The minutes ticked on as I sat outside of the principal’s office, waiting for someone to ask me why I was there. I was prepared for the question; I had, in fact, placed a bookmark into my worn Korean-English dictionary and marked the page where I’d written my answer in careful letters.
Hello, my name is Tae Yun Kim. I want to teach your students martial arts.
But no one had asked. Every afternoon for the last several weeks, I had taken a seat and waited for an invitation to speak, to no avail. At just over twenty, I was tiny and thin — at a glance, I almost looked like one of the students walking through the schools’ halls. But aside from a few odd glances, no one spoke to me. Yet, day in and out, I returned with my dictionary in hand, preparing for the day that someone would invite me inside.
It took a month. Finally, a curious administrator asked me what I was doing, and I finally had a chance to explain.
The principal was skeptical, at first. He told me that the school couldn’t pay me, that they didn’t want students to hurt themselves, that there was no martial arts course in place.
“That’s okay,” I told him, “I’ll volunteer, and martial arts will teach your students discipline.”
After some time, he agreed.
Persistence, I’ve learned, is often the key to success. After the first few days of waiting, some might have given up or assumed the answer was no — but because I committed myself, I was able to achieve both acceptance and opportunities beyond measure.
Having the chance to teach brought me joy, because all I wanted to do was share my skills in martial arts. Back then, I was barely into my twenties and had just made the journey from my village in rural Korea to Vermont. Teaching was my dream — and I had struggled for years to study martial arts, facing abuse in a profoundly repressive patriarchal culture. I’d become Korea’s very first female grandmaster but was rejected as a teacher because of my gender. I wanted to teach, as I had been taught, and help others break free of their fears and circumstances — I just needed the chance.
That day, in that office, was my chance. It’s been decades since that day, but I still remember it. Since then, I’ve moved on to establish my own school, hundreds of miles away. I’ve taught thousands of students, built a tech company, and risen far above where my elders thought I would — all because of persistence.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.
If You Don’t Ask, You Guarantee Rejection
Many people abide by unnecessarily strict rules, so boxed in by their fears of seeming impolite or overly forward that they wall themselves off from opportunities. Another person might have been intimidated or embarrassed by the idea of sitting outside of a principal’s office for a month — but taking a risk on that embarrassment helped me make an enormous step forward in my career. I don’t regret it, and I wouldn’t even if the answer was a firm rejection.
You are only ever guaranteed to fail if you refuse to try in the first place. The worst that someone can say when you pursue an opportunity is “no” — and even then, you may be able to make connections or find information that will help you achieve your goals another way.
Don’t let fear keep you from pursuing your dreams.
Rejection Isn’t Always Permanent — Or Even Negative.
When I landed in Vermont, I had just $300 to my name and was living in a trailer park. There, it didn’t matter what I’d given to become a martial arts Grandmaster, or even that I was one. My only career option was to clean toilets for money. Some might have seen those circumstances as a low point, or become discouraged.
I’ll be honest — there were times that it was terrible. Some nights, I had little but bone broth to eat. But I viewed each hard night as a stepping stone for something greater. I was being paid to scrub toilets, which constituted a significant step up from doing it for free for family members. It was honorable work, and I knew that it would give me the financial platform I needed to move onto my next success.
Persistence doesn’t always mean reaching for your furthest goal after a few days — or even months — of effort. Instead, it means being thankful for small steps and maintaining a determined spirit against adversity.
Harsh Words Should Motivate, Not Deter, You
It wasn’t always easy being a Korean woman in 1960s America. Back in my village, I had been reviled for being female and uninterested in gender norms. In America, I was rejected for the color of my skin, my broken English, my poverty, and my gender. It was hard; I was constantly demeaned, faced slurs, and even risked physical abuse. When I finally scraped together the money to rent studio space for a martial arts school, arsonists burned it to the ground.
Each setback was demoralizing and frustrating; however, I knew that I had to reset my perspective. So, after someone demeaned me or my dreams, I would respond — “Okay, I see you. You motivate me. I will prove you wrong.”
And I did.
There are always going to be people who step on your dreams. You’ll hear it from your competitors, enemies, friends, family. Even well-meant advice can be hurtful. You can be put down, made to think that you won’t accomplish anything — but you need to bear through it. Let criticism inform and motivate your efforts, not crush them.
Persistence is key.
Being patient is such an important trait that often gets overlooked in our day to day lives. True patience means keeping your power turned on as you consciously wait for whatever it is you are working toward to appear at the appropriate time. Patience is knowing the truth and expecting the truth to manifest. This idea of knowing and expecting is all a part of being your own Silent Master. Thus, when you genuinely express true patience, you’re thinking as your Silent Master thinks.
For example, say you’ve been trying to become pregnant for a long time and are elated that it finally happened. You experience some morning sickness but you quickly get over that. After three months, do you say, “Where is my baby? I’m ready to get this over with. Let’s go.” What about after five months? How about eight month or even longer than that? You must stay patient until your baby’s development is complete.
Let’s take an entirely different scenario. Let’s pretend your home was destroyed in a flood and has to be rebuilt. After the builders have begun working on it for a few weeks, is it sensible to ask the builder, “Where is my home? Where’s the kitchen? Where’s the completed living room? When can I move in?” Of course you wouldn’t do that because you understand how much time it takes to build a new home. You’ve already done your planning, you’ve pushed to make it happen and stayed loyal to the goals you’ve set. Now you’re patiently waiting for the conclusion of the project. When you’re manufacturing a new product, you know that you’ll have to go through stages one, two, and three before moving on to stages four, five, and six. To avoid a lot of anxiety and future frustration about the project and instead replace it with patience, you can carefully chart out where you are in the process.
Your life is also a constant work in progress. It takes everyone time to grow and mature. Everything has a time frame for completion. Even though we may not be aware of the timing and processes of our life, these stages still exist for us and we’re constantly moving through them. Granted this is a very far-reaching view of patience than what we typically think about. Normally patience is when you have to wait in a long line at a grocery store. What I’m talking about here is a whole different level of patience. Sometimes it can take years to achieve certain life goals. When you’re in middle of this process, it can be easy to allow yourself to get disappointed with each delay and use that as an excuse to give up all together.
If you connect with what you’ve read here you might enjoy the book I wrote SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER, where I talk about other life experiences and what I’ve learned in the process.
Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about changes you've experienced in your life. Do you see any rhythms in the changes?
Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about what it means to let go of dangerous attitudes and activities that cause us pain and suffering.
Now let's look at another dimension of sacrifice - letting go of attitudes that block our progress. Letting go of attitudes is just as essential as letting go of unhealthy activities or saying goodbye to people who hinder our progress. In fact, unless you let go of certain attitudes, your physical letting go won't last very long. This concept is related to the inner power step of purity. When you let go of an attitude that is sabotaging who you want to be, you are also purifying your world of a habit pattern that has kept you hostage to limited thinking and limited living.
It's a common misconception that most of our attachments center on objects or people. The truth is that our attitudes and feelings about objects are more binding than the objects themselves. For example, we may become attached to an object, person, or situation (even if we complain about it) because we like feeling comfortable, we fear change, and we don't have the courage to take initiative on our own. Maybe we stay with a domineering boyfriend, girlfriend, or employer, even though doing so is keeping us stuck in a rut. In cases like these, fear is the real attachment, not the person.
If suddenly those people are removed from our lives but we still have not let go of our fundamental fears and have not developed the strength to stand up for ourselves, we'll just become attached to the next domineering boyfriend or girlfriend or employer that comes along - and continue to complain about them. That's because the thoughts we keep in our mind rule over us as long as we allow them to stay there, and they continue to produce the same results.
Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim offers Private Classes in California and Oregon!
Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy provides many different programs! Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim and Master Instructors offer private classes in both California and Oregon. These classes are very popular in the surrounding cities like Medford, Oregon; Applegate, Oregon; Jacksonville, Oregon; Central Point, Oregon; Grants Pass, Oregon, and Fremont, California; Milpitas, California; San Jose, California; Cupertino, Silicon Valley California; and more!
What is a Private Class?
It is a one-on-one session for students who want to further their training by focusing on a specific technique, form or sparring. Private classes are designed so that the student will receive immediate feedback and advice on how to improve, which helps accelerates the students training. One private class is equivalent to about a week’s worth of regular classes because of the student-teacher ratio.
One of the students who recently took private classes shares how she learned to better visualize her target. Before, she was striking with her techniques aimlessly, now she is exercising the power of visualization with every technique that she does and it’s helping her to direct her energy toward her target or goal. Her focus at work and home has improved, she can see her goals clearly and she knows how to achieve them.
Why is visualization important? Dr. Tae Yun Kim writes in one of her books, Seven Steps to Inner Power, “Visualization is the process of forming a mental image.” and “It is an immaterial activity that takes form first as a mental image, then as a material image.” So, as students focus on their physical techniques, they are also visualizing their goals. “No matter what goals you are aiming for in your life, visualization is an essential tool to achieving them.” Dr. Kim’s words are based on nearly 70 years of experience and application.
Learn more about visualization! Can you visualize your goal and your dreams? Are you ready to make it happen? You can gain many insights and lessons through private classes offered at Jung SuWon!
Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about times when you had an intuition and didn't act on it. Did the intuition turn out to be correct?
I said earlier that your Silent Master knows when a yin or yang action is called for to create balance. Yet, how often do we find ourselves making the wrong move, increasing discord rather than eliminating it? You may even have had moments when you said, "If only I had listened to myself, I wouldn't have done that." You were probably right. You may not be aware of it, but your Silent Master speaks to you very quietly at times through the faculty we call intuition.
When you have an intuition, it feels like an impulse to say or do something that suddenly pops into your conscious mind. Generally, an intuition will feel like a right choice and will bring you a sense of serenity or peaceful resolution (even if you may not have wanted to do it.) It may feel vague, as if it's not really your own thought, but it is.
This inner "voice" is actually your inner knowing. It is your Silent Master's knowing attempting to penetrate your consciousness with its truth. It does not necessarily speak softly; it only appears to do so because your surface thoughts and emotions noisily clamor for so much attention. Clearly, if you could consistently be aware of these leadings from your Silent Master, you could make the right moves at the right time.
How can you develop greater awareness of this supremely intelligent, quiet voice? Ideally, your awareness should be like a pool of still water. Light travels easily into still water, enabling you to see right into the water. However, when the wind blows and the water is agitated or when the water is polluted, you can't see clearly what's in it. The same is true of our minds. You can make your mind like a pool of still, clean water, undisturbed by turbulent surface thoughts, free from polluting feelings and emotions, so that the light of your Silent Master can travel easily into your awareness.
Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about times when you may have felt critical of others or yourself. Did holding those feelings help the situation?
As you become aware of the energy and emotions you want to cleanse from your world, take care not to get caught up criticizing yourself for the trait you want to eliminate. Please don't get down on yourself for having doubts or being impatient or angry. The fact that you are noticing these tendencies means that you are doing something - you are engaged in your life. As I said earlier, look at these weaknesses clinically.
When you are driving down a dusty road on a hot day and your car becomes coated in dust, you don't label it as right or wrong. You accept that this is something that just happens, and you make a mental note to get the car washed the next time you are in town. When you're in a car and it starts raining, you notice that your windshield is getting wet and then you turn on your windshield wipers so you can drive safely. You don't curse the rain and say, "Why is this stupid water getting on my windshield and all over my car?"
It doesn't really matter how you feel about the rain. Maybe you have been experiencing a severe drought where you live and so you welcome the downpour, or maybe you've had drenching floods lately and you don't want to see another drop of rain. Regardless of how you feel, you have to deal with what's happening at the moment. Getting frustrated and bringing in emotions doesn't help. In order to move forward, you have to stay in balance, be positive, and take appropriate action.
Life is a journey, and in the same way that you experience rough weather at times, so you'll experience fear or doubt or jealousy. That's okay. See these attitudes for what they are and, because you know they are holding you back, set about replacing them with confidence in yourself, gratitude for what you have, and excitement to be alive with a new day of opportunity before you.
Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER. As you read through this, think about times when you may have felt your Silent Master.
Waiting quietly within you is a presence, a force, a state of consciousness that gives you the power to harmonize and change discordant situations, the power to create and to achieve goals. It gives you the power to experience peace and joy regardless of the circumstances around you - the power to be who you really are. In Jung SuWon, we refer to this presence within as the Silent Master or Silent Master Consciousness.
When you tap into the consciousness of the Silent Master within, you begin to take control of your life. You may have been drifting through life before; now you are driving through life and toward your goals. You experience a new sense of freedom, creativity, purpose, and peace of mind. You find yourself glad to be alive every day for the sheer pleasure of experiencing life - of experiencing yourself.
The keys from the art of Jung SuWon that you'll explore here will help you awaken to this powerful presence within and empower you to recognize and express the qualities of your Silent Master in your daily life. As you open to your true potential in this way, you'll discover more of your beauty, your strength, and your courage.
At the core of the philosophy I teach are six truths about your Silent Master. I call them "Silent Master images" and you'll understand why when you read the section on visualization, or, as I call it, "future memory." In essence, these images describe who you truly are and the awesome power you have within you now to shape your life. As you move through this book, you'll learn much more about these foundational concepts and how to put them into action in your life. Here I'll simply touch on these truths to give you a brief introduction to them. For now, think of each one as a seed-thought designed to blossom into a practical understanding of your true being and power as you contemplate "Who am I?" Give yourself complete freedom and permission to fall in love with who you are and you are becoming.
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