There are questions asked as to why the ASMKASM exists when the WSMKATM is the world body responsible for the Song Moo Kwan worldwide. Particularly when Grand Master Kirk Koskella has been appointed worldwide spokesperson for the WSMKA.
The ASMKA was created at a time when a number of martial arts schools in the western United States had been left to relative seclusion from the world body. The Grand Masters of Korean Song Moo Kwan had retired, moved out of the country, passed away, or been assimilated into other established organizations.
The remaining masters and Instructors of the day had in much the same way assimilated into the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The modern explanation in gathering and unification of the martial arts to “sport Taekwondo” for Olympic recognition and competition left the kwans with little to consider about their more formative years. Without direct leadership from Supreme Grand Master Ro, Byung Jick, and his successor, Senior Grand Master Ro, Hee Sang, the ability to move forward seemed stalled. So, too, the ability of the individual schools to maintain a certain level of proficiency that included formal training customs and etiquette.
By Example; an Instructor was not permitted to open his own Dojang unless he ranked as a “Junior” Master (4th Dan Black Belt). Then, he remained under direct tutelage of an International Master or Grand Master. However, this could be waived should that school be held at a parks and recreation, or community service center. Essentially, a club. Then, and Instructor (2nd Dan Black Belt) would be sufficient. Still under direct control and tutelage of a 4th Dan who was supervised by his 6th to 8th Dan.
So, what happened that we now have 1st and 2nd degrees opening schools left and right without such propriety? Where is their supervision?
The advent of martial arts in the Olympic Games provided notoriety to the sport of Taekwondo. It also provided a host of people whose time at one school or another brought (in many cases) them to a selfish choice; Open a new school, concocted by themselves as a superior hybrid system; or, simply open a school and try to aspire to something found only in their respective egos. Either way abandonment of the “way” occurred.
Then the question asked was whether the value of a WTF certificate was greater than that of the original kwan. I, too, fell into that trap. Only to find a great number of 8th and purported 9th degree masters had no such diploma. Even as their student and master ranked members were required such.
What does this have to do with the ASMKA versus the WSMKA?
The ASMKA was developed at a time when the traditions of the past were being lost. The ASMKA devoted itself to technical prowess, and deferred all else to maintaining a standard that Master Koskella believed should be retaught to all. Including language, customs, etiquette, and presence. In doing so, ASMKA students demonstrated at a higher level for their ranks that fellow schools. ASMKA students are seen as a step beyond the norm. And, in this past year, the ASMKA standard is shown to be the minimum standard required of all Song Moo Kwan practitioners by the World Song Moo Kwan Association and Senior Grand Master Ro, Hee Sang.
There are those who wish to present themselves before the world body; WSMKA. Although their technical prowess may be well suited, because of rumors and questions, they feel they may not measure up. They do not wish to be rebuffed and/or ignored as less than the standard they perceive in their own minds. It is these who come to the ASMKA. A starting point for reinforcement of knowledge already possessed, then refined. The advocate between wherever their place in the world has been… and their place in the annals of WSMKA greatness.
If that is where you would like to begin, that will be fine. We will act as your intercessor with the WSMKA. We will bring out that level of skill where your confidence may be demonstrated, unfettered. Your techniques refined, and your attitude certain. All this, within the first year of training under our banner. It isn’t easy. But it is the best possible framework. That is why membership is at no cost. We are all in preparation for WSMKA greatness.
The ASMKA National Training Center exists to prepare those who seek more than the hobbyist notion of martial arts. More than the “sport” that is prevalent in everyday training. More in terms of being able to teach their students to the best of their abilities. Being dubbed by Senior Grand Master Hee Sang Ro as the World Training Center and College for Song Moo Kwan leaves no doubt as to our future.
It all comes down to getting on the mat. Just as Grand Master Koskella did this past month. You are, or are not, what you purport to be. There is no hiding on the mat. There are no pretenders. Your history and journey are known to all. It comes down to integrity, character, perseverance, and fealty. No matter the trials placed before you to overcome.
With Grand Master Kirk I. Koskella’s formal appointment this past month to WSMKA Grand Master (8th Dan Black Belt), a new level of appointment was also made. It has been reflected here — several times; “Senior” Grand Master Hee Sang Ro. Therein, the direction of the Song Moo Kwan was made certain: There is no other path. No superior system or organization than the World Song Moo Kwan AssociationTM.
Before there was Taekwondo… there was… Song Moo Kwan ®TM.
The American Song Moo Kwan AssociationSM is here to support your school in formal recognition to the world body, as requested.
Ribbon Cutting ceremony of the World Class Training Facility of the Fighting Tigers Martial Arts Academy, Mesa AZ