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Turning Over New Leaf

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Supreme Grandmaster Tiger “Sang Soo” Kim






Supreme Grandmaster Tiger “Sang Soo” Kim








To this day, I am extremely proud that I was trained for many years by the late, great Grandmaster Tiger "Sang Soo" Kim. In so many ways, he positively altered the course of my life and the lives of my family members. He was a mentor and a friend, and I deeply miss his companionship and guidance. From Madison Square Garden to West Point Military Academy, and even to training Mohammad Ali for a major fight in Japan, Tiger Kim was the best of all time. There are two valuable principles I was given by this great man, which as a young person forged my future. They continue to guide my actions today:

1. Always finish what you start

2. Nothing is impossible to a willing mind

Those who know me can attest to the fact that these words motivate me daily. They are precious gifts from my mentor. He will always have my undying respect.

I am also thrilled that I have been able to stay in touch with Grandmaster Kim's sons, under whom I also trained hard and learned valuable life lessons. They are two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to know, and their skills and guidance are second to none. Grandmasters Simon and James Kim, known as the Tiger Twins, will forever be my friends. In addition to being Hollywood action stars in movies with celebrities such as Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Steven Segal and Arnold Schwarzeneggar, the Tiger Twins are caring, "real" human beings who always give back to their communities, from New York to Los Angeles. Check out their website:

http://www.tigertwins.com/instructors.html

What a fantastic opportunity for children to gain self-confidence for success! I hope to have my grandchildren train at their Dojang in the future.

9 comments:

  1. JJ: We seem to have another thing in common: martial arts. I had the opportunity to study with Master Mario Perez, Shaolin Kung Fu. Being a little tired as I write this post reply, I will not remember more of the pesky details of style, etc. =) But, I had a few years with Miami Kung Fu Center...and they were the best for me. I still miss them and carry the lessons with me daily.

    I hope your grandchildren train at a wonderful Dojang in their future, too.

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  2. A-M: Fantastic! It's a style I am trying to learn now. I have been studying Chin Na, and it is tough. However, the real benefit with all the arts is in mental strength and determmination. Good for you!

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  3. "Nothing is impossible to a willing mind." I'll keep this quote in mind as I prepare for the challenging week ahead.
    I took my daughter to see the new Karate Kid. She loved it and I was impressed.
    What did you think of the martial arts choreography?

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  4. #167 Dad: I have not seen the movie. They are usually pretty good at choreography, but the public would be surprised to learn how many dangerous and difficult stunts are actually performed by the actors. I will have to see the movie and get back to you.

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  5. martial arts saved my life twice
    and not the I defended myself and kicked someone's butt way
    but the - I was in a dark place and the lessons from TKD refused to allow me to give up way

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  6. Thanks for the memory, JJ. I was a cadet on the Army Karate Team when Master Kim first came to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was our instructor for several years, driving in from NYC once a week. The rest of the week we continued his training under the guidance of the cadet black belts. He was in his early 40s when he arrived and incredibly fit – built like a battle tank and fast as lightning. Out of 70 classmates who began training my freshman year, I was the only one to rise from white belt to 1st Dan by graduation. I still have the Kukkiwon certificate Master Kim presented to me. What an amazing man. It was a privilege to have known him.

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  7. I also studied with Grand Master Kim above the old RKO Fordham theater in the Bronx. I fondly remember getting him his dinner from the Burger Joint downstairs, staying late to teach warm-up excercise to the late class and the Old School camaraderie that came from hard sparring with only Safe-t-kicks. I also remember his brother Byung Min who enjoyed sparring with the students. One lighthearted moment came when we were doing one step sparring and I stepped back to attack and tripped Grand Master Kim. Without missing a beat he dive rolled right back onto his feet and paused to fix his hair. Then he turned to me in his admonishing way and said "Steven, No Good!. Seven great years with a true Grand Master!

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  8. Steve: They were indeed great years. One of my most memorable moments came in helping him with a Saturday class. While the class was working out, he wanted me to practice some Judo moves for my black belt training with which I was having some difficulty. He would throw me, but I seemed to be landing too hard.

    When the session ended, I asked him what I could do to improve. He told me I had to practice the fall a thousand times. He told me if I was serious, he would work with me one on one after class. I, of course, agreed. When the students left, he repeated his comment that I would have to practice the fall a thousand times to get it right. He asked if I understood, and I replied, "Yes Sir." He took me to the center of the mat, threw me, and said, "One." I panicked.

    Great memory.

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  9. JJ: Ahhh, Judo. A fond memory indeed. At my height and weight at the time I was his favorite Judo dummy. So, my classmates, trying to be funny, would ask Master Kim at "question time" at the end of class to display some Judo Throws. Invariably he would yell "Steven" and I would dejectedly run up to the mat. Master Kim would then grab me by the lapels and say "Maybe you try like this, Maybe you try like this". The problem was he never told you which way he was going to throw you! Next thing you know you are staring at the lights and he is tugging on your arm saying "Get Up".

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