Friday, June 29, 2012

Black Belt Promotions June 2012

Attaining a black belt in Chayon-Ryu is a great accomplishment. One that requires patience and sacrifice for many years. The black belts Grandmaster Kim Soo promotes hold the sacred duty to be representatives of the system, instructors to the lower belts, and examples not just in the dojang, but in the world as to the proper behavior and attitude of a Chayon-Ryu practitioner.

Inside Chayon-Ryu wishes to congratulate the newest black belt promotions from the June rank examination at the Chayon-Ryu world headquarters in Houston, TX.
The uniform of a Chayon-Ryu black belt
They are as follows:
  • Thurman Wilhelm - (3rd dan) - World HQ
  • Brandon Burkhalter - (2nd dan) - World HQ
  • Ben Crotts - (2nd dan) - KSK of NC
  • I. J. Heggins - (2nd dan) - KSK of NC
  • Chris Pinkston - (2nd dan) - KSK of NC
  • Jonathan Hyunh - (1st dan) - KSK of NC
  • Sam Krohn - (1st dan) - KSK of NC
  • Jarrod Lanning - (1st dan) - KSK of NC
  • James Mazur - (1st dan) - KSK of NC
  • Dorothy VanDeCarr - (1st dan) - Austin CYR
Congratulations Black Belts, well done! Serving as a black belt in Chayon-Ryu is a very enriching life experience.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grandmaster Kim Soo's Letter to Chayon-Ryu Black Belts

A Letter to Chayon-Ryu Black Belts

June 30, 2012

Dear Black Belts,

Since my return to Houston from Busan last December, I have been very busy. I have been teaching, conducting Tuksu Suryon, working on a new DVD project, and a self-defense book. I have taught at Chayon-Ryu World Headquarters, visited and taught at various branch schools.

I will be traveling to Busan in late July to teach Chayon-Ryu at Busan Sports for All Association (SABA) and at Dong Eui University. I would like to extend an invitation to any black belts and their families that are interested to come to train and visit in Busan. I wish I could cover all of your expenses, but I cannot. I will offer lodging at my condo for small groups. Other expenses (meals, entertainment etc.) will be your responsibility. If a large group is coming, group travel/tour arrangements could be made.

I will return to Houston in late December. We will celebrate the New Year and the anniversary of my arrival to Houston 45 years ago. The Mayor of Houston will also make a proclamation recognizing 45 years of Chayon-Ryu in Houston. After this trip, I have no plans to go back to Korea.

During my absence, Master Kim will be taking my place and will be in charge. Please respect and obey him as you would me. Honor your duty and responsibilities as black belts. Come often, be humble, instruct, train, participate in events, and take care of our students and the Dojang.

Like many other businesses and individuals, the economic state of the country hurt us last year. We are doing much better now but need your continued support to grow Chayon-Ryu and make the best martial arts system even better. This is to your benefit as well as all others involved.

Grandmaster Kim Soo
Founder Chayon-Ryu International Martial Arts Association


“Cha Yon Ryu is a healing art. - Grandmaster Kim Soo

 Proper Chayon-Ryu Breathing by Kyosanim, Sarah Geenberg, 1st Dan Wimberley Chayon-ryu

Breathing correctly is more important than anything else you do in karate.  It is the source of your strength and the cause of your weakness.
We’ve heard this many times:  in our school, everyone exhales with every move.  We want to make sure that we are getting a lot of oxygen.  Breathing focuses our energy into one solid movement.  It also helps our body to work in unison, having our feet and arms begin and end each movement at the same time.  Kihops do the same thing.  In karate we are taught about energy and how that relates to our breathing.  When we do a form, we cast our energy in all directions, and when we here “go-man,” we gather our scattered energy and come back to our center.  We do this through breath and focus.  When we hold our breath we are holding in a lot of stress, and that stress collects in our abdomens, in our organs, and in our backs.  Improper breathing causes weakness, pain, and illness.
It is equally important to practice proper “belly breathing” outside of karate, too.  The craving for an afternoon snack / energy boost might just be your body’s way of asking for more oxygen.  It is a documented chronic pattern that we breathe incorrectly all the time, using our muscles at the base of our necks and shoulders to lift our rib cages instead of expanding our ribs to the sides using our diaphragm.  This is doubly harmful because less air is transferred into our blood per breath and it stresses our shoulder and neck muscles while locking our muscles in our lower backs.
I am aware of proper breathing technique and even teach it to our students.  I was doing all the breathing, exhaling when I move, and kihopping during sparring matches.  But when my back started to hurt, I started holding my breath.  I noticed this, but I didn’t know what to do about it.  Breathing actually hurt.
Even though I was taught to expand my lower abdomen outward when I breathe, I was
instead contracting my stomach inward.  The spot where I tensed my stomach muscles is
the spot where my back hurt. When Grandmaster Kim came to visit our Wimberley School recently, I told him about my back problems.  After class he showed me how to breathe properly, which I did about 100 times.  He explained that he used to have back problems, and by meditating, he realized how important breathing was.  He fixed his back through proper breathing technique, something doctors had failed to do.  That night my back released during my sleep and was healed 85%, and Iwas able to spar for the first time in six weeks the next day.
I started concentrating on breathing correctly. I discovered that the tension point in my stomach muscle was where my strength was. It was difficult to do any basic move without that strength. I was unbalanced, trying to find a spot to hold onto for support. I felt like I was a white belt, having to learn everything all over again. But it was also exciting, because I eventually realized that I was a lot stronger without a tension spot. My whole body worked equally in balance. All of my muscles worked together in unison creating more strength, and that strength came without tension and felt easy – too easy, until I realized what was happening.

I quickly wanted to apply this in my everyday life. I still catch myself holding my breath, and when I do, I incorporate the breathing technique Grandmaster taught me. Breathing correctly opens something - whether it is a thought or an action - that was closed off by holding my breath. It allows me to keep going or helps me realize that I should try something else. It makes my days flow by with a lot more ease and allows me to do more, just like with my karate techniques.
For longevity and for health, breathing is very important and is not to be ignored. This can’t be stressed enough.
What really caught my attention, more than anything else, was how Grandmaster explained that Cha Yon Ryu is a healing art. When one thinks of karate, healing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It makes me understand and appreciate more who a “karate master” really is.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chong-Jae Nim Visits Catawba College Dojang

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. 
    Chong-Jae Nim kept this focus all through the rank test that followed the training session. 
    “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.

     The next morning Chong-Jae Nim had an early breakfast, and then golfed with students. 

 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.   


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Rank and Age
In many countries and societies people are respected according to their age. The older the person, the more respected he is. It is assumed that older people have more knowledge and expertise. On the other hand, younger people are often not taken seriously and sometimes dismissed, especially by their elders. After all, how could they possibly have gained the knowledge and experience of their seniors during such a short life? It is right and good to respect your elders; however, respect should be given to people of all ages.
Unlike society showing more respect to older people rather than young, the military, like martial arts, requires that respect be given to those of higher rank regardless of age. A sergeant must salute a captain. A major must salute a colonel just as a green belt must bow to a purple belt and a 5th dan black belt must bow to an 8th dan black belt.
Rank is earned through training, learning, time and hard work. Persons with a higher rank than yourself regardless of age must be shown respect. They have earned it. They have trained longer and have more knowledge than you. Even if for some reason right or wrong you don’t like the person, or feel that he doesn’t deserve your respect, if not the person, you must show respect for the rank.
Everyone grows old. Only some earn rank.

Grandmaster Kim Soo
Founder, Chayon-Ryu International Martial Arts Association

Chayon-Ryu Annual Beach Training July14th

Get ready to get wet!
On Saturday, July 14th, we will have our annual beach training at Master John Stephen's beach house on Galveston Island. 

 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. 

 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.   Maps will be provided.   Be there or be square!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chayon-Ryu at Tier One Universities


Grandmaster Kim Soo founded the Karate class for the P.E. department of the University of Houston Central Campus in 1969.

There were over 100 students in each of his classes, and it is possible that these were the largest university P. E. classes in the world. 

He taught 2 beginner classes and one Intermediate class for over 30 years at UH.  Grandmaster also founded a program at Rice University, Texas Southern University and St. Thomas University. 

 Chayon-Ryu is taught on many college campuses throughout the southern United States including Lee College at Baytown, TX, Lonestar  College, University of Texas at Austin, and The University of North Carolina at Ashville, as well as the College of Sport Science in Busan S. Korea.

Grandmaster Kim Soo: Part of Martial Arts History

First Korean Correspondent for Black Belt Magazine
"Proudly announce that I was the first correspondent for Korea of Black Belt Magazine of USA. Black Belt magazine was the first martial arts magazine in the World and also in English. Thru this channel I have introduced numerous Korean arts articles and activities to all over the world on Korean Police martial arts competition, Korea Judo College, Taekwondo history and competition at the National Festivals, Korean Army activities in Viet Nam and Korean Native sport, Ssirum etc...."- Kim Soo

Grandmaster Kim Soo's articles have been published numerous times in this world wide publication.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Appreciating Grandmaster Kim Soo's contributions

International action film star and black belt hall of fame inductee Karen Sheperd  signed this photo to Grandmaster Kim Soo, to show solidarity and appreciation for those who teach the true meaning of martial arts, and change the lives of people by showing them better living through martial arts.

Learning from hardship and tragedy

Learning from hardship and tragedy
Written By Jason Murguz  as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo

Last year Chongjae-Nim spoke to me and Mr. Pete Nuygen about several times in his training when he learned from either his own hardships or the hardships of others.  I have written before about how important it is to take correction from instructors in the proper way, and to understand that our instructors only want us to learn the true way or Do.  As we get to the Black Belt level the thought may be that we know it all and don’t need correction.  Chongjae-Nim’s experiences show us that students can learn just as much from their own hardships and the hardships of others if they are attentive and patient.  
     The first instance that Chongjae-Nim told us involved him being beaten up or “slapped around” as he described it by some people from a different university.  In his story he said he was walking on a campus while wearing another school’s colors or logo.  Some students saw this and approached him, slapping him and giving him a hard time. 
    “I was 3rd degree Black Belt at the time, and I didn’t know what to do.  Should I kihop, or get into some formal stance?  I went home and cried in my bed.  If we were in the Dojang, I would have defeated them, but out there in the world I didn’t know what to do.  So I came up with practical self-defense so I don’t have to worry about a stance or anything like that.  I just react.”
Chongjae-Nim took a situation that was embarrassing and instead of dwelling on it he innovated an new form of training so that not himself, but others could learn a more complete art form that would be useful in their everyday lives.   The next memory that Chongjae-Nim shared with us involved sparing in the dojang. 
    “I remember sparring with another student who happened to be cross-eyed.  Because of this, whenever he would round kick I wouldn’t be able to tell if he was kicking high or low.  If I blocked high he would hit me low.  If I blocked low he would hit my face.  It was so frustrating.  I went and I cried in my bed. I wept and thought, how am I going to handle this?  What can I do?  So I came up with Scissor Block , or round kick block.  Next time in class, he would kick but I didn’t care where because I could block any where he could kick with new block.”
Again Chogjae-Nim took a situation that defeated him and made it into a stepping stone to success and knowledge.  Finally I will relate a sad story that Chongjae-Nim shared with us that changed how we practice practical self-defense.
      “I had a black belt student that really got into scuba diving.  He would go all over the world diving in different places.  One day he was sitting in a bar or restaurant minding his own business and didn’t notice a man watching him.  It turns out the man was looking at his Rolex watch.  The student finished with his food and drinks and left.  While he was unlocking his car he was hit in the head with a tire iron by the man who had been watching him.  He was in comma for a while and then he died.  I was very sad. He was a black belt student.  So I came up with practicing practical self-defense with the defenders back to the attacker.  That way when the defender hears a sound like a clap or a kihop, the defender turns and reacts.  I want my students to always be prepared and ready. This was a very sad situation, but out of it many people learned a valuable lesson.”
   I think it was this last statement that has stuck with me the most.  Chongjae-Nim wants us, his students, to always be prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises. He also wants his students, to learn from their defeats, weaknesses, and short comings.  We often learn much more from our failures than from our victories.  I know for me personally, not breaking a brick on my first try at my Black Belt test stuck with all the way until I did break one during my 2nd Dan test. Breaking that brick meant so much more to me than succeeding the first time.  Sometimes, it is in our failures that we find our greatest successes.

What is Cheon-Jik?

What is Cheon-Jik?
Written by Jason Murguz as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo

A monk, a Catholic Priest, a holy man driven by a single purpose, a martial arts teacher consumed by his art, these are examples of Cheon-Jik. Meaning “Heaven’s Work or Heaven’s Job”, Cheon-Jik represents a single minded tightly focused vision of personal mission.  For the founder of a martial art, there must be Cheon-Jik.   There are many reasons why people want to teach martial arts; money, recognition, hobby, and to stay fit, but for the true teacher, for the founder of a system, there must be Cheon-Jik.
       Cheon-Jik is not something that is innate within a person.  It is something that is found through diligent, patient searching.   Chongjae-Nim’s mother told him if he wanted to find water he would have to dig in one spot.  You can’t find life giving water by digging a little here and a little there.  Chongjae-Nim decided to dig into traditional martial arts, the results of which are Chayon-Ryu.  This art, this system is his Cheon-Jik.  Chonjae-nim has made it his number one priority, his all consuming passion and it has not come without great cost.  He has missed birthdays, graduations, time with family, things that most of us take for granted as being a right to enjoy, are all demanded to take a secondary place when measured against his Cheon-Jik.  
     Grandmaster Kim Soo is one example of a person who has found his Cheon-Jik.  The highest ranking Kendo master, Grandmaster Ho Ik Yong is another.  Grandmaster Ho Ik Yong is the author of a book about the spiritual and combat principles of Kendo, and like Chongjae-Nim has embraced his Cheon-Jik through the continued study and practice of his art.
    In conclusion, the essence of Cheong-Jik is the mission or purpose above all else.  It must come first, or it is not Cheong-Jik.  A policeman can have it, as can a family man, but it is not a universal idea for everyone, it is something that is found, it is chosen.  Teaching martial arts for personal reasons is okay but Cheon-Jik is demands more than a passing interest, it demands unwavering loyalty above all else.