Master Jinyeong Choi 7th Dan Taekwondo, 5th Dan Hapkido
by David Fiscus
(Houston, Tx, USA)
Master Choi and I
When I first stepped into the Dojang, I really did not know what to expect. In my youth I had played Baseball, Football, Hockey, Basketball, lifted weights, swam competitively, water skied, and even took karate lessons for a few months.
But now I was 53 and extremely overweight. The sports I had played still gave me some flexibility and strength, but I didn't know how far that would take me.
That's where Master Choi comes in. At age 43, he recognized that there are some things that I can't do as well as people 18 to 25.
Master Choi Majored in Taekwondo at Korea Yong-In University, where he attained his Masters Degree (who knew they had degrees like that?).
He attained a 7th Dan Certificate in Taekwondo from the president of Korea's Taekwondo Association and President of Kukkiwon. He also has attained a 5th Dan Certificate for Hapkido from the Korean Hap-Ki Martial Arts Federation. He also earned a certification of Qualification as Tae Kwon Do Master form Kukkiwon and the World Taekwondo HQS. In addition he was awarded a Certification of Coach License from the Minister of Cultural & Athletic Affairs.
He then taught sparring teams for various universities and also taught sparring to the South Korean Military.
He proudly displays most of this information on the door of his dojang. My purpose in relating this information, is to give you examples of experience to look for in a master. But this should not the sole source of information for choosing schools.
I watched several classes before joining, including a couple children's classes. It became evident that Master Choi was very patient, had a good sense of humor, and really enjoyed his work. I observed that when a student was having trouble with a form, or a new kick, Master Choi would try different ways or exercises to help until you could see the light of understanding in the student's eyes.
I knew with my age and physical issues, I would need a patient Master. Master Choi has been that and more. He has helped me accomplish far more than I dreamed I would, or could. My first spinning heel kick was about 4 inches off the ground, now it is more than 5 feet. My roundhouse kick, has a lot of power, and I like to show off a little, so when Master Choi was holding a target, and I let my roundhouse fly with all the power I could muster, when it hit the target Master Choi made himself spin around like a top...saying WOW!!!! and cracking up the entire class.
It is nice to know he has the right prospective. We are not soldiers preparing to march into battle, we are challenging ourselves to do our best, but he also helps us keep remember, that this should be an enjoyable experience too.
Something else you might want to consider when choosing a Dojang and Master is whether they hold, or attend tournaments. Tournaments can be a lot of fun, and a good way to test your skills.
Lastly, my Father passed away in September of 2009 after a long and enjoyable life. I explained to Master Choi that I would be gone for a month taking care of my Mother, and Master Choi took me aside and told me that if I ever needed to talk to anyone, he would be there fore me. I have a many family and friends who I relied on during this time, but it made me feel good to know that if I did need someone, he would be available.
Thanks so much for telling us about Master Choi David. It always amazes me to hear about martial arts masters who have achieved an amazingly high level and yet can relate to beginners and remain patient teachers.
I'm sure your story will help others when they choose who to train with.