taekwondo pioneer recognized as mentor at Roseland Gymnasium | The news of progress


ROSELAND – In 1967, Supreme Master Kim Bok Man predicted that taekwondo, the martial art that veterans of the South Korean military had just started teaching civilians, would one day be an Olympic sport.

By the time of that first taekwondo press conference in Hong Kong, very few people had heard of it, said Brad Shipp, Kim’s protégé who owns Complete Martial Arts in Roseland, where Kim has taught.

At the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, Kim’s prediction came true.

He is credited in the taekwondo community as one of the first instructors to teach widely outside the South Korean military in the 1950s and the first to teach women and children from around 1970.

Kim is also credited with helping to make the sport popular outside of South Korea and being the “technical founder” of taekwondo, as he named all the movements and documented them in books.

Totally Tae Kwon Do magazine featured Kim in a 2011 front page profile, in which writer Stuart Anslow said he was “fundamental in framing much of what many of us practice. still every week in our dojangs today “. Dojang is used in Korean martial arts to refer to a formal training hall.

Taekwondo enthusiasts have traveled from different countries to attend seminars hosted by Kim in Roseland, Shipp said.

Kim taught however he wanted, he noted. If he wanted to teach, he would get on the mat and teach. If he wanted to rest and watch the lessons, he would.

When asked if he could beat Kim in a fight, Shipp replied that he couldn’t while Kim was in his prime.

For the past few years, he needed Shipp’s help to stand up and hold his hand while walking.

Still, Kim was teaching and swapping and kicking over his head a few months before his death.

“So it gets to the point where, yeah, if it was a long drawn out fight, sure I could,” Shipp said. “But he had this killer instinct where he could kill you by sitting in a chair, like he could cut your neck.” He would say, when he was old, he would say, “I can’t fight very long; I have to kill you the first time. So he was very powerful, even until the very end.

Many students of Complete Martial Arts viewed Kim as a grandfather figure and relied on him to correct their kicks, blocks, and stances.

Kim liked students who were humble and respectful of their elders, Shipp noted.

Kim first learned taekwondo as a child, when the entire Korean Peninsula was under the control of the Empire of Japan.

Back then, he and his friends had to walk to school in groups to avoid being beaten by Japanese gangs. On one occasion, a friend of Kim’s was killed on his way to school.

Kim’s grandmother found a soldier ready to teach her how to protect and defend herself.

He got good at taekwondo because he had to when there was always a threat of someone attacking you, Shipp said.

In 1950, Kim joined the Army of the Republic of Korea, where taekwondo had started and was practiced almost exclusively at the time. He had basic training for five or six weeks before being sent straight into the Korean War, where he fought battle after battle.

In the military, Kim honed his skills and taught other soldiers. He was known to be difficult to touch. During lunch, other soldiers lined up to challenge him, and he fought them one after the other. Then he fought two people at a time, then three at a time.

After the war ended, the soldiers set up a gymnasium where civilians who lived near the base could learn taekwondo.

They staged a protest in front of a crowd of thousands in 1958, and the soldiers took taekwondo out of Korea for the first time. They first visited Taiwan in 1959, then throughout Southeast Asia.

On one of her most recent tours in 2010, Kim traveled to the Philippines to teach only black belt students. He was around 70 and continued to pitch people, Shipp said.

Kim was famous for his flying kicks. He lined up people shoulder to shoulder, asked them to turn their heads to the side, then hovered over them. Sometimes the queues could be as long as 13 people.

While living in Hong Kong, he starred in three films.

Mike Swope, writer at Totally Tae Kwon Do, said in an email that Kim has changed her life in martial arts.

Swope was a 4th degree black belt when he met Kim in 2013, and his principles and techniques have helped him improve tenfold, Swope said.

“I enjoyed his hyung, or his patterns, because they taught more of a punch or a block,” Swope said. “His models teach several movements per step. Supreme Master Kim was a true old school master.

Swope helped Kim design and publish a book in 2015. Kim single-handedly created more designs than anyone else, he said.

“Along the way we have become like family,” Swope said. “Although I have had martial arts instructors, including my own brother, I confidently say that Supreme Master Kim was my only teacher. He was like a father to me. I have no better way to describe how I feel about him.

“His passing moved me more than any other loss I have experienced, including the loss of my own father. I miss him every day.”

Kim was the first instructor to hand out medals, which he did at the Third Asian Taekwondo Championships, which he hosted, Shipp said.

Kim eventually moved to St. Louis, where Shipp was one of her few students.

Shipp, now a resident of Verona, moved to New Jersey because he found a job in real estate.

As she got older, Kim told Shipp that he couldn’t teach on his own anymore. He asked Shipp to open a gym where Kim could teach.

Shipp therefore opened Complete Martial Arts on Eisenhower Parkway. The company moved to the same mall twice to gain more space as the number of registrations increased.

Shipp said he hopes people will remember Kim for his dedication to taekwondo.

“He didn’t get credit for a lot of things,” he said. “Other people took credit for the things he did, but he really didn’t care.

“Like I said, for him it wasn’t about fame or money, and he could have been very rich. But he had honor and did it for the right reasons. “

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