Date: January 7, 2007
From: Grandmaster Kim Soo
To: All Students
Topic: New Year's Letter

Dear students,

I want to wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous New Year. I have enjoyed being in Korea this holiday season and will share my thoughts and experiences in the coming months.

This New Year’s message appropriately focuses on “New mind – New attitude”. This new mind is achieved through meditation and involves throwing out the old ego. Meditation “clears your mind” and allows you to better accept the lessons of Chayon-Ryu and life. As an example, you don’t have dinner off the same dirty plate night after night. You clean the plate between each meal. If you don’t clean your plate you will get sick. This is simply common sense, Chayon-Ryu – the Natural Way. How then can you come to class and not clear your mind before training? All this is doing is putting the new, fresh lesson on the “dirty plate” of your day. After meditation, your mind is clear and calm, and the words of your instructor mean something completely different than if you hadn’t spent five minutes meditating.

Obviously then, through meditation, your “attitude” will change. It only stands to reason. If the message you are getting from your lesson is different, it will affect you differently. You will understand the ignorance of your old beliefs and opinions. In time, you will see the world in a completely different way. This is Nam, enlightenment, and the purpose of your training. Unlike many martial arts that focus on tournaments and winning, the purpose of Chayon-Ryu is to achieve Nam. This may seem like a lofty goal, but anyone can learn the physical skills of “kick and punch”. These physical skills are not an end in themselves. Chayon-Ryu works through the physical skills to improve the mind. Su Ryon is the perseverance and commitment to continue training, and will lead to you finding yourself and whatever it is you want out of life.

2007 is a special year for me personally. It completes my 39th year in Houston; it marks my 50 years of teaching Martial Arts and also my retirement from teaching. In this sense it is a very loose retirement, as I will still be teaching, just not six days each week as I have in the past. This will also allow a smooth transition of leadership to Master Sean Kim. He will need the support of all high-ranking Black Belts and also interested junior students who care about the continued success of Chayon-Ryu.

I hope to see you regularly in class, and also at the many special events this year.

Sincerely,

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