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Unparalleled Martial Artist: Master Robert Frankovich

Unparalleled Martial Arts feature interview with Master Robert Frankovich, rambling martial arts enthusiast and keeper of tradition.

Titles and Honors:

  • Pine Tree Taekwondo 7th Dan Senior Master Instructor

  • WTMA Haidong Gumdo Chief Master Instructor

  • Tiger Tactics Personal Protection Instructor

  • White Tiger Security Training Instructor

  • USA Hall of Fame Korean Martial Arts Master of the Year (2014)

  • USA Hall of Fame Haidong Gumdo Master of the Year (2015)

  • Bruce Lee & Legends Hall of Honor Inductee (2015)

  • Minnesota State Co-Director of the Martial Arts Alliance (2014)

Master Frankovich is the epitome of an Unparalleled Martial Artist. Not only does he share his knowledge with students at his school, White Tiger Martial Arts, but he commits his life to preserving the traditions and history of martial arts.

White Tiger Martial Arts teaches two disciplines; Pine Tree Taekwondo and Haidong Gumdo. These styles are discussed in depth during the interview so read on!

Aside from directly leading others on their Martial Arts Journey, Master Frankovich spreads his knowledge through writing. He has articles in a variety of publications including; Black Belt Magazine, TaeKwonDo Times, The Budo Journal, Inside Kung Fu Magazine, and Totally Taekwondo Magazine. He maintains a blog, White Tiger Ramblings, covering topics such as leadership, finding the right school, maintaining a beginner’s mindset, and priceless advice for anyone walking their path.

The first 5 years of his blog are compiled in White Tiger Ramblings: “Thoughts while Traveling the Path”. You can purchase it here.

He is the founder of Tiger Consulting, a POST accredited program fusing his martial arts and law enforcement training to teach conflict resolution and self-defense.

Master Frankovich keeps the spirit of martial arts alive with his development of the International Song Moo Kwan Association (ISMKA), an organization striving to collect stories from the first leaders and Grand Masters in the art.

His published book, Chung Bong Hyung: The True Forms of Song Moo Kwan, which covers the background and techniques for three out of seven original hyungs, or forms.

This book is FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


What style of martial arts does White Tiger Martial Arts teach?

What types of programs do you offer?

We teach two martial arts within White Tiger Martial Arts. The first is Pine Tree Taekwondo, traditional Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo. I say “traditional” in the sense that we are not an Olympic style school. We do provide Kukkiwon Dan certifications but our Song Moo Kwan lineage and history are more valuable to us. This history is continued through the World Song Moo Kwan United. It is taught as Pine Tree Taekwondo because I have been teaching the curriculum since 1987, prior to moving to the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

The other martial art taught is Haidong Gumdo, a Korean sword art. We are a member of the USA Haidong Gumdo Association branch of the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. The program is unique as it focuses on the actual use of the sword as it applies to combat. It is an Art, not a sport. We aren’t a Kumdo/Kendo school. I think that is why the Federation used “Gumdo” to help separate the brand from the “Kumdo” schools that follow Japanese Kendo. Developing proper cutting and applications of sword techniques are done through gumbub (patterns) and target cutting (bamboo, straw mats, fruit, paper).

The two martial arts are offered in a very simplistic format. The Pine Tree Taekwondo is set up as an all age (8 years old & up) 30-minute beginner class and a 50-minute advanced class (everyone who has tested once or more). The Haidong Gumdo is an all rank class for 12 years old and up with a handful of sessions set aside for getting up to speed. The classes do rotate through the various sections of the curriculum with a focus on forms/patterns.

What was running through your mind during your first martial arts lesson?

This is kind of tough to answer as the first class I attended was in January of 1981. That’s a long time ago! I do know that I had been searching for a school to train at for a couple years. I came across a Taekwondo class being offered by a neighboring city’s community education. I had wanted to train since watching the original Kung Fu television show and seeing Bruce Lee in the Green Hornet. The part of Northern Minnesota where I grew up had a very quiet martial arts community, so it wasn’t until I had started training that I found there were about a half-dozen schools within driving distance (for us that was about an hour). The only thought that I can remember is that I was finally getting to learn!

“The physical techniques of an art are only 10% of what you’re learning, you better start looking at what is beyond the movement.”

Who was most inspirational to you in the beginning stages of your journey?

The most inspirational part of the beginning of my training was the size of the organization. My first promotion test was a 15 school organizational event where 300 students participated. Seeing the number of black belts on the test board made me want to earn that spot too.

Since I came up through a community education program, there were several teachers who ran the school. They all had good-quality knowledge and teaching skill but the part that stuck with me was how all of them were slightly different but still correct. It made me start to think more about why things are done instead of how.