Chong-Jae Nim Visits Catawba College Dojang
Written by Jason Murguz 2nd Dan
Chong-Jae Nim and Master Stephens came to North Carolina this year on May 30th. After an early morning, a plane ride, and then a brief rest that included lunch, he stepped into the Dojang at Catawba College, smiling as usual. After Master Stephens took the class through warm ups, Chong-Jae Nim began taking us through basic movements and forms. He spent a great deal of time on body balance and body movement. He spoke about pointing as we blocked.
“You are focusing so much on the block that you are off balance. You have to turn, and point. That’s number one, then block, that’s number two. “
He made a point to look where he blocked. If he was blocking high, his focus was on something coming at him from head level or above. In our hyung, we are fighting imaginary opponents, and we have to train that way so we build the reflexes needed to block and strike properly.
“I don’t need to see high ranking form. I want to see basic form, basic movement. Then I can see who is ready, who is Black Belt. When you practice a form, you have to know what it means, where it came from the history of the movements. Are you blocking or striking? You have to know what you are doing.”
Master Mitchell commented saying he was so impressed by how Chong-Jae Nim was able to bring out the self-confidence each testing student had inside them. He pushed them to break boards, not with a hook kick, or center punch, but with 1 inch Sudo Strikes or punches that demonstrated stomping power. Every student broke their board on the first try, and every student was pushed to do something they had never tried before.
After the test the students went to the Guest House and spent time with Chong-Jae Nim and Master Stephens. Chong-Jae Nim was awake until just after midnight.
Following that he worked with the Salisbury Police Interdiction Team (P.I.T.), on the techniques they had been taught by Jee Kwan Jang Master David Mitchell. During this time, Chief Roy B. Collins gave Chong-Jae Nim an award. He also gave Mr. Matthew Mitchell and Master Stephens a citation of appreciation. Chief Collins gave Master Mitchell a certificate of appreciation that read “For selflessly and enthusiastically donating his time energy and skill as an instructor and 8th degree black belt in the Chayon-Ryu Martial arts , by providing weekly instruction to the men and women of the Salisbury Police Department’s Police Interdiction Team “P.I.T”. Master Mitchell wants people to know, that “None of the teaching, or programs that I do would be possible without the constant instruction and encouragement of my teacher.”
That night the students of NC Chayon-Ryu attended a wonderful dinner provided by Mr. Jarred Lanning and his church, where Chong-Jae Nim presented Jee Kwan Jang Master Mitchell with his 8th Degree Black Belt. This was a very inspiring evening. Many students shared their thoughts for and great appreciation of Master Mitchell and his efforts to teach Chayon-Ryu the way that Chong-Jae Nim wanted it taught. Chong-Jae Nim spoke about the time, loyalty, and patience it took to get to 8th Dan. During this dinner, Chong-Jae Nim made a point to present Master Mitchell’s 8th Dan certificate to Mrs. Mitchell, in recognition of her patience, and constant support of Master Mitchell as he pursued his dreams in Cha-Yon Ryu. It was a very touching and inspiring moment. Master Mitchell again directed the credit to those who guided and supported him: Chong-Jae Nim, and his family.
Friday night was the Black Belt dinner. After a lovely meal provided by Chef Santos Italian Restaurant, the students all gathered around to listen to what Chong-Jae Nim had to say. He spoke about what he had to go through to learn various forms, the traveling he had to do, the time he had to spend.
“I am most proud of the fact that I could gather up all the information about our great Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In. This is my greatest accomplishment. “
That statement really resonated with me. The loyalty he showed to the man who taught his teacher, was inspiring, and continues to be an example of how we should respect our teachers and the knowledge they posses.
The final day we, as students, spent with Chong-Jae Nim began bright and early Saturday morning in the large upstairs gym above the Dojang at Catawba. Chong-Jae Nim spoke about falling properly, keeping the hands up high and touching the chin to the chest as we fall. He took us through basic movements and again focused on body balance and movement. He mentioned how important it was for students to move naturally, bending the knee of the supporting leg as we kicked so that there is no injury to the joint during the movement.
He spoke about avoiding while on the ground by rolling away from the attack then rolling into the attacker and counter attacking. In the advanced class, he talked about close combat defense against a knife and proper balanced movements.
Finally he spoke to us about why he can teach the way he teaches and not get tired:
“When I teach, I give out energy, but I get back lots of energy from you, my students. People ask me; who is your teacher? I learn from my students now. When you make a mistake, I learn from that. You are my teachers now.”
Later that afternoon Chong-Jae Nim and Master Stephens joined Jee Kwan Jang Master Mitchell and Mr. Peeler at the Peeler’s mountain home in Boon, where they enjoyed fishing and relaxing together.
We were truly blessed and honored to have Chong-Jae Nim Visit our dojang. Every time he comes, he raises the spirits of the students to a higher place, which lasts until he returns and raises our spirits yet again.