Master John Ritter
6th Dan Taekwondo
Master Ritter started his career in martial arts at the age of 5 within the Ahn Taekwondo Institute under the tutelage Grandmaster Kyong Won Ahn. At a young age, Master Ritter started competing and developed his love for martial arts. Master Ritter’s martial arts career expanded into Hapkido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tai Chi, Karate, weapons training, and Judo, but has always found his home to be with Taekwondo.
Throughout Master Ritter’s martial arts career, he has competed and placed in many local, state, and national tournaments. He also believes it is very important to understand all aspects of sport competition as well, and therefore has had training as a coach and referee. He feels that becoming well rounded gives a better perspective of martial arts as a whole.
In 2002, at the age of 18, Master Ritter started his undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati and joined the, then known as, UC Martial Arts Club as a 3rd Dan under the instruction of now Grandmaster James Beasley, another instructor within the Ahn Taekwondo Institute and the United Taekwondo Association (UTA). Master Ritter assisted teaching all throughout his college career and after. In 2011, Master Ritter officially took over the University of Cincinnati Martial Arts Club as the head instructor.
In 2013, Master Ritter decided to take the club in a bit of a different direction. Master Ritter did two things to take the club into a new era. The first thing he did was change the format of the club to teach the Kukkiwon methodology. The reason for doing this was because Kukkiwon is the international certifying body for Taekwondo. Any student can come into our club from another Kukkiwon instructor and be able to quickly adapt. That way we have unity, and if our students have to leave us after college, they can join another Kukkiwon school and jump right in. The second thing Master Ritter decided to do was join with the Taekwon Moodo Association (TMA) under Grandmaster Ron Hickey. Master Ritter is Kukkiwon certified and encourages black belts under him to get Kukkiwon certification as well. In 2014, Master Ritter presented the club with the option to change the club name to the University of Cincinnati Taekwondo Club. The name change was unanimously approved and became official in the 2015-2016 school year.
Now 6th Dan, Master Ritter wants to continue to grow the club and it’s members. Martial Arts is not just about fighting, it is about bettering oneself. Bettering oneself is how we grow. A favorite quote of Master Ritter’s is from the late, great Robin Williams. “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” To Master Ritter, martial arts is about treating people, and that is why he does what he does.
Master Nicole Dangelo
5th Dan Taekwondo
Master Dangelo grew up in Norton’s Martial Arts School from the age of 7. Under the tutelage of Grandmaster William Norton she developed a love for the Korean martial arts of Taekwondo and Hapkido, as well as boxing, kickboxing, grappling, and weapons training. During the early 2000’s, Master Dangelo competed and placed in numerous tournaments mainly competing in Taekwondo sparring. After a serious knee injury forced her out of competition she focused on Hapkido, going to seminars held by Grandmaster In Sun Seo and Grandmaster Rudy Timmerman, to name a few. Master Dangelo also began to learn ground techniques (grappling) under Grandmaster Norton’s Kunindo training. Kunindo is translated as ‘the way of the warrior’ and is a form of martial arts that evolves strictly around combat in all areas and using all methods. It incorporates boxing, kickboxing, Judo, Jujutsu, grappling, weapons, extreme cardio, and weight training. Master Dangelo believes that it was this opportunity to train in so many styles at once that opened her mind to the possibilities present in martial arts and serves to continually reinforce the mantra that there is always something new to learn.
As an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Master Dangelo trained and competed in Brazilian Jiu Jutsu, started two Taekwondo clubs, and trained at a local Tung Soo Do school. Once at the University of Cincinnati, Master Dangelo found the, then, UC Martial Arts Club and began training and teaching. Now she is part of the Competition Team, training for tournaments again, except this time for Sport Poomsae. Master Dangelo is Kukkiwon certified and encourages black belts under her to get Kukkiwon certification as well. At UCTKD, Master Dangelo continues to learn the finer points of Taekwondo; going to seminars given by members of the US National Poomsae team. She is also learning the emphasis on body mechanics and the importance of mental training, putting her time in neuroscience to use.
Hapkido will be mixed into classes taught by Master Dangelo as growing up she was always the first person to volunteer to be thrown and to throw others. She was among the first students to receive the Hapkido black belt at Norton’s Martial Arts (now Tiger Martial Arts Academy), helping to design and develop the Hapkido curriculum. As a smaller person, Master Dangelo enjoys the leverage advantage, joint locks, and pressure points offered through the merging of Taekwondo and Hapkido.
Master Dangelo obtained her 5th Dan at UCTKD, through the TMA in 2014. She thinks that the most important part of martial arts is not giving up, or in other words: to keep on kicking.
Master Robert Jones
7th Dan Taekwondo
Master Jones began his martial arts studies under his father in 1976, originally learning Ji Do Kwan Taekwondo. He eventually became a student of the Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo and switched to Kukkiwon Taekwondo standards in 2008. He has studied numerous other arts during his journey of exploration in martial studies.
He began his competitive side of Taekwondo in 1986 and has continued to stay involved both as a coach, referee and as an athlete. Over the years he has won his fair share of events and even won Grand Champion at several tournaments. However, his biggest accomplishments thus far have been taking 1st at the 2008 World Hanmadang and 3rd place at the 2011 USAT Poomsae Team Trials. He has an excellent understanding of the physical and mental demands that competitive training requires from the athletes and strives to mentor fellow athletes as best he can.
He has been instructing Taekwondo since 1988 when he began helping out at the OSU Lima Branch Taekwondo Club. While at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio for Exercise Science, he founded the Y.C. Kim Taekwondo Club in 1993. He has also managed and instructed at several full-time Taekwondo schools in and around Columbus for many years before a job transfer brought him to Cincinnati in 2006.
Master Jones is currently a 7th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt, Class P-1 Kukkiwon Hanmadang International Referee, 3rd Class Kukkiwon Licensed Master Instructor, 2nd Class Kukkiwon Examiner Judge and also holds a 1st Dan Black Belt in Hapkido.
Master Jones continues teaching Taekwondo as a volunteer instructor with the University of Cincinnati Taekwondo Club and is the poomsae competition coach.