The Knowles family have been residents of Larchmont Village in Los Angeles since 2012 and greatly enjoy its wonderful charm and friendly neighborhood feel as well as its vibrant spirit. We are excited to open our school in such a great environment and look forward to growing into a valued part of the Greater Wilshire community.
Born and raised in Southern New Jersey, Michael began training in 1990 in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan with Master Dominick Giacobbe at the Tang Soo Karate Academy, under whom he obtained his 1st degree black belt (1994) and 2nd degree black belt (1996). From the time he was a red belt, Michael was assisting in teaching kids and adult classes. At the same time, he was playing Roller Hockey for Team USA, served as head coach for the Kids and Adults Roller Hockey Program at the Deptford Skating Center in New Jersey (1990-1993), and studying acting on the side. As a member of Team USA, Michael competed in several Olympic Festivals; the 1994 World Championship; and the 1995 Pan American Games. He and his team also won several National Titles between 1987-1997.
He stepped down from Team USA and moved to NYC to pursue an acting career in 1998. While studying acting and writing, Michael also worked as a personal trainer for 5 years. He honed his skills in off-Broadway plays and landed roles on award-winning shows like “Sex & The City”, “Law & Order SVU”, as well as acting in several award-winning independent films. His acting career led to writing and eventually to directing and producing four narrative feature films and a documentary, working with several Golden Globe and Oscar-winning actors. His 3rd feature film “The Trouble with Bliss” (Michael C. Hall, Brie Larson, Lucy Liu, Peter Fonda) was released in theaters, played on Showtime Network and was distributed internationally. While Michael’s acting and writing career was taking off, he also embarked upon teaching acting classes/workshops and coaching actors and writers one-on-one.
In April of 2008, after moving to Los Angeles, Michael invented a Camera Support and Stabilization System (Atlas Camera Support). He and his wife Kathy patented the invention, launched the company by Fall 2008 and have since been selling Atlas very successfully worldwide. They also have a film production company (dragonbabyproductions) named after their son Logan.
In October 2010, he resolved to return to martial arts and so began training in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan. Michael obtained his 3rd degree black belt (April 2012) and became a Certified Instructor of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan (April 2016). Michael feels that his varied and well-rounded life experience as a director, teacher, coach and team member as well as his Martial Arts training prepared him in how to best guide, teach and mentor others. His belief is that a teacher’s job is to provide a positive, supportive and respectful learning environment that encourages students to develop the confidence and self-awareness to trust themselves, which is the foundation to inner peace and happiness.
Kathy was born in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), the 7th child in a family of 10 kids. She escaped, as a young girl in the late 1970's, with her family as one of the "boat people" fleeing Communist rule in Vietnam. They spent a year at various refugee camps in Indonesia before being resettled in Canada. She spent her preteen and teenage years growing up in Windsor and moved to Toronto for her university studies. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion and working as a designer at Club Monaco, she was offered a company transfer to New York City a few years later, where they were opening a new Design Studio. Kathy spent 15yrs in Manhattan working in the Fashion Industry, becoming at 34yrs old, the youngest senior executive at a Fortune 50 company. Having managed many large and small teams in her career, she believes that a supportive and respectful setting is paramount to helping people learn and grow and motivate them to achieve their best. This is especially important for children as they are "the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future". (John F. Kennedy)
In 2008, as a side project, she designed and made the prototypes for Atlas Camera Support, patented and launched the company later that year with her husband Michael, while still pursuing her career. In 2012, after almost 20yrs in the business, Kathy decided to leave the fashion industry to embark on a different journey. She moved to Los Angeles to join Michael, devoting herself to raising their son Logan and managing Atlas Camera Support with her husband, helping it grow into a successful business. She handles the creative, prototyping and production aspects of the operation. Her first foray into the entertainment industry was co-producing "4 Nights in the Hamptons" in 2013 with Michael, with 9-month old Logan on set for the entire shoot.
Kathy has been fortunate enough through her work to have traveled all over the world and considers it a privilege to have had the opportunity to experience so many different cultures. Creative work is what inspires her the most, from designing to making and building things to repurposing to experimenting with food. She speaks four languages, considers herself a lifelong student, and is currently working on her first children's book. She is also proud to call herself a geek.
LOGAN KA SING KNOWLES
Logan is a California boy that has never seen snow in real life or have ever had a winter coat and boots. Since he was a baby, he has hiked Runyon Canyon (in a stroller) and also on his own two feet at the age of 2.5 yrs. At 2yrs old, Logan tested out one of the new Atlas products, custom-made to fit him -- see him in action here. Logan is known to spontaneously break into song and dance and is quite partial to "Yellow Submarine" (Beatles) and "Let it Go" (Frozen). He currently speaks a smattering of French and Cantonese in addition to English. He's no stranger to karate, having been to various events and participated in some classes (here), and is very excited to be building our own karate school.