KIPP Kumdo Club
525 Clinton Street
Camden, NJ 19107
About – In 2017 the Kumdo @ KIPP program began at the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in Camden, NJ. This program provides free training in the very exclusive martial art of Kumdo (more commonly recognized as Kendo) to KIPP’s Lanning Square Middle School students. This program had been heralded in publications such as The Philadelphia Inquirer (It's Called the 'Golf of Martial Arts’). The first year of the program was a great success and was subsequently expanded, at the request of the KIPP Academy, to include primary students.
This program remains dynamic. It includes basic kumdo, kumdo with hogu (armor), tournament preparation and even ancient korean sword form training. SYK Sword Academy members volunteer their time train the young KIPP students. Every year KIPP allots the program a budget to cover uniforms, equipment, and certain tournament and seminars costs. At certain points throughout the year, KIPP students are encouraged to train at SYK Sword Academy’s headquarters in Cherry Hill, free of charge.
About the Staff – Master Kim, Chris T. Johnson, Abraham Summers.
All Kumdo @ KIPP training and instruction comes under the authority Master Soo Young Kim.
Chris Johnson and Abe Summers take the lead on the majority of the training and program administration. Christopher Thomas Johnson (CJ) was born in Brooklyn, NY to Pastor Thomas and Barbara Johnson. He was raised in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and grew up as a part of Mount Bethel Baptist Church of Ridgewood, NJ.
CJ received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hampton University, Hampton VA in 1992. Upon graduating from Hampton University, CJ was commissioned into the United States Navy as a Deep Sea Diver and Salvage Officer. CJ received a Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Center of Government in 2002 and was awarded the Fels Leadership Award. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in September of 2002 after serving as the Executive Officer of Naval Reserve Center, Fort Dix.
In the private sector, CJ was the Director of Government Affairs & Contracts for MAR-VEL International, Inc.
In 2013, he earned his Master of Divinity from Palmer Theological Seminary.
He was the Pastoral Minister for Covenant House Atlantic City (South Jersey) from 2013-2015. Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth.
CJ has earned his 2nd Degree Black Belt in Traditional Okinawan GOJU RYU Karate (while in Okinawa, Japan), a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and a 1st Degree Black Belt in Kumdo.
CJ is the inaugural president of the newly formed South Jersey Kumdo Association. He is also the president of Enter The Johnsons (ETJ) a Not For Profit (501c3) that financially supports, trains and mentors youth in martial arts of the Delaware Valley.
CJ is also a burgeoning children’s book author.
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