Kyu Ha Kim
Kyu Ha Kim began his martial arts training in his home village at the age of five; his first teacher was his elder half-brother, Kyu Tae Kim. At fifteen, Kyu Ha Km entered Tae Jon High School and began formal martial arts training under Han Sang Yul. Training was rigorous: two hours daily, six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Sundays were, “rest days,” although students often gathered to practice, “light uchi komi (Judo repetition fitting),” for a “few hours,” on Sunday afternoons! Training was undifferentiated by discipline and included a broad spectrum of martial arts techniques we would recognize today as Jui-Jitsu, Judo, or its Korean interpretation, Yudo, and Taekwondo (note: the name Taekwondo was not applied to the group of Korean hard-style martial arts from which it was formed until the late 1950’s). Kyu Ha Kim’s Judo students practice striking, both Judo atemi waza and basic Taekwondo and his Taekwondo students learn Judo ukemi waza and fundamental Judo throws. Kyu Ha Kim continued to train in this manner until his graduation from Tae Jon High School, at which time he was promoted to 1st degree black belt. His promotion to 1st degree black belt did not come easily, however. In spite of his dedication to the school’s demanding training regimen and his success in high school tournament competition, he failed his promotional test for 1st degree black belt nine times before finally succeeding!