Typical University of Houston class


"The most significant aspect of Chayon-Ryu training is its philosophy, which has helped me handle life more effectively."

How Chayon-Ryu Made a Difference in My Life

by Mary Tran, Yellow Belt, Spring Semester 1997, University of Houston

I was so excited about the prospect of graduating from high school, and beginning my university studies, I never fully anticipated the difficulties I'd have adjusting to college life. I was completely unprepared for the stresses -- registration, buying books, moving into my own apartment, being completely responsible for myself, and finding my way around the campus and an unfamiliar city.

I first enrolled in swimming, but a day of that made me acknowledge a deep fear of swiming pools, and bathing suits. Aerobics class did not fit into my schedule; other PE classes did not appeal to me.

I chose karate class.

I justified this choice by reminding myself I'd once, as a youngster, been interested in martial arts; I hoped the class would be an easy A. Looking back, it was not really surprising that I would be attracted to an activity which would boost my self-confidence. I never expected these classes to effect my life so meaningfully.

I joined the University of Houston Chayon-Ryu class, established in l968 by Grandmaster Kim Soo, founder of Chayon-Ryu. Grandmaster Kim still teaches these huge classes, which are said to be the largest martial arts continuous classes in the world -- 150 students in two separate beginner classes, twice a week on the UH Central Campus..(One more class, for more advanced students, is also offered in the afternoon.)

Through the Chayon-Ryu program at UH, I have learned therapeutic qualities of meditation, and the importance of discipline. Both have allowed me to concentrate better, and perform closer to my full potential in university classes. Discipline allows me to focus on ideas, so I have a clearer understanding of class subject matter. Meditation calms me, enabling me to clear my mind, so I can put ideas into larger perspective; it also reduces stress. I apply the two inside and outside of Chayon-Ryu class. My studies have improved, because mediation and discipline help me understand and remember facts and details; this has improved my exam scores.

While improving my mental powers, Chayon-Ryu has also improved my physical health. Chayon-Ryu training forced me to learn movements I originally was embarrassed to try; I was self-conscious about every flaw. But consistent training improved my self-confidence. As a result, I am healthier and more active.

Before I took Chayon-Ryu classes, I avoided sports because I frequently lost. I was convinced this could be attributed to abnormally poor hand-eye coordination, which seemed permanent. As I continued training, I was relieved and encouraged when my instructor, Grandmaster Kim Soo, stressed the universality of Chayon-Ryu, saying it was meant to make students more successful in life, not just in physical training. He said he didn't expect everyone to master the movements immediately, but emphasized a sincere attitude more than perfect performance.

As training went on, I found I was not a pathetically clumsy person, as I'd thought I was. Instead, I was more than managing to keep up with the rest of the students in class. I became much more confident in my athletic ability; now I actually enjoy playing sports, because I no longer put winning first.

The most significant aspect of Chayon-Ryu training is its philosophy, which has helped me handle life more effectively Chayon-Ryu taught me that attitude is the most important factor in life. So I have tried to enjoy life more. This traditional martial arts system has not only taught me self-defense, but also more awareness of the interaction between the physiological and mental aspects of life. I am learning to accept my shortcomings, without discouragement; thus I've learned respect and humility., while becoming more secure and fit.

Although my original reason for joining the University of Houston Chayon-Ryu class was cowardice, my reason for continuing with the training is a genuine desire for enrichment of my life-- and certainty that it will come, with time and effort.