Friday, July 24, 2015

SEEKING TAEKWONDO ROOTS IN THE GARDEN OF GRANDMASTER KIM SOO

Sabeomnim Jon Lennart Løbak of Norway

SEEKING TAEKWONDO ROOTS IN THE GARDEN OF GRANDMASTER KIM SOO
interview by Kyosanim Melissa L. Nichols


Jon Lennart Løbak is a 4th degree black belt sabeomnim at Hadeland folkehøgskole, in Norway, with 15 years of professional experience teaching in the martial arts. He began his study of martial arts in 1989, and began teaching in 1995. He speaks fluent Korean, English and Norwegian. 
He has come to America, to Houston seeking the roots of Taekwondo and to study with Grandmaster Kim Soo. 

I sat down with Jon and asked him about what drew him to Chayon-Ryu and how he came to meet Grandmaster Kim Soo.

Inside Chayon-Ryu: How did you learn about Chayon-Ryu and come to meet Grandmaster Kim Soo?

Jon Lennart Løbak: “I was looking for the roots of Taekwondo. I have been doing this for many years; reading books, talking with people who know something, searching the internet. After doing this for a while, I found the Chayon-Ryu system on the internet: Kim Soo Karate.

I had talked with a Norwegian friend, who knows even more than me,and he is studying a lot about the martial arts. He said, yes, he’s heard of these people and this group, so I got the clue from him, actually—so I searched the internet for Kim Soo and I said, Oh, I really want to train with him, I want to meet him.  It’s far, and costs a lot of money, so it was just kind of like a dream.

Meeting Grandmaster Kim Soo in Korea
Then, I went to Korea to continue my Korean language studies, taking one year off from work.  I went to Yonsei University, and still searched the internet for Kim Soo related information.  I found out from Inside Chayon-Ryu that Grandmaster was going to be in Korea during the same dates I was going to be there, and I decided I wanted to try to meet him.  I was really anxious about that, you know. How to contact a Grandmaster?

 If I write and email, is it rude or pushy?  Esteemed people like Grandmaster, probably get a lot of emails from people who are not really sincere, right?  So I was worried about that, but I thought if I want to meet him, I have to send the email. So I did that, and he said, yes, come any time to Busan.  My time was limited, but he was so flexible, so I had one weekend I could spare to meet with him.
I took the train to Busan. I trained with him for one day, slept at his apartment and we stayed up all night talking about martial arts, then I took the train back.


After that I decided I want to see him again. I want to go to Texas, to Houston and be in his headquarters, and meet all the people who have learned from him, so I decided that one day I will do that, and I couldn’t wait—so that is why I am here.”

Sabeomnim Løbak training at the Chayon-Ryu International World Headquarters in Houston, TX (USA)
ICR: I was interested by your holistic approach of combining martial arts with other healing arts such as yoga, massage and herbalism. Do you see martial arts as a healing art in and of itself?

JLL: “Definitely. I believe that a lot of the poses we do, if you do them correctly, it can be a healing itself.  If you keep your body in the correct posture, the energy will automatically flow in a harmonic way, which by itself will give better health."

ICR: Grandmaster Kim Soo views Chayon-Ryu as a healing art, and he has designed a specific form for healing and longevity. Has he introduced you to Jang Su Hyung?

JLL: “Yes, we did it this morning in class, and definitely I can see why that form heals. It helps with the flow of the Ki. As far as I know, from my own experience, if you keep the right intention and the right pose, together with the correct breathing, a lot of amazing things happen. So I can see the way he designed the form, definitely it will have a healing effect on human beings.
Taking class with the Chayon-Ryu black belts at CYR HQ.

ICR: You know I also produce and publish Grandmaster Kim Soo’s video blog for Inside Chayon-Ryu, and he tells stories from his early days in America. But one of the main points he makes when he speaks about martial arts, is that martial arts is education, it’s art, science and philosophy, not sport. What is your view on that?

JLL: “Well there are some good parts of sport; keeping the body fast, reactions quick. You can experience what it is like to be on the mat, and you don’t know what to expect from your opponent. You have to adjust fast and you learn not to be too tense, or not too loose. So from that perspective, sports can be a good thing---the problem is if you get attached to winning or losing. 

If it’s balanced, and you practice a traditional martial art, and you can test yourself occasionally in competition then it’s a good thing. But most people can’t do that. So they get off track. So in the case where we get attached to winning, we tend not to believe what our teachers are telling us.  So instead of ending up on a track which might lead to that, it’s sometimes better to keep people in a frame which is much safer. You have to keep the balance.”

ICR: I know you have a limited time to study while you are here visiting the world headquarters. What is the one thing you wish to take back with you from your experience with Chayon-Ryu here, and training with Grandmaster Kim Soo?


Sabeomnim Løbak learning Jang Kwon Hyung from
Master Sean Kim and Grandmaster Kim Soo.
JLL: “The most important reason why I came, and what I want to take back is—Grandmaster has been preserving, taking care of the traditional Chinese Chu’an Fa forms. Even his teachers have forgotten them! But he—only by himself, all alone, managed to take care of these forms, and he still remembers them, he’s still teaching them.  Not only the forms by themselves, but that mindset! Those two things, I will bring back.

 That is what I want to bring back that is what I want to keep practicing.  And I want to come back, and improve more—I am really interested in the roots of Taekwondo—and keeping that tradition.  To me that is really important. 


People want to develop something, to make something new—but they don’t know the roots, so they have made something amazing, but it gets farther and farther away from the original, and it turns into something else.”


2 comments:

  1. I know a little boy who is so good at Taekwondo and he is competing world wide.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I let my son to train taekwondo as a form of self defense.
    Tae Kwon Do Franklin Square

    ReplyDelete