Tae Kwon Do Times©4

Tae Kwon Do Times© March 1997

KUN TAO Philipino Fist Art
by Eric Breuer

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Grand Master Joe Rossi

and instead joined the Navy. He was first stationed on the U.S.S. Vincennes, a heavy cruiser that toured the North Atlantic. The U.S.S. Vincennes patrolled from Iceland to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa. Their mission was to search for German U-boats. Mr. Rossi continued boxing becoming the fleet champion. The great Jack Dempsy and Sugar Ray Robinson refereed some of his matches.

While on patrol on August 9, 1942, at 2:00 A.M., the U.S.S. Vincennes was sunk along with three other ships. Mr. Rossi was reassigned to the U.S.S. Hornet Carrier. Mr. Rossi saw action in the Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal. Mr. Rossi then signed up for special forces training in Hawaii. This is where he met his Philippine master. The training was intense, out of 295 men, only 69 graduated. Mr. Rossi was one of those men. The training included jungle survival, camouflage and hand-to-hand self-defense; in particular, Kun Tao.

After 58 months of active duty, Mr. Rossi was wounded in action. After recuperating in California, Mr. Rossi was sent to Alaska. After one year he was ordered to Annapolis, Maryland, to train Mid-Shipmen at the Naval Academy. Mr. Rossi’s old Captain fr0m the Vincennes was now an Admiral in charge of the base. In January of 1947, Mr. Rossi left the Navy with an Honorable Discharge, a Victory Medal, Air Crew Insignia (three bronze stars), Asiatic Pacific Ribbon (four bronze stars), Good Conduct Medal, Americana Ribbon, American Defense Ribbon, and a Purple Heart.

Grand Master Joe Rossi

At home, Mr. Rossi’s good friend, Katsugo master Hany Hamzy, urged him to open a Kun Tao school. He took the advice of his friend and today is a recognized tenth degree grandmaster certified by the Philippine Kun Tao Karate Association. Mr. Rossi has instructed hundreds of students to the rank of black belt and oversees the instmction of his affiliate schools throughout the United States.

After 56 years in the martial arts Mr. Rossi remains active although he no longer operates his own studio. He travels the circuit of his affiliate studios conducting "Street Wise" seminars.

(1) Grandmaster Rassi instructs Machele Alterie in a defense from Rob Thoyer’s hammerlock. (2) Machele bows and steps forword with her left foot. (3) The Grandmaster instructs her to grab Thayer’s wrist as she spins and chambers for a kick… (4) and kicks the attacker’s left leg just above the knee. (5) Grandmaster Rossi then has her prepare far a downward hammer fist. (6) Using all her strength, Grandmaster Rossi has her drop to her knee as she strikes the arm of her attacker and breaks his elbow.


Eric Breuer is a fifth degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and Free Style Jujitsu. He holds a third degree in Chuck Norris’ Chun Kuk Do and a second degree in Kun Tao under Grandmaster Rossi. He states that, "I wrote this article as a way to say thank you to Mr. Rossi and to all U.S. Veterans for putting their lives on the line for the rest of us."

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