Steve Schwettman, Instructor

I’ve put together this quick bio to give prospective students some idea of who I am. Whether you’re considering our program for yourself or your child, I expect you would want to know something about your instructor before placing your trust in them.

Early Life and Career

I began training in martial arts around 1980,  after my Dad joined a martial arts school. Our family had lived on the same farm for several generations, but unfortunately we watched the area deteriorate around us. Over time it became a rough place to live, for adults and children alike. Martial arts helped both of us to de-escalate most situations, and defend ourselves when peaceful resolution wasn’t possible.

Eventually, our family moved and things settled down. I graduated high school with honors and studied Computer Science in college while working several jobs. I worked my way up to Data Systems Coordinator of my University while still a student. I joined one of my professors and several classmates to help launch a startup, providing technology services to the businesses of the 90’s. Unfortunately, those days were too busy to have martial arts in my life, but I never forgot my early beginnings.

Moving to the Mountains

After a few years, I left the startup in order to begin a career in consulting.This provided the freedom to live anywhere, and the mountains of Colorado were calling! I couldn’t think of a better place to live and raise a family than the Colorado high country. My wife was on board with this as well, as she was fresh out of college and with teaching license in hand, she couldn’t think of a better place to teach than Colorado.

We’ve lived in the mountains of Colorado for over 18 years. We first got into the local martial arts scene after our daughter had some trouble with a couple of older boy bullies at school. I remembered that we had watched a local martial arts club perform a demonstration at the Gilpin County fair, and I remember that I liked what I saw. For me, it was like a blast from my past!

We began by signing our daughter up for Taekwondo training with Master Imy Rich, but my wife and I both found that we were unable to sit on the side and watch. So, we signed up as well. This reignited my martial arts roots, and before long, I was dragging my family all over the western US to attend every martial arts seminar and tournament we could find!

It was at this time that I entered my first National Championship, where I won the Gold in both the events I entered. Hmmm, maybe this hobby has staying power.

Becoming a Black Belt

During my promotion to Black Belt, one of the instructors made a comment that I had heard before, but had never really taken to heart. She said that after becoming a black belt, we would be expected to learn by teaching, as becoming an instructor opens up a two-way path to knowledge. At the time, I replied that I had never thought of being an instructor before that moment, but if that was the next step on my martial arts journey, I was all on board!

Since that time, my family has continued to train with multiple instructors from all over the U.S. and Korea, both in person and through online sessions. Throughout our studies and travels, I realized that most martial art systems incorporate a similar set of core values. For instance, Taekwondo has their Five Tenets. Tai Chi has their Five Basic Principles, and the Moo Duk Kwan has the Five Core Moo Do Values.

For me, becoming an instructor at the Gilpin Community Center means joining a legacy of mountain martial artists, evoking images of traditional Korean training in the woods and mountains of their homeland. I seek to bring the common martial arts values and virtues to our community, along with an emphasis on the modern practical benefits such as overall health and fitness, self-defense, and character development.

Every time we bow in to class, I try to pay respect to the legacy of martial artists who contributed to my journey and our school’s history. In fact, even though I’m a very shy and quiet person, I’ll talk your ear off about it sometimes!


Mr. Schwettman holds the rank of 1st degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do Taekwondo from the Mountain Academy of Martial Arts, and is currently training for the rank of Cho Dan in the art of Soo Bahk Do with the World Moo Duk Kwan association.

  • Approx 1980: Began training in Taekwondo with father at Powel Crosley YMCA under Grandmaster I.K. Kim, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • March 2017: Restarted training under Master Imy Rich and Master Jim Beasley at the Clear Creek – Gilpin Academy of Martial Arts.
  • October 2017 – Present: Local tournament competitor. Many time medalist in traditional forms, weapons, and breaking divisions.
  • February 2019: Completed five week seminar on breaking technique and power generation at Evolution Martial Arts. John Miller, instructor.
  • February 2019: Attended Team USA Colorado State Taekwondo Championships in Monument, Colorado.
  • June 2019: Completed six week seminar on traditional weapons technique at Evolution Martial Arts. John Miller, instructor.
  • mid-2019: Completed Filipino Martial Arts seminar at Evolution Martial Arts.  Dominick Blum, instructor.
  • July 20, 2019: Completed Grandmasters Seminar at Parker Academy of Martial Arts, Parker, Colorado. Focus areas:
    • Hapkido from Grandmaster John Rankin.
    • Bill Wallace Superfoot Technique by Grandmaster Chris Natzke.
    • Bunkai (applications) from Grandmaster David Sgro.
  • April 2020: Competed in Sgro Karate Traditional Forms Online Tournament.
  • May 2020 – June 2023: Trained in World Taekwondo Sparring Technique with Alex Wong, many time AAU and USAT Sparring Champion. 
  • February 2021: Competed in AAU Taekwondo Winter Nationals, earning two gold medals, in Tang Soo Do Forms and Open Traditional Forms.
  • June 2021: Earned Cho Dan Black Belt in Tang Soo Do Taekwondo from the Mountain Academy of Martial Arts.
  • October 2021: Completed Koga Police Training self-defense seminar in Lakewood, CO, hosted by John Miller.
  • February 2022: Joined Moo Duk Kwan Heritage Program.
  • March 2022: Attended Korean History Seminar by Professor Dave Mason.
  • August 2022: Attended Moo Duk Kwan University Summer Camp in Midway, Utah. Camp led by Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang, president of the World Moo Duk Kwan Association and son of Moo Duk Kwan Founder Hwang Kee.
  • July 2023: Attended Moo Duk Kwan National Festival in Loveland, Colorado.
  • August 2023: Began formal training in Soo Bahk Do with the World Moo Duk Kwan Association.

      Steve’s Black Belt Paper: A History of Our Okinawan Martial Arts Weapons