Grand Master Peter DeFosses – known to most as Master Pete, started his self-defense training at a young age while growing up in New York City in the 50’s. At the age of 10 he started taking organized boxing lessons at the local Police Athletic League (PAL) gym; within two years at the age of 12 he also started training with a NYC-PAL wrestling coach. By the time he was in high school he had competed in both boxing and wrestling at city and state competitions with the Police Athletic League with more than a fair record. In high school he was on the wrestling, football and track teams. At the same time, he continued his boxing and was now starting his training in judo at the PAL gym. Known to most as Master Pete, started his self-defense training at a young age he grew up in New York City in the 50’s, need we say anymore. At the age of 10 he started taking organized boxing lessons at the local Police Athletic League (PAL) gym; within two years at the age of 12 he also started training with a NYC-PAL wrestling coach. By the time he was in high school he had competed in both boxing and wrestling at city and state competitions with the Police Athletic League with more than a fair record. In high school he was on the wrestling, football and track teams. At the same time, he continued his boxing and was now starting his training in judo at the PAL gym.
After high school Peter DeFosses enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served two combat tours of duty in Vietnam assigned to the Third Marine Reconnaissance Group. This is where he was first introduced to Tang Soo Do and Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim. After Vietnam he was assigned to the US Marine’s Counter Guerrilla Warfare School in North Carolina as a combat self-defense instructor. His last assignment in the Marine Corps was with the State Department in Washington DC. While training for his embassy assignment he had the honor of being assigned to stand duty at Pres. Eisenhower’s internment and Pres. Nixon’s inauguration. After completing his training, he was assigned to the United States Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While in Brazil he had the opportunity to train in Brazilian Jujitsu and Capoeira. After two years in Brazil he returned to the states and returned to civilian life.
This is the time that Master Peter DeFosses refers to as his butterfly years in the martial arts, with starting a family, working fulltime and attending NYU, unfortunately it left little time and money for any type of organized training. He trained when and where he could, like a butterfly going from flower to flower. Now that he looks back on this time, he had some great opportunities to learn without being tied to one single style. During this period, he trained in multiple styles as time allowed, learning what he could, knowing someday it would pay off. The styles included Kenpo, Aikido, Hapkido, Karate, Pressure Points, and Filipino Eskrima, just to name a few. In 1976 he moved to Florida to start a new career. In 1984 he joined law-enforcement and started studying Tang Soo Do full-time. A few years later he was transferred to Tampa, Florida where he was reintroduced to Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim. This is where he continued to train and rise through the ranks under Grandmaster J. J. Kim in Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do. During this period Master Pete was one of the Master Instructors at the World Moo Duk Kwan Headquarters and served as one of Grandmaster J. J. Kim’s technical advisors. At the request of Grandmaster J. J. Kim, Master Peter DeFosses wrote and updated the student manuals for the World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation, then designed the patch and flag currently used by the newly renamed World Traditional Tang Soo Do Federation. With Grandmaster Kim’s passing in 2007, Master Pete started training with Grandmaster James A. Saffold one of Grandmaster Kim’s most senior students and founder of the American Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation.
In 1994 Master Peter DeFosses founded Sebastian Karate Moo Duk Kwan and still operates the school in Sebastian, Fl. On June 18, 2012 Master Pete was promoted to the rank of 7th Dan Senior Master by the World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation Korea under 10th Dan Senior Grandmasters Yong Duk Kim pin #2, Hee Seok Choi pin #3 and the American Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation under 9th Dan Grandmaster J. A. Saffold. On November 3, 2017 he was promoted to the rank of Grand Master by both the World Tang Soo Do General Federation – Korea and American Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation.
Master Peter DeFosses was inducted into the World Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame in 2009 as Moo Duk Kwan Master of the year and in 2012 he was inducted into the Legends of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Tang Soo Do Master of the Year, presented to him by Grandmaster Cynthia Rothrock. In November of 2012 Master Pete attended the Seoul Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Forum along with only 18 other Grandmasters & Masters invited from around the world to discuss the past, present and future of Tang Soo Do. This event was held by the World Tang Soo Do General Federation – Moo Duk Kwan in Seoul, Korea. On June 1, 2013 he was inducted into the 21st Sokeship Council Hall of Fame as the 2013 Tang Soo Do Master Instructor of the Year, presented to him by founder of WHFSC Grandmaster F. Sanchez.
Today Master Peter DeFosses has retired from law enforcement after 25 years and continues to study, train and teach the art of Tang Soo Do, that he loves. He believes we never stop learning and that it is his responsibility to honor the past and help create the future of the martial arts through current and future practitioners that comes knocking on his DoJang door regardless of style or age. We are all one family, we learn from each other; his doors are always open, and he invites all to stop by.