G.M. Kim Soo performs two men Kung Fu form, Jang-Kwon with son, Master Sean H. Kim at the National Chayon-Ryu Festival at the
Robertson Field House of University of Houston.
A Wonderful Gift

by Robert Mclain

  "I’ve received lots of great presents throughout my life. The Christmas season always seemed a time of family, good food, and gifts under the tree. While I’ve appreciated all of the gifts, I am sure that some have been forgotten through time, unfortunately. But, one gift that I still carry with me is the membership to Chayon-Ryu from the Christmas of 1992.

Every year my mother would ask me the same question, “What do you want for Christmas this year?” After I finished the Fall 1992 semester taking the University of Houston martial arts class, the answer seemed obvious. Both myself and my father wanted a membership back with Chayon-Ryu.

As soon as the downtown Chayon-Ryu dojang was open following Christmas break of 1992, my father and I would make the ½ hour drive each way three times each week to train with Grandmaster Kim Soo. Many times I would train additional days during the week, and was occasionally reminded by Mrs. Kim that I was only getting credit for 3 classes each week. I didn’t mind, because I was training for knowledge and enjoyment, not for credit.

That Christmas gift continued to give for all of 1993 and I progressed from yellow belt to blue belt. The gift was always with me and served as a “safe haven” away from the stress of school and work, or any other frustrations in my life. Often, I would arrive at the dojang 1 class early, just to spend that time cleaning, meditating, and training. Those times, just as much as the formal training, helped me find the answers to my inner ‘questions’ and life-balance. When the winter months came around again I didn’t have to wait for my mother’s “Christmas question.” I told her in advance what I wanted – another year membership in Chayon-Ryu.

Now it is 11 years later and I’ve grown to choose martial arts instruction as a career and found my place in the world. I look back and doubt my parents knew how many treasures would be found in the simple gift of a one-year membership in Chayon-Ryu. I surely didn’t know. I always seem to find new benefits from that gift.

I look forward to the day when I can pass along these gifts to my children – only knowing a few of the treasures they will find, and imagining the unlimited possibilities it will open for them. Until those days, I continue to pass along these lessons to my students and their families. Though I’ve taught over 1300 students in Arlington since 1994, I’m amazed at how few students continue training for more than a few months. I can only hope they find their own benefits from the short time we had together.

You never know how a gift will affect someone. But, I know that my 1992 Christmas gift continues to benefit my life and those people around me. It is something that I recommend to anyone that wants to give something that brings treasures for generations to come.