Martial Arts: Timeline

Martial Arts: Steve's Story - Timeline - People - Schools - Organizations

Martial Arts have been an enormous part of my life. I share my experience with images and prose. I hope you enjoy reading these stories them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

This is a long term project that I estimate is half completed.

Now that many years have passed since I began this project, it seems unlikely that I will ever finish, so ... please send me your ideas, whether they be additions, corrections, or suggestions to me at: my-first-name [at-sign] hellers [dot] ws. One of the nicest aspects of this project is that I've gotten in touch with old friends, met new people, and even connected together people I did not know.

This timeline documents various martial arts events that have touched my life; many are black-belt promotions of the friends and family of the MIT Korean Karate Club and CMA. Permission to include information about family was generally assumed. Permission to include information about friends was generally obtained.

If I've missed events that would be nice to include, please contact me (my first name [at-sign] hellers [dot] ws). Similarly, if you have been included and you prefer not to be, please let me know.


Dr. Jigoro Kano systematized Judo in the Kodokan of Japan.

While judo was never my primary subject, it was my first, and I greatly resepct Dr. Kano's contribution. Dr. Kano took jujitsu, a martial art, and made judo, a sport. He developed a system for teaching and was concerned with student safety. I believe that curriculum development, not just curriculum execution, is essential for good teaching. This event, over a century ago, affected me profoundly.

April 1963

Duk Sung Son established the WTKDA in New York City. Mr. Son explained to me that he was promoted to 4th degree by his teacher Won Kuk Lee in Korea, and with the establishment of the WTKDA, he became grandmaster and 9th degree black-belt.

Like Dr. Kano, Mr. Son developed a curriculum for teaching students and was concerned with student safety. Mr. Son's class was organized and consistent, and Mr. Son was adamant about "no-contact sparring." Contact is only made defending, not attacking. We started with warmup, then fifteen basic techniques, forms, bag work, sparring (freestyle and choreographed), and finally warm down.


Steve Heller studied judo with Fred Margolis at the Poughkeepsie JCC Judo class.

Steve is the little guy in the middle of the front row.

February, 1970

Bob Dvorkin began studying Tae Kwon Do, under Fred Finkeldie, who learned from Mr. Son. A school teacher, Bob always looked for more effective ways to teach and a for additional material to expand the curriculum.

March, 1975

Bob Dvorkin established a TKD class at the Poughkeepsie JCC which eventually grew into the ETKDU. Steve Heller began studying Tae Kwon Do under Bob Dvorkin as a charter member of the Community Tae Kwon Do Club.

In the front, Bob Dvorkin is on the left and Carol Solomon is on the right. In the back, Steve is behind Bob's elbow, and his dad George is in the middle.


Bob Dvorkin, 1st degree, WTKDA

December 1977

Ted Hillson, 1st degree, WTKDA

December 1978

Steve Heller, 1st degree, WTKDA

May 1980

Ted Hillson, 2nd degree, WTKDA

November 1980

Pete Michaelson, 1st degree, WTKDA

May 1981

John Jackson, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Sandy Hildibrand, 1st degree, WTKDA
Michelle Brotman, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller, 2nd degree, WTKDA

Anne Berlin, 1st degree, WTKDA

May 1983

Ted Hillson, 3rd degree, WTKDA

November 1983

Pete Michaelson, 2nd degree, WTKDA

15 February 1984

Poh Lim and Mike Even began practicing TKD at the MIT Korean Karate Club.

June 1984

Irwin Jungreis, 1st degree, WTKDA
Peter Everett, 1st degree, WTKDA
Anne Berlin, 2nd degree, WTKDA

November 1984

Jill Goldstein, 3rd degree, WTKDA

25 May 1985

Steve Heller, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Cynthia Dwork, 2nd degree, WTKDA

WTKDA third degree tests involved performing all forms. Cynthia and I got together a few times in addition to regular class to prepare for our tests. The first time we met, I couldn't remember one of the brown belt forms (that I practiced all the time). The next time we met, I couldn't remember another form (that I practiced all the time). The third time we met, I was unblocked. Cynthia had no such mental issues, and she was very supportive.

CMA Promotion Candidates
Back Row Front Row
Michelle Pendleton 1st degree, WTKDA Mike Goldstein 2nd degree, WTKDA
Bob Dvorkin   Michelle Brotman 3rd degree, WTKDA
Chuck Brotman 3rd degree, WTKDA Cynthia Dwork 2nd degree, WTKDA
George Robinson 3rd degree, WTKDA John Jackson 3rd degree, WTKDA
Sandy Hildibrand 2nd degree, WTKDA Steve Heller 3rd degree, WTKDA

This was one of many "big tests" for CMA, representing twenty-two degrees of black-belt (including Cynthia - who was really adopted - but we never told her).

November 1986

Pete Michaelson, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Irwin Jungreis, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Peter Everett, 2nd degree, WTKDA

May 1987

Anne Berlin, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Chris Dennis, 1st degree, WTKDA

7 November 1987

Mike Even, 1st degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller
Poh Lim, 1st degree, WTKDA

14 May 1988

Jay Cohan, 1st degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller
Gene Cohen, 1st degree degree, WTKDA

Ted Hillson, 4th degree, WTKDA

25 May 1989

Debbie Howe, 1st degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller
Christos Kaklamanis, 1st degree, WTKDA

28 October 1989

Christine Pechner, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Todd Pechner, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller, 4th degree, WTKDA
Eddy Tan, 1st degree, WTKDA
Joan Even, 1st degree, WTKDA

An eleven degree test for the MIT club.

Irwin Jungreis, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Peter Everett, 3rd degree, WTKDA

Edgar Serringer, a man with a very big heart.

After every event, we always went out to dinner. Steve Heller is looking over Jerry Orenstein's shoulder, who is sitting next to Ted Hillson.

MIT Korean Karate Club supporters: Gene Cohen, Debbie Howe, Stan Oda, Dave Jesurum, Beth Kulas, Leslie Heller, Chris Young, Ian Taylor, and Toai Doan.

5 May 1990

Mike Nussbaum, 1st degree, WTKDA
Steve Heller
Poh Lim, 2nd degree, WTKDA

Steve Heller
Chris Dennis, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Ray Mondschein

The SCTKD gang.

July 1990

Chris Young, 1st degree, WTKDA

November 1990

Pete Michaelson, 4th degree, WTKDA

May 1991

Ian Taylor, 1st degree, WTKDA

November 1991

Anne Berlin, 4th degree, WTKDA
Christos Kaklamanis, 2nd degree, WTKDA


Steve Heller, 1st degree, Kodokan

May 1993

Ron Gans, 1st degree, WTKDA

October 1993

Peter Everett, 4th degree, WTKDA
Poh Lim, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Chris Dennis, 3rd degree, WTKDA
Ian Taylor, 2nd degree, WTKDA
Charlie Ginsberg, 1st degree, WTKDA
Debbie Heller, 1st degree, WTKDA
Brent Philips, 1st degree, WTKDA

A second eleven degree test for the MIT club.

May 1994

Ted Hillson, 5th degree, WTKDA
Irwin Jungreis, 4th degree, WTKDA

July 1994

Chris Young, 2nd degree, WTKDA

November 1995

Ron Gans, 2nd degree, WTKDA

November 1996

Pete Michaelson, 5th degree, WTKDA

Spring 1998

Anne Berlin, 5th degree, WTKDA

November 1998

Ted Hillson, 6th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable
Poh Lim, 4th degree, WTKDA

May 1999

Ted Hillson, 7th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable

August 1999

Ron Gans, 3rd degree, WTKDA

November 1999

Bob Dvorkin, 8th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable
Ted Hillson, 8th degree, Martial Arts for the Handicapable

October 2002

Pete Michaelson, 6th degree, TCS

August 2004

Ron Gans, 4th degree, WTKDA

May 2005

Poh Lim, 5th degree, WTKDA
Stan Hunter, 3rd degree, WTKDA

September 2005

Michelle Pendleton, 4th degree, ETKDU

Martial Arts: Steve's Story - Timeline - People - Schools - Organizations
Heller Web Space: Images - Notes - Travel - Memories