Korean Masters from the 1960's and 1970's

Glenn Babicky

White Belt
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
Glenn, it sounds like you were very fortunate to have trained with such greats in TKD! I still compete with the Young Brothers. After GM Ki Whang Kim's passing, we quit going to his tournament, although we still see Master Critzos and his naval cadets at our association's tournament.

Man, to have had to opportunity to spar folks like Jeff Smith and Pat Whorley. Thanks for post!
Mr. Rush, it was so surreal... I studied Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do for two and a half years. Myself and a group of first and second degree blackbelts switched to GM Kong's tuteledge. Wow, how our world changed. Due to GM Young Il Kong's fighting technique.
Our kicking technique and power advanced, remarkably. Shortly thereafter, GM Kong brought his younger brother over to the US to live and compete. This was Young Bo Kong. Due to GM Young Bo Kong's tournament success, coaching and mentoring. Now, 40 years later I see alot of competitors using the lead leg side kick, sliding lead leg sidekick and many more techniques that GM Young Il Kong introduced to the United States. I can tell you this with impunity, once you train under GM Young Il Kong, no one else will suffice. His fighting technique is impecable. Note: I'm not the first or, the only one to have said. this. Sincerely, ---Glenn Babicky Sr.
 

Kinghercules

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
259
Reaction score
7
Location
Washington DC
Mr. Rush, it was so surreal... I studied Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do for two and a half years. Myself and a group of first and second degree blackbelts switched to GM Kong's tuteledge. Wow, how our world changed. Due to GM Young Il Kong's fighting technique.
Our kicking technique and power advanced, remarkably. Shortly thereafter, GM Kong brought his younger brother over to the US to live and compete. This was Young Bo Kong. Due to GM Young Bo Kong's tournament success, coaching and mentoring. Now, 40 years later I see alot of competitors using the lead leg side kick, sliding lead leg sidekick and many more techniques that GM Young Il Kong introduced to the United States. I can tell you this with impunity, once you train under GM Young Il Kong, no one else will suffice. His fighting technique is impecable. Note: I'm not the first or, the only one to have said. this. Sincerely, ---Glenn Babicky Sr.

Interesting that you said that GM Kong introduced the lead leg kicks to the United States. Because last time I checked Ki Whang Kim did that. It was after his students Mike Warren and Albert Cheeks came on the scene that ppl started using lead leg kicks and the ax kick. Another kick that Ki Whang introduced. It was after Cheeks and Mike went to Korea in 1973 for the 1st TKD Championships that the Koreans started copying Ki Whang Kim's style. When Cheeks and Mike went back to Korea for the TKD reunion the Koreans told them that they recorded the fights and they would study how Cheeks and Mike moved and kicked. Kim Studio was known for the lead leg kicks. If you look at all the videos from back in the days ( 60's & early 70's) ppl didnt use lead leg kicks as their MAIN technique.

So I would question how GM Kong introduce lead leg kicks when he wasnt teaching until the mid 70's (one website said he came in 1968 but in an interview they said he didnt come til 1980)? But I do know that his brother was here competing thats why I said mid 70's. In fact I think it was Cheeks who beat Young Bo Kong for the North American Open crown in '74 but I'll ask. Because on their website it says Kong won the middle weight division and I believe Cheeks won it that year.
 

Glenn Babicky

White Belt
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
Interesting that you said that GM Kong introduced the lead leg kicks to the United States. Because last time I checked Ki Whang Kim did that. It was after his students Mike Warren and Albert Cheeks came on the scene that ppl started using lead leg kicks and the ax kick. Another kick that Ki Whang introduced. It was after Cheeks and Mike went to Korea in 1973 for the 1st TKD Championships that the Koreans started copying Ki Whang Kim's style. When Cheeks and Mike went back to Korea for the TKD reunion the Koreans told them that they recorded the fights and they would study how Cheeks and Mike moved and kicked. Kim Studio was known for the lead leg kicks. If you look at all the videos from back in the days ( 60's & early 70's) ppl didnt use lead leg kicks as their MAIN technique.

So I would question how GM Kong introduce lead leg kicks when he wasnt teaching until the mid 70's (one website said he came in 1968 but in an interview they said he didnt come til 1980)? But I do know that his brother was here competing thats why I said mid 70's. In fact I think it was Cheeks who beat Young Bo Kong for the North American Open crown in '74 but I'll ask. Because on their website it says Kong won the middle weight division and I believe Cheeks won it that year.
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
633
1970 Lead leg kicks - Karate Joe Lewis

Bill Wallace - Same era.
 

Kinghercules

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
259
Reaction score
7
Location
Washington DC
1970 Lead leg kicks - Karate Joe Lewis

Bill Wallace - Same era.
Yes. I agree. Mr Wallace and Mr Lewis were good lead leg kickers. Not sure if they pre-dated Mike and Cheeks or even Mitchell Bobrow another Ki Whang Kim student. They all were competing at the same time anyway. But I just dont see how GM Kong introduced lead leg kicks to the US. Plus Bill Wallace was a Shorin Ryu stylist. Right? So I couldnt see him going to a Gen Choi seminar.
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Despite his background in karate, Bill Wallace was teaching for Kang Rhee, a Taekwondoin, around this same time period. Cross training may have been rarer but wasn't unheard of.

Pax,

Chris
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
633
The point I was trying to make is that it may be difficult to impossible to credit the popularity of lead leg kicks to one or a few Korean instructors.
 

Exadore4now

White Belt
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
I trained with Master Soon Ho Kim in Canton from 1976 to 1979 while he was still in the flower shop off of 12th street in Canton. After his mother's death he became more "corporate" I revisited and trained again in the early 80's off of Cleveland Ave but could not keep it up with my work and school schedule. He eventually went into a "gym / spa" type facility near Belden Village in Canton. The building is now torn down but ironically the "SH KIM" sign remains. I still have my windbreaker. :)

I do not know what happened to him or Gordon (His Number 1) but I will say he was absolutely awesome. He taught the mental aspects of the arts first and primary and I have carried that training throughout my life. I am now 56 and miss the days of the flower shop.
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,800
Reaction score
164
Location
USA
I trained with Master Soon Ho Kim in Canton from 1976 to 1979 while he was still in the flower shop off of 12th street in Canton. After his mother's death he became more "corporate" I revisited and trained again in the early 80's off of Cleveland Ave but could not keep it up with my work and school schedule. He eventually went into a "gym / spa" type facility near Belden Village in Canton. The building is now torn down but ironically the "SH KIM" sign remains. I still have my windbreaker. :)

I do not know what happened to him or Gordon (His Number 1) but I will say he was absolutely awesome. He taught the mental aspects of the arts first and primary and I have carried that training throughout my life. I am now 56 and miss the days of the flower shop.


Master S.H. KIM now has a school in Falls Church, VA. I have fond memories of competing at his Canton tournament back in the 80's and 90's.
 

rsmith

White Belt
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
I trained under Ill Joo Kim starting January 1970 in Akron Ohio. I was 20 years old and my impression was the gym was full of some tuff old birds. I got my black belt in 1973. George Anderson was the senior student. We did a lot of front kicks , front side kicks, round house off the back leg - until tournaments started to evolve then we used the front leg more to score points - and back kicks were the mule kicks. Classes were 1-1/2 to 2 hours long. God they were long tuff classes.I have no idea how many times I had the wind knocked out of me. I learned so much that helped me latter in life. We did Japanese forms . What impressed me was how sharp the senior's minds were and there was many times a crowd of people watching the seniors spar . The thing I remember most about Mr. Kim was how generous he was when it came to money and his concentration , how he focused his mind. People would come to challenge the fighters in our gym. Mr. Kim once shoved his two fingers up a guys nose and drove him to the wall. He calmed down a little after some one shot at his car as he was getting on the freeway. We had lawyers , doctors, priests , gay guys , everyone in the community seemed to want to learn Tae Kwon Do . I'm now 67 with great memories.
 
Last edited:
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,800
Reaction score
164
Location
USA
I have fond memories of the North American Championships. GM IJ Kim used to often sit on the examiners board at my tests in the 80's. We also train the Japanese forms.
 

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
836
Reaction score
66
Location
san diego
My late Grandmaster knew almost every single one of those men. Moon ku Baek was an outstanding practitioner and Pioneer. He grew up training MDK but Choi introduced him to Serrif move to Colorado under the Banner of Taekwondo. When he left there he went to Florida, I believe it was the early 1960s , and taught at a JCC. Later he moved to Ohio brought his family over. He died in 1997.
It was one of the best practitioners I have ever met.
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,800
Reaction score
164
Location
USA
msmitht, although he was MDK, I know my KJN had many friends in the ITF/ODK. Where in Ohio did he move to?
 

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
836
Reaction score
66
Location
san diego
Cleveland I think. Had a bunch of schools then sold them all and moved to San Diego. He came here with to teach Charles sherif initially at rocky Mountain taekwondo in CO. He was 6th dan ITF then under Choi, Hong Hi
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
18,724
Reaction score
5,665
Location
Pueblo West, CO
msmitht, although he was MDK, I know my KJN had many friends in the ITF/ODK. Where in Ohio did he move to?

I think there have always been a lot of friendships between orgs, so long as politics are kept out of it.
My KJN just sent me a picture that I particularly like. It was taken at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, in 1969. It's the head of the org I first trained with (GM Chuck Serrif of the ITF) and the head of the org I train with now (GM Bobby Kim of the MDK) taken the year I first started training, just miles from where I currently live, work and train.
That's a long string of coincidences. :)

GM Kim & GM Serrif - 1969.png
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,241
Reaction score
633
Have you seen GM Bobby Kim's movie the "Manchurian Avenger"? Sr. GM Sereff has a bit part as do lots of USTF guys. In one part they are doing an ITF pattern. Bill Wallace has a big role with few lines. When I was at one of his seminars I asked if he had troubel learning his lines for that part. He just grimaced.
 
OP
SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
1,800
Reaction score
164
Location
USA
I think there have always been a lot of friendships between orgs, so long as politics are kept out of it.

Oh, I agree. We had masters from various kwans sit at our examiners table for our tests back in the '70's and 80's. By the '90's, we only had a couple of Masters coming from other schools. I imagine that was because we had enough high ranking seniors within our own association to sit at the examiners table by then.

That is a great pic of your instructors by the way!
 

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
836
Reaction score
66
Location
san diego
I think there have always been a lot of friendships between orgs, so long as politics are kept out of it.
My KJN just sent me a picture that I particularly like. It was taken at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, in 1969. It's the head of the org I first trained with (GM Chuck Serrif of the ITF) and the head of the org I train with now (GM Bobby Kim of the MDK) taken the year I first started training, just miles from where I currently live, work and train.
That's a long string of coincidences. :)

View attachment 20182
I'm quite sure that they knew each other or at least of each other. Moon Ku Baek and his Brothers, Hong/Man/Kyung, were all MDK guys. They trained under GM Hwang Kee.
Choi sent him to Denver. He was a pioneer in 1968, teaching at rocky Mountain TKD and the Air Force Academy. He later brought his brothers over. He had successful schools in Cleveland until he sold them to concentrate on a sandwich shop business. Heard the quality went way down when he left. Ended up in san diego until his death in 1997.
 
Last edited:
Top