William G. Snyder (born August 7, 1949) is a lifelong martial artist, having devoted over 56 years to the study, performance, and instruction of the martial arts. He holds the rank of Grand Master 10th degree black belt in the Phung Hwa Do style of karate, which he founded, and a 8th degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) Moo Duk Kwan. He also holds masterships in Kendo, Shotokan Karate, and Hwa Rang Do, as well as black belts in Judo, Hapkido, Aikido, and Jujitsu. Snyder fought professionally as a kickboxer boxer and thai boxer during the 1960s and 1970s with a total undefeated record of 101 victories and was the reigning NAKA Heavyweight World Champion during that time. Known as “Master Bill” to his students and peers, Snyder has been teaching martial arts for over 40 years and currently has schools in the United States, Thailand, and the Philippines. Snyder has been inducted into 4 martial arts halls of fame.
Snyder was born in 1949 in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Snyder’s father, an embassy guard, moved his family to Seoul, Korea in 1953 where Snyder’s love for the martial arts was forged at an early age. He began training in Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) Moo Duk Kwan at the age of four. Snyder studied under Grand Master Hwang Kee, the founder of Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) Moo Duk Kwan, and received his first black belt at the age of seven. Snyder’s family moved back to the United States in 1957 and settled in Michigan where he continued his martial arts studies in Soo Bahk Do. By the time he reached his eighteen birthday, Snyder was already a highly accomplished martial artist, having earned his 5th degree master black belt and having won five World Grand Champion Soo Bahk Do titles in the junior black belt division. In addition to amateur karate, Snyder had a very successful amateur boxing career, winning over 150 amateur contests, two National Junior Golden Gloves titles, and three Junior Olympic Boxing titles.
Snyder joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967 and served two tours in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Snyder was awarded several medals for combat valor and 44 Combat Action Ribbons. While in Vietnam, Snyder began learning Muay Thai and won the U.S. Marine Corps heavyweight boxing title. After his second tour in Vietnam, Snyder was stationed in Jacksonville, N.C. where he founded the first “all marine” martial arts team. Snyder was honorably discharged from the Marines Corps in 1972.
Snyder began his professional kickboxing career in 1968. He won the AKA World Heavyweight title in 1969 and remained undefeated until he retired from professional fighting in 1980 with a record of 101 wins and 0 losses. Snyder fought professionally at the international level, including fights in the U.S., Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea. His most memorable title defense was a 15 round decision win against John Henry Ford in 1973 at Madison Square Gardens in New York. In addition to his AKA World Heavyweight title, Snyder won a Muay Thai world title in Bangkok in 1971.
After retiring from professional fighting, Snyder continued to train, manage, and promote kickboxing professionals. Between 1981 and 1985, Snyder trained and managed six world champion kickboxers within the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) as noted in the chronology below. Synder also continued to be active within the boxing community and was a sparring partner periodically for professional boxers.
Martial Arts Instruction:
Snyder has been providing martial arts instruction for over 40 years. In 1969, he opened his first school in Jacksonville, N.C. while in the Marine Corps. During the 1970s and early 1980s Snyder had several martial arts studios in Michigan that focused on traditional Tang Soo Do as well as amateur boxing. In 1986 Snyder founded one of the earlier styles of mixed martial arts, Phung Hwa Do. Using traditional Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) as its core style, Phung Hwa Do incorporates elements of kickboxing, boxing, Jujitsu and Judo. To date, Snyder has opened nine Phung Hwa Do school branches within the Unites States, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Over the years Snyder has personally taught over one thousand students and instructors. Snyder’s credits as an instructor and coach include 6 kickboxing world champions, 37 Golden Gloves champions, two runner ups to the 1980 and 1984 Olympic boxing teams, and numerous sparring and forms champions within the various U.S. karate tournament networks.
1949 Born in Raleigh, N.C.
1953 Moved to Seoul, Korea and began studying Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) under Grand Master Hwang Kee
1956 Earned 1st degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do at the age of seven
1957 Won his first U.S. Junior Olympic Boxing title
1958 Earned 2nd degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do. Won 1st National Junior Golden Gloves title and 2nd Junior Olympic Title
1959 Won 2nd National Junior Golden Gloves title and 3rd U.S. Junior Olympic Boxing title
1960 Won 1st World Grand Champion Soo Bahk Do title in junior black belt division
1961 Earned 3rd degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do
1965 Earned 4th degree master black belt in Soo Bahk Do
1966 Won 5th consecutive World Grand Champion Soo Bahk Do titles in the junior black belt division
1967 Earned 5th degree master black belt in Soo Bahk Do
1967 Joined the United States Marine Corps
1968 Won the US Marine Corps Heavyweight boxing title. Began kickboxing at the professional level
1969 Won the NAKA World Heavyweight kickboxing title
1969 Started the first “all marines” martial arts school in Jackson, N.C. Began studying Muay Thai in Bangkok, Thailand.
1970 Earned 6th degree master black belt in Soo Bahk Do. Founded the first “all marines” martial arts team.
1971 Won the Muay Thai Boxing Association’s World Heavyweight Title in Thailand.
1971 Opened his first school to the public in Jacksonville, N.C.
1972 Honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and moved back to Michigan.
1972 Opened martial arts school in Mount Clemens, MI and formed an amateur boxing team under the USABF.
1973 Won three NAKA title defenses, including a 15 round decision win at the Madison Square Gardens in New York.
1973 Founded the Knockdown Production Company, a kickboxing fight promotion organization.
1973 Earned Judo black belt
1974 Earned Hapkido black belt. Founded the American Martial Arts Association
1975 Founded the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF), a governing body for professional kickboxing
1975 Earned Aikido black belt while studying in Japan
1976 Earned 7th degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do. Earned Jujitsu black belt while studying in Japan.
1978 Earned Kendo mastership while studying in Japan. Opened martial arts school in Clinton Township, MI.
1980 Retired from professional fighting with a combined record of 101 wins and 0 losses, undefeated for 11 years.
1981 Trained Kenny “KO” Osterlan who won the IKF Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship that year
1982 Earned 8th degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do
1983 Trained two more IKF champions: Beverly Szymanski (IKF Women’s Champ) and Mark Lang (IKF Heavyweight Champ).
1984 Trained Merrick Patriotski (IKF Light Heavyweight Champion) and Dave Manter (IKF Middleweight Champion).
1985 Trained Johnny Link (IKF Cruiserweight Champion)
1986 Earned Grand Master 9th degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do
1986 Received 1st martial arts Hall of Fame induction
1986 Founded the Phung Hwa Do style of martial arts as the president and founder
1992 Earned Grand Master 10th degree black belt in Phung Hwa Do
1992 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Korea
1994 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Rochester, NY under Master Steve Blowers
1996 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Glen Burnie, MD under Master Cliff McPherson
2000 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Thailand. Received 2nd martial arts Hall of Fame induction
2001 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Austin Texas under Jose Flowers
2002 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Waverly, TN under Master Steve McLaren
2003 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in Glendale, CA under Marna Smith
2007 Received 3rd martial arts Hall of Fame induction
2008 Received 4th martial arts Hall of Fame induction
2009 Opened Phung Hwa Do school branch in the Philippines