Saturday, December 26, 2015

MY KONG by Grandmaster Kim Soo

When Grandmaster Kim Soo asked me to publish his story of My Kong for 2015--I felt it was important to refresh readers and Chayon-Ryu students and Black Belts on What Kong is, and how is it created. So I asked him if I could republish his article "What is Kong?" which appears below the  article. I feel it is important to remind ourselves of the higher lessons we get through our training, and how Kong can affect our lives in very important ways, and also refresh our mindfulness of our Kong we build in our own lives.
by Mel Nichols, Kyosanim


MY KONG- by Grandmaster Kim Soo (Dec. 25, 2015)

The year of 2015 was a very difficult year in my life. I had been suffering from staph infection for a long time. 
Grandmaster in the hyperbaric chamber
I was in the hospital for over one month and then went back and forth for a few months for additional treatment.  

I received almost 60 hours of Hyperbaric treatment at Kindred hospital of Sugar Land.As soon as I got out from the hospital, I went to N.C. branch for a seminar on early part of April.

The four doctors involved in my case told me I am a “Miracle Man.” So I became puzzled over how I got this miracle. Later, I found out how I could get that miracle: I didn’t lose my right leg.

That was my “Kong.” 
I strongly believe that, all my life I have been teaching others as their mentor, not as a drill Sergent.
This Kong saved my leg.

This morning, after my shower, by accident I looked at the calendar on the wall. 

There were two little young children monks in the yard of an old Buddhist temple, chatting facing each other. 
 Below that I read these words: 

“Build the Kong in every day life, this will save and help you when you are in danger and hard situation.


What is Kong?

By Grandmaster Kim Soo, 10th. Dan & Founder, Chayon-Ryu
Written by Sabomnim Graeme Cox

Kong is merit or credit from your service and achievements.

If two soldiers are up for promotion, their superior officers will look at their records to see their respective achievements. If one has many awards and the other has few, it is obvious who will be promoted. Soldiers are promoted for what they have done for their nation, not because they are good looking or have a killer’s mind.

This is the same in martial arts. Many students attend classes expecting to be automatically promoted when they have served their time. They feel that by paying their dues and attending class they are doing enough.
Perhaps up to Blue belt level this is an acceptable attitude, as it takes some time to understand the importance of the Dojang in one’s life. However, above this level, students have been training for several years and should understand the importance of doing more around the Dojang.

Black Belt students, especially, should build up Kong in order to be promoted to the next Dan level. Without Kong why do you deserve to be promoted? To be promoted you must have special credit. You must have shown leadership qualities, and set a good example for other Black Belts and all junior students.
Do you think you get Kong from sparring hard, intimidating other students, showing how tough and strong you are, or having an "I am better than you" attitude?

Do you think that training once a week and not having a regular teaching commitment builds your Kong? What does that do for the organization?

Nothing! From my point of view this is building "minus" Kong, because your intention is wrong. To truly reach Master level you need to build Kong.

How do you get Kong?

Kong is easy to build. You just need to show the generosity you are learning from your training. Show your generosity by helping the system. You could donate some time to help maintain or repair the Dojang. Spend some time cleaning before or after class. At the very least you need to pick up the dust that you drop. You don’t need to make a special trip. Just do something other than train once a week. Show some initiative. Do not wait for someone to tell you what to do, take the responsibility yourself.

But, don’t clean for me! You benefit from cleaning by building your Kong, not mine.
If you clean for me your intention is wrong.

I have spoken about this on numerous occasions but I still see many students who do not understand. None of your efforts should be to impress me. If this is the case, then I am unimpressed.

When I see you are doing these things for the right reasons then I am surely satisfied. Although it may not be obvious to you, it is obvious to me when your attitude is correct and when it is not. Those who give their time freely, expect nothing in return. This is building your Kong.

Those who are trying to impress me always want some form of restitution or recognition, and it saddens me that these students don’t understand who benefits from their labors.

Master Don Martin facilitates a seminar on
the Dojang Hun
You also build your Kong by attending regular events such as Instructor Clinics, Black Belt classes, and Rank examinations. You are aware of the events on the calendar. Offer to help organize some of these events. Put together a special class for the annual seminar, or even just a special demonstration for the next rank test.  Something! Do you think a few forms, breaking a brick and sparring are your requirements?

Black Belt requirements are not tested during class. They are tested by your actions throughout the year. When you have met these requirements, then you will be permitted to test for your next Dan level.

Black Belts should attend 90% of all events if they expect to be promoted. Attending 10% of these functions means you are not meeting your requirements. It is worse that I have to hassle you to attend these functions. It means you do not understand that your rank imposes responsibilities on you, not "special guest" privileges.

You also build your Kong by lending your expertise to Chayon-Ryu. Wherever possible, you should freely offer your services to improve the image and status of Chayon-Ryu within the community.
Share your knowledge in the community either by helping promote Chayon-Ryu or offering to teach or demonstrate your skills at your workplace or community hall. By sharing the benefits you have received from your training we can make this world a better place in which to live.

Quite often, new students come to the Dojang and see their old friends. Their first statement is either "I didn’t know you were a Black Belt," or "I didn’t know you trained in martial arts." This is deplorable. 
How could you train for so long and not tell your friends or work-mates about it? Is this a "humble" attitude, or a negative attitude? I consider it the latter. You need to share the "good medicine" with your friends and co-workers.
You don’t need to drag them along to class, but let them know that you train and how it has helped your life. Put some flyers up so people realize that someone they know trains at the school. Remember how difficult it was for you to come to class when you didn’t know anyone. Probably many of your friends, relatives, or acquaintances would come to class if they knew someone. This is how you build your Kong. Share Chayon-Ryu with the world and see how many people you can help.

I have built up much Kong in my life. Your Kong shows what you want, what you have done, and your effort to achieve these goals. Every chance I got, I taught my friends and shared the benefits of my training. I have shared with you for 48 years in the USA, and 65 years since I started teaching in Korea.
Every time I share my knowledge I build my Kong.
When you teach, you build your Kong.

You never know, the lesson you teach might save a person’s life, or make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

You build Kong for your life. If you don’t build Kong then you get no result. The saying, In Gua Ung Bo means "Where there is cause there will be a result." The seeds you throw return to you. If you throw many "good" seeds you will get a plentiful return. If you throw no seeds then nothing returns to you. If you throw bad seeds ... well I am sure you understand.

Working on the landscaping at World Headquarters
 Students have too many excuses why they cannot help at the Dojang. They don’t have time, their spouse or children need them, or they are too tired from working all day. These are simply excuses, showing a lack of understanding about how training affects their lives.

Black Belts cleaning and doing maintenance work on the
dojang at World Headquarters
Do you think you get no other benefits in your life than the ability to fight and defend yourself. If so, you are surely missing the point of the lessons I am teaching. 

You should acknowledge how Chayon-Ryu has enhanced your life, and then you would be willing to donate some time and effort in the improvement of your school and system. 

However, until you acknowledge these benefits, you will just think I am asking you to work for me without being paid -- more "minus" Kong. I am not asking for a lot, just a little on a regular basis, so that you may benefit from your efforts.
Master Sean Kim, 8th Dan,
cleaning the dojang floor

If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid. That is obvious, so you go to work. But, how many people say "Oh, all my problems would be over if I won the lottery." They do not want to work for their reward. They just want the reward -- no In, "Patience." What then? Do they have enough common sense to manage their money wisely if they did win? In most cases the answer is a resounding "NO."

By following the "Basic Principles," your training builds common sense. By helping the system you are building your Kong. In this manner, Kong is similar to Karma or "Grace." When you give freely of your time and effort, your merit and grace grow, and your life prospers.

Your annual dues are the absolute minimum to attend the school. Still, they do not even pay for the lesson. Your time and effort pay for the lesson, and you can only understand what you learn by giving back to the system.

How much Kong have you built?

Monday, December 21, 2015

What is a teaching method vs. martial arts style? by Sabeomnim Jerry Glover

What is a teaching method vs. martial arts style? by Sabeomnim Jerry Glover

During my visit to Kim Soo Karate of Baytown, I was asked this very question by a parent of the dojang. What is a teaching method vs. martial arts style?

I explained to the parent that teaching methods such as Grandmaster Kim Soo’s Chayon-Ryu “The Natural Way”, Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do "the art of expressing the human body", and Chuck Norris's Chun Kuk Do, "The Universal Way” are designed to teach classical martial arts more safe and effective for all students.

Instead of just learning one martial art such as Karate or Taekwondo, teaching methods are defined as hybrid martial art systems because they include many arts. The idea is to use different "tools" for different situations.
I explained to the students that Chayon-Ryu uses natural human body movements and emphasizes the "Basic Principles" rather than thousands of techniques.

 I explained how a student of Taekwondo may perform a form (Hyung) which looks like one taught in Chayon-Ryu. The differences will be the way the basic movements are taught.
I was talking to the parent about self-defense. 
Sabeomnim Glover teaching a student at Conroe Chayon-Ryu.

I explained that in the style of Judo, students are taught to throw students over the back and shoulder. I explained that in Chayon-Ryu, we never throw students that way.

I explained that some techniques may start with a judo like movement, then we will combine a hapkido technique which is more safe and effective to bring the attacker down.

Remember it is better to have all your tools to be ready for every situation than to only have one. It is always important to also be true to your teacher’s method and never quit. Practice every day and never give up your training.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cha Yon Ryu – A lifetime of study by Larry Lawyer

Larry Lawyer 

Teaching Observations with Grandmaster Kim Soo 
October 31, 2015 
Cha Yon Ryu – A lifetime of study 

Always a Student 

Due to recent inclement Houston weather, Grandmaster Kim Soo (“GMKS”) taught a Saturday class that was unusually small. Consequently, the five students benefitted from effectively having a private lesson with GMKS. 

During this class, GMKS had each black belt individually demonstrate basic form number one.  The other students sat next to GMKS and were asked to judge the demonstrator. 

students performing Kibon Hyun Il Jeol (Basic form 1)
When it was my turn to demonstrate, GMKS mentioned that he noticed (via a recent video of another class) 
an issue with my basic form number one and it was the other student’s job to observe and comment on what they saw. 

While there were several good comments they were not what GMKS noticed. 

He proceeded to comment that I had developed a bad habit of turning, looking and then executing my block. 

In other words, it was not the natural way. As a fifth degree black belt, this was humbling and enlightening. 

Humbling because I was surrounded by other students with a proverbial bright light shining on one of my mistakes.

Enlightening because I was given the chance to recognize and correct a fundamental problem. With a few repetitions, I figured out what GMKS had noticed and with a few more repetitions, I was able to correct this issue and improve my foundation. 

I find the more I train in Cha Yon Ryu (“CYR”) the more I am at peace with myself and my surroundings. Like many students, I began my martial arts career with a focus on self-defense and physical training. 

However, the more I study and research the more I appreciate the CYR system and its rich heritage. GMKS is constantly reminding his students about his teachers and the importance they had on his training and teaching. 

I find that with only a small amount of effort and research, my eyes are opened for a much deeper meaning of the CYR system and its tenets. GMKS has also reminded his students often that we can learn and practice CYR at any age. The system is a lifelong system in that we are always students with more to learn. 

This reminds me to focus on the three stages of martial arts training – physical, philosophical and application. GMKS wrote an article on the stages of training in 1995, noting that most students quit training after a few years due to their instructors only understanding and teaching the first stage – physical training. 

GMKS stated that the second stage, or philosophical, includes breathing and meditation techniques to gain wisdom and strengthen willpower. This is where GMKS has seen the creation of a positive attitude, improved confidence and self-esteem, leadership skills, control and responsibility for one’s actions. The third stage, application, is where the student’s martial arts training is incorporated into every daily life. 

Mu Do In is an enlightened person who understands the true value of martial arts training. It is through my research, training and reflection that I appreciate GMKS and CYR even more. I suppose that is how life is meant to be, a circle from birth to death, with fulfillment and purpose hopefully found in between. I now understand that GMKS wants each student to find ‘themselves,’ finding his or her personal potential. 

To apply how to use one’s body, mind and training to improve your life is the true purpose of CYR. Understanding foundational principles and applying them is the core of CYR. Being reminded to observe, correct and improve one’s foundations is also the core of CYR. 

As GMKS reminds his students, the stripes on one’s black belt only mean patience. The student of CYR understands that this is a life-long journey to personal enlightenment. Different and sometimes repetitious struggles are part of this journey. 


I understand the importance of patience through my martial arts studies. The more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. Comprehending the importance to question ideas and concepts that I am unfamiliar with and then meditating and working out their true meaning until I am able to figure out a solution is one of the basic tenets of a good student. 

Grandmaster Kim Soo points out that each stripe on his black belt does not reflect how much better he is than others or how much more he knows; rather it exemplifies his trials and tribulations of more than 60 years of learning and teaching. It signifies his In, or patience, which has led to his current level of enlightenment (Nam). 

GMKS has reminded me recently that Cha Yon Ryu strives to teach based on the following methodology – ”do not drink from a hose, rather give just enough to ponder, rethink, watch and learn.” I appreciate that GMKS continues to teach and cares so much about his students. His recent input most certainly helped with my In and Nam. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grandmaster Kim Soo's article for KOMERICAPOST.COM

Grandmaster Kim Soo with Master Lawrence Robinson, Jr.
무도는 수련생들에게 신체적으로는 물론 정신적으로도 커다란 영향을 미친다. 훌륭한 사범으로부터 수련해 무도의 원리를 깨달은 수련생들은 어떤 무기를 사용하지 않고도 맨손으로도 무도수련을 위한 본래의 목적을 달성할 수 있다. 하지만 무도의 원리원칙을 무시하고 자신의 힘을 자랑하거나 신체적 능력개발에만 중점을 두고 무도를 수련하면 수년 아니 수개월내에 신체적 고통과 함께 정신적 갈등에 봉착하는 경우가 있다. 그 이유는 무도의 수련과정이 본래 자아성찰을 요구하기 때문이다. 이로 인해 무도수련을 위해 찾아오는 수련생들에게 나는 항상 무도를 수련하는 목적이 무엇인지 진지하게 묻는다. 그리고 나는 수련생들에게 솔직한 답을 듣기 원한다. 그래야 내가 무엇을 도와줄지 알 수 있다.
이번 칼럼에서 나는 한국과 미국에서 만났던 여러 계층의 수많은 무도 수련생들로부터 받았던 질문과 대답 몇 개를 소개하고자 한다.
물론 본래 의도를 숨기는 수련생도 있었지만, 대부분의 수련생들은 왜 무도를 수련하려고 하는지 자신의 생각을 솔직히 털어놓는 편이다.
1. 친구들에게 얻어맞으면서 자존감을 상실했고, 따라서 나를 방어할 수 있는 호신술을 배우고 싶다. 2. 정서가 불안하다는 소리를 자주 듣는다. 정신적인 안정이 필요하다. 3. 한 달에 한 번꼴로 남편이 이상하리만치 미친 듯 날뛴다. 남편의 폭력으로부터 나를 보호하고 싶다. 4. 프로골프선수인데 시합 초·중반에는 좋은 컨디션을 유지하다가 항상 후반에 무너진다. 정신강화가 필요하다고 생각한다. 5. 프로테니스선수다. 무도수련은 집중력을 강화시켜 줄 것 같다. 6. 20대 후반의 프로복싱선수인데 20대 초반의 기량을 회복하고 싶다. 7. 아내와 이혼한 후 우울증에 시달리고 있다. 8. 휴스턴대학교 풋볼선수인데 게임이 안 풀리면 불안해 손톱을 씹는 습관이 생겼다. 9. 고등학교를 졸업하는 딸이 타주에 있는 대학에 진학한다. 딸이 떠나기 전에 약간의 자기방어기술을 가려쳐 보냈으면 한다. 10. 어떻게 하면 벽돌과 송판을 멋있게 격파할 수 있을까? 11. 소송전문변호사다. 판사와 배심원들 앞에서 자신감 있고 당당하게 변론하고 싶다. 12. 유명무대에 서는 성악가다. 슬럼프인지 관객들 앞서 서면 왠지 초라해 보이고 이전과 다르게 자신감도 결여됐다. 예전의 그 당당한 모습으로 돌아가고 싶다.
다양한 이유로 무도를 수련하고 싶다며 찾아오는 수련생들이 있었지만, 다행인지 아직까지 올림픽에 출전해 금메달을 따고 싶다는 수련생은 만나지 못했다. 수련 중에 올림픽 메달획득으로 방향을 전환하는 수련생은 있었지만, 결코 환영해 본 기억이 없다.
갖가지 이유로 나를 찾아와 무도를 배운 수련생들 중에는 1~2년 뒤 소기의 목적을 달성했다며 감사를 표하는 수련생들도 있다. 다음의 내용에서 무도수련생들이 실제로 겪었던 경험을 소개한다.
1. 플로리다 중부지역(Central Florida)에서 사범으로 무도를 가르치고 있는 트라비스 윌리스(Travis Willis)과 텍사스 남쪽에 위치한 항구도시인 코퍼스크리스티에서 역시 무도를 가르치고 있는 제럴드 타시낵(Gerald Tashnek) 사범은 모터사이클, 즉 오토바이를 운전해 가던 중 교통사고를 당해 중상을 입었지만, 무도수련으로 단련된 탄탄한 신체와 불굴의 정신력으로 부상에서 회복해 현재 무도를 수련하고 있다. 2. 휴스턴경찰국(HPD) 소속의 특수기동대(SWAT)를 지휘관으로 무도를 수련하던 이 경찰관은 어느 날 출동한 사건현장에서 범인이 던진 칼이 이마에 꽂혔다. 도장등록 당시 자신의 신분을 노출하지 않았던 이 경찰은 사고 후 약 6개월 뒤 당시 상황을 촬영한 사진을 내게 보여주며 이마에 박힌 칼을 제거하는 수술을 담당한 의사가 “천운으로 목숨을 건졌지만, 평생 투통으로 고생할 것”이라고 말했지만, 생활무도 자연류를 통해 배운 호흡을 꾸준히 수련하면서 두통에 시달리지 않고 있다며 감사해 했다. 3. 610번 고속도로와 엘라(Ella Blvd.)도로에서 멀지않은 곳에 ‘카바토레’라는 이태리식당이 있다. 이 식당은 주인의 이름인 후안 카바토레(Juan Carlos Cabatorre)의 이름을 따서 붙여졌는데, 휴스턴에서는 물론 미 전국적으로도 아주 유명한 식당이다. 63세에 자연류 1단에 오른 카바토레가 어느 날 사다리를 놓고 식당건물의 지붕 개수대에 낙엽을 걷어내는 청소를 하던 중 발이 삐끗해 사다리에서 낙상하는 사고를 당했다. 처가 기겁해서 달려왔지만 자신이 옷에 묻은 낙엽을 털며 아무 일 없었다는 듯 일어나자 놀랐다며, 사실 자신도 놀랐는데, 사다리에서 떨어지는 순간 자신도 모르게 자연류에서 배운 낙법이 자연스럽게 나왔다며 나에게 고맙다는 인사를 전했다. <다음호에서 계속>
국제 자연무도회 총제

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Master Sean Kim's Class at University of Houston Fall 2015

Master Sean Kim and his white belt students at the University of Houston
Kicking practice

Break Falling practice

Cleaning the dojang builds good Kong

Self Defense throwing practice

Basic Movement practice