Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The following letter is published with permission from its recipient, Grandmaster Kim Soo. It was written to him by a black belt in the system, recently promoted to 1st Dan. It speaks of the underlying true lessons contained within the Chayon-Ryu method of training, and the deeper philosophical meanings inside Chayon-Ryu.

Grand Master,
Hope all well with you and yours.

A few days ago, I was thinking about you. I was thinking about how I had come to know you.
Fifteen or sixteen years ago I set out on a mission to learn martial arts.
I wanted to learn self defense and improve my chronic back trouble. At least that's what I thought I wanted.

True, I learned martial arts and self defense, and I am grateful and proud of these accomplishments.
But, the real treasure came in the most unexpected way.

From you I learned patience and humility. I learned to be graceful and contemplative; I learned the true meaning of respect and so much more.
It is undeniable that you are a great martial artist. But your true greatness is that you are a great teacher of life. Martial arts are incidental, merely the vehicle, the medium for the divine teaching the deeper lessons through you. 

The remarkable aspect of this is that you never specifically told me that these were the true lessons for me to learn. You simply continued to teach me forms and
regardless of how much I practiced a particular form, regardless of how accomplished I became at executing a particular movement, I remained humbled by the pursuit of that perfection -- a priceless and timeless lesson. In time I came to understand that learning the lessons I "needed" to learn was far more important than learning the lessons I "wanted" to learn. Of course one was the inexorable pathway to the other.

Thinking of it now reminds me of the story you told me of the hungry man who posed as a famous calligrapher to gain entry to the rich man's house.
The hungry man thought that he went to the rich man's house because he was hungry, but his journey taught him patience and perseverance. Without intending to,  the hungry man indeed became the great calligrapher.

Your teaching was (and remains) an Aristotelian exercise in the infinite  approximation of what Aristotle described as the perfection of the forms, the perfect
circle, the perfect triangle and so on. And all of it taught by a man from the East. What extraordinary intellectual and spiritual elegance to experience the perfect circle of East meeting and becoming West becoming East -- Eastern Zen and Western Existentialism melding, transcending the the limitations of definition and simply becoming itself.

It's interesting how the road of life leads us, and it is important to remain receptive to learning and spiritual enlightenment

In the end  Gracias, Grazie, Merci... its all Thank You
Your humble student, and forever your friend,
Michael Testa, Kyosanim, 1st Dan, Chayon-Ryu

Thursday, October 13, 2011


 A reminder to all instructor level Chayon-Ryu members (Blue Belts - Black Belts) that this month's TUKSU SURYON Instructor Clinic will be held Saturday October 22, 2011.

Training begins at 10am and will end at 11:30. Afterwards there will be a Chayon-Ryu demonstration at the Houston Korean Festival held downtown at Discovery Green.

Log on to the Chayon-Ryu World HQ website for details.

See you there!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


By Grandmaster Kim Soo, 10th. Dan & Founder, Chayon-Ryu Martial Arts

Written by Master Mark Newkirk

When people hear the word control they usually think of sparring, which is important, but control is much more than that. The purpose of training is to have the mind and body together. The mind and body work together toward a common goal, mu shim, one thought one purpose. In sparring the mind and body must have good intension that will keep people from getting hurt. If you lose your temper or are not focused you can hurt someone or get hurt yourself. This is why we should only spar with the appropriate pads. If you use heavy sparring pads or gloves you may not be as careful and your focus is not there. You should only need correct sparring pads and control (mind and body together)
Forms are also about control. Forms are moving meditation, once again the mind and body together. That is how you can teach many people at the same time. Asking them questions like which foot to move when they are learning H pattern forces them to keep concentrating on what their body is doing at the moment. They cannot daydream. Some instructors know a lot of forms but they are fakes. They are just showing off. The public doesn’t have a principle foundation and they are impressed. These instructors do not have the mind and body working together. They just go through the motions. They don’t have control. Some people keep track of how many times they have done a form, they can do a form a thousand times and it still looks bad. Why? They only care about how many they have done and they don’t think about the movements. Suryon is physical and mental training together. Ask yourself why you are doing this movement. What is the purpose?
You must be able to adjust to the situation. That’s why we have an eclectic martial art that is based on common sense. If a friend has been drinking and is bothering you, a kick to the groin or a neck chop would be inappropriate. Some soldiers have a hard time adjusting after returning from war because they have lost control.

Our system patch contains the symbol for the mind signifying that everything starts in the mind. At the Spring Branch dojang there is the sign that means dancing in the sky and playing in the ocean which literally means to be ambitious. Everything starts in the mind whether it’s H pattern or a new business plan that you may have.

Control is physically, emotionally and spiritually being together and balanced not only with sparring but forms and everyday life. That’s why we meditate when entering the dojang to prepare for class. This gets your mind to slow down from things outside the dojang and bring your mind and body together.