Seoul, Korea
February 1964

Grandmaster Kim Soo establishes the Korean Taekwon-Karate Academy (building pictured here).

by Yolanda Horace, 5th Gup, Houston, Texas

As students of the Chayon Ryu system, we are advised and trained on many things such as forms, techniques, and basic principles.

One of the most important subjects we are taught every day is showing the proper respect to our system founder Grandmaster Kim Soo. Sometimes we may be informal with each other, but when speaking to or in the presence of Grandmaster we must use proper etiquette at all times.

There are several etiquette rules the martial artist should adhere to regarding Kwan Jang Nim:

1.      Never, never, call Grandmaster by his first name. This is extremely rude. In eastern (martial arts) culture, this is considered an insult. Always use proper terminology such as Grandmaster Kim Soo, Kwan Jang Nim, or Do Sa Nim. This is giving proper respect for dedicating many years to his training, experience, and an honorable appreciation to Kwan Jang Nim for sharing his art.

2.      Besides showing propriety in your address, you must also show propriety in your behavior. Patting on the back is not acceptable, whereas bowing is.

3.      When in a sitting position in front of Grandmaster, your body should be straight and at attention. Having a lazy appearance is considered tasteless.

4.       Always sit with your legs crossed and closed when in his presence. Legs apart not only shows disrespect to Grandmaster, but also to the dojang.  

5.      When Grandmaster is lecturing on Chayon Ryu history, forms, or sharing his stories, you should give your full and undivided attention. It is not uncommon to see students with their eyes closed, looking through the window, playing with their feet, or even whispering with their friends.  This displays a total lack of respect.

6.       If you arrive late while Grandmaster is conducting class, walk quietly and wait for acknowledgement from him then join the class. After he has finished teaching, apologize for running late.

7.      If you have to leave class early, advise Grandmaster before class and explain the reason. On your exit, bow to him again to show respect and appreciation for his understanding.

8.      If you see Grandmaster doing a chore, stop what ever you are doing and take over. This is not his responsibility to clean the dojang! It belongs to the students. It is shameful not to offer assistance as needed.

9.      Never sit down in class unless Grandmaster gives his permission. This is usually given when he is demonstrating a technique, lecturing or when stretching

10.     Don't have the mindset of since you are paying your fee you do not have to show proper respect. Just because you pay your dues, it does not give you the right to be disrespectful.

11.     Be obedient when following Grandmaster's instructions. If he advises you to teach a lower rank their requirements, do as he asks. Don't try to teach a white belt a green belt form because you want to show off your skills. He knows what is best for each and every student.

These are just a few ways of showing etiquette. There are many more, but they will be acquired throughout your training.  The students of Chayon Ryu will benefit from following the proper ways of showing respect to Grandmaster.