Ki Chung Kim
Taekwondo Champion and Instructor
Ki Chung Kim was one of the first Korean Taekwondo instructors to teach in theUnited States. He was a member of the Korean Taekwondo Association (1) [[Korean Taekwondo Association]], US Taekwondo Federation (2) [[US Taekwondo Federation]], and the World Taekwondo Association (3)[[World Taekwondo Association]].
Ki Chung Kim was born onJune 22, 1941in Nonsan,Koreaand died onDecember 30, 1996inOrange,NJ. He went toNonsanDaegunHigh SchoolandKoreaUniversitywhen he earned a BA in English literature.
During the Korean War, Nonsan was the center of five battles (4). Ki Chung Kim remembered seeing war causalities. When one wonders why he was such an excellent fighter and instructor, they need to think about this war experience. He was physically gifted with speed, power, and coordination. Being exposed to the war could have been an underlying reason why he chose Taekwondo. He could have wanted to develop himself to the point where he would not have to be concerned with being injured or killed.
When Ki Chung Kim was in elementary school, he wanted to study Taekwondo. However, he felt that he was not strong enough so he spent a year building himself up by lifting weights and training in the basic movements of Taekwondo. It worked, he was the national Korean Middleweight Taekwondo champion in 1967 (5) and collegiate champion in 1965 (6).
Ki Chung Kim has many noteworthy students that include Mark Williams (7), Keith Kelly (8), Herbert Perez (9), and Yusuf Bilal (10). Ki Chung Kim’s brother, Jon Chung Kim won the 1970 Korea National Championship (11) and currently teaches Taekwondo in Allentown,PA.
Ki Chung Kim came toAmericain June 1968 and taught at the Cranford Judo andKarateCenterwith Yoshisada Yonezuka (12). He then started Taekwondo schools inAllentown,Pennsylvania,OrangeNJ, andWest Orange,NJ. Ki Chung Kim also taught classes atRutgersUniversityandMorrisCountyCommunity College.
In addition to being a gifted competitor and instructor, Ki Chung Kim is also remembers for his depth of philosophy. He required that his black Belts read books such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu (13)[[Art of War]], I Ching (14) [[I Ching]] and Doctrine of the Mean a Neo-Confucian book composed and compiled by Zisi (15) [[Doctrine of the Mean]].
Ki Chung Kim felt that the philosophy and nature of Taekwondo we occasionally misunderstood. The general public tends to believe that karate and Taekwondo are methods of screaming and breaking bricks. Many martial arts participants tend to regard Taekwondo as just another style of karate. At times, Taekwondo instructors have been criticized as being overly traditional and for excluding groups of people from participating in the art. By examining the fine relationships between all groups in the martial arts, one can immediately tell that Korean instructors do not harbor any prejudicial beliefs.
During the mid 1970’s Ki Chung Kim explained some of philosophy. His quotes were recorded by Charles Blachford and are as follows:
Basic Techniques and Values
The basic physical movements of Taekwondo are the foundation of the participants’ development. Basic blocking, striking and kicking techniques are repeated many times so that the player can learn them well. In kicking, one is taught to use the same general body movements that are used in walking. The natural, smooth method is important in delivering an effective kick. This basic concept is important in developing advanced students who do not telegraph their kicks. Without this concept, a player’s skill is limited.
A building with a weak foundation cannot be built very high without falling down. Great composers of music have strong command of basic musical principles. Without this command, the great pieces would never have been written. Taekwondo instructors continue to emphasize basic movements so that the potential skills of their students will not be unnecessarily limited. In order for a person to achieve his goal in the martial arts, his basic techniques must be well developed.
The emphasis on good, solid basic movements may bore beginning students. It is natural for people to become tired of almost anything-including Taekwondo. During the first two to three months, students are enthusiastic about training. After four or five months, they are still practicing the basic movements. While the instructor is looking for a high degree of proficiency, the student may be feeling that the basics are tedious and repetitious.
In order to ease these feelings, I can offer some advice. The student should realize that it is more important to know a few techniques well than a large number of them poorly. Making a habit of regular class attendance is another way of avoiding boredom in training. A personal schedule for training is also helpful. This includes the use of equipment (light and heavy bags etcetera) and jogging. The player should remember that he will work on more advanced skills as he progresses.
People become involved in the martial arts for many reasons. Self-defense, physical training and the desire to enter competition are all valid purposes of training. Taekwondo instructors recognize the different goals people have and conduct classes to meet the needs of the students. However, all students have some common needs. The total command of basic movements, and control over one’s mental attitude are highly important for every student. Once a student achieves control over his mind and body, he can achieve his goal of self-protection or become a champion. People should remember that they cannot expect miracles to occur overnight.
One basic attitude a player should develop is not to overextend himself physically. In the beginning of training, the exercises are done more for health than for martial arts development. As progress is made, the exercises become directed toward proficient defensive and offensive techniques. The student develops his mental and physical skills. He is no longer satisfied with just living, becoming enthusiastic in his training and in his outlook on life in general. The energy required to perform physical movements creates more energy in the body. Free sparring develops competitive spirit. The basic Taekwondo principle of non-infringement on another person’s rights is carried into everyday activities.
Offense and Defense
The Nature of Offense and Defense The principle of non-infringement takes some people by surprise. Many believe that karate is practice in attacking people. Taekwondo at its highest level is a defensive art and sport. The object is to become perfectly safe. That is, Taekwondo helps a person to protect himself from all outside threats. Then, the need to attack is lessened.
Upon analysis, one sees that offense is self-contradictory. The best offense cannot succeed against a superior defense. If defense prohibits an offensive attack, the defense has succeeded while the offense has failed. Offense has to infringe upon another person. Defense only has to prohibit that infringement.
The highest-level Taekwondo players only use their offensive skills when necessary. If one is in a situation that requires an offensive technique to avoid personal injury, he uses it. In tournaments, players attack so they will not lose a point or the match. On the street, an attempt is made to avoid fights. The person who has a perfectly developed defense and offense does not look for fights. The best settlement is accomplished without a fight. However, if there is no way to avoid the fight, he must try to win.
When two people fight because of an ego problem, they gain nothing. They are contributing equally to the trouble. If one had contributed less, there would have been no fight. Consequently, if one person contributes more than half to a problem, the other must fight. Taekwondo instructors do not want their students to be troublemakers. They teach students to be humble and gentle.
The Goals of Training
Physical training is important in Taekwondo because of the balance between mental and physical skills. A person’s initial physical condition helps determine how well he will do in all sports. Devotion to practice and time spent on exercises are also important to all sports. In Taekwondo, a person’s initial condition is of somewhat less importance because we stress that one is competing with himself. A person’s improvement in coordination and speed are important in relationship to his previous levels of efficiency. Self-satisfaction is gained through self-improvement. generally, the student tries to develop accuracy, speed and timing, in that order.
The height of accuracy is being able to hit the target with full strength hand speed. And this is dependent upon balance. Without balance, one will miss the target or hit improperly. Another concern is that one be comfortable in the movement. By feeling comfortable, one can make natural and well-balanced moves. A desire to hit too hard also causes a loss of accuracy. A well-balanced, comfortable student who does not try to hit too hard will become more accurate in his techniques. In Taekwondo, accuracy is a term applied to both defensive and offensive techniques. Speed and power do not matter if one is not accurate.
Speed is the second concern of Taekwondo training. Speed creates power. Stationary weight has only potential power. The player has to move quickly to make power. Speed practice is designed to make weight move quickly in a straight line. Offensive movements are almost all straight. In the air, the quickest and easiest movements are straight. In order to develop speed, the student must pay strict attention to his instructor. The instructor knows which body positions allow for quick movements. He will recognize body positions that are awkward and may restrict speed.
A third element of proper training is timing. One must adjust the distance between himself and his opponent to block or attack effectively. Since the distance varies depending on the technique, one must use timing to arrive at the correct distance. Just as correct body positions essential to speed, focus of attention is essential to timing. A player must not turn his focus away from an opponent unless it is absolutely necessary. The ultimate timing skills come from knowledge of offensive and defensive techniques. A student gains this knowledge through experiences in sparring.
A student’s skill and mastery of accuracy, speed and timing are dependent on his training. Regular practice is a necessity. During practice, the whole mind must concentrate on the movements. One trains so much that techniques become automatic. The conscious mind does not need to direct the body. A player strives to become so well trained that his subconscious directs his body. As soon as an opening occurs, he has already kicked and scored his point. The instant someone attacks, he blocks.
My Understanding of Learning
Even though every martial arts practitioners an individual, they all share some common experiences. During my own training, concentration was the most difficult thing for me to achieve. Short periods of concentration came easily. However, it was hard to discipline myself to concentrate consistently for long periods of time.
But one’s mind must not murmur. It must stay calm. One must strive to achieve a clear, relaxed mind that is always alert. The player’s mind should be similar to the lake which is high in the mountains. The exact image of the moon is reflected in the clear water. Disturbances of wind or mud distort the moon’s image. A clear mind perceives the exact meaning of the instructor’s words. Physical skills depend on mental state. Without a calm mind, one does not get the exact image. The required confidence is lacking.
As a student, I recognized that it was my instructors who provided the knowledge. They demonstrated and explained their knowledge of Taekwondo. I had to learn the skiffs. There is no way for an instructor to give his skills to a student. Academic teachers cannot pour information into their students’ heads. Karate instructors cannot give a leg to a student to kick with. The student must perceive the correct movement and then practice it many times to learn it.
The Black Belt’s Attitude
The attitudes of black belt practitioners are highly important to the advancement of Taekwondo. Even though every black belt does not possess the ability to instruct, each should be able to assist beginners. A black belt’s physical skills should be developed enough to serve as a correct model for beginners. Mentally, the black belt should not deviate from honesty, understanding, compassion and the proper spirit of Taekwondo. The leaders in any art must be straightforward in their manner. Furthermore, if the art is
The student must perceive the correct movement and then practice it many times to develop it. They must understand the practical and cultural aspects. The martial arts are a refinement of people’s fighting instincts. In the beginning, people fought in much the same way animals fight. The value of refinement is personal dignity. Proud people do not do wrong things. Black belts live life in a well-rounded way. They have a duty to continue learning throughout their lives. They sincerely try to improve themselves through training.
The result of continuous training is the development of an indomitable will. One carries out his intentions as if they were formed in concrete. The value of life is clearly understood. Peace, love, benevolence, magnanimity and sympathy are concepts black belts seek to understand. Taekwondo has spiritual and physical values which blending well with the physical education programs being offered in the colleges and secondary schools in theUnited States. The equipment that is needed for a program is minimal. Students can make substantial physical progress. The measure of a person’s progress is how much he has developed. Little comparison is made with other students or a set criterion. People of virtually all physical body types can do the movements with enough practice. To illustrate this, one need only look at the tournament champions.
Champions have been short, tall, heavy, thin and of almost every racial group. Furthermore, Taekwondo’s non-aggressive philosophy teaches students to be respectful of others. As confidence builds, they do not have to rely on rude speech or rough actions. Taekwondo aids students in their adjustment to the environment. Often things in the environment cause tension in people. The elimination of this tension is dependent on how well people adjust to the problem. Well-cultivated people handle tension with greater ease than people who are not so knowledgeable. Upon being verbally attacked, the truly knowledgeable person does not rush into an argument. After careful thought, he makes a truthful reply. His reply is designed to clarify the issue, not to add to the trouble.
During tournaments, the judges are occasionally assaulted verbally by angry participants. A judge who has developed an harmonious personality can usually deal with the problem in an almost effortless manner. He knows how to stop the complainer through logic, a sharp command or by ignoring him. The judge’s highly developed self-confidence allows him to deal with angry words rationally. A fearful person in the same situation may tend to react emotionally and cause fight. The mental and physical training of Taekwondo facilitates the development of a harmonious personality.
We study hard and smooth movements. Hard techniques which penetrate an opponent’s defenses develop the militant spirit, confidence and courage. Gentle, smooth movements develop composure, stability and resoluteness. When one is resolute, he exudes patience, creativity, modesty and humility. With these qualities, one is able to control himself. With sacrifice, one becomes a gentleman. We strive to become honorable people, not people who lack moral courage. If we accomplish this, we are not the aggressor. We are able to protect our selves and create a mind to help weak people.
A man with a compassionate heart does not have an enemy. A man who has real thought does not chatter. An old saying states,” The empty can makes the most noise.” The ultimate goal of Taekwondo is to control one’s self mentally and physically.
(1) Korean Taekwondo Association http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_Taekwondo_Association
(2) USTaekwondo Association http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Taekwondo_Association
3) World Taekwondo Federation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Taekwondo_Federation
4) Timeline of the Korean War http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/pusan.htm
(5) Koreas Top Taekwondo Players http://www.lacancha.com/koreaplayers.html
(6) The Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame http://www.lacancha.com/greatest.html
(7) Mark Williams biography http://www.markwilliamstkd.com/about.htm
(8) Keith Kelly http://www.lacancha.com/keithkelly.html
(9) Herb Perez 1992 Olympic Gold Medal http://www.lacancha.com/herb92.html
(11) Yusuf Bilal http://www.lacancha.com/tkdinstructors.html
(12) Jon Kim http://www.kimsblackbelt.com/
(13) Yoshisada Yonezuka http://www.cranfordjkc.com/
(14) Art of War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War
(15) I Ching http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching
(16) Doctrine of the Mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_Mean