional bow of the ancient Korean culture.

Part III: Knowledge
Next is the ceremonial passing of knowledge. Water in Songahm Taekwondo represents knowledge as if
the Master is the beginning of a stream of knowledge that becomes a mighty river and empties into a
great sea. There are three bowls on the table. The smallest representing the knowledge a of student.
The middle‐sized bowl is the knowledge of a sah‐bum nim (instructor): and the large bowl is that of a

Part IV: Humility
The fourth level is Humility, witness as the candidate recites the oath of the Master to his/her Dae Sahboo
Nim, Grand Master. He/she then affixes his/her signature to the scroll. The right hand is raised as
the candidate takes the oath.

Part V: Loyalty
In friendship, relationships, and martial arts, there are few things more important than loyalty. A
candles’ light is seen as knowledge. The light reveals what could not be seen. The Grand Master
sacrifices of himself as does the candle to bring knowledge to the student, to guide him/her through a
path that was dark, and to shed light on a life that was full of darkness.
As did the masters of the past, the candidate lights the candle to represent his/her willingness to follow
the Grand Master’s example, to make a daily sacrifice for the children of Songahm and to prove to be a
loyal student of the Grand Master.

Part VI: Gratitude
The candidate offers a gift, to represent appreciation for all the Grand Master has done. By tradition, to
this time the gift has been gold to show the worth of the student‐instructor relationship. The gold items
have consisted primarily gold coins dated the year in which the Master was dubbed.

Part VII: Honor
Honor is among the great achievements, yet so few seek it. The candidate is being honored by the
position the Master has bestowed upon him/her. The candidate is presented a certificate of Mastership
on which the Master has affixed his seal from the turtle of the Bee‐Ryong Bong.

Part VIII: Nobility
With the warriors of ancient times, titles and positions were bestowed upon a recipient by dubbing
them with a sword or scepter. The Master will dub the candidate with the Bee‐Ryong Bong, thus publicly
demonstrating his/her cross over from Sah‐bum nim (instructor) to Master Instructor.

Part IX: Mastership
The Bee‐Ryong Bong, which normally is only to be touched by the Grand Master’s hands, is extended to
the new Master in a gesture of unity. This symbolizes the completion of the candidate’s walk as a
student and Sah‐bum nim (instructor) and reveal his/her new path as that of a Master.  The gong sounds nine times rapidly to end the ceremony.

Respectfully Submitted by

Chief Master Karpiuk
ATA International Judge & Newton Academy Director
BA Education

Ceremonial Uniform
Chief Master Karpiuk