In the Spring of 2001, Sunim (Monk) Lee, Seok Kyu, a Buddhist fighting monk, traveled to Orlando, Florida from Seoul, Korea to present Joseph with a “stone certificate”. This is a laser-engraved stone tablet, etched in gold, the highest form of honor in Korean culture, and intended to symbolize the eternal nature of the art. This stone certificate was issued jointly, itself a rare occurrence, by the Korea Judo Association (the governing body for the Olympic sport of Judo in Korea) and the Republic of Korea Yudo Association (the governing body for the traditional military art of Yudo in Korea). The certificate promoted him to 9th Dan (or 9th degree black belt, the highest rank in the Korean tradition) in both organizations and named him the ChongKwanJang, or “Founding Grandmaster” of the “Oriental Military Art of ChungTongKwan Yudo”.
This new art is based upon the teachings of Kano Jigoro, the Founder of Judo, as taught by him in Korea and Japan. In Japan, Kano’s students modified his art into an Olympic sport after his death, something Kano vigorously opposed in life. Founding Grandmaster Connolly seeks to restore what was once almost universally accepted as the best system of self-defense in the world, but to do so in a manner which includes the technical and scientific developments made in Korea over the last half-century, and in a format consistent with the existing academic standards of university education.
Joseph also holds Grandmaster-level rank in the Korean military arts of Hapkido (from the Korea Hapkido Federation) and Taekwondo (from the Korea Taekwondo Association). As are all Grandmasters of the military arts in Korea, he is a Life Member of the Korean Martial Arts Instructors Association.
Joseph F. Connolly, II is the first foreigner ever selected to head a traditional Korean martial art in the 3,000-year history of the Korean people.