Master Dexter Grove began his training in Bloomington in 1977, under Mu Gil Lee and Ki-Duk Lee. In 1983, Master Grove, at that time was a third degree blackbelt and both a sparring and forms champion, opened up the Rising Star Taekwondo Academy in Dyer, Indiana. In 1989, Master Grove began training under Master Michael Willoughby who completely revamped our system. Master Willoughby brought us the muscle and bone alignment concepts as well as other changes to our curriculum.
Master Grove relocated Rising Star in 1996 to the Midlothian, Illinois park district. He currently holds a sixth degree blackbelt and continues to train and develop blackbelts.
Master Brent Messmer has been mentored by Master Grove since starting his training, at age 12, in 1987. Master Messmer received his first degree blackbelt in 1989 and continues to uphold the traditions of quality technique, skill and winning championships. Rising Star II, in Portage, Indiana was established in 2008, with the goal of promoting effective Taekwondo and continuing with the legacy of quality. Master Brent Messmer received his fifth degree certification in 2018.
A Brief History of Rising Star Martial Arts
Mu-Gil Lee started Taekwondo in the early 1950s, studying under Master Chung Chil Kim in the Sang Mu Kwan system. He eventually earned the title of “First Instructor” with the Korean Navy and Marines from 1958 through 1966. In 1970, he went to Europe to teach the NATO forces, which is where he met John George (a captain in the U.S. Army) who brought him to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1972.
At the time, Master Lee was a 7th Dan and one of the highest ranking black belts in Taekwondo in the United States.
Mu-Gil Lee opened the first Korean martial arts school in Bloomington, Indiana in the very early 1970s. Mu-Gil Lee was greatly responsible for the spread of Taekwondo in Indiana. Not only did he open a series of schools, but he also brought a host of other Korean instructors to Indiana. He first brought over Il-Sik Kim and Ki-Duk Lee, but later brought over Masters Kwak, Ko and Sa as well.
He also helped Dexter & Patty Grove open a school in Dyer, Indiana, in 1983, which they named Rising Star. Mu-Gil Lee himself was
last heard of in Austin, Texas, where he started the Master Martial Arts Academy in 1990. In 1993, he returned to Korea to retire.