Mr. Dale Tompkins, Founder and President of TKA, is a graduate of Montgomery College and the University of Maryland. He holds a Master of Arts in Physical Education. He was a Physical Education Specialist in the Montgomery County School System and is currently Adjunct Professor of the Martial Arts program at Montgomery College. Mr. T is the Associate Chairman of the World Martial Arts Federation. He currently holds the rank of 5th degree black belt in Se Gye Jun Ye Sool Hue and 8th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.
Mr. T began his martial arts training in 1962 as a college student when he met Dick Kern, who was teaching karate in Washington, D.C. Mr. T followed Kern to (Kee Hwang) Kim's studio. Under Kern's instruction, Mr. T was promoted to black belt in 1964 and became a black belt instructor. He has been a Master Instructor since 1968.
Mr. T's teaching style is a casual one, completely different from the traditional Korean approach. He is a strong advocate of "get down off your pedestal" approach which is based on his background as an educator. His focus is to teach the average guy. TKA was established in 1965, and was the first studio at that time to teach children under the age of 14. The original name, TKA, stood for "Tang Soo Do Karate Association" and, coincidentally, also for "Tompkins Karate Association." As the number of martial arts studios in the area increased TKA became more commonly identified with "Tompkins Karate Association" to distinguish it from other martial arts studios with similar titles. TKA is unusal in that black belt promotions do not depend entirely on the Founder/Director/President, but rather on the decision reached by a panel of advanced degree black belt judges.