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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. 

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!

 

I'm so excited and honored to be this year's Grand Marshal for the 45th anniversary of the LA Korean Festival!  If you are in the area, I would love to meet you!

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.

 

Visit me online at my school, Jung SuWon or on YouTube

Enjoy some of these recent articles published in ParabolaMedium and Silicon Valley Talk

Here is an excerpt from my book, SEVEN STEPS TO INNER POWER, where I discuss the topic of Mistakes.

Mistakes Are Your Feedback System

Tae Yun Kim

The second principle of mental conduct is to learn from your mistakes.  In the preceding section, I talked about how we are constantly evaluating ourselves as if we are onstage and how we tend to hide our weaknesses to put ourselves in a better light, thereby hoping to give ourselves a higher performance rating. For the same reason, we tend to hide our mistakes. Just as we think a good performer shouldn't be weak, we think a good performer shouldn't make mistakes. So when we do make a mistake, we believe that the more quickly we get it out of sight and move on, the better. Think about it for a moment. When we have made a mistake, one of the things we immediately do is try to cover it up, make excuses for it, or justify it.  We’ll do almost anything to get away from it rather than look long and hard at it.

What we don't realize is that mistakes are part of a natural feedback system when we are learning a task or accomplishing a goal. That’s all.

Imagine a gymnastics student learning to do a back flip for the first time. As he strives to imitate the movement as best he can, the teacher tells him two things: what he did correctly, and what he did incorrectly. That is called positive and negative feedback. The positive feedback describes his right action, and the negative feedback describes his mistakes. Can you see how knowledge of mistakes is as important in the learning process as knowledge of right actions? When you know what is not correct, you can then consciously strive to avoid the mistake and duplicate the right action. Precise knowledge of correct and incorrect, then, forms the basis of our conscious choices and actions, and that speeds up the learning process.

Tae Yun Kim

Now imagine a person striving to get promoted in her workplace. Perhaps she calls attention to herself by bragging and showing off.  To make herself look better, she calls attention to deficiencies in coworkers. After a while, she is fired instead of promoted. Did she make a mistake? Absolutely. She must now regard that mistake as feedback on what not to do to get a promotion. She still has to learn what she needs to do, of course, and may make more mistakes in the process of finding the right action to take.

 

The key is to keep going. She must not let her mistakes be excuses for giving up or allow her self-condemnation to paralyze her future actions. If her goal is worth achieving, she must be willing to persist through every form of failure, always regarding it as a learning experience, as feedback, until she hits upon the right action for success.

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Here is an excerpt from my book, The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within:

MEDITATION

Right now, I can express my Silent Master. Today, and every day, I can express more of my true Self. Love within me is showing me true desires and true directions that bring me peace and joy and harmony. I am one with the Love of my Silent Master, so I can hear the voice of Love talk to me every moment, guiding me with true thoughts, ideas, and attitudes which help me create my greatest good. I willingly let go of every trait and every desire that is not my true Self. I let go of every person, place or thing that is not part of my true being and my true purpose. I can allow pure Love to shine through me and attract everything good to me. The potential for everything that I need to fulfill myself is within me now, and I am allowing Love, my creative energy, to bring it to me in the right way at the right time.

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Here is an excerpt from my book, The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within:

PRACTICE

ONE

As you go about purifying your energy, it's important to recognize the positive qualities you already demonstrate. Split yourself in two for a moment, and list the positive and negative qualities you possess. Don't be surprised if you have to work hard at this, especially at acknowledging your good nature. In order to control and purify your energy, you have to know where you stand first! Since you may not be used to observing yourself, this will be a good practice to find out how to direct your efforts. Try it like this:

Desirable Qualities
I make an effort to eat pure, balanced foods.

Undesirable Qualities
I get angry at slight provocation and usually cause a fight.

TWO

Practice identifying the attitudes and conditions that affect your energy. Events in your life are teachers and give you much feedback about what works and what doesn't. Think about your past and ask what specifically happened here or there that played a role in creating constructive changes for you. Think of a situation in which your energy changed in a significant way. What did you do to change your energy? What happened as a result? You can probably find instances where certain negative attitudes or actions created a negative result and instances where either consciously or by accident you took an action that worked positively for you."

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Here is an excerpt from my book, The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within:

“How do you keep your love in a negative environment? You let yourself be aware of the negativity, because ignoring it would be a form of acceptance and you might be drained. You then refuse to react emotionally to it because you would then add your own energy to it. Simply focus on your positive state, affirming that the reality of your mental state has the power to cancel or transform a lower negative state. This is all done quietly within the environment of your consciousness. Your presence does all the work. Why? Because your presence is the positive field created by the love you hold in your consciousness.

One person in a true loving state of mind can walk into a room full of angry people and create calm within a matter of minutes. You, then, are the creator of harmony or disharmony in your relationships according to how you supervise your own consciousness.

Your Environment is a Picture of Your Self-Concept

People tend to seek out environments where there is energy similar to their own. People who gather together and stay together tend to have the same kind of energy level.

You've probably noticed that groups give approval to the individual members of the group, and this encourages the members to stay on that energy level. For instance, if you're in a group that likes to gossip about others, you will be accepted and supported if you join in. This is the wrong use of group approval. Of course, sometimes groups can exert pressure for good causes. The point is, you want to choose what group you will or won't belong to so you stay in control of your energy. You don't want to be a victim of group pressure."

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Here is an excerpt from my book, The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within:

Food is also created from consciousness like everything else. Since your body is the temple of your Silent Master consciousness, give it the loving food and exercise that expresses your intent to be pure, real, and whole.

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Here is an excerpt from my book, The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within:

Discipline of the body works to discipline the mind.  Discipline your mind and you strengthen your body.

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