FCX: Taekwondo Supreme Grandmaster Kim Bok Man Returns To KL

Published on 10 Sep 2015 4:18:23 PM

Supreme grandmaster Kim Bok Man is no stranger to taekwondo practitioners in Malaysia, especially those serious about the martial art as a self-defence skill.

The ex-South Korean military man – now 81 and living in New Jersey, USA – first came here in 1963, brought in as a taekwondo instructor by South Korea’s first ambassador to Malaysia, General Choi Hong Hi, himself hailed as the founder of taekwondo.

Kim performed for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Kim helped set up the Malaysian Taekwondo Association. One of his first Malaysian disciples was Low Koon Lin – now 88, a 9th dan black belt holder, and a grandmaster as well.

Kim’s contribution to taekwondo includes patterns (called tul) now deemed compulsory for students following the International Taekwondo Federation syllabus. Meanwhile, Choi was responsible for nearly 20 tuls that serious martial art practitioners must learn. More than half of those were developed at the South Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur in the 1960s.

“While taekwondo is Korean in origin, Malaysia is taekwondo’s second home,” Low says.

Kim moved to the US in 1990, where he opened two taekwondo schools and wrote three books on the martial art. On a recent visit to KL, he said, “I would love to come back here more often to teach. I could see that even some black belt holders still get their movements wrong. Quite a few are certainly learning the wrong movements.”

Kim’s devotion to taekwondo for self-defence is fuelled by his disappointment that the martial art has been relegated to sporting events. Low, on the other hand, is content with the Malaysian taekwondo scene, even though the Olympic Council of Malaysia recognises only the World Taekwondo Federation as the country’s representative at major sports events.

“It is about achieving good health, and maintaining balance, as well as being able to fend for oneself when push comes to shove,” say Low, who studied judo from age 21 and only discovered taekwondo in his 30s. This grandmaster’s summation of the martial art is succinct: It is easy to learn but difficult to master.

To read more about master of the martial arts Kim Bok Man and his Malaysian disciple Low Koon Lin, click on the Star2.com link below.