The Community of TKD - Tiger



The Community of TKD - Tiger
assing the Torch of Community Service
and P
By David Higgs
Long ago before mankind became civilized,
family groups banded together for protection and
improved chances for sustenance and survival.
Huddled around the campfire late at night, stories
and experiences were passed along to younger generations so that they might benefit from the knowledge of their forbearers. As societies advanced into
permanent settlements, entire communities gathered on “village greens” or in “plazas” to make decisions pertaining to the group as a whole. Through
these practices, prior knowledge was passed along
to the next generation and young people learned
from their elders how to live together. In this manner, strong communities were built which possessed
a sense of identity and some sense of heritage; a
place from which their knowledge and identity
began. Today, how do we pass this knowledge along
to our children while keeping up with our busy
Under the leadership of Grandmasters Craig
Kollars, Bert Kollars, Art Monroe, and Dr.
He-Young Kimm, the International Taekwondo
Alliance (ITA) has developed a martial art curriculum that includes more than punching and kicking.
It includes the elements that are important to every
society, but emphasized in the Korean tradition of
community service. In ancient times, martial artists
were not merely soldiers or warriors, they were the
protectors of the community. They gave of themselves because they had the strength to do so. Their
skills as warriors and their qualities of honor, honesty, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control,
courage, strength, humility, and knowledge were
invaluable within the general community. Through
the ITA and the Ho-Am (Tiger Rock) Taekwondo
schools, these time-honored traditions and values
are passed on to new generations of TKD practitioners.
From July 9 through 16, 2009, the ITA World
Championships and Seminar were held in
Birmingham, Alabama. While covering the event,
Dr. He-Young Kimm approached me and asked me
to interview the grandmasters and leading masters
of the ITA; most of whom were in attendance for
this annual event. I considered this to be an excellent way to acquire a better understanding of the
organization. Dr. Kimm immediately introduced
me to Grandmaster (GM) Bert Kollars; eighth-dan
and one of the three pioneers of the ITA, of which
he currently serves as CEO.
GM Bert Kollars explained many aspects of
the ITA mission and how it was implemented.
The overall goal of the ITA is to prepare young
people to be community-minded citizens who take
responsibility for their own actions and dedicate
themselves to serving the community in which they
live. “Leadership,” he explained, “requires the courage to put yourself in a responsible position. Not
everyone wants to take the responsibility of leadership.” By mentoring young people, Tae Kwon Do
Dr. He-Young Kimm teaching Kwon Bub Bo form to the ITA Masters.
instructors influence them with their dedication
to training, their actions toward other people, and
decision making skills. GM Kollars also stressed
community outreach. “Do not limit your outreach
services strictly to those close to you. Get out of
your comfort zone and reach out to those in more
desperate need.” As I looked at my notes and the
topics we were covering, the word “community”
emerged from the page.
I began to realize that Tae Kwon Do was a
vehicle by which traditions were passed along to
support the community. Today’s society is interrupted by the hectic race to acquire more material
possessions. Every minute appears to be filled with
activities, yet it leaves little time for the less tangible
qualities necessary for building a successful family or community. Our children no longer hear the
stories of traditions or their family histories. Even
the evening meals, where all family members once
gathered around the dinner table and discussed
their daily activities and their plans for tomorrow,
are now rare.
When a parent brings a child to a TKD school,
their immediate wish is to provide the child with
an atmosphere of order, structure, and discipline
while engaging them in physical activities and concepts of traditions. Self-defense is now seen as only
one aspect produced from this training. Modern
education can no longer fill this vacancy as they are
encouraged to present a view of all world values.
In many cases, we have abandoned any set traditions in an effort not to offend all other traditions.
This leaves a large gap in the social identity of our
56 January 2010 /
children. TKD training, and the traditions that it
provides, helps to fill this gap.
Grandmaster Art Monroe, eighth-dan of New
Orleans, Louisiana, maintains that the martial art
atmosphere must stress family, community, and
social values over kicking and punching. Children
learn through the action of others, therefore, if all
that they learn is kicking and punching they will be
unprepared for confrontations that require decision
making, diplomacy, and sometimes compromise.
“We must teach them that they are responsible
for their actions, and we ask them what they can
do to make the world a better place.” This falls in
line with an ITA philosophy called “Laws of the
Harvest.” To get a good product you must first put
in good ingredients.
After leaving Grandmaster Monroe, I literally bumped into ninth-dan Grandmaster Craig
Kollars, who began his martial art journey in 1969.
He was very busy at that moment but promised to
set aside time later in the day for me. I did not have
to wait long. We soon found a corner away from
the competition and engaged in a conversation that
made me feel as if we had known each other for
years. Opening the conversation, GM Kollars stated
that much of his martial art philosophy stemmed
from his Midwestern upbringing. Growing up on
a farm made him appreciate the things around
him and that a community was no better than the
efforts put forth to build it and improve upon it. As
he stated, “Leave the land better than you find it. In
TKD training, you have to cultivate your students,
weed out the bad traits and try to instill positive
In front of General Kim, Yushin’s Tomb.
traits. Kids lack the basic fundamentals of society.
Why? Parents want their children to have discipline, respect for others, and confidence in themselves. How can we help them acquire these traits?
According to GM Kollars, “By providing students
with an understanding of the tenets of Tae Kwon
Do, instructors introduce students to a system of
values based in traditions that have served mankind
for centuries. Traditions were established based
upon positive results from various positive actions.
Many of these traditions are shared by various
societies. If you help a neighbor harvest his crops
or build a barn, he is inclined to help you with your
endeavors. Another important quality in teaching
anything is to have passion for what you are doing.
I love Tae Kwon Do more now than when I first
started. And, you must remember that we are all in
this together. No success is a singular accomplishment. Without others we would not succeed.”
On May 2, 2009, Grandmaster Craig Kollars,
Grandmaster Bert Kollars, and Grandmaster Art
Monroe were inducted into the United States
Grandmaster Honor Society joining other Tae
Kwon Do pioneers, such as Henry S. Cho and Jack
Hwang. The positive influence of the grandmasters echoes in the words and philosophies of their
instructors, masters, and senior masters.
James Bailey, Eighth-Dan
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Grandmaster Bailey has been in the Tuscaloosa
area since 1981. He has opened three schools in
the area and established a great relationship with
the community. “I think those of us who become
teachers do so because of a need to make a difference in life and to pass along to the student a sense
of service to others. When you think about it, it is
all about the student anyway. What greater compliment is there than to have a student exceed your
abilities? Student success enhances instructor success. We should start each day asking ‘How can we
help a student today?’”
“When a prospective student first enters one
of our schools, we have to determine the best way
to help this person attain their goals. Most of the
time, they mention self-defense or getting into
shape, but many times their needs have to do with
deeper issues; a sense of belonging, self-esteem, lack
of life focus, etc. Once we determine how best to
supply those needs, the better chance the student
has for other successes. Tae Kwon Do is merely the
instrument we use to accomplish these goals.”
ITA Mission Statement
The Founding Members of the ITA began
their TaeKwonDo training in the late 1960s
and early 1970s and their professional association in 1977. In 1983, the foundation of what
has become the International TaeKwonDo
Alliance was formed to pursue a great vision.
Today, ITA serves as a TaeKwonDo curriculum, certification/standards, and Events
Services Company. The International
TaeKwonDo Alliance is built on the solid
principles of its tenets: Honor, Courtesy,
Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage,
Community, Strength, Humility, and
Knowledge. The goal of the ITA is to empower
member Instructors and students to enrich
their personal, artistic, and professional lives
through Ho-Am TaeKwonDo training.
While training authentic and highly skilled
TaeKwonDo artists, the ITA believes the highest purpose of TaeKwonDo education is to prepare students for the responsibilities of citizenship. Ho-Am TaeKwonDo is about real and
powerful experiences, resulting in the discovery
of innate capabilities and a heightened sense of
responsibility. To that end, we encourage our
students to use their Martial Arts knowledge to
improve our communities through one act of
leadership, public service, and
mentoring at a time.
Grandmaster Joe Calhoun,
Gulfport, Mississippi
“I try to stress to my students that the martial
art environment is a constant pursuit of challenges.
You learn to face the challenge at hand and then
work through the problem to attain your desired
goal. Your time of ‘struggle’ is, in fact, a time of
building and developing your strength. Regardless
of the nature of the challenge, it is our overall goal
to be happy. Therefore, you must find the tools
to make yourself happy. Youth of today see the
results of success, but they don’t see the hard work
and years spent to bring about the success. They
somehow believe that success just happens. We try
to show them how hard work can result in positive
outcomes. It takes dedication and practice on a regular basis. We also stress positive interaction with / January 2010
other people. Too many times a person will say ‘I’m
sorry’ and then think that will make everything
okay. It doesn’t! If you injure someone, the pain
doesn’t go away just because you say you are sorry.
You must change your mindset by saying, ‘I was
wrong. I will change my behavior.’ By making the
change, you have admitted your mistake and taken
action to avoid a similar mistake in the future. That
means being responsible!”
Grandmaster Rick Hall, Eighth-Dan
Chattanooga, Tennessee
“Over the past 25 years, I have played a role in
opening nine ITA schools and taught hundreds
of students. When prospective students enter my
school they frequently ask about self-defense, but
mostly they are looking for something that will
boost their self-esteem while helping them keep
physically fit. Many of them lack self-confidence
and may have been bullied at some point in their
lives. Combine these characteristics with the fact
that more and more of them lack a male figure in
their lives. In that way, I serve as a mentor and role
model. Parents want positive activities for their
children. I feel that Tae Kwon Do provides that
special something and helps create a positive peer
group with which to interact. One of my main rules
is that all students respect each other. This doesn’t
mean that they will always like each other but they
should learn to respect all people, even those different from themselves. That is where my student
mentoring program comes in. When students
teach other students, they learn to be patient, and
respectful. Out of habits practiced in the dojang,
students carry these habits to other areas of their
lives, school and family.”
Marv Conway, Seventh-Dan
Houston, Texas
“You must maintain an insight into the youthful mind. As you teach Tae Kwon Do, you must
also attempt to connect with your students at different levels. We do various community projects.
Frequently, I will take students with me when we
have a house to build for Habitat for Humanity.
They learn a little about manual labor and what it
means to help someone and make a difference in
their life. It also provides an opportunity to reinforce positive actions through example. When you
have time for a break and they pass out the cold
drinks and snacks, you can set the example for
your students. Instead of choosing the carbonated
drinks, choose water. Instead of taking the chips
loaded with sodium and cholesterol, choose fruit. In
many cases, the students are watching you and will
follow your example. You have just influenced them
to make a healthy choice. When the work is done,
we sometimes will take time for skateboarding or
some other youthful activity. Martial artists live by
a different code. We believe we are here to make a
Wiley F. Robinson, Seventh-Dan
Franklin, Tennessee
“One of my personal missions is to make people
better physically. Many people do not eat well simply because they have not been taught how. Other
challenges include improper socialization and lifestyle illnesses. What do you do to help your body?
After hours of sitting behind a desk, what do you
do for the only body you will have in this lifetime?
It doesn’t matter if you live in a large city or a small
town, you must set a disciplined routine to provide
for your body’s needs. Many of us have good intentions and sign up for classes in various exercise
programs but we rarely follow through. The stress
of our fast-paced lives is a great distraction. Many
people had fabulous athletic careers in high school
or college, but how do you continue that throughout
your life? Tae Kwon Do provides an answer. It is an
activity that you can pursue for a lifetime. It is also a
great activity to share with your family and children.
And, it can be a lifelong learning experience.”
2009 ITA International Taekwondo Championship, officers and black belts.
“I feel that Tae Kwon
Do is a vessel or the
medium through which
we reinforce the community. By training students
in a value system that
interacts and supports
fellow students, they
develop the social skills
to better interact with
people outside of the
dojang. Parents desire
that their children develop better skills, the abilITA group picture at Bulguksa Temple, 2004
ity to focus on a project,
socialize with others, demonstrate respect for those
a methodical routine for exercise, but training
around them, and confidence in themselves. Tae
requires the individual to constantly raise the bar.
Kwon Do can help reach these goals. We provide
This leads to constant improvement. ‘Good’ is the
positive reinforcement and a positive environment
enemy of ‘Great’. Never settle for having executed a
in which to train. Many people have the perspective
good technique. Being satisfied with merely ‘good
of martial arts in general as being violent and protechnique’ leads to complacency. Always strive to
moting violence. We concentrate on preparedness.
make it great. Tae Kwon Do instructors should
We never use the word ‘fight’ or ‘fighting-stance’. It
serve as role models for students in this area. They
contains a negative element. We focus on defense
are responsible for providing leadership and their
and physical fitness. In an effort to give back to the
every movement serves as an example for their
community, we offer various scholarships in our
students. This example not only applies to the
Tae Kwon Do schools. Students who are nomimasters and instructors, but also cascades through
nated by an outside advocate (teacher, principal, or
the ranks to include everyone as a vital part of the
other authority figure) can attend class tuition free.
process. Each student may have different goals
This program allows students who could best benand disciplinary needs, but through Tae Kwon
efit from Tae Kwon Do, the opportunity to learn,
Do training and repetition they develop the “artist
who might otherwise never venture into a Tae
mind.” Repetition leads to discovery which can lead
Kwon Do school.”
to excellence. It is the process of learning, or the
journey, that builds the character and skill of the
Lili Bowen, Sixth-Dan
student. No one simply arrives at the destination.
Woodstock, Georgia
They must endure the journey to appreciate arriving at the goal.”
“I think the greatest thing about Tae Kwon Do
and the ITA is the love for tradition and authenBrian Mitchelmore, Sixth-Dan
ticity. We should always respect it and protect it.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Traditions are not just made, they are developed
over long periods of time for the improvement of
“I became acquainted with the ITA while stasociety. By understanding tradition, we develop
tioned in Pensacola, Florida, as part of a detachgreater respect for improvement and excellence.
ment from the Royal Navy. In 1990, I returned to
Tae Kwon Do training always pushes you to excel
the UK to teach Tae Kwon Do. I am now retired
and enhance your skills. That is how a ‘workout’
and ‘training’ differ in comparison. A workout is / January 2010
from the Navy so I teach full-time. I was drawn
to the ITA due to the leadership of Grandmaster
Bert Kollars. He instills confidence in the organization and is never too busy to receive a phone call
or answer a question. He, in his methodical way,
works through problems very well and quite logically. The ITA requires commitment to the spread
of Tae Kwon Do for the benefit of others, loyalty
to the organization, and respect among members.
The ITA provides a serene environment in which
to train and learn without arrogant attitudes. The
level of support that I receive is evident in the
fact that all of the ITA Grandmasters have visited England to assist in seminars and classes. My
future goals include adding the Han Mu Do curriculum to my classes and to learn more about Han
Mark Spain, a sixth-dan master and student to
Master Mitchelmore stated, “Tae Kwon Do and
the ITA provide an atmosphere of lifelong learning
with no end in sight.”
Glen Morgan, Sixth-Dan
“As one of the more recent members to join
the ITA, I would like to point out the amount of
respect that members show to each other. They
always maintain a positive attitude and are willing
to work through problems together. They are an
education based organization and emphasize the
mental training aspects of Tae Kwon Do as the
elements that contribute to a strong community.
As far as supporting their schools and instructors
go, they do what they say they will do. They have
great communication from the top ranks down.
Grandmaster Bert Kollars wants your telephone
calls and expects to hear from you regularly. They
are a community aware organization and feel that
all that you do as an instructor should in some way
reflect in the community you serve. Through Tae
Kwon Do training, students should gain confidence
and feel good about themselves. They learn to be
respectful of others and maintain a positive attitude
at all times.”
As I listened to each of these instructors from
the senior master level to the instructor level, I
realized they all had one thing in common; they
are educators. They do not teach in a conventional
school supported by traditional curriculum set upon
a stringent schedule, but they desire and expect
a positive outcome. With Tae Kwon Do as the
medium, they open the lines of communication in
order to pass the torch of community consciousness
to the next generation of students. Communities
are made up of people working together for mutual
benefit. Learning to serve the needs of others does
not diminish your self-esteem; it enhances it. Tae
Kwon Do provides concepts of tradition and structure lacking in our current society. It gradually raises
the bar of excellence so that students can recognize
their achievements, and it fills a very important gap
in self-awareness and identity needed for confidence
and success in our modern world. It passes the torch
of community awareness to our youth along with a
plan for success.
Front (L-R): Rick Hall, Art Monroe, Bert Kollars, James Bailey, and Joe Calhoun.
Back (L-R): Craig Kollars and Dr. He-Young Kimm
Dr. He-Young Kimm,
Ninth-Dan Grandmaster
David Higgs: Dr. Kimm, how did you become
involved with the ITA?
Dr. Kimm: Actually, in early 1970, I was one of
the pioneers in the early stages of the American
Taekwondo Association (ATA). And, the three
founders of the ITA, Craig Kollars, Bert Kollars,
and Art Monroe, were junior instructors of the
ATA. In 1974, I and GM Hank Lee (Haeng Ung
Lee) gave a seminar in Omaha, Nebraska, and those
three instructors attended. By the late 1970s, I had
left the ATA to concentrate on teaching self-defense,
Hapkido-Kuk Sook-Taekwondo, and ki breathing exercises. In 1987, I formed the Han Mu Do
System. During the meantime, by the end of 1980,
those three people became independent from the
ATA and formed a small independent association.
Through their hard work their association grew
rapidly. By the end of 1990, they approached me for
advice on how to maintain traditional Tae Kwon Do
while providing modern/contemporary needs. So,
for the last ten years, I have been a member.
David Higgs: How do you feel that you contribute
to ITA organization?
Dr. Kimm: Today the ITA has 26,000 active
members with over 200 schools. My job is to help
find a balance between traditional Tae Kwon Do
and progressive teaching. An example would be, I
arranged to invite World Taekwondo Federation
Grandmaster Park Hae Man, Kukkiwon highranking examiner, and International Taekwondo
Federation Grandmaster Hwang Kwang Sung,
Chairman of the Merging Committee for the ITF,
to conduct seminars
for the ITA so that
the ITA high-ranking
grandmasters could
see where they stood
as compared to these
international leaders.
Secondly, I bring ITA
high-ranking black
belts to Korea to see
the many different
styles of Korean martial arts, including the
Kukkiwon. Since the
ITA pioneers started
from the Chung Do
Kwan system, I led
Dr. He-Young Kimm
them to Grandmaster
Lee Won Kuk so that they could experience their
martial art roots and have a better understanding
about what they were teaching. Also, I provided
a chance for the ITA high-ranking leaders to join
with the United States Taekwondo Grandmaster
Society, which was formed by the pioneers of
Korean Tae Kwon Do masters in the United
States. I also encouraged them to learn two other
martial arts as minor fields of study, besides Tae
Kwon Do. I gave them the example of a tripod. It
needs three legs to stand steadily. In order to develop a balanced martial art, you have to know how to
kick/punch in a forward motion, and a pull-back
throwing motion, and a twisting sideways with
joint-locking motions, and also pindown groundwork. So, ITA black belts have the chance to practice, not only Tae Kwon Do, but also Han Mu Do
and Brazilian Jiujutsu. In this way, you can have a
well-rounded personality. Besides guiding them, I
learn a lot from them about their progressive vision
of the future of martial arts, such as community
service, dojang managerial skills, and method of
curriculum construction. Even at 70 years of age, I
still have room for more learning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Higgs began martial art
training in 1973. He holds the rank of fifth-degree black belt in
Han Mu Do and fifth-degree black belt in Hapkido and thirddan in Tae Kwon Do. He has received extensive training from
Dr. He-Young Kimm of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Master J.R.
West of Ridgeland, Mississippi; and Professor Sergio Chavez of
Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Kimm explaining the history of
General Kim Yushin. / January 2010
ITA Artistic Philosophy Formula
Artist First + 10 + 3 + 3 + 3 = Artistry and Legacy
Artist First
ITA artists believe the foundation and future of the Alliance rely upon each member’s dedication to the traditional Tae Kwon Do philosophy of being an Artist First. Only continued practice and dedication to the
art can sustain the ITA artist in his or her further roles of Instructor and School Director.
+ 10 Tenets of TKD
Tae Kwon Do artists live their lives according to the following ten tenets: Honor, Courtesy, Integrity,
Perseverance, Self Control, Courage, Community, Strength, Humility and Knowledge.
For 4000 years, Tae Kwon Do artists have trained in three areas of Tae Kwon Do discipline. Only if all
areas are brought together in a balanced approach is true artistry reached.
1. Physical expression and defense skills (The highest level can only be developed through consistent
2. Concentration and discipline training, called “ki” training ( Just as one can read a paragraph without
understanding what is read, if the mind is not disciplined, so too, physical movement performed
without concentration will not result in increased knowledge.)
3. Study of the human spirit and behavior through literature, history, and art (Only by learning about
others will we be able to learn more about ourselves.)
+ 3 TKD Learning Formats
TKD artistic skill is achieved through three primary learning structures and requires investing in continuing education.
• Group lessons led by student’s instructor allowing interaction with other students
• Personal training sessions by the student allowing uninterrupted reflection, repetition, and introspection
• Private lessons allowing a continued fostering of student/instructor relationship and enhancing
artistic understanding
+ 3 Required Movement Guidelines
Safe—must be mechanically correct to allow years of repetition without injury
Effective—must be mechanically correct to allow maximum power
Beautiful—must be mechanically correct to create artistically pleasing lines of movement
= Artistry & Legacy
By aspiring to the complete artistic philosophy formula, ITA artists will reach their highest levels of artistry
(technical skill and balance of mind and body).
62 January 2010 /