7th Degree Tae Kwon Do / 7th Degree Hapkido


Grandmaster Ray Szuch is the heart of Cleveland Academy.

Grandmaster Ray Szuch began his training in the Martial Arts in 1960. He began training in Jujitsu under retired Staff Sergeant Kec. In 1964, he earned his 1st Dan as well as entered the Marines. While in the Marines, he began training in Chang Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do under Grandmaster Sun Ku Kim as well as Hapkido. He spent the next fours years in the service training intensively under Grandmaster Kim, reaching 2nd Dan in both Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido.

After leaving the service and returning to Cleveland, he began training under Curtis Harrington in Ji Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do as well as Aikido. While under Curtis Harrington, Ray Szuch reached his 3rd Dan in Tae Kwon Do and through years of training obtained his 4th Dan in Aikido. 

Grandmaster Szuch also spent many years training under Joon Pyo Choi, reaching his master rank of 4th Dan in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. He in addition spent time training in Escrima under Leo Gaje. When Grandmaster Kim switched styles to Moo Duk Kwan Te Kwon Do, Grandmaster Szuch followed suit. This also marked his return to his instructor, now in South Korea.

Grandmaster Szuch spent time as a Deputy Sheriff for Cuyahoga County. After which he worked for the Cleveland Board of Education as a Truant Officer from 1978-1994. As a truant officer, he worked through many of the early 80's school riots. He worked to keep the kids safe and in school.

Grandmaster Ray Szuch believes the success goes to the students. And it shows with all his students have accomplished. 4 of his students were on the U.S. Tae Kwon Do team to go to the 1978 Pre-World Games in Seoul, Korea. He was instructor to Andrea Wilburn, the youngest Women's Full Contact fighter in world competition, winning a gold medal in London, England at the World Cup. She won by knock out at the age of 15. Trained the youngest Black Belt to win Men's Black Belt Kata competition. It was Danny Wagner at eight years old, featured in Black Belt Magazine in the 1974. Instructor to Darrel Tyler, U.S. Armed Forces Heavy Weight Champion. Darrel fought Bill "Superfoot" Wallace for a non-title bout in Germany in 1978.

The legacy of Grandmaster Szuch has former students bringing there children to train at the Cleveland Academy.


  • 1972 Coach of the Year Central Tae Kwon Do Association
  • 1972 AAU Junior Olympics Chairman
  • 1973-1979 Lake Erie AAU Tae Kwon Do Association Chairman
  • 1974 AAU Outstanding Coach
  • 1974 Student Danny Wagner Featured in Black Belt Magazine
  • 1974 Winter Four Seasons Karate Championship Outstanding Coach Award
  • 1975 International Karate Hall of Fame
  • 1975 Coached first female to compete in Men's International Competition (being disqualified for excessive contact to the body)
  • 1976 AAU National  Tae Kwon Do Coach
  • 1977 U.S. Outstanding Coach of the Year
  • 1977 Coached Billy Blanks for AAU Tae Kwon Do Nationals
  • 1978 First AAU National Women's Team Coach
  • 1978 U.S. Coach to the Pre-World Tae Kwon Do Championships in Seoul, Korea
  • 1978 Rated 7th Coach in the World by South Korea
  • 1978 Black Belt Hall of Fame
  • 1982 Founded United States Police Defensive Tactics Association
  • 1984 Karate Hall of Fame
  • 1985 Ohio Karate Association Outstanding Coach Award
  • 1985 Featured in Who's Who in the Martial Arts
  • 1987 Martial Arts Hall of Fame
  • 1988 International Martial Arts Honor Society
  • 1988 International Martial Arts Association Black Belt Hall of Fame
  • 1989 Black Belt Instructor Hall of Fame - Master Instructor of the Year in Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do
  • 1992 Coached youngest female to compete in Women's Full contact at the World Cup in London, England

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