UWTA International Testing and Tournament - Fall 2014

UWTA Fall 2014 International Testing and Tournament – Taekwondo Fireworks in Reno

By Don Crumlin

The mountain air was clear, crisp, calm, pristine, and serene outside the Reno, NV Events Center. The UWTA (United World Taekwondo Association) International Belt Testing and Tournament for the first weekend of October 2014, and the atmosphere was decidedly different inside. Crisp – were the techniques; vibrant – were the rainbows of color, representing the worldly participants gathered throughout the room. Lightning - was the speed; of the kicks, blocks, and punches flying through the air, and thunder – was the sound of the uniforms popping and boards and bricks breaking. This was truly a banquet of techniques that were passionately served by the participants, on the menu for this exciting weekend display of martial arts excellence and fun for the participants and families alike. The full spectrum of belt progression, championship medals, and grand champion trophies, plus family fun, created an atmosphere of fellowship and spiritual euphoria that was second to none. The availability of commemorative t-shirts, sweatshirts, accessories and miscellaneous gear ensured that the incredible experience of this event would be reverently memorialized for all time.

Two extra special ceremonies accompanied this most auspicious weekend of Taekwondo excellence:

-Chief Master Willie Rankins was inducted into the UWTA Hall of Fame

-New Chief Master Teofilo Barrios was inaugurated as the new President of UWTA, South America

It is both interesting and compelling that these two events coincided to complement each other on this most auspicious occasion.

Chief Master Willie Rankins


  • Began training in 1968

  • 1973: Visited Kukkiwon for the 1st World

  • Taekwondo Championship (authorized by USAF)

  • 1992: Co-Found United World Taekwondo Assoc.

  • Has owned and operated a dojang in Rancho

Cordova for over 28 years

  • Trained and taught in the Republic of China for 6

  • years (including Tainan Air Force Base), in the

  • Republic of Korea for approximately 2 years, and the

  • USA for over 35 years.


  • 1972: Tainan University Martial Arts Instructor

  • 1987: Participated in ATA Korea Training Camp in

Hae In Temple, Korea

  • 1988: ATA National Champion

  • 1990 – 1992: ATA Assistant to President for College


  • Co-developed the Taekwondo course for American

River College and has been an adjunct professor for

22 years.

  • Developed a pressure point/kubaton self-defense

program for women.

  • Writer/publisher of children’s books

  • Trained many national and International competitors

and the ATA all-around female world champion for


  • International referee at the 2008 World Hanmadang

in Los Angeles

  • National referee at the 2011 National TKD



  • World Karate Hall of Fame Inductee

  • ATA Licensed Instructor

  • USTU Licensed Instructor

  • Kukkiwon-certified International Referee

  • Kukkiwon-certified instructor

  • USAT-certified referee

The Quiet Chief Master - In a very tastefully done multi-media presentation, Chief Master Rankins was inducted into the UWTA Hall of Fame, and honored with a well-deserved historical review of his many accomplishments, accolades, and contributions to Taekwondo, and the co-founding of the UWTA. Chief Master Rankins has demonstrated tremendous passion, excellence, dedication, commitment, and a “relentless pursuit of perfection”, with a considerate, gentle heart, that has spanned a 40+ year career in martial arts. Few people realize that Chief Master Rankins has quietly and consistently made numerous contributions to both the global and local martial arts community, throughout the greater Northern California area. He has spearheaded many local and International events as a true “Ambassador of Good Will” to the global Taekwondo world, but also as a dedicated and well-rounded quintessential martial artist.

When I first met Chief Master Rankins, he was a 3rd Dan Black Belt with a Taekwondo and Nautilus ATA school in Rancho Cordova with a full spectrum of Nautilus machines with aerobics classes sprinkled in between the Taekwondo classes - so the workout floor was always busy. Long before it was digital and easy, Chief Master Rankins was also a pioneer of video as an instructional tool, and was quick to ride the “Tae Bo” wave when it first appeared, while always staying true to his Taekwondo roots. Back then he told me the prophetic truth that Taekwondo would always be in his school long after the Nautilus machines were gone.

As a legendary leaper, he used to jump over sports cars to break stacks of boards on the other side. His signature pole-vaulting technique with a Bo Staff is “icing on the cake” for his spectacular skill with the entire rainbow of martial arts weapons that he can dazzle with precision, power, and super fast speed.

An incredible innovator, Chief Master Rankins created and customized a combined Taekwondo/Bo staff Poomsae called “Old Man in the Forest” that he developed into a brilliant skit for his TKD Demo Team. He taught the Poomsae to a senior black belt student he had dress as an old man with a pouch of belongings on a stick (Bo Staff). The “old man” was then assailed

by 3 bullies while walking in the forest. Using the Bo Staff and TKD techniques, the “old man” quickly and efficiently dispatched the assailants and proceeded with his journey on the path through the forest un-harmed, showing that TKD was excellent for fitness and self-defense at all ages.

A Chief Master’s Dream Comes True – Chief Master Teofilo Barrios had a Taekwondo dream that began 37 years ago with his first instructor, Master Migel Angel in Asuncion, Paraguay. His initial motivation was that he wanted to learn how to spar. He has competed in more than 50 tournaments throughout the Pan American, South American, and World Wide venues. Over many of the past several years, Chief Master Barrios and Chief Master Rankins have collaborated on several projects and traveled together extensively, sharing fellowship and developing a strong bond of friendship and mutual respect. Their journeys together in Taekwondo have led them to learn that they have the same love and dedication of the core tenets of TKD. Chief Master Barrios’ favorite things about TKD are the teaching, culture, and philosophy – from the honored history, to the forward leaning modern evolution of UWTA TKD, which he and UWTA Executive Vice President, Chief Master Rankins have worked long and hard together to ensure their synergy and continued commitment to Taekwondo excellence.

Chief Master Barrios’ son Aaron, and Chief Master Rankins were clearly beaming with pride and positive energy through the entire inauguration ceremony appointing Chief Master Barrios as President, UWTA South America. Congratulations Chief Master Barrios on a job well done! We look forward to the continued good tidings the future is sure to bring.

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