Grand Master Coles began his 50-year career in Tae Kwon Do in 1968 under Grand Master Jhoon Rhee. He was promoted to 1st degree Black Belt in 1970 and to second degree in 1972. While in college, he taught part time for Master Rhee becoming a full-time instructor in 1974. In 1981, Master Coles was promoted to Head Instructor of the Jhoon Rhee Institute and shortly thereafter was promoted to Vice President. As Vice President, he was responsible for managing thirteen schools and for promoting the annual Jhoon Rhee International Tournament. He traveled throughout the United States and abroad competing as a member of the Jhoon Rhee Superstar’s. Master Coles was the PKA United States Full Contact Welterweight Champion from 1979 to 1981. During this period he served as sparring partner for Sugar Ray Leonard. In 2005, shortly after his 50th birthday and two years after undergoing total hip replacement surgery, Master Coles won first place in sparring at the Capitol Classics tournament held in Washington, D.C.
Master Coles taught many congressmen and senators. During his nine years on Capitol Hill, he taught such notables as Congressman Bill Chapel from Florida, Congressman Toby Roth from Wisconsin, and Congressman Bob Livingston from Louisiana, Speaker of the house Thomas Foley and Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont and many more. He helped set up demonstrations for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chair of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Master Coles along with Former White House Deputy of Latino Affairs Gilbert Colon (Mr. Colon was President of the Jhoon Rhee Institute) helped secure and distribute funds from the SBA in order to expand operations for the institute.
In 1989, Master Coles purchased a Jhoon Rhee franchise in Marlow Heights, Maryland. He managed the day-to-day affairs and was head instructor. He put together a winning team of instructors that traveled United States and Canada competing for first place titles in point sparring. In 1994, Master Coles and partner opened the Bethesda Martial Arts Academy. During his tenure at the academy, Master Coles developed and taught a rigorous curriculum with Tae Kwon Do as the primary discipline (boxing, judo and grappling were taught as a secondary discipline). He taught thousands of students and promoted over 500 students to Black Belt.
Master Coles has strong ties to his community. In 1988 Master Coles taught underprivileged kids in the I Have A Dream Foundation. For seven years, he taught at Benjamin Orr Elementary and at Douglas Middle School for the Mayors’ Points of Light program. He has organized countless self-defense workshops and participates in various events at local schools; Blessed Sacrament, Somerset, Chevy Chase Elementary, Sidwell Friends, and Bethesda Elementary to name a few.
Master Coles has been featured in Black Belt magazine, Karate Illustrated and most recently featured in Beyond Medicine. Master Coles is also often interviewed by CNN, NPR, various local news stations and papers as an expert in the martial arts. He has also been featured in a cover story for the Washington Post magazine. Grand Master Coles currently holds a ninth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.