Grandmaster Johnson, 9th Dan, began his martial-arts studies in 1968 with shorin-ryu karate and later bushidokan karate. He began his taekwondo training in 1972 under Grandmaster Bobby Kim in Aurora, Colorado, while an Air Force officer teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
At age 72 Russ remains an active tournament competitor, and in 2014 and 2015 he was gold medalist at the USA Taekwondo National Championships. As a member of the 2014 National Team he represented the U.S. at the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships, where he captured a bronze medal. He is a five-time USAT state champion: New Jersey 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018; Maryland in 2015. In 2018 he was named to the Taekwondo Times Magazine Hall of Fame.
In addition to 2018's New Jersey USAT championship,he was gold medalist at the New England Open Taekwondo Championship (50 and over), the N.J. President's Cup (18 and over), and Garden State Championship (35 and over).
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