Brandon Stoppani, head instructor at Bodystrong Taekwon-do, Sequim, earned his promotion to a Master Instructor, seventh degree, after testing at the headquarters of the United States Taekwon-do Association in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 9.
Along with three other candidates, Stoppani performed in front of a panel of Grand Masters, ultimately becoming the 86th person to achieve the rank of Seventh degree, Master Instructor.
Stoppani started his training in 1986 in England, training under Grand Master Cutler, Mr. Hampson and a pioneer of the martial art, Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha. Stoppani also trained internationally with the founder of the art, General Choi Hong Hi.
After teaching in England — at one point, at three different venues — Stoppani immigrated to the United States in 2001, settled in Clallam County and opened Bodystrong Taekwon-do in Port Angeles. In 2008, Stoppani opened a store front venue in Sequim, the Bodystrong Taekwon-do Academy, and now has about 50 students with five qualified black belt instructors.
Stoppani notes that his full time job as a Clallam County Deputy Sheriff does not allow time for Stoppani to teach every night, so assistant instructors cover in his absence, allowing the academy to be open five days a week.
The Taekwon-do school is planning a beach workout and lunch in celebration of Master Stoppani’s achievement later this month.