Understanding Martial Arts Titles: Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim Explains

According to a study published in the journal Quest, some 2 to 10 million Americans are actively training within some discipline of the martial arts. These students might have individual reasons for participating within these sports, ranging from the purely physical to the purely mental, but all students are asked to move up a stepladder of recognition, moving from the lowest levels to the highest levels at their own pace. Learning a little more about the highest levels of recognition might help outsiders to understand why these people continue to train, and what they’re trying to achieve with their training.

Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim holds one of the highest levels of training available in the martial arts. In fact, since she holds a grandmaster title, she’s on par with Chuck Norris, one of the most infamous martial arts experts in the world. The grandmaster title essentially refers to a person who holds a senior level in the martial arts, or who has a significant amount of experience in the sport. The title has its roots in ancient martial arts, as a method used by students to provide respect to their elder teachers, but the titles seem to have become prominent in Western society in the 1950s, as stories of martial arts in Asia began to grow and grow.

The grandmaster title isn’t associated with a specific test or feat of strength. Instead, the title is a sort of honorarium provided to people who hold a black belt in the marital arts and who are prepared to teach students how to follow in their footsteps. Grandmasters seem to command a deep respect from their students, and they have the ability to project both peace and strength to their students. It’s a complicated role, worthy of a specific title such as “Grandmaster.”

Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim began studying the martial arts when she was 7 years old, and currently teaches students in her school in California. She is one of the few women in the world to hold the Grandmaster title.


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