Don Martin

Chayon Ryu “Leadership Training

By Don Martin

Today as well as historically there is a constant demand for leadership both local and global. More often than not true leaders are in short supply. In our families, schools, businesses, community and government our lives are centered around maintaining the status quo rarely embracing new and improved ways of living.

Abraham Lincoln said “leadership is the ability to see opportunities which others cannot and to possess the ability to express that vision in such a way that when others hear it they too can see it”.

Unfortunately we do not teach leadership in school and often not at home. Leadership requires independent thought, courage, good communication and a true desire to improve one’s life and the world around them. 

In Chayon Ryu leadership training begins at the Purple Belt level and continues for the rest of your career as a martial artist.

Personally I received my Purple belt at the age of 22. Until then I had never had the opportunity or responsibility to teach, manage or lead. As with many things new and challenging it was scary to stand in front of others, and in this case, people of all ages and types and be in charge and responsible for them.

Grand Master Kim Soo considered these issues along with many others when he designed Chayon Ryu and structured it in such a way as to provide a solid foundation for training and teaching with a progressive program that allows the student/instructor more and more freedom as his/her skills develop.

Through this process I became quite comfortable as an instructor which increased my self confidence substantially as well as my leadership skills overall including communicating with and managing others.

Similar to what Thomas Edison said “invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” leadership is 1% vision and 99% implementation”. Through my training at Chayon Ryu I began to learn about implementation and the skills required to be an effective leader.

In my engineering and manufacturing business we have many talented professionals yet among them it is rare to find those who are willing to lead and even fewer who have been trained to do so.

We have found that through a 4 year apprentice program we opened the minds and expanded the skill set of many of our young professionals the vast majority of which have done very well for themselves with a few moving on to leadership roles.

I have had the benefit of being trained as a black belt in Chayon Ryu and as a Tool Maker at the original Hughes Tool Company in Houston Texas.

These two programs I believe are responsible for my strong desire to start my own business which I did 20 years ago which now provides a great quality of life for my family.

Technical ability can provide a good salary and career but leadership and management leverages that skill set dramatically for you and the world around you.

Grand Master has trained over 10,000 individuals many who have gone on to train over 1,000 students themselves which is the case here at Chayon Ryu Tucson Branch. In this way Grand Master has leveraged his contribution to society many times over. With over 100 branch schools teaching over the last 40 years, at an average of 1,000 students each that’s another 1,000,000 students touched by the teachings of our Grand Master!

Over the last two decades I have leveraged my business success using what I learned from Grand Master Kim Soo. The confidence, strength and skills developed through training enhanced with the teaching, management and leadership elements as an instructor make Chayon Ryu one of the best investments I have ever made in my life.

Teaching a martial arts class requires both technical skill and personal courage. Martial arts techniques can be very technical and dangerous and if done incorrectly don’t work and can result in injury.  At Chayon Ryu an instructor works with kids, men and women of all ages and level of experiences from very young children, to strong men and women to senior citizens. This broad mix of people and teachings requires a host of skills to ensure a successful outcome.

When a strong, young and quick individual with an attitude gets angry, frustrated or scared while sparring, it takes some getting used to. The skills required to defuse this type of situation, maintain control and allow everyone to feel good about the experience doesn’t come easily or quickly. This type of situation is further complicated by the fact that you may not be simply leading class but directly involved with the individual and engaged physically one on one! There is a lot to learn here about others but yourself as well! But like everything else once you’ve got it you’ve got it and you can apply that skill to many many situations. With family, friends, employees, business associates and strangers this experience and skill set is very powerful. These skills can be learned in other places but they are few and far between.

In closing I salute our Grand Master Kim Soo and thank him for all he has done for me and others in our community.