Congratulation to all our black belts who got promoted! I hope you can see that I am proud and happy. Thank you all our students, parents, and their training partners who came to assist and support the test. It is a real team effort.
We appreciate Master Danny Choi and Master Megan Yi for your time and encouraging words for our students. I stated that I used to invite old senior masters and wanted to seek their approval. As a young school owner, it was reassuring and flattering that my seniors thought that our school system and students performance was top notch. Now, as an older veteran school owner, I want to know if the younger generation finds our school system to be relevant and fresh. It seems that our two young masters thought highly of our system and style. It makes me happy that we are cool enough for the next generation of TKD masters.
One of the most unique about our academy is that we are very comprehensive in our curriculum. We are compliant with Kukkiwon, and we produce world-class sparring athletes. We also teach take downs of Judo and ground grappling based on BJJ. We do not have enough time to cover in-depth grappling, but we teach good fundamentals, with time we have. We do not pretend to be an expert grappler, but we know we are teaching good sound basics; which helps our students the right concepts. We believe these concepts will give them a fighting chance to resist and possibly contain aggressive untrained assailants. If you have good fitness, mental toughness, and good technical basics, it is not easy for your opponent to knock you out or submit you on the ground.
I was already 30 years old when I took Judo. I was 29 years old, TKD school owner, but I had no problem humble myself and grapple with people much younger. I took Judo for a few years, and it gave me enough understanding to incorporate the essential basics into our school curriculum. I got to a point where I felt comfortable matching up with an average local black belt. I also realized that I had a good instinct and body build for Judo and grappling.
After a few years, a young 19 years old BJJ athlete walks into our academy. He was impressed with our TKD drills. He said that it was very dynamic and powerful, compared to other traditional Karate movements. He was an aspiring MMA fighter, and he wanted to develop stand up striking ability. I was curious about BJJ, and I suggested that he can take Taekwondo for free if he can teach me BJJ. Once again, I became a beginner, learning BJJ as a white belt. I took the lesson for a few years before he moved on. This is a lot harder than it sounds for there are a lot of watchful eyes, and I had to perform and not embarrass myself. I believe I learned and performed well enough to impress my instructors and their people. In both situations, I felt like representing Taekwondo black belt and the pride of AMAA, so I trained as if my life depends on it.
Earning my instructor's respect was very instrumental in giving me the confidence and gained a lot of invaluable insights and perspectives about the total approach toward martial arts and how to teach it, efficiently and effectively. Becoming a student taught me a lot on how to make the training experience more enjoyable, safe, progressive, and effective.
The fascinating finding was that different learning art never depreciated the value of Taekwondo, but it only heightened my appreciation for it. It is only through comparison, and you get to understand what you have. My advice to our black belts are that,
Keep on training and never stop learning. It will be almost tragic if our young people think they already know enough and feel bored.Be proud of what you have accomplished, but never too proud to not learn from your instructor. That is not pride, but arrogance and stupidity. There is so much than what meets the eyes.Share your knowledge by teaching, coaching, and mentoring people. You master by teaching others. Science has proven what teaching does to your brain. You will strengthen your dojang community and make a difference in other people' lives. This is more important than winning the national championship. Exercise leadership.
I always preach 'Tae-Kwon-Do-Jung-Shin', that TKD spirit is giving 100% in everything you do. We make our white belt students chant that five-syllable. Learning never stops, and I will step down when I do not care about the performances of our students; both in traditional martial arts and sports competition. AMAA system and curriculum will continue to evolve and become better and better. I hope many of you will take that journey with me.
옛날에 심사를 할때는, 관록이 많으신 관장님을 모시고, 그분들에게 칭찬을 받으면 무척 기분이 좋았다. 그런데, 어느세 이제는 내가 나이가 많은 관장이 되었고, 반대로, 우리스타일이 젊은세대에 어필이 되는지 묻고 싶다. 시대에 뒤떨어진다는 것은 결코 좋은 현상이 아니라고 생각되기 때문이다. 멋있다고 해주니 기분도 좋고, 더욱더 시스템을 개발해야 되겠다는 동기유발을 받았다. 열심히 준비한 학생, 도와준 동료들, 부모님 그리고 행사를 준비한 스탭들에게 감사하다.