GRANDMASTER TAE YUN KIM
Born on the Lunar New Year, 1946,
1:00am, Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim began her life in this world, not
with the usual joys surrounding the birth of a child, but with
the label of "curse" and "bad luck" because she was a girl.
Throughout her childhood, Grandmaster
Kim faced the trauma of being the first-born girl in a society
where girls are not valued and first-born children are meant to
be sons. She suffered at the hands of her parents who felt ashamed
and dishonored because their first child was a girl.
During the Korean War, her family
abandoned five-year-old Tae Yun Kim as they fled for safe ground.
A little girl saw young Tae Yun Kim and encouraged her to run from
the chaos, but a bomb exploded and scattered her new friend's body
in every direction. As a young 5-year-old girl, Tae Yun Kim decided
at that moment that she would not run any more.
Two years later, in the morning mist, she caught
sight of her uncles training in the martial art of TaeKwonDo. She
was fascinated and knew that this is what she wanted to do. She
begged her uncles to teach her but they laughed at her. Girls were
meant to cook and sew and produce twelve sons, not train in the
martial arts. But she was persistent and didn't give up. Finally,
one uncle agreed thinking that she wouldn't be able to keep up
with the hard training and all the bruises that were a natural
part of the martial arts. To his surprise, she continued and excelled.
When a well-known Master visited her village,
young Tae Yun Kim's grandfather hoped the Master would convince
her to stop fooling around and to go back to the kitchen where
all girls belonged.
The Master looked into her eyes and saw something
special, an inner fire. Then, he broke five thousand years of tradition
and accepted this young girl as his student.
Though her parents increased their physical abuse
in the effort of stopping her, Tae Yun Kim did not waver from her
dream and she trained hard to become the first female black belt
in Korea, then the first female Master, then the first female Grandmaster
in the martial arts. Achieving these levels of mastery is challenging
enough; achieving them as a young girl in a male-dominated society
is nearly impossible.
But that is Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim's specialty.
Achieving the impossible.
Speaking very little English, Tae Yun Kim immigrated
to the United States thinking that this "land of opportunity" would
open up many new doors for her.
She soon discovered the same fears and prejudices
against women here as she experienced in Korea. In order to earn
a living and to learn the American culture and language, Tae Yun
Kim pumped gas, was a janitor at a Howard Johnson's and even was
a car salesman.
In 1982, Tae Yun Kim had a vision that computers
would someday become important in our lives. She started a computer
company from her garage in a town where no one even knew what a
Grandmaster Kim tours the world and gives lectures
and seminars to thousands of people in order to motivate and inspire
them to make changes in their lives in order to live their lives
Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has come full circle in
her life. Once rejected and outcast by her family and society in
Korea, today, she is respected and honored for her determination
and "never give up" attitude. Because she has motivated and inspired
the Korean people to take charge of their lives during these times
of economic and emotional crisis, the President and First Lady
of Korea have named Tae Yun Kim as the "Hope of the Country". Many
people - politicians, businessmen and CEOs - have even asked Grandmaster
Kim to become the first female President of Korea in 2006!
Her life is a unique story. Inspirational for
people of all ages and from all walks of life, Tae Yun Kim lives
her motto: He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me!