Sunday, July 31, 2011


What is Bo Shi?
Grandmaster Kim Soo introduced the concept of Bo Shi to the students and instructors of Chayon-Ryu on May 17, 2009.

One day a villager asked a wise man why he was unlucky and never got a break.  The wise man told him to make an offering.  The man replied that he had nothing left to offer. The wise man said that money or goods was not what he was talking about.  Everyone has something to offer that costs nothing.  This is the concept of "BO SHI."  We all have seven things that we can do to help others, than in turn will help us too.  Much like the idea of what comes around goes around, or where there is cause, there will be a result.

The Seven Bo Shi:

1. Hwa Ahn Shi - the friendly or peaceful face.
2. On Shi- friendly encouraging words, praise, giving hope.
3. Ahn Shi- friendly glance or eye contact.
4. Shim Shi- the open mind and open heart. No prejudice or preconceived notions.
5. Shin Shi- physically helping. Pick up a heavy object, or open a door for someone.
6. Juah Shi- consideration or politeness. Give up a seat for someone who needs it more than you.
7. Chal Shi- Finding a need and offering to meet it. Advanced awareness. This is not asking someone what they need, but rather the anticipation of a need.

Think of these actions in a sincere way,  while going about your day. Ask yourself if you are treating others as you would like to be treated? Are you giving off good karma? What kind of environment are you presenting to those around you? When you are teaching class are you helping students and making them feel better about themselves? 

Remember: the goal of training in Chayon-Ryu is education and improving our lives and the lives of those around us.
Grandmaster Kim Soo, founder Chayon-Ryu.


this article published in Black Belt magazine.
Taekwondo For Health- Train smart now or pay the price later by Kim Soo

The martial arts have evolved over the past 100 years and their purpose has changed.  In old times the arts were mainly used for warfare.  A martial artist trained to become a superior soldier and better serve is country, or his emperor. His highest honor was to die in combat.  The emphasis in training was on physical ability, while the values centered on loyalty, devotion and discipline.  The health of the martial artist was of low importance; no one trained for self improvement, and some traditional methods were detrimental to the physical well being.  Example: punching used to be practiced with the mouth closed, exhaling on impact. Although it boosts speed and power, practicing it daily will take a toll on your health.  Of course, soldiers back then didn't live long enough to develop health problems.

Today, many martial artists regard what they do as sport, which means importance is placed on trophies and tournament victories. Indeed, modern Taekwondo is an Olympic event, and as such it emphasizes tournament fighting.  During training, practitioners learn how to perform fancy moves, defeat their opponent and win medals.  During demonstrations extreme acrobatics and deadly looking movements are the focus. This misses the true purpose of martial arts. 

Sparring should benefit both parties. There should be no winners or losers.  Additionally, tournament fighting sets the stage for martial artists to lose sight of the goals of training.  They may be left thinking that after passing their prime there is no reason to train more. So the question becomes, what is the true purpose of martial arts? 
The purpose of martial arts today is to promote health and longevity, and training must reflect those goals.  Students today aren't preparing to die for their country, and fortunately for us, rarely do we encounter a physical attacker.  Modern day enemies are internal rather than external: stress, depression, worry, insecurity and so on.  You must fight these enemies on a daily basis and defeat them through your training.  That requires mental and physical balance.  By developing mental and physical balance you can easily overcome the challenges of the 21st century, which is why achieving balance should be the most important aspect of martial arts training.

SOME MASTERS BRAG about going to the gym, about how they stay healthy running on treadmills and lifting weights. In reality, traditional Taekwondo forms have everything a person needs to stay healthy mentally and physically.  At the same time, if you practice forms the wrong way, the have the power to harm you.  Focusing only on speed and power is like taking small amounts of poison every day, while practicing forms the right way has the power to heal.  When I started martial arts we had to figure out most things ourselves while training to exhaustion.  We weren't taught proper breathing.  Many of us suffered serious injuries such as broken bones and kicks to the groin.  The instructor's attitude was that the toughest would survive.  Most students didn't see the benefits of training and often got injured----as a result they dropped out.

I SUFFERED SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS while training.  Within three years of starting I developed a bad ulcer.  A couple of years later, I had rheumatism.  A few years after that, it was a lower-back problem.  All of this was because of poor training methods.  Ironically, I became less healthy than people who didn't practice martial arts.  After enduring pain for ten years, a doctor recommended surgery for my back and said I had a 50-50 chance of getting better.  The surgery would require me to stay in bed for a long time, so I chose physical therapy, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture instead. However, nothing provided much relief. 

One day I exited the health studio-- it was a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky, but to me it looked gray and gloomy.  My future looked bleak as well.  The thought of the martial arts making me sick had taken me to that low point. But through meditation and training, I came to the understanding that the principles and teaching methods I was using were wrong-- and that was the real reason for my poor health.  Instead of doctors and acupuncturists, the solution to my problem lay in training.  In essence I was putting too much emphasis on the technical and physical aspects.  It dawned on me that focus should be on balance, breathing, rhythm and body-shifting. 

THERE IS A BALANCE of movement and balance of mind.  When techniques or forms are practiced they must be balanced to ensure the body isn't harmed by repeated unbalanced movements that may strain the anatomy.  We also need balance in life in general.  
Breathing is fuel for the body.  The air we breathe is free, invisible energy-- which is perfect because performing techniques and forms requires a lot of fuel. Without proper breathing your health will be at risk.
Proper breathing establishes proper rhythm.  The body can then follow the rhythm of the breathing to execute a safe, powerful technique.  Running provides a useful comparison: you may be able to run five miles without rhythm, but if you run like that every day your health will suffer.  You must have rhythmical breathing when running or practicing martial arts.

So how did I cure my back problem?  I practiced aforementioned principles while training. I practiced Basic Form No. 1 with a new focus on breathing, rhythm and body-shifting. I practiced every day over and over. In correct training had harmed my body and correct training was healing it.  My way of teaching these principles became to be known as "natural way martial arts," or Chayon-Ryu. It's goal is to preserve and enhance the martial artist's health.

I'D LIKE TO SHARE another personal story.  A friend sent me a shocking demo tape. He was performing fancy moves-- moves that looked impressive but lacked balance, breathing and rhythm.  When I saw him a few months later he said he couldn't sleep or eat and felt nervous and anxious all the time.  I said I wasn't surprised. His training lacked proper breathing and rhythm.  He could kick high, and do impressive things, but there was no balance.  I told him his problem was his own workouts.
The simple question of whether martial arts is good for your health can be answered with a not so simple answer: yes and no.  Taekwondo can save your life, but it can also destroy it.  You have to practice correctly using the right principles.  The traditional Asian method of instruction is sometimes the problem. Few people have the patience to train long enough to understand the basic principles.  It's tough to figure out those principles by yourself.  Instructors must follow them when demonstrating techniques and  teaching students the important concepts. 

Ever wonder why so few adults in Asian countries do the martial arts?  This is the reason.  It's even worse in my home country of South Korea, where the student base is composed mostly of children.  Few people train long enough to develop long-term health problems because most students quit after two or three years.  Martial arts teachers in Korea are astonished to learn that I have students who have been with me for 20, 30 or 40 years.  That fact strengthens my message that incorrect understanding of the purpose of martial arts results in poor teaching methods, which leads to wrong attitudes and injuries and ultimately to students giving up.  Today, people study the arts to increase personal happiness, not to die in battle. They're seeking health, longevity and relaxation in addition to self-defense.

THE MARTIAL ARTS are more than a sport, more than tournament fighting, more than self-defense. When taught right, they are a way of life that combines philosophical insight with physical training to create mentally strong and independent individuals who can fight frailty and weakness, as well as internal enemies like doubt, insecurity and stress.
Kim Soo is a Houston based martial arts pioneer and member of the black belt hall of fame. For more information visit Demetrios Gakidis assisted in the writing of this article.


Standing up to bullies, can Chayon-Ryu help?

If I can do it, you can too!
Can Chayon-Ryu help when it comes to standing up to bullies? My short answer is yes! Most definitely!

As a child I was a victim of bullying on a regular basis. My father was abusive, and used bullying tactics on my brother and I which included undermining our self confidence and self worth by verbal abuse, as well as intimidation methods utilizing violence, and emotional manipulation. He was a person who himself had been bullied and perpetuated the cycle of abuse. My brother had it much worse than me, being a target nearly 100% of the time.
But it didn't end there. In school we were bullied by fellow students, and even teachers who sensed the weakness instilled in us, and took advantage of it. This was in the "tough love" years of the 1970's, before people could be arrested for the treatment they dished out to one another.  A lifetime of this cycle was difficult to overcome, but I did it with the help of Chayon-Ryu.

I wish I had the tools to cope that Chayon-Ryu has given me when I was a child. It was not an option for me to take karate training as a child in an abusive house hold. The last thing a bully wants is for their target to develop confidence or bravery.  I can't go back in time, but I can tell my story to help others, and show them the path that has made a strong, and confident individual out of me.  I am not a victim. I am a survivor. Grandmaster Kim Soo has given me the tools to face whatever life throws at me, and to not give in to bullies, or abusive attacks, but to ascend and live well.

The obvious benefit of martial arts is self defense. Being able to defend against an attack is a vital survival tool. There are all kinds of attacks that can wound us, and Chayon-Ryu is the shield that anyone can carry to fend off the various foes both internal and external.

External attacks, are the obvious ones. Physical assault, verbal assault. Through training and building confidence and skills one can avoid physical confrontations, and if necessary defend against the ones that cannot be avoided. But what about the internal attacks?
Blows to confidence, or self esteem?
We need confidence in ourselves and abilities to succeed. We need self esteem to accept our self worth. These things are easily assaulted by outside enemies as well. Mostly bullies... whether direct bullying, or social bullying such as hazing, or peer pressure.  It's important for us to recognize these attacks and be able to defend against them as well.

Chayon-Ryu teaches us to respect one another. To do the right thing. Through martial arts training and repetition our skills improve, and so does our confidence. As a direct result, our inner beings balance-- and our fear and anxiety lessen. We are less likely to give in to pressures, or intimidation as we grow internally. As our own sense of self worth increases, so our self doubt decreases, and we become less likely targets for those seeking to exploit someone's weakness.  Chayon-Ryu is taught in a safe and supportive environment, by experienced compassionate instructors who are there to help you grow.  And it isn't just a counter to bullying by turning a victim into another bully by teaching them fighting skills. Not at all!  Chayon-Ryu helps to cultivate good citizenship, fair play, and ethical behavior in students.

I recommend it for children who may face bullying situations, as well as adults. It can help. It can make the difference! It has for me!

by Melissa L. Nichols, Kyosa Nim (Black Belt, 1st Dan)
Post Script:

One of my hobbies is the ancient art of Ventriloquism.  Along with Chayon-Ryu is is an art I wish to promote and keep alive. My first teacher was the late Great Edgar Bergen, whom I learned from for a short time as a child, just prior to his passing.

As a Ventriloquist and a practitioner of Chayon-Ryu, I have taken on the goal of fighting bullying by educating people, and helping them to have better living through martial arts, and ventriloquism.

My little wooden friend, Charlene and I spend time teaching kids about how bullying is bad and to teach them about respect and fair play; just as Grandmaster Kim Soo and the black belts of Chayon-Ryu teach the students in the dojang.

Monday, July 11, 2011


It's that time of year again! Time to celebrate summer and get a good work out in at the annual Chayon-Ryu Beach Training in Galveston, TX

Held every year, and hosted by Master John Stephens, this event is a Chayon-Ryu summer tradition. Open to CYR students and their families, it is a fun time for all!
It is a great event for everyone to attend, from white belt up!  Bring your family and make a day of it.  

Training begins at 10:00 AM, and lunch will be provided afterward. 

Wear your uniform and bring sunscreen and some shoes to train in on the beach.  You'll also want to bring some clothes to change into after training and something to drink. 
Whether you're a current member, former, or have taken the course at one of the universities, come out and join us for a class on the sand (and water) this Saturday ... [10am - 12noon]

For more info, visit the CYR website for details.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Success Story

A personal story of success, is my own. Because my day job as a film producer is very stressful, and I rarely had time to work out, or take proper care of myself, I slipped into a cycle of unhealthy activity. But I had an awakening, having trained in Chayon-Ryu for many years, I realized I had the tools to combat the situation and defeat the enemies within. So I began to work out, eat healthy, and take time out to do the proper things that would change my lifestyle from one of poor health and great stress, to one of better living through martial arts.
I was very unhealthy pictured above at a cast party for
a movie I produced.
I structured a regular routine for my meals and consistent work outs daily. The exercises in a regular Chayon-Ryu class are so varied you wind up benefitting from aerobic activity, strength training, core training, deep breathing and endurance training, as well as range of motion, balance and coordination.
I recommend it as a health routine for anyone who needs to reduce stress as well as their waistline. 

I wound up losing 80lbs and was promoted to first degree black belt in December of 2010. I feel very lucky to have found Chayon-ryu, I believe it literally saved me from the disease of obesity and a long illness with diabetes and hypertension. My health is fine now, and I have made it a personal mission to be a good will ambassador and bring Chayon-Ryu to those who can really benefit from it. You don't have to be a MMA super star, or fighting champion. You don't have to be a star athelete. You don't have to be young and fit to benefit, though you will feel years younger and you will attain health, fitness and longevity through Chayon-Ryu.

Visit the Chayon-Ryu school directory in the resources tab to find a program near you! Chayon-Ryu is taught on many highschool and college campuses, private schools, at the world headquarters dojang in Houston, Texas, and Grandmaster Kim Soo's program in Busan Korea.

by Melissa L. Nichols, Kyosanim (Black Belt, 1st Dan)


ChaYon-Ryu blends many different martial arts into one comprehensive system. Meaning "natural way," Chayon-Ryu utilizes natural body movements that anyone can instinctively perform.

Such simple human motions as twisting, throwing and running generate blocks, strikes and kicks. Anyone can practice Chayon-Ryu and gain health, longevity and safety - regardless of age, or physical limitations.

Among the arts in Chayon-Ryu's lineage are karate, chu'an-fa, hapkido or aiki-jujitsu, judo and tae kwon do.

Senior Asian Masters
In recent history, the leading influence on Chayon-Ryu came from Grandmaster Byung In Yoon. A Korean raised in Manchuria, Yoon mastered chu'an-fa before attending college at Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan during the 1930's. There he met Grandmaster Kanken Toyama, founder of Shudokan karate and a faculty member at Nihon University.
Grandmaster Byung In Yoon
Yoon and Toyama exchanged their knowledge of chu'an-fa and karate. Toyama recognized Yoon as a fourth degree black belt - one of the highest ranking at that time below Toyama himself.

After World War II, Grandmaster Yoon returned to Korea where he began teaching chu'an-fa and karate together in Seoul. Yoon became a leader in re-establishing martial arts practice in Korea following its liberation from Japanese occupation. During the Korean War, however, Grandmaster Yoon moved to North Korea. His original students had no contact with him for over forty years until early 2006 when Grandmaster Kim Soo was informed that Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In passed away on April 3, 1983.

Before his departure, Grandmaster Yoon trained several senior students extensively in chu'an-fa and karate. Three of those students - Grandmasters Namsok Lee, Chullhee Park, and Jong Pyo Hong later became instructors to Grandmaster Kim Soo. Though they are over 70 years old today, Grandmaster Park and Hong still teach together in Seoul.

"Beginning his training at
 age thirteen,
Grandmaster Kim Soo
 became the
 youngest black belt
 in South Korea."
Beginning his training at age thirteen, Grandmaster Kim Soo became the youngest black belt in South Korea.

Preserving the arts and coming to America

In the ensuing years, Grandmaster Kim formulated his dream to come to the United States. He committed himself to bring as much martial art knowledge with him as possible. Therefore, he separately undertook studies in hapkido and judo.

Grandmaster Kim mastered hapkido under a senior student of Grandmaster Yongsul Choi. Considered the founder of hapkido, Choi spent many years practicing in Japan under Grandmaster Shokaku Takeda, successor to the Takeda clan that developed and preserved daito-ryu aiki-jujitsu over the centuries.
Grandmaster Kim also studied judo under Grandmaster Jin Hee Han, who trained at the Kodokan judo headquarters in Japan and was the highest ranking judo instructor in South Korea.

Grandmaster Kim Soo realized his dream in 1968 when he moved to Houston, Texas, U.S.A. There he founded the Chayon-Ryu martial art system, integrating all of the different arts of his predecessors. In addition to teaching at his private schools and overseeing the Chayon-Ryu organization internationally, Grandmaster Kim has served on the faculty of Rice University  and the University of Houston (In Houston, Texas) for over twenty-six years.
The History of Chayon-Ryu reprinted with permission. Articles and images copyright Kim Soo Karate, Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Introduction to Chayon-Ryu- "The Natural Way" Martial Arts
by Melissa L. Nichols, Kyosanim, CYR

Grandmaster Kim Soo

This is the online magazine/blog for the international Chayon-Ryu martial arts association , founded my Korean Grandmaster Kim Pyung-Soo in 1968 in Houston, Texas. Grandmaster has been teaching martial arts in the United States, Korea and the world for over fifty years.  You can learn more about this amazing man by reading the article "An introduction to Grandmaster Kim Soo."
This video introduction gives you a basic idea of what Chayon-Ryu is, but as you read the articles, and follow the blog, you will see that the Chayon-Ryu martial arts philosophy encompasses more than kicking and punching; it is a lifestyle art that can help you attain health, success and longevity. 

Chayon-Ryu is designed to help the practioner gain confidence, self-esteem and a better understanding of themselves and the world through the practice and philosophy taught by Grandmaster Kim Soo.  In today's world, Chayon-Ryu can be a vital tool in stress management, and internal enemies which factor in our daily routines.  Everyone experiences stress, but we don't allow ourselves healthy outlets for it, and we don't always have the tools to face what life throws at us. Chayon-Ryu can help!

Chayon-Ryu can help indivuals with:

  • mental stress
  • low self esteem
  • low self confidence
  • fitness/ weight loss
  • learn self-defense
So check us out and see why Chayon-Ryu is a lifestyle martial art!
Melissa L. Nichols, Kyosanim (Black Belt, 1st Dan)