Grand Master Kim was born, January 11, 1949, in Nowari, South Korea. His training in Martial Arts began at the age of 12 under Grand Master Ahn at the Yangju Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan School. Grand Master Kim moved to Tongduch'on as an assistant instructor on the US Army 2nd Infantry Base located there. Grand Master Kim left Korea in May of 1975 to join Master Han in Wichita as a 5th Dan Kukkiwon Instructor. Grand Master Kim spent 7 years with Han's Taekwondo School until Grand Master Han left for California; the school was then renamed Kim's Academy of Taekwondo in 1982.
Grand Master Kim received is 8th Dan Kukkiwon Certificate in 1994 after travelling to the World Taekwondo Federation in the Gangnam-gu district of Seoul, South Korea.
Grandmaster Kim's Story
(Prepared by Susan Harrison assisted by Jr. Master Charles Weaver)
This year Grandmaster Joon Y. Kim celebrates his 20th anniversary of teaching Taekwondo in Kansas. Under his guidance, Kim's Academy has flourished in these two decades, growing larger and expanding outward with affiliated schools in every direction.
Master Kim has awarded more than 230 Black Belts over the years and there are currently hundreds of men, women and children training with him, or at the 26 branch schools thought-out Kansas and in neighboring states.
From his native Korea, Master Kim came to this country in 1975 at the invitation of Grandmaster Choon Hwa Han, who a couple of year's earlier had opened Han's Taekwondo School in Wichita. Master Kin had been assistant instructor to master Han in Korea, and now he was to assume the same position on the other side of the globe.
When Master Han moved and Master J.B. Kim relocated to Oklahoma, Master Kim remained in Wichita and the Park Lane School became his own. At master Han's insistence Master Kim changed the name to Kim's Academy of Taekwondo.
In the spring of 1989 Kim's Academy moved to its present location on South Longfellow, and in 1993 it underwent a major expansion.
Master Kim first learned Taekwondo for self-defense. At the age of twelve, he and his buddies had one goal in common and that was to be "Top Boy." With superior fighting skills, Master Kim reasoned, he and his troop of friends could triumph over the other packs of boys who roamed his home village liking for a fight. So together they enrolled in the local Taekwondo School and trained hard.
The master at that first school was very though and demanded complete concentration, Master Kim explained, and if a boy's mind wandered, a whack with a bamboo bat brought it back. The master expected his students to train every day and punishment for misbehavior of missing class.
Just as they do today at Kim's Academy, the young students of Taekwondo learned more than just fighting techniques. The boys acquired a sense of loyalty to their school and absorbed the virtues of sincerity and good morals. Their master taught them "there is no excuse to fight."
"Lots of troublemakers came to class, but as time passed they changed," Master Kim said.
Master Kim vividly remembers his first Black Belt test which took place in the city of Seoul. "I was scared to death," he said, it was a big event with many people coming from all across Korea or watch their families and friends. If someone didn't do well during the test, they were "released" immediately and had to go home. Those who completed the test sometimes had to wait months to find out if they'd passed.
When Master Kim first began teaching in Kansas, most of his new students wanted to learn Taekwondo for the same reason he had, Master Kim said, to be the best fighter. But in twenty years the emphasis has changed. "Now people want confidence," he said. "Top boy" is second.
Another change is that there are far more women taking classes than before, and Master Kim says that he welcomes the increase in female students. "It's good for guts and builds confidence and mental strength," he said, nothing that when he was a boy, few girls trained because their parents discouraged it. Those who did make it to class had to "sneak," he said.
However, after Taekwondo became the official national sport in 1971, it was taught to both boys and girls in public schools. When asked what his future goals are, Master Kim answers modestly. "To find a better way of teaching", he said "and to have a healthy school."