|Founder: Dr. Kimm|
He-Young Kimm was born in Su Won County near Seoul, Korea in 1940 to a family who traditionally emphasized the pen and the sword. Due to the family's genealogy and the great number of physical hardships that his ancestors had suffered, Dr. Kimm's parents stressed the importance of not just education but also the rigorous traditional capability to fight and preserve life. This was the environment and philosophy that has influenced him throughout his life.
When Dr. Kimm was 5 years old his father sent him to Suh Dang (a private school) to study 1000 Chinese characters who was considered to be socially requited of a gentleman's son. Dr. Kimm says that he can still recall that classroom as if he were there only last week. There were seven students in his class and his teacher, Chang Haksoon. The classroom rules were very strict. The students had to sit around the teacher in a kneeling position on the hard floor all day. Dr. Kimm recalls that the teacher had a long bamboo smoking pipe that was fashioned on one end with a brass knob. When the students were not prepared with their homework, did not know the lesson, did not respond well or fell asleep in class, the brass knob on the end of the smoking pipe was used to strike them on their heads. It was not unusual to have two or three knots on their heads at the end of a bad day.
Dr. Kimm graduated Suh Dang and entered Japanese Grammar School in February of 1945. This school was better than the private school because Dr. Kimm had a chair and was not required to sit around the teacher. Changing schools did not change the discipline requirements. Dr. Kimm's first grand teacher was a Japanese woman and it was forbidden to speak Korean in class. The students were forced to speak Japanese instead of their native language due to the occupation of Korea by the Japanese. Any wrong doing in school was met with immediate punishment. The most common being to have to kneel in the snow until it melted and soaked through the clothing. This caused severe pain in the knee joints and the students who were subjected to this punishment often could not move properly for some time.
On August 15, 1945, Korea was liberated from Japan. American troops landed in South Korea to receive the surrender of the Japanese army. Americans set up the Military Government until 1948 and helped establish a combination of the traditional Korean and the American educational system. This was the first time that Dr. Kimm learned of the heroics of George Washington against the British for independence and the emancipation of the slaves by Abraham Lincoln.
On June 25m 1950, the North Korean troops, with aid from the Russian Communist party, invaded South Korea. The North Korean troops occupied virtually all of South Korea. All students were forced to attend communist schools. Education emphasized emotional appeal and systematic propaganda about the merits of communism and the leadership of the North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung. The United Nations troops also joined the South Korean side and fought against the North Korean troops. However, there was a rumor that the UN troops would soon have to retreat to Japan. It was General Douglas MacArthur's landing at Inchon Harbor and crossing the 38th Parallel into North Korea that changed the whole picture of the war. Afterwards, Dr. Kimm and the other students were then allowed to return to the South Korean school system.
In Korea a successful man is defined by three criteria: 1) You must come from a good family background. 2) You must come from the right geographical area. 3) You must graduate from the right high school and university. This has been a long tradition in the Korean culture. After receiving the proper education, you required proper connections for your future. This connection comes from people of the same blood lines, people who came from the same geographical area, and also from people who graduated from the same high school and university. Without these connections, it is very difficult to become a successful man in Korea. This tradition is still a very dominant factor in Korea even today.
Dr. Kimm knew that in order to become a successful man, he had to enroll in the best public high school in Seoul. He took the Entrance Examination for East Seoul High School. In 1953, he was admitted into east Seoul Junior High School as a freshman. Besides his educational studies, Dr. Kimm trained parallel bar, Yudo, and Bi Sool (style of self-defense).
In 1956, during Dr. Kimm's freshman year in high school, an incident occurred that would affect and direct his life for the next forty years. One day after returning from his classes, Dr. Kimm fell asleep and had a strange dream. He could see a beggar approaching him, and with a smiling face the beggar gave him a Korean rice cake and told him to eat it. Dr. Kimm violently refused and awoke from his nap with an uneasy feeling. He remembered a compulsion inside him that made him feel that he must leave the boarding house and return home right away. As soon as school was out on Saturday, Dr. Kimm caught a train and left for his parent's home. When Dr. Kimm arrived at his family's home he could hear his entire family crying. They all were kneeling on the floor and his father was lying on the floors between them. Dr. Kimm learned that his father had been playing cards and gambling with Kwon Oh-ik, on of four Kwon brothers. As one would expect, a small disagreement turned into an argument which turned into a big fight, resulting in the four Kwon brothers assaulting Dr. Kimm's father. Both families had been rivals for several generations but most of the time there had been peaceful co-existence. From time to time both families were involved in frictions and this card-playing incident was just another example of friction.
Severely injured, Dr. Kimm's father had to be carried home and was later admitted into a hospital in Suwon City where he stayed for approximately six months. The Dr. Kimm family pursued legal battle for three years which, along with the medical bills, accumulated into sizable debts. Although the court battles were won by the Dr. Kimm family, the compensation amount was not enough to pay all the debts that had been incurred. In order to pay the remaining debts, they had to sell the family land.
The training that followed was demanding. Routinely, Dr. Kimm got up before sunrise and ran barefoot towards the mountain (the same mountain where Korea University is now located). Atop the mountain, Dr. Kimm practiced breath control and ki techniques that would help him move ki from one place in his body to another and to concentrate it in a single spot according to need.
At East High School, Dr. Kimm practiced Yudo and Bi-Sool (self-defense) under Grandmaster Song Kwang-sub. The unique self-defense of Bi Sool was the defense against knife attack and big throwing circles. Grandmaster Song always insisted to his students that your mind and body must be one and be gentle and soft like cotton or flowing water. He also maintained that you had to be able to adapt to new situations. In other words, if your body was stiff or frozen, you could not move quickly. He always compares this type of gentleness to the branches of the willow trees. When snow and ice piles on the branches of the oak trees, the branches will break. Snow and ice cannot pile up on willow trees due to the flexibility of the branches. Using this logic, when an opponent punches, the power of all his punches will be absorbed if your body is soft or relaxed as the willow tree branches and you will receive minimum impact. Simultaneously, your mind must not be stiff so that you can move quickly to avoid an attack.
Dr. Kimm also attended East Gate dojang where he trained under Grandmaster Kim Jong-chun and also became aquatinted with Dr. Min Kwan shik who later became Minister of Education. Dr. Kimm also attended Central Yudo School where he trained under Grandmaster Bang Young-doo, the head instructor of the Korean Police Headquarters. Dr. Kimm also attended Korea Gym where he trained under Grandmaster Yu Sook-dong and also received instructions in Kong Soo Do and boxing. Dr. Kimm recalls that both East Gate Gym and Korea Gym were built with Army tents and that is was hard training due to the extreme hot in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. There was no heat in the winter or fans in the summer. The changing seasons meant nothing to him. The weather conditions never prevented him from studying or practicing his martial arts.
Since there were no matched in Bi Sool, Dr. Kimm entered and won many high school Yudo matches. His most memorable team wins were the Seoul National High School Yudo Championships for three years. Dr. Kimm received the Outstanding Technical Award from Kim Sung-kon, President of the Korea Yudo Association and founder go Sang Young Groups at the 1958 National Spring High School Yudo Championships.
Dr. Kimm learned Tang Soo Do for the first time from his friend, Lee Jong sung, who was also a member of the Koo Woo Hwe. Lee taught Dr. Kimm basic forms, Pyung An Hyungs, and three step sparring while Dr. Kimm taught him the gentle form of Yudo. Dr. Kimm and Lee learned each others strengths and weaknesses. Lee did not want to stand at close distances which allowed Dr. Kimm to block and grab, followed with by a throw. Dr. Kimm did not like standing at close distances which allowed Lee to kick and retreat before Dr. Kimm could grab or block. This was a great experience for Dr. Kimm to begin his comparison of the different styles of martial arts.
Each day that Dr. Kimm trained, he gained tremendous stamina and endurance for what he knew he must do. As the training got harder and harder, Dr. Kimm made up his mind that he would become proficient in the arts that he was training and was able to endure the bone aching requirements as he was studying under various masters. Almost everyday Dr. Kimm dragged his tired legs along the ground all the way home from the dojang because he had not yet perfected throwing, kicking, and punching. Yet in spite of it all, he never failed to get up early each morning to climb the mountain before sunrise in order to perform his ki training. Dr. Kimm believed that the secret to getting up early each morning was a strong mentality which controlled the physical body. When he awoke in the mornings, regardless of his physical condition, he smiled first then on the count of one, he would sit up; on the count of two, he would stand up; and on the count of three, he would walk around the room. He still uses this practice today and has no problem getting up early.
Around this time, Dr. Kimm met two people who would later influence his life: Park Lee-hyun who later became Chairman of the Board of Examiners of the American Hapkido Association and a professor at Southeast Missouri State University and Park Hyun-ja who later became his wife. Park lee-hyun was slightly taller than Dr. Kimm and sat behind Dr. Kimm in high school (In Korean schools, the seating arrangement was determined by the height of the students.). The two of them became very close friends and studied together as well as practiced martial arts together. Park Lee-hyun's father was a business partner of Park Hyun-ja's father. On October 10, 1957, following his high school team's victory at the Seoul High School Yudo Championship at Seoul Stadium, Par Lee-hyun introduced Dr. Kimm to Park Hyun-ja.
Before graduating from high school, Dr. Kimm told Park Lee-hyun of his plan to revenge his father. Without hesitation, Park asked to join him, saying that together they would have very little difficulty. Dr. Kimm accepted his offer but was not sure of the proper time. Dr. Kimm's mother began to worry more about her son's future than about revenge. In the years that passed, Dr. Kimm's father had gotten well and his business had begun to recover. As a gesture of both family groups, Dr. Kimm's aunt's sister married into the Kwon family, adopted one of the four Kwon brothers as her son which made Dr. Kimm a distant relative of the Kwons.
Dr. Kimm's parents urged him to go to college and forget about the ugly incident of the past. Dr. Kimm asked himself if he could actually forget. He had learned that in order to do great work or to become a great man, three things were required: intelligence which spurred the correct decisions, endurance which is essential in preparation, and determination which meant that you should carry out every task without hesitation. In his case, Dr. Kimm felt that he had been hesitating too long.
Dr. Kimm lay awake many nights thinking about his role, his commitments and his integrity. What should he do? Revenge his father's honor or forget as his parents now wished he would do? What about tradition? What about his duty as the oldest son? Was he just a coward? Did he really know what he should decide? Maybe it was not a question of determination after all. Dr. Kimm chose to postpone any decision for four more years until he graduated from college.
Dr. Kimm took the entrance examination to Maritime College of the National University of Pusan. This was a special school that produced many seamen and Navy and Marine Corps officers. Because the school was located two hundred miles south of Seoul in Pusan, Dr. Kimm had to relocate when he was accepted.
The contrasting philosophies of the two master became a guideline for Dr. Kimm's life. For him, depending on the circumstances, Dr. Kimm would sometimes use the evasive tactic and other times the direct confrontation. These tactics have been very successful for him in his life.
Grandmaster Yoon, knowing that study of only one martial art was dangerous to personality development, encouraged Dr. Kimm to learn at least three martial arts, one as a major area of study and the others as minor areas of study. Dr. Kimm remembers Grandmaster Yoon saying that insistence of superiority of one martial art not only makes one egotistical, which in turn gives one an isolating position among other martial artist, but it also could hinder any future potential and ability to learn others.
In martial arts practice, Dr. Kimm devoted himself to the study of Yudo, Hapkido, and Kong Soo Do. Dr. Kimm recalled that the training methods were all very different and all were impressive. Kong Soo do was taught by a Yun Moo Kwan 3rd degree Black Belt. This style emphasized Pyung An Hyungs which were originally taught to Dr. Kimm by Lee Jung-sung in high school. Dr. Kimm was also given the opportunity to learn Chul Ki and Ship Soo forms. The Hapkido style Dr. Kimm learned was called Ja Min Ryu Hapkido. It emphasized techniques using the fists and lower kicks more than palm striking and higher kicking techniques.
During Dr. Kimm's college years he visited Seoul once each month. The main reason for these visits was to see Park Hyun-ja who later became his wife. She was attending Ewa Women's University. The university was established by American missionaries and was considered the best women's university in Korea. They were introduced on October 10, 1958 by Park Lee-hyun. Their fathers were business partners. Finally, after seven years of courtship, Dr. Kimm and Park Hyun-ja married in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Kimm's trips from Pusan to Seoul would begin with a train ride on Friday at 10:00 pm, arriving the next morning. While there, Dr. Kimm also visited an old friend and trained martial arts. Park Hyun-ja's father owned a large store, called "Young Kwang Ji Up." The store was located on Jong Ro Street, which is like Broadway in New York City and is considered a main street in Seoul. The store faced the Jong Myo which is a Shrine of Kings from the Lee Kingdom. The Shin Mu Kwan Hapkido school was located on the floor above the store. Kim Moo-ung ran the school and was assisted by Won Kwang-wha. Kim was as student of Choi Young-sool and a classmate of Ji Han-jae. He had stayed with Ji Han-jae for eight months prior to opening a school in Seoul. Dr. Kimm visited the school and began to learn Hapkido from Won Kwang-wha in 1962.
Grandmaster Won was a strong man and previously served as a bodyguard for Suh Dong-jin when he was a member of the National Assembly. Grandmaster Won had learned martial arts from Choi Young-sool and Suh Bob-sub. The main emphasis of Grandmaster Won's Hapkido was strong kicking techniques. Later, Grandmaster Won moved to Sam Sun Kyo District in Seoul and opened his own school that he called Moo Sul Kwon. Dr. Kimm's friend, Park Lee-hyun, trained in Hapkido diligently under him. Grandmaster Won's death at the early age of fifty was a very sad event. His early death was said to be caused by high blood pressure complicated by his drinking of alcohol.
Dr. Kimm was not only a student in pursuit of a degree in Marine Sciences, but also a Marine Corp Cadet with military training in the afternoon. The commander of the 8th US Area Command and Commander Kim Won-suk of the Korean Marine Training Corp agreed that Dr. Kimm would be allowed to leave the drill area at 5:00 pm every afternoon. Dr. Kimm was required to teach Hapkido to the 8th United States Army Pusan Area Command. He taught self-defense to the US helicopter pilots and Military Police Officers from 6:00 to 8:00 and then from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. Dr. Kimm learned to speak English from them. One of his students was Colonel Angle Myers' son. Colonel Myers suggested that Dr. Kimm should go to the United States to further his education and teach martial arts. Since Colonel Myers had one time been stationed near St. Louis, he was familiar with colleges in Missouri and Illinois. The colonel wrote to Dr. Mark Skully, President of Southeast Missouri State College (now University), explaining Dr. Kimm's desire to study in the United Stated and teach martial arts. Dr. Skully wrote a letter of invitation to Dr. Kimm stating that he would be hired as an instructor of Physical Education and also allowed to take courses toward a degree program.
Dr. Kimm matured during the four years of college. He read extensively the biographies of different martial arts masters of Korea, Japan and China. He also read about the lives of famous generals, politicians and philosophers. Even more than that, he often visited Tong Do and Bum Uh Sa temples and learned Zen from the masters. Dr. Kimm learned that life is short and that there is always sadness and suffering that cannot be avoided.
Upon graduation from college, Dr. Kimm did not want to take advantage of personal friendship with Dr. Skully's invitation, so Dr. Kimm took the required Korean National Examination in English, Korean History and his major subject . These are used for selecting students for overseas study. Only four hundred students are allowed to study overseas each year. Dr. Kimm passed the examination and Dr. Min Kwan-sik, who was the President of the East Gate Gym, a member of the Senate, and later became Minister of Education and Vice President of the Korean National Assembly, praised Dr. Kimm's achievements in both martial arts and academic areas. Dr. Min advised Dr. Kimm to learn as much as he could, to serve as a cultural ambassador, and to spread Korean martial arts to those who are interested in achieving a higher level.
After four years in Pusan, Dr. Kimm received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Science and was commissioned as a Marine Lieutenant. With his degree came something much more significant: Dr. Kimm began to realize that he had allowed the four Kwon brothers to cloud his life. His original objective to train hard in order to prepare for revenge suddenly reversed himself and he understood that without the strong hatred they had kindled, he would have never endured the training and would have never succeeded. He had succeeded.
In 1963, before Dr. Kimm left Korea for the United States, he visited the Kwon home and told them to forget the past for the sake of the new generation. Dr. Kimm also promised that there would be no hard feelings in the future. When Dr. Kimm offered to help them with their sons' education, they did not say a word to him. They just sat there and lowered their heads.
Dr. Kimm was invited to become an instructor at Southeast Missouri College by Dr. Mark Skully. He arrived in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in November 1963. His main teaching curriculum was martial arts. After teaching for six years, Dr. Kimm invited Park Lee-hyun to take over his position. Master Park was taller than Dr. Kimm and his specialty was flying kicking techniques using big circular movements. Master Park and Dr. Kimm performed many demonstrations at tournaments throughout the United States. One of these tournaments they attended was Bob Yenell's in St. Louis where Dr. Kimm met Bill Wallace, the World Karate Champion. Mr. Wallace and Dr. Kimm became friends during this meeting. At the tournament, Mater Park executed a low spinning back kick at full speed. Dr. Kimm was supposed to jump over the kick, but his timing was off and Mater Park kicked the calf of Dr. Kimm's leg with his heel. This sent Dr. Kimm into the air and he fell with a beautifully executed high back fall on the hard floor of the basketball court. Dr. Kimm spent the following two weeks in the library moving as little as possible.
Dr. Kimm went to summer school in 1966 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was there that he met Master Chung Jae-bok who was a disciple of Grandmaster Son Duk-sung, the former Head Master of Chung Do Kwan. In 1967, Master Chung sponsored the Tae Kwon Do Championship and invited Dr. Kimm to attend. It was at this event that he had his first meeting with Grandmaster Son. They later had a chance to meet in Rockford, Illinois. Also at the Tae Kwon Do Championship, Dr. Kimm had his first meeting with Master Lee Hai-ung who is presently (1995) President of the American Tae Kwon Do Association. Following the tournament there was a party. At 2:00 am, the party ended and, since Dr. Kimm was the only person who had not drunk alcohol, he drove the entourage of Masters Lee Hai-ung, Jung Mak young and Son Duk-sung back to Chicago. Upon there arrival in Chicago, they were to stay at a friend's apartment. When they arrived at the apartment, they knocked on the door many times with no answer. A policeman approached the group and inquired as to the situation. After listening to the explanation, the policeman telephoned the apartment for them. A few minutes later, the friend came out and greeted Dr. Kimm and the other Korean masters. This was the first time that Dr. Kimm and his friends appreciated the policemen of the United States.
In 1967, Master Choi Chang-hee was teaching Tae Kwon Do at the Military Arts Institute in Chicago, Illinois. The Institute was owned by Master Shin Kyung-sun who was also a Yudo instructor and also owned a uniform company. Tae Kwon Do classes at the Institute were taught by Master Choi. It was a great pleasure for Dr. Kimm to learn the more advanced Tae Kwon Do forms and free sparring from Master Choi.
In the meantime, the American Tae Kwon Do Association (ATA) was organized and Grandmaster Kang Suh-jong was elected as President and is the current (1994) President of the Kuk Mu Kwan Tae Kwon Do. Master Lee Hai-ung was elected Vice President of the ATA and was considered "the brain" of the Association. Other notable members of the early ATA organization were Kwon Boo-kil, Kim In-mok, Kim Myung-kil, Cho Hee-il, Lee Choon-so, Park Lee-hyun and Dr. Kimm He-young. The most influential person in the formation of Dr. Kimm's Tae Kwon Do education was Grandmaster Kang. Dr. Kimm still maintains a learning relationship with him. Dr. Kimm had an opportunity to learn and review the old Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do forms and also learn the new ITF forms and Tae Kwon Do philosophy from him. During this time, he was able to help the ATA organization. The main functions of the ATA in the early period was to hold seminars to teach ITF forms, sponsor tournaments under uniform rules and sponsor business seminars on how to run successful professional Taw Kwon Do schools. ATA tournaments were attended by many masters who officiated and performed demonstrations.
While serving as Chairman of the Promotional Committee of the Southern ATA, Dr. Kimm had two unforgettable memories. The first of these memories was teaching self-defense to ATA Black Belts at a seminar in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Kimm instructed these Black Belts during the day and again in the evening. They attended lectures of business from professional sales experts in between the self-defense sessions. These seminar was very well organized and all of the participants were very proud to be making a living by teaching Tae Kwon Do. Dr. Kimm was surprised that Master Lee brought in professional salesmen to the seminars to give lectures. It was the first time that he had seen a martial art being treated as a sellable product.
Another distinct memory of Dr. Kimm's during this period of time took place in Kansas City, Missouri. Master Lee Choon-soo sponsored a Tae Kwon Do tournament there which was an enormous success. The demonstration by the masters in attendance was widely appreciated by the audience and participants of the tournament. The speed breaking by Master Cho Hee-il and the power breaking by Master Kwon Boo-kil along with his demonstration of defense against knife and defense against two-man attacks were the highlights of the demonstration. After the tournament, all of the masters attended a party at a nice restaurant/bar to eat and drink. The restaurant was very nice with the masters' party reserved for the second floor. As the masters ate and drank, they began to sing together as usual. One person from the first floor came up to the second floor and introduced himself. He stated that he was from New York and had come to the restaurant to have dinner and he would like the masters to be quiet. Master Kwon Boo-kil told him that what was going on At the party was none of his business and that he should return to the first floor. The New Yorker left quietly only to return a few minutes later with a few friends and a pistol. Master Dr. Kimm Myung-kim, a former Korean Intelligence officer, told the man with the gun to come closer to home and shoot him in the head. The man hesitated and Master Kim approached and placed the gun to his own head, telling the man to pull the trigger. The man hesitated, Master Kim slapped the gunman's face and called him a coward. Master Kim's bravery did not stop the fight that ensued moments later. After Master Kim slapped the man, his friends charged toward Master Kim. The other masters and the New Yorkers began to throw punches as well as chairs. Dr. Kimm did not see any of the beautiful kicks or flying kicks that he had seen previously during the demonstration. After a few minutes, they heard police cars approaching the restaurant. One of the masters shouted for all of them to jump to the first floor, go out the window and run to the hotel. In a matter of minutes, all of the masters were gone, leaving the New Yorkers on the second floor for the police. Once they were at the hotel, they found all were accounted for. Master Cho Hee-il said that as he ran toward the hotel, he discovered that he was limping. He felt no pain and his legs were not injured so he could therefore not understand why he had begun to limp. Once at the hotel, he checked again only to find out that the heel of his shoe was missing.
A major turning point in the growth of Hapkido popularity was due to the movie Billy Jack that was technically supervised by Master Han Bong-soo. His unbelievable kicking techniques grabbed the attention of the American public and inspired many young people to begin training in Hapkido. Martial arts magazines also responded and began publishing numerous articles about Hapkido. Dr. Kimm was the first Hapkido master featured on the cover of the national martial arts magazine, Black Belt, in January of 1975.
During this period of time Dr. Kimm did not have much time to sleep due to trying to balance his school studies for his Ph.D. with his martial arts training for his 8th degree Black Belt in Hapkido. Two factors that helped him through the difficult and trying time were the strong mind and body he had developed through martial arts training and the endless sacrificed of his wife. She worked inside their home taking care of their two sons and him as well as working hard at a local bank.
In the 1970's, Dr. Kimm traveled a great deal to perform demonstrations at tournaments. For the fifteen to twenty minute demonstrations, he required at least eight people and good mats. Most tournament sponsors did not have suitable mats so he and his demonstration team had to bring their own. Dr. Kimm was the southern distributor of Jhoon Rhee Safety Equipment and, since all of their expenses were not normally covered, they sold the safety equipment in order to cover their costs. Major members of his demonstration team were Kim Tate, Ricky Haig, Keith Johnson, Phillip Morrow, Kathy Any, and Janet Foster. This group would normally leave Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon and drive to their destination. They would arrive at their destination between midnight and 4:00 am, depending on the distance they traveled. At tournaments, the group helped the tournament directors and sponsors with organizing, judging and/or refereeing. One member of the group was placed in charge of selling the safety equipment. They always attended the post-tournament parties, driving home around midnight to arrive back in Baton Rouge early Sunday. This gave them time to relax and get ready for another week of work, school and training.
An unforgettable incident occurred at the Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. They had been invited to demonstrate at the American Karate Championship by the tournament director, Allen Steen, who was a student of Jhoon Rhee. There were approximately five thousand spectators watching their demonstration and they were honored to receive several standing ovations. Many spectators approached the group afterwards, asking for their autographs. They were all busy talking to the spectators and signing autographs when a very young Korean instructor approached and, in Korean, said "What are you doing in my territory?" Dr. Kimm had never seen this person before and never expected to hear this from him. At the same time, Master Jack Hwang, a pioneer of Tae Kwon Do in the southwest, approached Dr. Kimm and greeted Dr. Kimm. He said to the young instructor, also in Korean, "You stupid idiot! You only know how to count to one and not to two. After seeing Master Dr. Kimm's demonstration, the spectators will want to learn Korean martial arts. Do you think they are going to flip open the Dallas telephone book or the Baton Rouge telephone book?" Master Whang then commanded that the young instructor apologize to Dr. Kimm, which he promptly did. Luckily, none of Dr. Kimm's students understood Korean and it ended without incident.
In the early 1970's there was no Hapkido book available in the United States and Dr. Kimm had the privilege of translating the book, Korean Hapkido, written by Grandmaster Myung Kwang-shik. This was the official book used by the AHA. His next step was to publish a Kuk Sool training manual for the non-Hapkido members of the Association that was published in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Ron Turche was a member of the Association who devoted much of his time to the preparation and publication of this book. In 1973, Grandmaster Myung Kwon-sik came to the United Stated and visited Dr. Kimm in Baton Rouge for ten days. Together, they held a seminar at LSU in Baton Rouge and at the Keju Dojang in Alexandria, Louisiana. The following weekend Grandmaster Myung, Kim Tate, Kathy Army, Donald Dr. Kimm, Frank Curtis and Dr. Kimm drove to Atlanta, Georgia to perform a demonstration at the "Battle of Atlanta." This was the first demonstration that Grandmaster Myung had done in the United States. On the way back to Baton Rouge, they stopped in Birmingham, Alabama to look for a site for Grandmaster Myung's Hapkido school. They drove around the city for two days and then returned to Baton Rouge with no decision having been made. In Baton Rouge, Grandmaster Myung suggested that he and Dr. Kimm write a Hapkido book (in English). Dr. Kimm was honored to have been asked, but had to decline due to the amount of work that he was already doing between his studies for is Doctorate Degree and his martial arts training. A short time later, grandmaster Myung left for Cincinnati where he was temporarily living. Master Myung later informed Dr. Kimm that the city of Birmingham was too small for him and he had decided to move to Detroit. Dr. Kimm received a letter from Grandmaster Myung after he had settled in Detroit. He asked Dr. Kimm to work with him in order to organize the World Hapkido Association.
In 1974, Dr. Kimm heard that Grandmaster Suh In-hyuk and two other masters, Park Myung-kyu and Park Young-Il, was teaching Kuk Sool in New Orleans. Dr. Kimm visited Grandmaster Suh one weekend and they soon became close friends. They then decided to work together to teach Grandmaster Suh's art, Kuk Sool, and Dr. Kimm's art, Hapkido. They decided to call this combination Kuk Sool-Hapkido. The major reason for them to work together was for mutual benefit. Dr. Kimm could learn more Kuk Sool techniques from the Grandmaster and he could then spread Kuk Sool faster in this country due to Dr. Kimm's established foundation and connections among other masters and martial arts magazine. From 1974 to 1987, they worked very hard to spread Kuk Sool-Hapkido.
Grandmaster Kang Suh-jong and Kimm He-Young at the Southern Tae Kwon Do Championship, 1972.
Dr. Kimm sponsored a seminar at Louisiana State University which was jointly sponsored by the World Kuk Sool Association and the American Hapkido Association. The AHA students attended in white uniforms and Kuk Sool students attended in black uniforms.
The state of Hawaii sponsored a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Korean Immigration to Hawaii in 1978. Two weeks declared as "Korean Weeks." The Korean government sent traditional Korean folk dancing teams, music teams, and martial arts teams to perform demonstrations at the Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom. Many Korean industrial groups displayed products made by their respective companies. As a traditional martial arts team, Kuk Sool Won was chosen. The nine members of the demonstration team from Korea were Lee Choon-duk, Park Jae-choon, Jo Sung-sam, Lee Choon-ok, Seo In-sun, Kim Sun-deuk, Yang Choon-shik, Jo Chun-soo, and Park Jun-hee. Kuk Sool also sent two members from the United States, Suh In hyuk and Dr. Kimm. The Tae Kwon Do instructors in Hawaii helped in providing mats, transportation, and food during their stay. They also took the Korean team sightseeing in their spare time. The event was held in February when most of the United States was experiencing cold weather. Spectators came from all over the world, many of them to escape the cold weather.
The Korean team not only performed the demonstrations at the Hilton, but also visited the Army Hospital and performed a demonstration for the veterans of the Korean War (1950-1953). Many veterans hospitalized there had been wounded during the war and would remain there until they die. The Korean expressed gratitude of the deeds that the veterans had performed for their country. The demonstrations did not always go well. Seo In-sun was experiencing muscle aches, fever, and other flu symptoms but never missed the evening demonstrations. He performed fan techniques and breaking techniques using a back spinning kick. Each time he attempted the breaking techniques, everyone prayed that he would have enough strength in his legs to complete the break successfully. He never missed.
One of the projects of Grandmaster Suh and Dr. Kimm was to hold the World Kuk Sool Tournament in Korea. In 1982, one hundred and twenty-five Kuk Sool students from the United States and Mexico attended the 1st Kuk Sool Championships in Pusan, Korea. Forty Mexican students not only studied Kuk Sool, but also Okinawian Karate as taught by Professor Antonio Marquez. The had been learning Kuk Sool-Hapkido from Dr. Kimm since 1975. Seminars were held yearly in the United States and Dr. Kimm traveled to Mexico yearly to teach a seminar which the Mexican students attended. They had no difficulties in competing in Soo (self-defense) techniques, forms and free sparring. Dr. Kimm still conducts seminars n Mexico and maintains a good relationship with Professor Marquez, as well as with Professor Moon Dae won, Professor Sergio Chavez and Dr. Kalb Montregon.
Dr. Kimm drafted the competition rules for the 1st Kuk Sool Champion ship after examining competition rules from various martial arts organizations throughout the world. Dr. Kimm went to Korea and explained the rules one by one to the Black Belt referees and judges. They had no objections to most of the rules. One exception was the rule excluding low spinning kicks since this was one of the main weapons. They did not understand the danger of this technique. The Koo Duk Gym in Pusan, where the tournament was held, had a concrete floor with no mats. Dr. Kimm explained that the main purpose of holding a tournament was to develop a good relationship between the Korean Kuk Sool students and the foreign Kuk Sool students. Dr. Kimm told them that the Koreans are the hosts and that they had to treat their guests with good hospitality. It was Dr. Kimm's opinion that completing tournaments without injuries was more important than one side getting more trophies than the other side. A Black Belt said that they were hosting this tournament and that they did not have many trophies since they did not compete very often. He said that the Americans and Mexicans were given more opportunities to compete in tournaments. He was concerned about what the Korean media would say about the quality of Kuk Sool in Korea if the foreigners won more of the trophies. Dr. Kimm did not have a response for his logical argument and called for a vote on the issue of the low spinning kick rule. Most of the group voted not to allow this kick in competition. The Championship went very well with no injuries. The judges and referees worked very hard to keep the matches running smoothly.
After the Championship, Dr. Kimm found out the funds to house the Kuk Sool students from the United States and Mexico were not available. Chiefmaster Seo In-sun told Dr. Kimm that the donations promised from corporate sponsors did not come through. He also said that he was trying to arrange for the Kuk Sool students to house the foreign students. The American and Mexican students had been told to plan $650.00 for airline tickets, $50.00 (minimum) for gifts and $30.00 per day for ten days for food and incidental expenses. Rooms and transportation were supposed to be paid by the Association through donations that had not gone through as previously planned. Dr. Kimm discussed that matter with his father-in-law. He told Dr. Kimm that these students had come to Korea because of him and for no other reason. Dr. Kimm's father-in-law also said that Dr. Kimm was responsible for the poor planning. He then suggested that Dr. Kimm bring the sixty-two students who were his responsibility to Seoul so that he could provide room and board for three days. Dr. Kimm followed his father-in law's advice and informed Chiefmaster Seo of his decision. He told Dr. Kimm that he would provide two trucks to take the luggage from the hotel to the train station. The trucks never arrived. It had been sprinkling rain all day. Dr. Kimm looked around and saw that each person had two pieces of luggage. Decisions had to be made immediately. Dr. Kimm informed the students that the train would not wait for them, they only had one hour left and it would take thirty minutes to walk. Dr. Kimm's father-in-law then arranged to have a small truck come and pick up one piece of luggage for each person and deliver it to the station. Each student was asked to carry their second bag on the thirty minute walk to the train station. Finally, the sixty-two students all made it to the train (with only a few minutes to spare) for their journey to Seoul. Most of the students had no idea what was going on. The Mexican students gathered and began playing guitars and singing. The American students drank coffee and fell asleep in their wet clothes.
Upon their arrival in Seoul, they all stayed at the Book An (North Mountain) Sky Hotel for three days. On a chartered bus, again at the courtesy of Dr. Kimm's father-in-law, they visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a Korean folk village, and the Old Kyung Bok Palace. They also had plenty of time for shopping. After three days, all of the students left for their own homes without incident. Dr. Kimm was very grateful to his father-in-law and his mind was greatly relieved. Dr. Kimm went to his father-in-law and asked him for the cost of the expenses that he had paid for Dr. Kimm's students. He told Dr. Kimm that the trip was over and the students were gone and he could afford the expenses financially and not to ask any more questions about the expenses. Since this experience, Dr. Kimm has not taken more than four students to Korea at a time. The reason for this is that four students can ride in one car and move about easily.
In 1985, Dr. Kimm published the book, Kuk Sool-Korean Martial Arts. The book was seven hundred and sixty pages and contained techniques from White Belt through 5th Degree Black Belt which Dr. Kimm learned from grandmaster Suh. The order of the techniques in his book and in the book published by Chiefmaster Seo were not always the same. Dr. Kimm believed that Grandmaster Suh taught the same way in the United States as he did in Korea. The order was changed by Chiefmaster Seo. Dr. Kimm spent over $50,000 of his personal money to publish his Kuk Sool book. Dr. Kimm spent over two years taking photographs and writing the text for this book. From a financial point of view, it was never repaid. However, Dr. Kimm visited Grandmaster Lee Joo-bang, founder of the International Hwa Rang Do Federation, he paid Dr. Kimm a wonderful compliment. He said that Dr. Kimm's book had put Kuk Sool in the position of "first rate" martial arts in this country. For the first time, Dr. Kimm felt that, with this compliment coming from him, it had been worth the money and time that it took to publish the book.
Dr. Kimm moved to Freemont, California in 1987 due to the illness of his father-in-law. Grandmaster Suh was living in the same city and hey saw each other frequently. In 1989, they discussed Dr. Kimm's future and Grandmaster Suh suggested that Dr. Kimm become the President of the American Kuk Sool Association. Dr. Kimm told him that since the World Kuk Sool Headquarters was located in the United States, the duties of the two Associations would overlap often. Dr. Kimm did not feel that it would be wise to create a new Association. Grandmaster Suh understood Dr. Kimm's concerns and suggested that Dr. Kimm create his own style of martial arts and call it Yuh Kwon Sul. He then said that Dr. Kimm had accumulated enough knowledge and experience in soo (self-defense) techniques and hyungs (forms). He also offered his assistance but he did not want to influence the formation of Dr. Kimm's new style. He thought that Dr. Kimm should know that the basic elements of creating new forms were softness like the flowing river, hardness like a mountain rock, knowledge of 360 degree angles, and low and high postures. Finally, before he gave Dr. Kimm his personal recommendation to create a new style of martial art, he told Dr. Kimm that some day, when people talk about the founders of Hankuk Musul (Korean Martial Arts), he wanted to hear the name of Dr. Kimm He-young along with Ji Han-jae and Suh In-hyuk.
Grandmaster Ji Han-jae also recommended that Dr. Kimm create his own style of martial arts in 1989. He said that this would be the only way for Dr. Kimm to improve his techniques any further. He also said that if Dr. Kimm belonged to any style or organization he would loose his freedom to create new techniques or experiment in other areas. Dr. Kimm was very appreciative of his advice and treated him as his teacher. He then told Dr. Kimm that they were now in equal positions as founders of martial arts styles and that they both must receive respect from their respective students. Grandmaster Ji said that they were now one equal footing and to remember that they are now friendly competitors as founders.
Since Dr. Kimm became interested in martial arts, he has carried a uniform bag with his right hand and a book bag with his left hand. Dr. Kimm has always been proud to lead this type of life and will continue it until he dies. His interest in the history of martial arts has always been present. Whenever possible, he visited many of the old grandmasters and listened to their life stories, philosophies, experienced and their wisdom. In addition to the instructors that influenced his life, four grandmasters who greatly influenced the formation of the Han Mu Do philosophy and techniques were Lee Kyung-suk, Suh Jung-hak, Lee Won-kuk, and Kwon Tae-hoon.
Grandmaster Lee Kyung-suk is a 10th Degree Black Belt in Yudo and the only one of these who is still living in Korea. Besides Grandmaster Song Wang-sub in high school and Grandmaster Yoon Yong-jo in college, grandmaster Lee was the third person who influenced Dr. Kimm's perception of Yudo philosophy which was "...use your energy for proper work and work for mutual benefit...". Grandmaster Lee was born in 1906 and began studying Yudo when he entered Bae Jae High School in 1921. He continued Yudo practice while he was attending Juoi (Central University) in Japan. As a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in law study in 1931, he was awarded the rank of 6th Degree Black Belt from the Kodokan, which was the highest rank a Korean had obtained at that time.
Upon his return to Korea, Grandmaster Lee established Yun Moo Kwan Yudo school in Seoul in 1931 and began to produce Korean Yudo men. He is said to have produced more than thirty thousand Yudo men and women in fifty years of training. After World War II, Yoon Byung-im began looking for a place to teach Kong Soo Do. Grandmaster Lee suggested that he share space in the Yun Moo Kwan Yudo School. Master Yoon accepted his offer. This was the beginning of the Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do School.
When war broke out in Korea in 1950, North Korean troops invaded South Korea and kidnapped many prominent people. Master Yoon was one of them. Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do classes were then taken over by Yoon Kwe-byung. Lee Jong-woo later moved the school to the Han Kuk Gym and changed the name from Yun Moo Kwan to Ji Do Kwan. Not many Tae Kwon Do people know about the early history of Ji Do Kwan and Grandmaster Lee's help in starting Kong Soo Do in his Yudo school. This is a perfect example of Yudo's spirit and philosophy of working for mutual benefit.
Grandmaster Suh Jung-hak was a 9th Degree Black Belt in Kum Do, that Art of Swords, and a former Chief in the Korean Secret Service Agency in the 1950's. Grandmaster Suh exhibited a great influence in the formation of the Han Mu Do philosophy. In 1958, Dr. Kimm received the Best Technical Award at the Spring High School Yudo Championship which was held in Seoul. This same year, for President Seung Man Rhee's birthday, Master Lee Suk-do and Master Kwon Yong-woo were selected representatives of the Adult Division of the Yudo team which was led by the President of the Korea Police Association, Colonel Park Jung-joon. Nam Kwang-woo and Dr. Kimm were honored to be selected to perform the Yudo demonstration at the President's birthday party. Four Kum Do Black Belts led by Master Suh Jung hak were also asked to perform. Mats were placed on the lawn with chairs arranged on the hillside. President Rhee and his wife sat in the middle with his staff on either side of them. Man Kwang-woo and Dr. Kimm performed a demonstration of Me Chi Ki Bon (form of fifteen throws) which they followed with an exhibition match. Lee Suk-do and Kwon Young-woo, who were the Yudo champions at the time, followed with an exhibition match. The Kum Do Black Belts demonstration consists of forms and sparring with bamboo swords.
Master Suh Jung-hek continues the demonstration by placing two poles covered in rice straw and two bamboo sticks in the ground. The then drew his sword and executed a 45 degree downward cutting stroke to one of the rice straw poles. He immediately executed a 45 degree upward strike to the second rice straw pole. The tops of both poles were still there. One of the Black Belts walked to the poles and lifted the top portion off the pole. Everyone, including President Rhee, cheered Master Suh's marksmanship. At this time, he approached the bamboo sticks and swung his sword in the same manner as before. This time they saw the blade cut through the bamboo sticks. After the demonstration, there was a small party for President Rhee.
During their conversation, Grandmaster Suh said that in any kind of martial arts, the eye is the most important factor in winning or loosing a match. He explained that you must look at the opponent as though you were looking for a remote mountain. Grandmaster Suh also said that you should try not to see only one leaf on a tree, but the entire forest on the mountainside. Using the same logic, you should see only one part of the opponent's body, but observe him from head to toe. He continued by saying that it is important to see the opponent with your mind's eye so that you can predict his next move. When you can correctly predict the opponent's movements, your mind can formulate an attack or a counter-attack. Grandmaster Suh told Dr. Kimm that, in order to open the mind's eye, you must practice basic techniques repeatedly until your physical eye becomes one with your foot movements, your body will respond naturally. He also stated that martial arts were a tool used to train out physical bodies and, at the same time, the mind.
Dr. Kimm had the opportunity to meet Grandmaster Lee Won-kuk, in the Spring of 1987 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. Grandmaster Lee was the founder of Chung Do Kwan. He was the teacher of many students who eventually assumed very powerful positions within the martial arts arena. Some of those students were Son Duk-sung, the second President of the Chung Do Kwan and the current President of the World Tae Kwon Do Association; Kang Suh-jong, the current President of Kuk Moo Kwan and former President of the American Tae Kwon Do Association; Um Eung-kyu, the current President of the Chung Do Kwan and former Vice President of the Korea Tae Kwon Do Association, the Kuk Ki Won, and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation; Man Tae-hi, the former President of the Oh Do Kwan; Ko Jae chun, the former Director of the Korean Army Taw Kwon Do Groups in Vietnam; Cha Ji-chul, the former Director of the Korean Secret Service Agency in the later 1970's; Park Hai-man, the Chief Organizer of the Tae Kwon Do Games in the 1958 Seoul Olympic Games; and Jhoon Rhee, the father of American Tae Kwon Do.
Dr. Kimm asked Grandmaster Lee what his secret was to produce so many Grandmasters, Masters, and Black Belts. He was a very gentle and kind man who was eager to share his secret to success in martial arts. In the Fall of 1944, he was the first person to open a Tang Soo Do school in Korea. He explained that besides teaching techniques, the teacher and the student had to understand two fundamental elements in martial arts training: the first element was what the teacher could do for his students and the second element was what the students could do for their teacher.
As a martial arts teacher, he said that the teacher must always be strict with his students in teaching and training techniques as well as maintaining a virtuous moral code in the dojang. With this type of teaching, students learn true martial arts and are able to endure hardships during their training. Students who carried out those requirements were taught personally by the head teacher.
Martial arts students must never forget to appreciate their teacher. At the same time, students should always strive to have better techniques and a higher moral character than their teacher. Grandmaster Lee the compared this to an old saying, "The color green comes from the color blue, but the color green is brighter than the color blue. The ice comes from water, but ice is colder than water." In other words, the student is always better than his teacher. He continued by saying that martial arts will have a bright future if students live by these ideas. When a student does become better than his teacher, he must always remain humble and never forget to appreciate the techniques and moral code that he learned from his teacher. Once a student becomes a master, he should not forget that his position was a joint effort of both his and his teacher's sweat. Without the teacher, he could not have ever reached the level of master just as there is not ice without water and no green color without blue.
Dr. Kimm visited Seoul in the Summer of 1991. During this visit, he spent one week learning Ki accumulations and circulation from grandmaster Kwon Tae hoon. He was ninety-two year old and was assisted by his student who was a seventy five year old master. As Dr. Kimm sat beside Grandmaster Kwon, he noticed that the Grandmaster read a book without glasses that Dr. Kimm himself could not read without his glasses. Dr. Kimm felt ashamed that he had to pull them out of his pocket and place them on his face. This shame continued until graduation when Dr. Kimm placed first among the fifty graduating students.
Grandmaster Kwon was no ordinary master. He was exceptionally good at explaining things. One day he explained the relationship between mind and body. His explanation was that our bodies are the shelters for our minds. The performance of martial arts techniques with the body is in the shadow of the mind. In other words, it is outside of our minds. Our physical eye cannot see the mind, but our ancestors were wise and taught us to understand the mind through the expression of various martial arts movements. Grandmaster Kwon then showed Dr. Kimm his fist and said that executing one punch is not designed to punch someone but through the shadows of the mind, the motion of the techniques, we can cultivate our mind and see our mind. He stated that man has two distinct sides, the physical body and the mind. The purpose of training martial arts is to train the physical body and train the mind.
Grandmaster Kwon went on to explain the relationship between Sal Sim (killing mind) and Whal Sim (saving mind). He said that, as martial artists, we should know about changing the state of our minds through the process of our martial arts techniques. First, after reaching a certain level of technique, you are tempted to test your fists on other people. This sometimes will cause you to intentionally argue with other people to show or test your fists. This is the type of mind that is called Sal Sim (killing mind). Eliminating this "killing mind" should be your first objective when you begin training in martial arts. The elimination of the "killing mind" in other people should become your second objective. He said to achieve these goals, you cannot have a "killing mind" in order to handle potentially aggressive situations. For example, when you are walking and someone bumps you, if this person begins to speak to you in an angry voice, you must be humble and have patience to ride out the "killing mind." If your effort of cooling him down fail and he physically attacks you, your next alternative is the use of your martial art techniques to control and immobilize him. You would then wait for his "killing mind" to subside. If you are weak, the opponent will find an opportunity to counter-attack again. For this reason, marital artists should practice hard and become well-trained Black Belts. After subduing an opponent, you should persuade him with your virtuous mind.
According to Grandmaster Kwon, the ultimate goal of martial arts training is that of a healthy mind and body and that each martial artist contribute to the development of society. At the beginning of marital arts training, the practitioner almost always begins with the "killing mind." Through education and training, this mind is transformed into a "saving mind." In order to come to understand the "killing mind" you have to know the "saving mind." If you only understand the "killing mind" and do not understand the "saving mind," you do not qualify as a true martial artist.
The knowledge that Dr. Kimm had accumulated over the last forty years through various grandmasters and personal experiences have been immense. From this knowledge and experience, Dr. Kimm has create a new system of Korean martial art which he calls Han Mu Do. This was not the first name that Dr. Kimm has called this art. The first name he used was Yuj Kwon Sul which means "art of throws and punches." This name was strongly recommended by Grandmaster Suk In-hyuk because this name had been popular in the 1950's. Grandmaster Ji Han-jae favored the name Han Mu Yuh Kwon Sul which means the Korean Martial Art of Throws and Punches. For a while, it was called Han Mu Yuh Kwon Sul. Some groups from Ki training schools did not like the use of "Mu" because it meant "martial arts" and they considered that the Ki training contained in Han MU Do was more than martial arts training. Therefore, they called it Han Do, which means "way of Korean martial arts." Finally, in 1991, Dr. Kimm decided to call the art Han Mu Do.
Biography of Dr. He-Young Kimm: Copyright (c) 1998-2003 The World Han Mu Do Association