9th Degree Blackbelt
President of Taekwon-Do International
Founder of Instructors’ Association
Founder of New York City Taekwondo Association
Former Member of Original I.T.F. Demo Team
M aster Kim has over 40 years of experience teaching Taekwondo. There are very few 9th degree black belts in the world and even fewer who still teach. Master Kim has always prided himself on being a devoted teacher who considers his students and their development as martial artists to be his primary concerns. Master Kim still teaches all level of students from beginners to his most advanced black belts.
Unlike a gym or a health spa, S.J. Kim’s Taekwondo is not run like a normal business. Master Kim considers his school to be a place of learning, and his method of teaching emphasizes the traditional values of discipline, practice, hard work and focus. His goal is to teach each of his students to reach his or her full potential and therefore expects his students to learn and practice with diligence and sincerity.
Master Kim began his own extensive training in Taekwondo at a young age in Seoul, Korea. In addition to studying Taekwondo, he also earned a degree in Civil Engineering and briefly skied professionally. If he had not decided to dedicate his energies exclusively to Taekwondo, it is likely he would have followed his father’s footsteps.
Master Kim’s father, Dr. C.H. Kim, is a Professor of Coastal and Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University and is one of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of Naval Architecture and Hydrodynamics. Professor Kim has written over 150 papers and is currently pioneering the study of Nonlinear Waves and their effects on Offshore Structures. Although he chose a different career path than his father, Master Kim has always modeled his own desire for perfection and mastery after Professor Kim’s example.
I n 1974, Master Kim won the Masters Association Open Championships and the South Atlantic Open Championships in free fighting, and between 1975 and 1980, he performed annual Taekwondo demonstrations in Madison Square Garden. In 1976, he opened a Taekwondo school in Bergenfield, New Jersey. A turning point in his development as a martial artist also came in 1976 when he was selected by General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of the International Taekwondo Federation (the “ITF”), to become one of the original members of the ITF Demonstration Team.
As part of the ITF Demonstration Team, Master Kim spent the next 10 years traveling the world, visiting five continents and scores of nations. Demonstrating before international dignitaries and stadiums filled with people eager to see and learn Taekwondo, Master Kim specialized in performing spectacular aerial kicks and powerful and precise patterns. In an effort to teach others, Master Kim also helped set up national Taekwondo associations in several Latin American countries. As General Choi’s student, he also taught seminars for black belt instructors all over the world.
Although Master Kim’s experience and knowledge of Taekwondo is still sought after both internationally and elsewhere in the United States, he has dedicated himself to teaching his own students in New York. As such, several of his former students now travel from other countries and other states in order to continue training with him. As a sign of a teacher’s greatest reward, many of Master Kim’s former students consistently call and write or visit the school to update him on their lives, to say hello and to thank him for teaching them.
I n addition to teaching his students, Master Kim is currently a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Shaftesbury in England. His thesis will examine the history of Taekwondo. At the same time, he is also writing a book on Taekwondo, which will explain both the philosophical and technical aspects of Taekwondo practice. Excerpts from both his thesis and his book will be reprinted periodically in the school’s newsletters. By writing his thesis and his book, Master Kim hopes to become a better teacher and practitioner of Taekwondo, and he hopes to impart to his students more of the knowledge and experience he has gained during 40 years of studying the way of Taekwondo.
Below are several clips of Master Kim’s recent demonstrations. Click on the picture to view the videos.
Four board back kick, while standing on broken glass
The pattern Tong-Il represents the resolution of the unification of Korea, which has been divided since 1945.
Eight-foot high jumping twisting kick.
Blindfolded with a white belt, Grandmaster Kim turns and slices an apple in half.