Kim Soo leads the Taik Kyun Kwon-Bop club of Han Kuk
Univ. which he founded in 1960 while he was a student
of the University. They are training on the University's
In a world inundated with fast food, special effects,
sales media and empty promises, how can anyone know what has true
value. Unless you have first hand knowledge of true martial arts,
it is very difficult to know which martial arts school you can trust.
Many people say, "I want to learn but there are so many schools.
How can I choose the right school for me?"
The first thing you should understand is all martial arts schools
are not the same. More importantly, only a few schools offer
quality martial arts instruction. Therefore the least important
criteria is the school's proximity to your home.
Martial arts is not a sport. Quality martial arts instruction is
a balance of physical and psychological training. Over 95% of schools
concentrate on the physical technique. You should recognize that
these schools are teaching low quality martial arts. They are also
likely to be involved in tournaments. The main reason for their
affiliation with tournaments is that they generate substantial cash
flow for the school's owner and promoters. Instead of promoting
the positive lessons of martial arts, the tournament's participants
engage in the pursuit of aggression without control. While the participants
are focused on aggression they are vulnerable to injuries, experience
feelings of failure and neglect the lessons of humility and compassion.
Tournaments were never part of martial arts training by the "Old
Masters." The "Old Masters" were aware that the participants
gain a false sense of their abilities without a positive learning
Your training environment should promote safety and education. You
can easily see that schools that require excessive padding such
as head and body gear do not have a safe training program. Teaching
students to be in control of themselves at all times and respectful
of their partners is fundamental. Injuries occur when positive qualities
of respect and self-discipline are replaced by bad intentions and
lack of control. Safety doesn't only mean protection from contact
injuries. It must include protection from long term progressive
problems, both physically and mentally. These problems arise from
training in systems which are not based on natural body motions.
Your body is designed to move only as a human body naturally moves.
You already know how to walk, run, skip, and jump. These are all
natural motions that include balance of motion without conscious
decision. When you follow a system based on unnatural human motions
the balance that naturally exists between the body and the mind
becomes disrupted. If you train long term using unnatural motions
eventually physical and mental problems will develop.
Top schools educate, not coach. Examine the curriculum. It should
include a history of their system, traditional terminology, basic
principles, preservation of the old forms, meditation and psychology.
All are important facets of a complete martial arts education.
Be suspect of any school that offers a black belt program that requires
less than 4 years training. Although you may be able to memorize
the requirements in less time, the mind needs time to mature. It
takes 4 or more years to gain a real understanding of the lessons
that are fundamental to becoming a true black belt, regardless of
The martial arts world has many so called "10th degree Grandmasters."
I would be suspicious of any "10th degree Grandmaster"
under the age of 60 years. They have not been alive long enough
to earn a legitimate 10th degree ranking. Standard belt ranking
requires 4-5 years to achieve 1st degree black belt. Each following
belt rank requires the same number of additional training years
equal to the belt degree they are trying to achieve. A 10th degree
Grandmaster has to train continuously for 58 years
to legitimately hold that rank. Unfortunately some systems give
each other advance belt rankings every couple of years in order
to gain status for marketing their schools.
Many schools advertise themselves as a "traditional martial
arts school." Upon closer inspection you can see a complete
lack of traditional training. Some schools allow flamboyant outfits,
students can design their own forms, add music to the forms, practice
gymnastic techniques and are constantly making faces in order to
show their warrior spirit. A true martial artist is calm
and relaxed except at the moment of impact, then relaxed again.
Remember that you wanted to join a martial arts school not a circus.
no means is this all the criteria necessary for making an intelligent
choice of martial arts schools. Trust yourself and use your common
sense. Ask someone you trust and respect that has personal experience
with martial arts schools. I want everyone who wishes to train in
martial arts to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Most injuries
sustained by martial arts students are due to poorly trained teachers
and an unsafe training environment. These experiences can ruin what
should be a wonderful experience and encourage the negative perception
of the martial arts world.
I believe that Chayon-Ryu is the most complete authentic martial
arts system in the world. The training is safe for everyone regardless
of age, sex, or personal limitations. You progress at your own pace
under the supervision of qualified teachers and positive results