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INSTRUCTORS

Grand Master O'Kelly
Grand Master Jonathan O'Kelly is an 8th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, a certified instructor and national referee. He is the head instructor in the District of Columbia and Maryland for the Pan American Taekwondo Federation and a member of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

He has been practicing Taekwondo since 1974 and has been teaching since 1981. He has taught thousands of students and has promoted more than 800 Black Belts, sixteen to 4th degree Master.

Grand Master O'Kelly is a 2nd degree instructor of Hapkido and a pioneer in Cardio Kickboxing.


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Lidia O'Kelly
Master Lidia O'Kelly is a 6th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon-Do and Instructor Certified by the Pan American Tae Kwon Do Federation. She has been studying martial arts since 1992 in Guilderland, New York. She received a Silver Medal at the AAU National Championship in Toledo, Ohio in the summer of 1994. During 1996 and 1998, she received certificates from the International Combat Hapkido Federation under Grand Master John Pellegrini.

She moved to Washington, DC in 1997. In 1998 she joined the Hung Tao Choy Mei Kung Fu Academy. During her studies in the Jow Ga Kung Fu system she traveled to China and Singapore in 1999 to compete at the 1st International Zhou Jia Quan Wushu tournament, where she won a silver medal. In 2002, she helped to establish the Northeast Tae Kwon Do School in the Washington, DC area.


 
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Christopher Crawford
Master Chris "CJ" Crawford has studied under Grandmaster O'Kelly since 2004 and currently holds the rank of 5th degree Black Belt. He is a certified instructor through the Pan American Taekwondo Federation and a certified coach with the Amateur Athletic Union. Mstr. Crawford is the Program Director at the main school, and the full time Taekwondo instructor for Basis Public Charter School in Washington, DC, where he also runs an extracurricular Taekwondo school. Mstr. Crawford also has experience in Hapkido, Aikido and Muay Thai.


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Nathan Hagood
Master Nathan Hagood began his Taekwondo training under Grandmaster Jon O'Kelly at the age of 14 and currently holds a 5th degree Black Belt. Mstr. Hagood is an accomplished tournament competitor having won numerous trophies and medals for forms, point sparring and Olympic sparring at the Maryland AAU Championships in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. His hobbies are built around fitness, swimming, Taekwondo, weight liftting, cycling and cooking. He is graduate of the Art Institute of Washington as a culinary major.


 
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Lindsay Robinson
Master Lindsay Robinson has been studying martial arts under the direction of Grandmaster O'Kelly since 2003. He currently holds a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has coached and participated in Amateur Athletic Union competition. He has assisted with instructing kids at Tyler, St. Peter, Capitol Hill and Brent schools. He is currently the head instructor at the Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School Enrichment Program. Mstr. Robinson has worked in the Everybody Wins reading program and is a former President of the Norfolk State University Alumni Association Washington, DC Chapter.


 
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Vetoria Alston-Epps
Ms. Epps has been training for almost ten years at Northeast Taekwondo. She began taking classes after her son decided not to continue his own martial arts training. She initially joined for the sake of exercise and improved personal discipline, but as she progressed through the colored belt ranks she realized the sport had taken hold of her in a more serious way. She now sees huge value in martial arts and her own personal advancement. To further herself as a martial artist, she began studying Aikido in 2015; as a result she has radically improved her self-defense skills. She currently holds the rank of 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo, and works at the main school as an assistant instructor for the intermediate junior class.


 
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David Winter
Dr. David Winter has been a student of martial arts for over 30 years. In addition to his 6th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo, he has studied Kumdo (Korean sword), Wing Chun Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, and Jujitsu. He has studied under both the World Taekwondo Federation and the International Taekwondo Federation, and has blended the styles over the years to find a balance for his own practice and teaching. Dr. Winter has taught Taekwondo in both the United States and Europe starting back in 1984, and has published on the physics and body mechanics of Taekwondo in Totally Taekwondo Magazine.

In 2011, Dr. Winter began studying Kumdo, the Art of Korean Sword, under Grand Master H.W. Kim, founder of the Korean Kumdo Federation. He is a now a certified instructor, and teaches at Kumdo in Maryland and Washington DC.

In addition to martial arts, Dr. Winter races and coaches Chinese Dragon Boats. He has twice been selected as a member of the US National Team, and has medaled in three world championships.


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Ryan Edge
Mr. Edge reached his current rank of 2nd Dan in 2018 -- a milestone in a martial arts career that started in 1997 under Mr. Terry Storm in Owensboro, Kentucky. Proof that it is never too late to return to taekwondo, no matter how long the break, he resumed his training in 2014 after a 15-year hiatus. During that time, Mr. Edge completed undergraduate coursework at Western Kentucky University and earned a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University. He is as passionate about his career in clean energy as he is about taekwondo. His other interests consist of old video games, martial arts movies (good and bad), distance running including a full marathon completion, and restoring a classic Jeep.


 
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Keith White
Mr. White began his journey studying martial arts at North Carolina State University where he practiced Shotokan Karate for 3 years under Dr. Ridgeway. Upon graduation in 1993, he stopped studying martial arts to pursue his career in Smart Building technology and to be become an assistant track and field coach at Dunbar High School. It was not until 2009 that Mr. White began practicing Taekwondo after his sons urged him to join the adult class. Since that time he has earned the rank of third Dan and has competed and placed in several tournaments for patterns and point sparring. In 2015, Mr. White began studying Kumdo under the tutelage of Master David Winter and currently holds the rank of second Dan.

In addition to martial arts, Mr. White enjoys cycling, volunteering in the community, and spending time with his family. He has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from NC State University and a Masters Degree in Management from the University of Maryland University College. Currently, he manages a small business unit for a multinational company that focuses on building environments.


 
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Derek Swanson
Mr. Swanson enrolled at Northeast Taekwondo in 2013, shortly after his four year old son joined the school's Tiny Tigers program. Four years later both he and his son earned their black belts on the same day. Derek joined the school needing to improve his physical fitness. He lost nearly 70lbs in his first year of training and has kept the weight off since. He became an assistant instructor in 2018. When he is not practicing Taekwondo, Derek plays competitive pinball and manages a knife shop.



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Donte Branch
Mr. Branch has been a student at Northeast Taekwondo since 2003. He has participated in various competitions and public demonstrations under the guidance of Grandmaster O'Kelly. In 2012 he earned his black belt and became an instructor-in-training. Since then, he has helped to instruct and coach many students, some of whom are now instructors themselves. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Peace & Justice Studies from Roanoke College. He currently holds the rank of 4th degree black belt and is the head coach of the Northeast Taekwondo competition team; he also teaches classes regularly during the week.


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Max Giesecke
Mr. Giesecke has been studying taekwondo under Grand Master O’Kelly since 2007 and currently holds the rank of 4th degree black belt. At the 2011 in-school tournament he earned a first-place medal for patterns and a third-place medal for sparring. He’s participated in Northeast Taekwondo’s summer camp since 2009 — first as an attendee and then as an instructor-trainee. His camp teaching experience proved valuable for various reasons, and inspired him to pursue regular teaching opportunities: he now teaches the junior orange belts and junior intermediate class on a weekly basis. Outside of teaching taekwondo, Max is an artist in every medium from painting to film and releases music on his self-created record label.



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Phoebe Smith
Ms. Smith started her Taekwondo education at Northeast Taekwondo in 2009, after a year of longingly watching her son’s classes. She currently holds a third degree black belt, and has been teaching under Grand Master O’Kelly’s guidance at after school programs on Capitol Hill since 2013. She has competed in a small handful of taekwondo tournaments. Her athletic career before her foray into martial arts included wrestling, gymnastics, running, rowing, weightlifting, and cycling. When not trying to look big and scary, 5’3”, 120lb Smith runs a boutique graphic design firm on Capitol Hill.