by Yolanda Cyrus - Oct. 29, 2002

1973 G.M. shows U.S. citizen's certificate proudly at the Hq.
Chayon-Ryu Bon-Bu dojang in Houston.

   I am receiving my training in Chayon-Ryu. It translates from Korean as "The Natural Way." This is a form of martial arts that was developed by my martial arts professor Grandmaster Kim Soo. It not only teaches you the development of martial arts, but how to apply it in everyday life. Grandmaster has advised me on many occasions that there are not any bad students. This is not only said through words but through his constant training, talking, and yes, even stern lectures.

I enrolled in Kim Soo Karate one year ago because I wanted to become a good student. Not only in martial arts, but in understanding how to master what was within myself. I knew of his teaching methods since I was about 10 years old. I was always told that I was a weak student by several teachers. I was even advised that I should settle. Unfortunately, I thought these words were truth. Learning from Grandmaster Kim Soo has changed these thoughts I had over the last 20 years.

I have always been the type of person who quits classes or tasks when assignments become too difficult for me or if a teacher criticizes me. I did not think I was good student. With this thinking I only pursued things that were simple. This changed when I met Grandmaster Kim Soo.

I met my martial arts profesor one year ago. Being taught under Grandmaster Kim Soo has changed my total way of thinking, living, and accepting life's hardships. Before I was his student I did not think I was capable of learning new things, accepting new concepts, or learning from my mistakes. Since starting my training under his rule, I have learned how to endeavor any type of hardship, such as job loss or how to handle negative things that happen to me.

Grandmaster Kim Soo's teaching style also encourages me to think for myself. In his system it is alright to make a mistake as long as you learn from it. This is not a pass to continue making mistakes, but to inform you that you are only human. Teaching the student the basic principles will lead to a positive result. Grandmaster Kim Soo states that the basic principles in teaching is watching, listening, advising, and understanding. In his view every student is at the master level. There are no bad students. This is proven by the constant lectures, guidance, and the way Grandmaster Kim Soo encourages questions. There are certain words that Grandmaster uses in his teaching approach that are powerful. I know these words helped me in every quest I have undertaken since my training began. These words are: Endeavor, Perfection of Character, Commitment, Comprehending, and Spirit. I plaster my home and work space with these words.

The main thing is that in Grandmaster's Dojo every student knows his words; "do not quit." Before any lecture, class, or rank test the first thing a student will hear is positive guidance. If you are doing something that is not correct you will not be belittled, just informed of your error. Grandmaster will advise, demonstrate, and make the class do repetitions until there is an understanding. No student is singled out. If one person makes a mistake on a form, the whole class performs the form. This is to ensure that everyone understands and that no one feels insecure. The teaching style of Grandmaster is very simple. He educates teachers and students, demonstrates the procedure, and observes to see if his teaching is being utilized. If there are problems you are encouraged to use your own mind or ask either a higher level or Grandmaster what can be done to correct the situation. This teaching advises the student to Endeavor.

Grandmaster teaches his students as if they are already at a Grandmaster's level. When no one is treated better than the other it makes it easier to learn and absorb the knowledge that he is passing to the potential martial artist. This teaching allows the student to be true to themselves.

Grandmaster Kim Soo's words; "If you practice you will know, if you do not then you will have problems." This teaching method makes the student accountable for their own training. He is not going to tell you that a form for your requirement needs to be taught to you. Everyone is expected to know all of their forms for their rank. You are given the task of asking higher belts and other masters for assistance. This teaching method helps the student to make time for practice consistently. As a student I am responsible for myself. If I am having trouble with forms, it is up to me to ask the lower ranks for help. In my opinion this builds character; Commitment.

I did not understand the difference between positive criticism and destructive criticism. In my mind it was all the same until I was counseled. Our conversation was purely guidance. This allowed me to use my own thinking as he was talking to me. It was explained that when a Grandmaster or Master is correcting you, you will not be pacified or even given the answers. You will be shown the way of learning but it is up to the student to use the tools given. Grandmaster informed me the tools are practice, meditation, confidence, and spirit. This allowed me to understand when someone is criticizing me, I have to have an open mind. In understanding better by his words I know that total respect is shown to the student by the teacher; Comprehending.

This is not only used in Chayon-Ryu, but in everyday circumstances. This training by Grandmaster really is one of the reasons I am in school now. I have the confidence, stamina, and courage to seek perfection of my character. I was given the tools necessary to understand the meaning. To be a better student and a stronger woman in character. Through Grandmaster's teachings I am able to see things in a positive light. I am able to work harder, stronger, and to make a commitment. This is demonstrated at work, school, and everyday situations. I can handle stress better, accept certain disappointments, never be afraid to try, have patience, and also be strong enough when I fail.

This way of teaching has allowed for growth. At the present I am confident to ask more questions in every situation. To understand the fact that every student has his or her own way of solving situations. Since Training under Grandmaster I read more, try to comperhend every endeavor, and I have definately opened my mind. I know now that there are several ways of learning instead of seeing what is put in front of me.

I was always told that I was a weak student by several teachers. Learning from Grandmaster Kim Soo has changed these thoughts I had over the last 20 years. I am not a master in belt, so to say, but in mind and spirit I am a Master. Maybe even a Grandmaster in the mind. Spirit.