John Prevatt TaeKwonDo Pioneer

Grand Master John Prevatt

Featured Profile TaeKwonDo Pioneer

taekwondo pioneer john prevatt

TaeKwonDo Pioneer John Prevatt

American Tae Kwon Do Grand Master John Prevatt (9th degree black belt) has a history of success. A former world-class competitor and champion, having held many titles, and has also trained national champions and world-class competitors. He has also successfully operated John Prevatt Karate Studio in northwest Tampa, Florida since 1980 producing several champion students along the way.

John Prevatt was born in Jacksonville, Florida on July 31, 1944. He grew up and attended grade schools a few miles south of Jacksonville in historic Saint Augustine, Florida.

Mr. Larry Rhinehart first introduced John Prevatt to the martial arts while they were both attending Saint John’s River College in 1966 and also became John Prevatt’s first karate instructor. John Private says, “The ‘Rhino’, as he was known, took an interest in me and began to train me. What a break for me as he was, at the time, one of the most feared and respected fighters during a time in American martial arts that became known as the “Herbie Thompson, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Chuck Norris” era.”

John Prevatt moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1970. There he earned his first Black Belt through the ATA under instructor Soon Ho Lee (now Grand Master Lee). Grand Master Soon Ho Lee currently sits as the head of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA)  as his older brother, the late Grand Master H. U. Lee did before him. During his time in Milwaukee he practiced, developed his skills and also began a long journey of Karate competition and tournament participation, which lasted for over 3 decades.


In 1975, he moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida and opened an ATA school, then a second school 30 miles south in Melbourne, Florida. He says “We were literally on the Space Coast and our school was right on highway A1A next to RonJon Surf Shop.” At that time he was under the guidance of Master Bill Clark of Jacksonville and received his 2nd degree black belt from him in his Jacksonville studio in 1978. He continued to work, practice, compete and teach at his schools.

His 3rd degree came in ATA testing under Grandmaster Haung Un Lee at a black belt only testing held in Little Rock, Arkansas. Other ranks followed over time and John Prevatt was later requested to accept an appointment as a member of the ATA Board, which he accepted. This was the first of many appointments and various positions he has held during his career.

Then Master Prevatt moved to Tampa, Florida in 1980 where he still lives and operates two karate schools in the Tampa Bay area. One of his students, U.S. OPEN winner Master Zico Cheng runs one of the Tampa area schools (John Prevatt Karate – Lutz). She will be profiled in a future story. He has at one time or another owned and operated 7 separate karate studios.

Grand Master Prevatt received his 9th degree promotion from his then instructor Grand Master Manny Agrella of Washington, DC in 1996. A brief description of his martial arts involvement, other than promoting and teaching, has included world-wide participation in sparring, forms, weapons, and professional tournament matches, mostly in the Professional Karate Association (PKA).

He was on the FAME Board and Tournament circuit, with Mike Sawyer and Jerry Williamson for 14 years where he also served as President for several terms. He was also instrumental in bringing AAU TaeKwonDo to the State of Florida in the mid 1990’s while he was the AAU Florida Chairman.

When he speaks about his current karate style and his long history in martial arts, he sums it up with a short statement.

“Over the years I have developed my own John Prevatt American TaeKwonDo style which has proven to be recognizable throughout the State of Florida. I could elaborate but this being my 42nd year in the martial arts it could become very repetitious as far as mentioning different karate accolades and awards. I have traveled extensively during my career and have been privileged to enjoy meeting thousands of people over the years and expect to continue doing this for a long time.”

Here are some of the many highlights of Grand Master John Prevatt‘s career:

  • 10 Time US OPEN Winner
  • National Karate Competition, 1996 Champion
  • 3 time champion – Battle of Atlanta
  • Mile High Champion
  • Ranked number 5 in the Lightweight Division of the World PKA
  • Inducted into Cosmopolitan Hall of Fame 1989, 2002, 2005, 2006
  • Diamond National Winner 1992 FBAA and FAME State Champion
  • 2 Time Winner – New England Championships
  • 2 time Champion, Empire Nationals
  • 4 time Champion, Blue Grass Nationals Capital Class
  • 2 Time Champion Inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame 1996
  • Inducted into the International Hall of Fame 1998, 2006, 2007
  • Received Lifetime Achievement Award 2001
  • Inducted into the Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame 2002
  • Outstanding Contribution, Hall of Fame Spirit Awards 2003
  • Inducted into the Union Martial Arts Magazine’s Hall of Fame 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Inducted into the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Inducted into the Preservation of Martial Arts 2006
  • Named Ambassador to Martial Arts 2006 and 2007
  • Honored in the World Head of Family Sokeship Council 2006 and 2007
  • Inducted as the Cosmopolitan Hall of Fame National Black Belt Fighting Champion 2007
  • Awarded Tae Kwon Do Instructor of the Year in The World Karate Union Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into Masters Hall of Fame 2009 – inducted by Don “The Dragon” Wilson
  • World Head of Family Sokeship Council Hall of Fame 2006, 2007, 2008
  • World Head of Family Sokeship Council Hall of Fame – Historical Figure Award 2008, 2010
  • World Head of Family Sokeship Council, American Martial Arts School of the Year 2007
  • Cosmopolitan Florida Hall of Fame, Silver Lifetime Achievement Award 2006
  • World Head of Family Sokeship Council, Grand Master of the Year 2006
taekwondo pioneer john prevatt

TaeKwonDo Pioneer John Prevatt

Grand Master John Prevatt is one the few who have been able to both compete and to teach his art and he has done both successfully. His schools are still producing winning competitors.


About Claire Poulton

Publications Manager for World Martial Arts Magazine, World Martial Arts Radio, World Martial Arts TV, World Martial Arts Media. Web Designer with 8 years experience. You can see what Tygerz Designs offers at My Tygerz Designs

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