Tom Woong Quai Gwak
1938 - 2021
June 12, 1938 - May 18, 2021 Tom Woong Quai Gwak, 79, devoted husband, father, grandfather, martial artist, teacher and oriental medical doctor passed away in his home on Tuesday May 18, 2021. Grandmaster Dr. Tom Woong Quai Gwak was born in Mutankiang, China on June 12, 1938. Grandmaster Gwak was a ninth degree black belt martial arts teacher with over 70 years of martial arts experience. "Grandmaster Gwak" as he was known among his students, settled in Redlands and opened a martial arts school "Hap Do Sool" near the corner of Redlands Boulevard on Orange Street nearly 40 years ago. In addition to founding a mixed martial arts system over 50 years ago, he was a former professional boxer, a movie actor, a master of several other martial art styles and has taught the US Army, Vietnam's presidential bodyguards, Chicago Police Department, Redlands Police Department, University of Redlands, Cal State University San Bernardino, Redlands YMCA & YWCA. Aside from being a martial artist, he was also an oriental medical doctor with a doctorate in oriental medicine. Being well respected within the martial arts community, his knowledge and practice of eastern medicine distinguished him also as a health practitioner. He believed that in addition to the martial arts, one should know the healing arts as well, regularly helping students with ailments or injuries during or after practice. His tough but grandfatherly approach helped instill courage, discipline and good technique among many a young child, teen, adult and senior. He strived to teach good morals, practical self-defense skills and to promote a healthy physical, mental and spiritual well being. As Grandmaster Gwak would often say, "You only have one life" as he would press upon the importance of keeping healthy and living life to everyone's potential. Grandmaster Gwak has touched many lives through his martial arts and will be sorely missed as one of the last of the "old school" first generation martial artists. Although his passing is a tremendous loss to our family, friends and community, Grandmaster Gwak would want us to celebrate, be healthy and live happy so we hope to commemorate this moment and celebrate his life. "Hap Do, Grandmaster Gwak!" You will be dearly missed but always near our hearts and minds. Tom is survived by his wife Christina; eldest son, Jim; youngest son, Jhon; daughter, Jewelz; two brothers, a sister and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given here in this link Condolences to the family may be left on Tom's online memorial website at

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Published by Redlands Daily Facts on Jun. 23, 2021.
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I was fortunate enough to take Hap Do Sol as a teenager at the YWCA and Downtown Studio. I loved and enjoyed it. Master Gwak was a great teacher! Some of my best memories of my childhood are at that studio down town.
Steve C Schleicher
June 26, 2021
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