Monday, April 17, 2017

Chayon-Ryu: A Treasure in Today’s Martial Arts World

Chayon-Ryu: A Treasure in Today’s Martial Arts World
By Grandmaster Kim Soo and Sabom Alberto Borjas
January 16th, 1968, Kim Pyung-Soo, a young third-generation Korean martial arts master, arrived in the U.S.A. He had a dream: to pass on the knowledge of his predecessors and help people all over the world to get the benefit of martial arts training. In 2017 Grandmaster Kim Soo, as he came to be known, celebrates the 49th anniversary of his creation in America: Chayon- Ryu, “The Natural Way“ martial arts system. 
Grandmaster Kim Soo with friends and students before his departure
Before Grandmaster Kim Soo decided to come to America, he was making a living in Korea as a full-time martial arts instructor and Black Belt Magazine correspondent. So why did he decide to leave his wife and young son behind and come to America? To understand his decision, it is necessary to know some of the history of the Korean martial arts. We are not attempting to make an in-depth exploration of this topic. However, because of its significance for this story, we will try to summarize chronologically the most important events in the history of the Korean martial arts after World War II. 

The First Generation of Korean Masters
After World War II several Korean masters who had emigrated to China or Japan during the Japanese rule returned to Korea and started teaching their arts to the civilian population, mostly adult males. This first generation of Korean masters were highly educated individuals who studied abroad and reached different levels in Chuan Fa (Kung Fu) and Karate (mainly Shotokan, Shito- Ryu and Shudokan styles). 
Grandmaster Yoon
One of these masters was Yoon Byung-In, who learned Chuan Fa in Manchuria, where he was born and raised. He later attended Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, and he was recognized as a 4th dan in Shudokan Karate under the founder of this style Toyama Kanken. Grandmaster Yoon Byung- In founded the Kwon-Beop Bu in the Central YMCA in Seoul in 1946, teaching a combination of Chuan Fa and Karate (the only school in Korea with a background in Chinese martial arts). 
This school was known initially as “the YMCA Kwon-Beop Bu,” but later at the end of 1948 GM Yoon Byung-In named it the “Chang-Moo Kwan” (House of Bright Martial Arts). During this time there was a branch Chang-Moo Kwan dojang run by Lee Nam-Sok at the Communications Department in Seoul, where he was an employee. This dojang was known as the “Chae-Shin Bu Kong Soo Do Dojang” (Communications Department Dojang).
The most relevant schools (kwans) established in Seoul during this period were:
Chung-Do Kwan–Tang Soo Do
Lee Won-Kuk
Song-Moo Kwan-Kong Soo Do
Roh Byung-Jik
Moo-Duk Kwan–Tang Soo Do
Hwang Kee
Yun-Moo Kwan–Kwon-Beop Bu
Chun Sang-Sub and Yoon Byung–In
1.      YMCA Kwon-Beop Bu (Chang- Moo Kwan)
Yoon Byung-In

This first generation of masters had only about four years to pass on their knowledge because the Korean War started on June 25,1950, and all schools stopped their activities.

The Second Generation of Masters
After the temporary stoppage during the Korean War, classes started again in the latter part of 1952. Several black belts who had received instruction from the first generation of masters reopened their schools, becoming later the second generation of Korean masters.
Some of the original masters disappeared during the war, including Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In, the founder of the Kwon-Beop Bu (YMCA)(later Chang-Moo Kwan). The Central YMCA building was completely destroyed by bombing during the war. In 1952 Lee Nam-Sok reopened the Chae- Shin Bu Dojang at a vacated building damaged by the war that belonged to the Communications Department, where he was an employee. 
With GM Yoon Byung-In missing and the YMCA building destroyed, many of the YMCA students, including Park Chull-Hee and Hong Jong-Pyo, started training at the Chae-Shin Bu. 
Initially the school was known as the “Chae-Shin Bu” (Communications Department Dojang) and later adopted the name “Chang-Moo Kwan” (House of Bright Martial Arts). In 1956, Park Chull-Hee and Hong Jong-Pyo, feeling that Lee Nam-Sok was never appointed to use the Chang- Moo Kwan name and that it didn’t represent Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In anymore, decided to leave the school, and created the Kang-Duk Won (Institute of Teaching Morality). 
Many members of the Chang-Moo Kwan supported the new school and transferred to the Kang-Duk Won.
During the early sixties there were several schools in Korea, the most prominent being:

Chung-Do Kwan Tang Soo Do
Son Duk–Sung and Uhm Woon-Kyu
Song-Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do
Roh Byung-Jik
Moo-Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do
Hwang Kee
Ji-Do Kwan Kong Soo Do
Yoon Kwe-Byung and Lee Chong-Woo
Chang-Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do
Lee Nam-Seok
Han-Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do
Lee Gyo-Yoon
Oh-Do Kwan Taekwondo
Choi Hong-Hi and Nam Tae-Hee
Kang-Duk Won/Kwon-Beop Mudo
Park Chul-Hee and Hong Jong–Pyo. Kim Pyung-Soo opened a dojang in Seoul in 1964 under this organization (Kang-Duk Won), named Korean Taekwon-Karate Academy.

Jung-Do Kwan Tang Soo Do
Lee Yong-Woo

The Third Generation of Korean Masters.

The third generation of masters became the foundation of Tae Kwon Do. One of these masters is Grandmaster Kim Soo.
Grandmaster Kim Soo began his martial arts training in 1951. In late 1952 he started training under Lee Nam-Sok in the Chae-Shin Bu (later Chang-Moo Kwan,) earning his black belt two years later. In 1957 he transferred to the Kang- Duk Won, receiving instruction from Park Chull-Hee and Hong Jong-Pyo. In late 1957 he became an assistant instructor to Park Chull- Hee. In 1962 Grandmaster Kim Soo received a 5th dan in the first promotion test carried by the Korea Taesoo-do Association. In November 1964 Grandmaster Kim Soo became a full-time martial arts instructor, founding his Korean Taekwon Karate Academy in Seoul. He was also teaching at the US Army compound (I-Corps Headquarters) and at the 8th US Army base. In December 1967 he received his 6th dan from the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA).
Grandmaster Kim Soo is black belt #44 in the KTA and # 24 in the Chang-Moo Kwan in all Korea.
Grandmaster Kim Soo also served as a Black Belt Magazine correspondent in the 1960s, helping introduce Korean martial arts to the world.
During this period, the Korean government was pressing for the unification of all schools (kwans) under the Tae Kwon Do umbrella with the objective to promote Tae Kwon Do as an Olympic sport. The KTA asked the kwans to drop their forms and concentrate only in sparring. (The KTA later developed the Yudanja series of forms). 
GM Kim Soo teaches GM Yoons Bong Hyung
Grandmaster Kim Soo’s dream was to preserve the legacy of Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In; he refused to abandon the teachings of his predecessors by joining the Tae Kwon Do movement and decided to come to America in January 1968 to follow his dream. His decision led him to the creation of his martial arts system: Chayon-Ryu (The Natural Way), synthesizing all the teachings of his masters and preserving the legacy of Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In.
Chayon-Ryu, “the Natural Way,” is a unique style of martial art. It combines the influences of all major Asian martial arts from China, Korea, Okinawa and Japan in a contemporary system that emphasizes natural body motions ( hence its name ) and basic principles discovered by Grandmaster Kim Soo through many years of training and teaching. 
The foundation of the system is the traditional Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and at the advanced level the students learn Chuan Fa forms and self-defense strategies that combine Hapkido and Judo / Jiu-Jitsu and Kendo principles. Many of the forms practiced by the original Korean grandmasters, nowadays almost lost, are preserved in the system, especially those of Chuan Fa origin (including partner forms). 
It also incorporates the original Tae Kwon Do (KTA/WTF) forms (Palgue series and original Koryo, Taebaek and Ji tae) and Bong Sul (long staff forms). The system also includes bayonet forms created by Grandmaster Kim Soo for the Korean Army (ROK). Chayon- Ryu offers a very rich and diverse curriculum to its students. 
The list of forms for rank advancement in Chayon-Ryu includes a large group from the Yoon Byung-In legacy (Chang- Moo Kwan /Kang Duk Won curriculum): ShudoKan Karate and Chuan Fa forms.
Chayon-Ryu test requirements include:
1.      Forms
2.      Techniques
3.      Self-defense
4.      One-step (formal and practical) and three steps (formal) exercises
5.      Tightening ways
6.      Hapki-Yusul
7.      Breaking
8.      Sparring
9.      Written test

All candidates for black belt must submit a written thesis to receive their dan.
Even though Grandmaster Kim Soo didn’t join the sport Tae Kwon Do movement he contributed to its early development by writing several books in English (published by O’Hara in 1973) and in Russian (Published by The of Moscow State University in 2000) about of the original forms of KTA/WTF (Palgue series). Grandmaster Kim Soo also was the first instructor who taught the recently created Tae Kwon Do black belt forms outside of Korea (Houston, TX. 1968). 
GM Kim Soo teaching at the Kukiwon 2016
Grandmaster Kim Soo was promoted to 10th dan black belt by his senior Grandmaster Hong Jong- Pyo in 1994. At that time GM Hong was the Chief instructor at the Central YMCA in Seoul.
Recently, Grandmaster Kim Soo was invited to the Taekwondo Hall of Fame ceremony in Korea and was asked to teach the Kukkiwon demonstration team. He taught them some forms and techniques from his GM Yoon Byung-In background. Grandmaster Kim Soo has been teaching the legacy of Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In continuously for over 60 years! Thanks to his teachings, Grandmaster Yoon Byung-In’s legacy is alive.
Grandmaster Kim Soo could have become a high-ranking Tae Kwon Do official and traveled the world; he was even asked by General Choi Hong-Hi to join the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) and work for him, on several occasions in Korea and later in Houston, TX, but he chose to share his knowledge and preserve his system (Chang-Moo Kwan/Kang-Duk Won) for future generations. That decision led him to the creation of his own system: Chayon-Ryu.
Chayon-Ryu is not a competitive style. t is a lifestyle martial arts system. Grandmaster Kim Soo states that “the real competition in life takes place from within.” Chayon-Ryu is a martial arts system like no other in the contemporary world of martial arts, a real treasure for modern-day martial art students.
If you want to learn more about Chayon- Ryu please go to

This article appeared in TAEKWONDO TIMES MAGAZINE.
About the author
Sabom Alberto Borjas has more than 40 years of training and teaching martial arts. He is a Tae Kwon Do master instructor (Kukkiwon) and also holds black belts in Karate and Chayon-Ryu, which he has been training since 2013 under its founder, Grandmaster Kim Soo. 

Originally from Cuba, he was one of the first Tae Kwon Do black belts and WTF international referees from that country. 

He was a martial arts instructor for the Chuck Norris Kickstart Kids Foundation for over ten years in Houston, TX, where he currently resides.

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