On 17th May, 2014, CMAA member Colin Avis (from Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy) graded for his 3rd degree black belt under legendary Taekwon-do pioneer Grandmaster Kim Bok Man. There was just two grading that day and along side Colin was the excellent Mr Gordon Slater grading for his 7th degree (Master) grade. The grading was full on right from the get-go.. and didnt stop and as there were only two, there was no sitting around watching others, allowing anyone to rest up for the next portion!
Apart from Grandmaster Kim Bok Man's legendary status (see below*), his view on what is and what isnt good Taekwon-do is very different from what the majority in the UK are use to - so Colin didnt really know what to expect. Although the grading had the standard patterns, sparring etc. etc. Grandmaster Kim wanted to see some difficult kicking combinations, one such one being a fast and full power combination of twisting kick on one leg, followed by flying twisting kick and turning kick off the opposit leg, on both sides of the body, amongst others - combinations Colin never had the chance to practice beforehand. Another interesting part of the grading was the fact that Colin had used the Rayners Lane TKD syllabus to work up to this grading and part of that included the various destruction techniques. For 3rd dan at Rayners Lane TKD the 'flying' technique is a Flying Reverse Turning kick and and for the hand, Reverse Knifehand break, which Colin had practiced over and over, but, in the tradition of Korean masters of the past, GM Kim decided to select something different and got his assistant, Master Brad Ship (who's about 6' 3") to stand on a chair with a board and told Colin to execute a Flying Twisting Kick instead - again, something we rarely practice in the club! Colin rose to the challange and broke it.
As I said, GM Kims views on TKD differ alot from the 'status quo' and he is very big on power generation. As a final example, GM Kim told Colin to break 5 wood boards with an elbow... no stepping in or anything and again, Colin rose to the challenge and broke them, but was still pulled up for not generating enough power - even though he broke them - the point GM Kim was making was that, although he broke, he could have made it easier by a few tweaks to his technique/stance. All in all, interesting stuff.
Following the grading, GM Kim Bok Man announced that he was happy with their standard and performance and spent some time chatting to them both about things he would like them to develop further and work on for the future, before announcing that they had passed and awarding them their rank certificates.
* Strangely, many in the UK know little of Grandmaster Kim, Bok Man. GM Kim is a 1st Generation Taekwon-Do pioneer, who taught thousands in the Korean armed forces having achived the highest rank possible of a non-commissioned officer (Sergant-Major), with the UK's Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha being one of his students. Along side General Choi Hong Hi, he was one of the 5 masters that formulated everything we do in Taekwon-Do today. He is on the same level as General Choi, Col. Nam Tae Hi, Grandmaster CK Choi, Grandmaster Han Cha Kyo and Grandmaster Woo Jae Lim - the men who defined and developed Taekwon-Do. Apart from developing techniques, Grandmaster Kim Bok Man is most famous for having helped General Choi develope 16 of the (25) patterns (tul/kata) found in Taekwon-Do and still practiced by millions around the world today. He is also an expert in weapons from sword to bayonet defences and wrote the book 'Practical Taekwon-do: Defences Against Weapons' - a 'must have' Taekwon-Do book!
Supreme Master Kim Bok Man