Posts Tagged ‘martial arts’

Spring is Springing! 

March 13, 2017

I love seeing the signs of springtime…

My martial arts teacher, Dr. Tae Yun Kim teaches about color.

“God loves color! How do I know? Look all around you and see the color that God has given to us!” Dr. Tae Yun Kim exclaims.

So true.

My 2 favorite seasons are Spring and Fall.

The colors are the most vivid then.

But I also love winter…. Especially when there is snow…

I sent these photos to a friend and he commented that it looks so lonely…

I was surprised!

I see so much color in these snowy photos… They don’t feel lonely to me… They feel peaceful and breathtaking.

Isn’t that interesting? This is a wonderful benefit of training with Dr. Tae Yun Kim, Great Grandmaster.

Before I started training, I, too, would’ve felt loneliness in those photos. But that’s because that is where my mind and heart were at the time.

But my life is filled with so much color now… That all I see is beauty everywhere.

What do you see?


Looking for a Good Martial Art School

February 19, 2017

Bruce Lee… Jackie Chan… Jet Li…Tony Jaa…


I love martial art action! Back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I used to watch Black Belt Theater every Saturday afternoon…it was back to back B-rated movies of the greats…Bruce Lee…Jackie Chan before he was “Jackie Chan”…and a whole slew of unknowns….

Back then, I was 10-11 years old…a small Korean girl who was born in America. I didn’t speak any Korean but for some reason, I was fascinated by the martial arts. Of course, growing up in a small dinky town in the middle of Tennessee…there weren’t any martial art schools nearby…and besides, my mom would have NEVER allowed me to start training.  (boys aren’t going to like girls who train!)  She nearly freaked out when I started training in Taekwondo in college!

Anyway, so I’ve been interested in Martial Arts since I was 10.

When I went away to college, I decided to try Taekwondo for P.E. credit!  It was a great way to start and be introduced to the world of martial arts.

But, if you are not in college, you may not have this opportunity.

I had trained in college and when I was studying in France, I trained at a gym there. On my off term from college, I trained at a school in Cambridge, MA. So I got to see and experience different teachers, different schools.

Fortunately, I found a martial art school only a year after I graduated from college, Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy, founded by Great Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim. I learned a LOT when I visited this school for the first time.


Here are some steps you can take and what to look out for!

  1. Check your local yellow pages or google to see how many martial art schools are in a 20 mile radius from your home or work.
  2. Look at their ads first – seem geared more towards kids? towards flashy acrobatics? or do they emphasize more spiritual and mental aspects?
  3. When you first walk into the school, do you feel anything? Does it feel warm & inviting? Is everything neat and orderly?
  4. Are the other students smiling and talking with each other when they are in the lobby?
  5. Are the students focused on training when they are on the training floor?
  6. Are the students’ uniforms clean and looking good?
  7. Meet the instructors, how do you feel about them? Are they personable and easy to talk to?
  8. Check out the bathrooms… You can learn a LOT from bathrooms 🙂 – are they clean & tidy? are there showers and/or lockers? are all the supplies well stocked?
  9. Are the kids running around wildly and out of control?
  10. Does everyone seem happy?

Every martial art is different from each other. The physical moves may differ, the commands/terminology may differ, but all martial art schools should project the same/or similar tenets and philosophies…based on honor, discipline and respect.

I learned the most from Great Grandmaster Kim because her school and her art form were so different from anything I had done before. Not the actual movements, but with the philosophies and practices.

I had become disillusioned with the belt ranking system in college when I saw one Master promote students who never even came to class much, but had paid their $45 testing fee. To me that meant the belt color didn’t mean anything.

Paying a fee for testing is standard in all martial art systems. But when I found out at Jung SuWon was that if a student wasn’t ready to test, they weren’t allowed to test…not even if they brought the fee money with them!

I was impressed with that. That meant that Jung SuWon wasn’t just collecting testing fees for students who weren’t ready to move to the next rank.

The most important thing about choosing a good martial art school is that you have to feel good about the environment and about the instructors.

Every school is not for every person. So the best thing you can do is to visit the school, try out a class if it is allowed, and meet the instructors.

You’ll know if that school is right for you… you will feel it inside. As Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim teaches, trust your Silent Master (your sixth sense).

Check it out!

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone!

January 25, 2017

Wait! What?? You want me to do do WHAT??

Step out of my comfort zone?


Sounds scary… it can be. There is a lot of fear with even thinking about stepping out of my comfort zone.

But with that fear comes great rewards.

My martial art teacher, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, teaches that as long as we stay in our comfort zone, we cannot grow. If I stay stagnant because I’m more comfortable, how will I ever expand my thinking, try new things, experience life?

That “Comfort Zone” is awfully comfortable… it is familiar… it is comforting… but it is also there because I had been unwilling to change, to try new things…

Fear has been my friend for WAY too long.

There is actually some excitement with stepping out of my Comfort Zone… facing the unknown…not sure of what will happen… but knowing that my martial art training has actually prepared me quite well for this.

Dr. Tae Yun Kim is definitely the MASTER of stepping out of the comfort zone…She reaches for goals that seem WAY out of reach, yet she does it confidently and uses her “Future Memory” to see the results already delivered.

Even facing fears like swimming… Dr. Kim just dives in (literally!) and does everything she can to overcome the fears.

That’s why she is my inspiration and my role model.

In my life, I have stepped out of my comfort zone on my own a couple of times, but not enough to make a difference. It is too easy to get stuck in a rut and just accept the status quo.

But NO MORE!  This is 2017! And the year is almost over!!

This is my year for STEPPING OUT and doing things I have never done before… I just started today… but more on those details later…

The world is looking a LOT BRIGHTER outside “the zone”!


Storms and Blue Skies

January 22, 2017

Last night, it was RAINING. The wind was strong and the power went out! The storm was raging and it felt like it could go on for days.

When I woke up this morning, the sun was out, the sky was blue, the birds were chirping.


Sometimes a day might seem so gloomy or so depressing, all dark and cloudy, but before you know it, the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

My martial arts teacher, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, teaches that even when the sky is full of dark clouds, guess what? The sun IS STILL THERE! It’s just hiding behind the clouds. All it takes is for one cloud to move and the sun will shine brightly through the sky.

This is related to the Maybe story I talked about in the previous blog post.

Sometimes, things happen in life that are unexpected and may seem to be very negative or very depressing. We just need to remember that the SUN IS STILL THERE. So don’t get caught up in the depressing feeling…or the anger or sadness.


Wait? Maybe you LIKE to feel depressed or sad or angry…so you WANT to stay in that pit of despair.

I know, I was totally like that for my entire life before I started training at Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy.

When I was growing up, throughout my childhood, teenage years and even in college, I liked feeling sorry for myself. I liked feeling like the whole world was against me. I liked feeling helpless. I called it “wallowing in my own self-pity”. Of course I had to do it because no one was there for me. I was all alone.

I used to commiserate with myself and had a mantra of all the reasons why my life sucked and why no one loved me.

But you know what? Doing that was SO lazy! I didn’t want to address the issues and try to resolve them. It was just easier to just be miserable than to try to be happy in my life.

When I started training at Jung SuWon, Dr. Tae Yun Kim would teach in class and say things like “practice being happy until you actually feel happy!”

I was really confused. I didn’t see how that related to training in the martial arts. And then I felt like I would be lying if I pretended to be happy.

Great Grandmaster asked me, “Don’t you WANT to be happy?”

“Of course!” I exclaimed.

Then she said to me, “it’s not lying. You are projecting how you want to be, so you need to practice being happy. Then one day, you will start to actually FEEL happy!”

What a simple concept!

For the past 25 years, I have been doing just that… practicing being happy and you know what?

I am REALLY Happy now!!!

Dr. Kim has also said “Practice your success.”

I never thought of it like this before…I used to just drift through life, expecting things to “just happen”…but you know what?  Success doesn’t just fall in your lap.  You have to drive yourself towards it and Practice it so that you will become successful! Yes, IT TAKES WORK and ENERGY!  But you have to decide that you want to do this and then Just Do It.

Have a wonderful and beautiful day!




Don’t have any regrets!

January 6, 2017

I played the piano from when I was age 6 through 18…12 years.  My mother used to always tell me to Practice, Practice, Practice!  She would say: Practice Makes Perfect!

Me, the rebellious one… my reply?  “No one can be perfect, so why practice?!”

Typical child, adolescent, teen..

Children never know what is good for them!

I definitely learned my lesson! Fast forward to my college years…when I discovered that NOT EVERYONE learned to play an instrument when they were younger! That gave me a new perspective on my life and I realized that I was grateful to my mom for pushing me for so  many years to learn to play the piano.  Now I can play!

I only wish that they had pushed me to learn to speak Korean!!!  Argh!! One of my biggest regrets in my life…not learning when I was growing up, when it would’ve been easier to master…

Hindsight is always 20/20…unfortunately, most of us go through life pretty blind…

My martial arts master, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has always encouraged me to learn more, to be educated in all different areas. I just never went all the way!

I don’t want to have any more regrets in my life.

This is my year to GO ALL THE WAY and really become educated in many different arenas. I am diving into a huge blue ocean and not looking back. Thank you Dr. Tae Yun Kim for always giving me wise advice!

More on my Black Belt Testing…

April 7, 2013

I faced many challenges that day.  But I was strangely calm.  Unlike my Red belt testing, I was jittery and very nervous.  I was nervous on the day of my Black Belt testing, but there was less running through my mind.

Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim is amazing.  For the past 2 years prior, I kept hearing that I would be testing for my Black Belt that year..but I wasn’t really ready at those times. 

When I tested for my Black Belt in 1997 I was ready.

There were only 4 of us testing.  I was the only female.  The challenges were intense.

We sparred multiple opponents, tied to a chair, tied to a 5 gallon jug of water.  During our board breaking, there were 4 stations of holders and we all broke at the same time.  Great Grandmaster would call out a technique and we would have to break the board using that technique.  The techniques included ridge hand, knife hand, fish tail, bear paw, hip break, shoulder break and more.  I had never tried many of the techniques before, but when they were called out, I just did them.  I distinctly remember the middle punch. 

This is one of the first hand techniques you learn as a white belt. 

I was scared of breaking a board with a middle punch. I did this for my white to yellow belt testing and I really bruised my knuckles badly.  That’s the difference between using energy to break a board versus physical force.  When you physically force a break, usually, you bruise something.

I remember this at my black belt testing because after the test, my knuckles weren’t bruised at all.

We did multiple brick breaks as well. 

One of my first ones was with 2 free standing bricks… a hand technique.  I chose knife hand.  

I broke the bricks, but I missed slightly and hit a very tender point on my wrist.  This was critical because later, Great Grandmaster asked me to do a nunchukku demonstration… and my wrist could barely bend.

At my red belt testing, I had hurt my wrist trying to do a palm heel break on bricks…and then Great Grandmaster asked me to do a bong demonstration!

I remember gripping my nunchucks as tightly as possible because I didn’t want to fling them into the audience!

I would love to see video of my Black Belt testing because though I remember it, much was still a blur.  I’m a photographer, so I’m more comfortable behind the camera.  I don’t see many photos with myself in them…or video… so it would be fascinating for me to watch my Black Belt testing.

Check out part of my Black Belt testing here:


Black Belt Testing… 1997

March 9, 2013

My Black Belt testing given by Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim was one of the most memorable moments in my life.

Only 4 of us were in this testing cycle.  Three guys and me.

I was very nervous.  Though testing technically began at 6:00pm, I started warming up at 3:00pm.

I decided to swing my wooden nunchukkus… and in my nervousness, I made a mistake and one of the chucks swung back and slammed me in the back of the hand!  Oy. Now I had a big bruise on the back of my hand!  Bummer!  Testing night hadn’t even started yet!

I continued to warm up and stretch… then 6:00pm rolled around.

My parents came to watch my testing.  This was the first time they had ever seen me test in the martial arts.  They had been so against my training for my whole life.  It was interesting that they were there watching me.  They had no idea what I had gone through to get to that point. So I’m sure they would be surprised and nervous to see me go through all the upcoming challenges.

more on this later….

They had never even seen me spar before!

One of the challenges we had to face is being tied to a chair and facing multiple sparring partners.  For me, I think it is easier to be tied to the chair because you can use the chair to your advantage and swing the legs around to block incoming kicks!  Trust me, it’s more painful for the attackers!

It is interesting that my parents were there.

For 6 years, every time I talked to my mom on the phone (they were living in Tennessee), she ALWAYS asked me, “are you still doing that Jung SuWon?”

I couldn’t seem to convince her that I was training for the long haul and that I was determined to earn my Black Belt… and here I was… testing for Black Belt…and my parents were sitting right there in the dojang.  It was truly a Twilight zone feeling.

The Road to Black Belt…continued…

March 3, 2013

My Black Belt testing was scheduled for 6:00pm.  I was so nervous that I started warming up at 3:00pm.

I was very nervous…

In my Red belt testing, I faced a physical challenge that I couldn’t seem to overcome.  Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim put a stack of 4 bricks in front of me to break with an Axe kick.

I had broken bricks before but couldn’t break through this stack.  Starting with 4, SLAM! none broke.  After a few attempts, 1 brick was removed… BAM!  still, nothing broke.

1 more brick removed… only 2 left… WHAM! STILL! Nothing broke.

Now, this was more than a physical challenge.  I had broken 2 bricks before. But I couldn’t break through these 2 bricks.

Then, 1 more brick removed.  Only 1 brick left.

But, more than the brick itself, my MIND was the block.  I couldn’t even break through the 1 brick!

Now, logically and scientifically, my rational mind told me that I had a mental block.

But I couldn’t seem to disperse that mental block!  I couldn’t get past that 1 brick! I hit it over and over again and the only thing to break was my embarrassment because so many people were watching and I couldn’t get past this.

Then, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim did what only a master would do.

She restacked up the 4 bricks… then called up the 3 weakest women in the school.  Not to downplay those women, but 2 of them were much older than me and 1 was just more girly and not very athletic or physically strong.

Each one broke the stack of 4 bricks with an axe kick in one shot!


Again, rationally, I understood that my challenge wasn’t a physical one, but a mental one.

This time, Great Grandmaster put only 1 brick in front of me… SMASH! I broke it!

Then stacked 2 bricks… CRASH!  I Broke them!

Then 3…. BAM!  I broke them!

Then 4… again and again.. I couldn’t seem to get through 4… that seemed to be my mental limit.

Testing for that day ended…but as with all testings at Jung SuWon, testing ISN’T just a one day event.  Testing occurs every day, every moment.

Needless to say, my right heel was bruised and tender from smashing it against bricks all night.

I earned my Red Belt, but I had not finished testing yet.

Five months later… the next group of Brown belts were testing for their Red belt.  Coincidentally, one of the Brown belts testing was one of the “weak” women who was called up to break my 4 bricks…

This time, I was facing the student, taking pictures. I was cheering her on because she had already done it once before.

She tried several times, but couldn’t even break one brick. Funny how energy works!

Suddenly, Great Grandmaster called my name.

I stood up.

Great Grandmaster said, “she broke your bricks at your testing, now it’s your turn”

I think all the blood rushed out of my body. I was so nervous; I think I turned white. There were no thoughts in my mind. I was completely blank.

I removed all my camera gear and moved to behind the bricks. I turned around to straighten my uniform and then I turned to face Great Grandmaster and the Head table.

I came to attention and bowed.

Again, there were no thoughts in my mind. I breathed deeply and prepared for the break.  I looked at Great Grandmaster, then I looked down at the bricks.

I ki-yupped loudly and swung my leg up and SMASHED through the 4 bricks like they were nothing!


This was truly a lesson for me in ENERGY and to keep my mind clear.  When my mind is foggy with being embarrassed or thinking too much, I can’t focus.

Weekly Photo Challenge: BIG

October 12, 2012

Big audience…

Big Energy…


BIG TYKCANDO Lecture in South Korea to over 2500 youths!

Dr. Tae Yun Kim touches thousands of people’s hearts and lives through a moving, funny, action-packed and energetic lecture event in South Korea.

Weekly Photo Challenge: MERGE

August 23, 2012

At Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim teaches all students a Code of Ethics.  The first line of our Code of Ethics is:
As a Jung SuWon Warrior, I will strive to merge my Body & Mind as One…
I don’t actively think about what photo I can take for the weekly photo challenge…sometimes the photo just presents itself…
I was at a BBQ last night and there were candles on the table.  At first the candles weren’t lit so someone came around and lit them.  I had my water bottle on the table…and another person just pushed the candle to the middle of the table….then I looked and saw this:

Merging Light and Water…

and I just thought…what a cool merging of light and water…

Check this:

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