In the fall of 1983, Jim started to attend the Wednesday night class with Grandmaster Duk Sung Son which was being taught at the IBM Country Club in Poughkeepsie. On May 26, 1984, Jim earned the rank of 1st Dan at a black belt test given by Grandmaster Son at Xavier High School in New York City. On November 22, 1986, Jim earned the rank of 2nd Dan at a black belt test given by Grandmaster Son at World Tae Kwon Do Association Headquarters in New York City. On July 19, 1989, Jim earned the rank of 3rd Dan at a test given by Grandmaster Son at the Poughkeepsie Middle School in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Jim moved from NY to Colorado in late July 1989 and started teaching the Friday night class at the Meeker Center. The classes at Burlington Elementary School were added on February 20, 1992 and with that, the West of the East Tae Kwon Do Club was founded. On September 3, 1994, Jim earned the rank of 4th Dan at a test given by Grandmaster Son in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Jim earned his current rank of 5th Dan at a test given by Grandmaster Son on August 2, 2002 at the annual black belt summer camp in New York. The classes were moved out of Burlington Elementary School in March 2020 with the COVID 19 pandemic. The classes were mostly taught outside in the park (weather permitting) or on Zoom. Starting in March 2022, the classes moved to the City of Longmont Recreation program.
Jim has been very active with tae kwon do throughout the more than 40 years he has been involved with it, competing in tournaments, participating in demonstrations, and annually attending a Summer Black Belt Camp.