1972 - 34 yr. old Grandmaster Kim Soo in Memorial Park
Martial Arts Mastery
by Bill Wallauer - 1st Gup Brown Belt
Baytown, Tx.

   Grandmaster Kim has many stories to tell. Like the sayings of a Zen master or spiritual parables from Western traditions, they distill a lifetime of hard-won wisdom in a few eloquent phrases that linger in the mind. One that I think bears repeating is a story that arose from Grandmaster Kim's constant effort to help his students understand what Martial Arts mastery is.

Grandmaster Kim related that he had seen several instances of people incorrectly attempting to show Martial Arts mastery. In each instance the show-off had requested and received volunteers for a demonstration.

In one demonstration the person was to hold a cigarette in his lips, while the supposed master kicked the cigarette out while wearing a blindfold. What the volunteer actually demonstrated was how to be knocked flat by a kick to the jaw.

Another supposed master - also blindfolded - claimed he would demonstrate how to kick an apple off the volunteer's head. Once again the student gave a perfect demonstration of how to be knocked down by a kick to the head.

The final truly frightening story concerned a supposed master who claimed he was going to throw darts into an apple on a volunteer's head. Thankfully, the volunteer was facing away from the thrower, because this unhappy volunteer ended up with a dart stuck in his neck.

Grandmaster asked, "What were these people the masters of? Kicking cigarettes from people's lips or apples from their heads! Martial Arts is not about tricks."

When Grandmaster lets us know about such things, he is teaching us what he has learned, In this case, The simplest lesson for us is to not volunteer to help someone we do not know enough to trust. A deeper lesson can be learned from examining what a master is by reflecting about what a true master would do or not do.

 A true master would never risk hurting someone to show off some trick.