Master Dennis Swan: A-8-16

USTF Senior Master Instructor

Class A Referee

Head Instructor for Foothills Taekwon-Do

Former Oregon State Director


I started Tae Kwon-Do in 1979 at Foothills Taekwon-Do, Lakewood, Colorado.  Actually my son was largely responsible for me starting on this long journey.  He was the first to join Foothills TKD and he would come home every evening after class and stand next to me (relaxing in my recliner) and would do 100 front kicks with each leg.  Always having had an interest in martial arts, this was enough to shame me into at least coming to observe a class in a few weeks.  Even though the class looked totally grueling to me, painful and more than challenging, I joined about 2 months after Greg.  Even though I played tennis and racquetball in the summer, it looked like this might possibly keep me in shape for skiing in the winter.  Boy did it!  After the first 2 months I was hooked.  Little did I know that it would eventually replace most of my other sports.  I actually joined for the exercise, but I stayed for 2 other much larger reasons.  One was the challenge.  Never before have I ever been so challenged both physically and mentally, as has been presented to me in TKD.  The second reason, which is the primary reason I have stayed in it all of these years, is the people.  I have met so many people who have become like brothers and sisters to me and I never would have imagined that could happen.  Foothills Tae Kwon-Do has always been like my big, lifelong extended family.  We train together, sweat together, learn together and play together.  And we will always support each other.

I have had fantastic instructors, not only in my first instructor, Mr. Doug Hinman, who got me started, but the instructor who was my instrumental mentor who molded, guided, encouraged and challenged me though out my training at Foothills TKD, Senior Master Dale Burkhart.  Not only has he been an amazing instructor for me in all aspects of Tae Kwon-Do, but he has been and will always be, a very dear and lifelong friend.  He leads through example by practicing all of the Tenants of Tae Kwon-Do – Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.  What more can you say about any man?  Also, I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to train under Senior Grand Master C.E. Sereff, our Tae Kwon-Do father.  Sr. GM Sereff has been a strong and powerful influence for me and all of my Tae Kwon Do brothers and sisters and has led me through dark days and light days in my years in TKD.  I will always remember Sr. Grand Master Sereff’s steadfast loyalty to the Father of Tae Kwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi.

I was fortunate enough to attend 6 International Instructor’s Courses taught by General Choi.  That was always such an honor and privilege to be able to have that opportunity.  The knowledge that I acquired from having techniques and philosophy explained and demonstrated by the Father of Tae Kwon-Do was invaluable.  I will always remember the final course he taught in Denver, CO, just a couple of months before his passing, when he actually got up out of his wheel chair and taught us.  It was totally amazing.  It was hard to realize how ill he actually was.

In 1990, I actually had to move from Denver to Portland, OR., where I started Foothills Northwest.  Again, I had many students and TKD friends in both Oregon and Washington, who I loved dearly.  I was fortunate to be appointed to the position of Oregon State Director, and brought Sr. GM Sereff, GM Wineger up for seminars and Black Belt Testings.  We grew the USTF significantly in that period and it continues.  I moved from Portland to Scottsdale, Arizona after 6 years and was just getting up and going with some TKD brothers to try to build Phoenix when I had the opportunity to move back to Denver.   Colorado is my home, and it was a true pleasure to come home to my son and my Tae Kwon Do family.

There have been so many outstanding memories, events and people that I have been fortunate to have been a part of and known over the 30+ years of TKD,   I have participated in innumerable competitions, acquiring many trophies and medals for sparring and breaking.  I have to truly thank Sr. Master B. for those accomplishments.  Over the years I have gained a great admiration for the 24 TKD Patterns.  I have attended many USTF Instructor Seminars, A, B & C., taught by Grand Master Mike Winegar, and constantly try to better my knowledge in all aspects of the TKD patterns.  That has been one of my biggest mental challenges and I truly love it!

But, the reason I have stayed though all of the ups and downs, injuries, broken this and broken that, sad and glad times, is because of my love of not only Tae Kwon-Do, but my friends and loved ones.  And it is the reason I hope I can always be a part of Foothills Taekwon-Do.


Master Swan’s Promotion (written by Mr. Joshua Furtado, IV Dan)


On Sunday, October 16, 2011, Master Swan was promoted to VIII Dan, Sr. Master.  This event took place at Broomfield High School during the 2011 USTF Fall Tournament.  He was one of a few instructors receiving promotions.  This was a big event for Foothills Taekwon-Do. With the promotion of many high-ranked instructors, it is important for the younger generation to start taking over some of the responsibility for this federation.  The legacy of the General lives on through this art.  With the popularization of MMA and other non-traditional martial arts styles, true, traditional martial arts are starting to become more of a sport, something the General worked hard to avoid.  There is more to this art than just kicking and punching.  One of the most common themes of martial arts is the “Do,” the art, the way of life.  The General lived his life emulating the tenets, emulating the philosophy of the art.  Even though he also trained non-stop (punching the support beams of Grand Master Sereff’s basement, for example), he worked at building a legacy through modeling.  He knew that he was not perfect, but the act of working toward perfection was the process of refinement.  Much like his comments on dallyon, “the continual forging of one’s tools regardless of power, position and rank,” we must continually strive to forge our character.  Master Swan also attempts to model personal growth, strength, integrity and character.  He works to continually make his students better than he is through education, encouragement and support.  Senior Master Swan is dedicated to furthering the education of martial artists, through his technical accuracy, he makes strong, agile students, dedicated to learning more about the art, movement and aging. He is internationally known for his sparring abilities, flexibility and proficiency in the art. It is instructors like him that make students like us.