skip to Main Content
Welcome

Dr. Russell Ahn, Director, UC Martial Arts Program

Welcome to the new school year! We’re continuing our mission this academic year of bringing high-quality martial arts training to the UC Berkeley campus and the surrounding communities. Our six martial arts clubs each bring a different approach to the instruction and practice of martial arts, and we believe this diversity is part of our strength.

We welcome new students at the beginning of each semester. So whether you’re a Cal student or live/work in Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Hayward, San Francisco, or another part of the vibrant Bay Area community, we invite you to join us and find out how training in martial arts can change your life. All six of our clubs are very beginner-friendly; our instructors are top-notch; and our facilities are safe places to study the martial arts to improve yourself.

Our academic year includes the UC Open, the Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, and our UC Yongmudo Championship. These annual events not only offer learning opportunities for our students, but also contribute to the martial arts experiences of our local and international community. We encourage you to learn more about them over the course of the school year.

For those of you who are already a part of our martial arts family, we hope to see you soon, and for those of you who are planning to check out our program, we hope that you’ll find a home with us. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of our instructors for recommendations and options.

Sincerely,

Dr. Russell Ahn
Director, UC Martial Arts Program

Mission

It is the purpose of the Martial Arts Program to preserve the philosophy, techniques, and traditions of martial arts and to develop a scientific understanding of the physical and spiritual implications of human performance.

A prominent feature of the University of California at Berkeley, the UC Martial Arts Program is an expanding, dynamic organization dedicated to providing outstanding martial arts instruction to the campus and surrounding communities. Henry Stone introduced martial arts to UC Berkeley in 1915 with the first Judo club. Under the guidance of dedicated individuals like Henry Stone, Dr. Kyung-Ho (Ken) Min, and current director Dr. Russell Ahn, UCMAP is a nationwide leader in the promotion, development and overall growth of the martial arts. It has grown into an organization that is recognized throughout the world and is a model for other universities.

Since its inception in 1969, the Martial Arts Program of the University of California’s Berkeley campus has had a twofold mission. In addition to providing successful, quality technical instruction in all martial arts/sports, the UC Martial Arts Program also endeavors to maximize the academic resources of the university to develop martial arts/sports through research into their philosophical, spiritual and scientific implications.

In addition to offering martial arts classes not only to Cal students but to the residents of Berkeley and neighboring communities, UCMAP and its six clubs are active in organizing and hosting instructional seminars, symposiums and martial art camps, as well as in furthering the presence of martial arts in collegiate, national and world competitions. Pooling together hundreds of its members, UCMAP has ample resources to run such events, especially in a university environment, benefiting from its diverse members.

UCMAP boasts Olympic hopefuls, well-trained instructors, and partnerships with the premiere martial arts educational facility in Korea, Yongin University and Korean National Sport University. The Berkeley program consistently sends student teams to national and international competitions, but also emphasizes scholarship and a focus on the future by the creation of a research facility and the establishment of the International Martial Arts Research Institute (IMARI). IMARI has been published academic journal of martial arts of monograph series that contain an annual compilation of martial arts papers on art, physics, physiology, instruction, and philosophy for an international readership. It’s easy to see how UCMAP reflects the mission of UC Berkeley as an academic institution in both spirit and culture.

The University of California Martial Arts Program is unique in its amalgamation of athleticism and scholarship, vision and history, innovation and tradition. What began as one man’s passion is now a well-established institution steeped in UC Berkeley’s culture of high standards.

UCMAP Founder, Dr. Ken Min, in 2016
History

Top-flight university, top-flight martial arts program.

That was the vision of Dr. Ken Min, who started the first major university-based martial arts program in the nation in 1969, and then went on to lead the movement to introduce taekwondo as an Olympic sport. The program started with a handful of martial arts, organized into clubs of interested students, which met in the wrestling room. Nearly 40 years later, the few tiny groups have grown into a six-club martial arts powerhouse that has made a large impact on the international martial arts community.

The UC Martial Arts Program offers instruction in Taekwondo, Judo, Karate, Taiji, Wushu, and Yongmudo (Korean Self-defense). Over the years, rather than having them exist as separate clubs, Dr. Min brought the different arts together to create a solid overall martial arts program. Instruction in UCMAP clubs is carried out by high-ranking instructors in their particular martial arts, many of whom are themselves students of Dr. Min.

Comprised of nearly 600 members and many more alumni, UCMAP has trained many successful competitors and teams, hosted many tournaments, and is held in highly regarded as one of the top producers of martial artists in the country.

The future of the UCMAP was secured in 1995 with an award of an incredible one-million-dollar endowment by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Republic of Korea, and the World Taekwondo Federation. The award is unique in the United States’ academic community, establishing a permanent position for martial arts instruction at UC Berkeley. No other university in the United States has ever raised such an endowment. The Korean gift, officially named the Ken Min Endowed Directorship for Taekwondo and the Martial Arts, celebrates the achievements and lifetime commitment of Dr. Min. When Dr. Min originally talked about retiring, its students and staff were concerned that strong leadership for the program would come to an end. As a result, Dr. Min approached the Korean community for support to continue the program that he spent over a quarter of a century developing. Following an review of UCMAP, the Korean government deemed it worthwhile to support. The Korean Ministry of Culture and Sports awarded the money to Cal to ensure that the program would continue to teach Asian philosophy and culture for years to come.

UCMAP Staff

Dr. Ken Min

Technical Advisor

A son of a lawyer, Kyung-Ho (Ken) Min was born in 1935 and grew up in Onchun, North Korea. Today, he is an icon in his homeland. He began his…

read more

Dr. Russell Ahn

Director

The founding director Dr. Min was searching for his successor for over 10 years and he finally found one in 2003. Dr. Russell Ahn joined the UC Martial Arts Program…

read more
Organizational

Dr. Russell Ahn

Director/Taekwondo Head Coach

Dr. Norman Link

Associate Director/Special Projects Manager

Sophia Chung

Associate Director/Taekwondo Associate Coach

William Tuman

Webmaster

Lily Chou

Managing Editor

Nikki Acharya

Equipment Room Manager

David Commins, Kit Knudsen

Legal Counsel

Sally Ho

Recorder
Administrative

Felix Pan

Assistant Office Manager

Victoria Liu

Judo Club MSO

Gregory Mocsary

Karate Club MSO

Anny Patino/CK Mong

Taekwondo Club MSO

Felix Pan

Taiji Club MSO

Fonda Xu

Wushu Club MSO

Nikki Acharya

Yongmudo Club MSO
Instructors

Dr. Jon Bertsch

Judo

Dr. Jon Bertsch is a 5th dan judoka and International Level Coach with USA Judo, he has been practicing judo for over 40 years. He has been involved with the…

read more

Sensei Hidetaka Abe

Karate

Sensei Hidetaka Abe has been studying martial arts since he was 13 years old, and is a 7th-degree black belt in Karate and a 2nd-degree black belt in Judo. He…

read more

Dr. Russell Ahn

Taekwondo

Dr. Russell Ahn, an 8th-degree black belt in Taekwondo who holds black belts in other martial arts, joined UCMAP in 2003 as the assistant director and Taekwondo coordinating instructor. Dr.…

read more

Sifu William Dere

Taiji

A student of the Cal Taiji club since 1991, Sifu William Dere began teaching Taijiquan at UCMAP in 1997. He has had over 40 years of martial arts training and…

read more

Sifu Bryant Fong

Wushu

Sifu Bryant Fong began as an assistant instructor to Sifu Anthony Chan when the Cal Wushu Club was founded in 1981. Although the club dissolved in 1983 due to lack…

read more

Dr. Norman Link

Yongmudo

Dr. Norman Link started his martial arts training in 1968. As a teenager, he studied a number of different martial arts. In 1977, he entered the UC Berkeley’s electrical engineering…

read more
Back To Top