Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The True Origins of a Ki Master

Excerpted from the files of the anonymous exer who we shall call here Grendel.

Just The Origin of Tae Yun Kim

     Tae Yun Kim claimed to have an aged monk for a master, who trained her. Several students have asked her who he was and where he was from, but she has never told them his name. She reportedly trained from 1952 to 1965 and then came to the US in 1970. If it was only 13 years, then how did she become a master in such short a time? Her people have not provided an answer because to them, they firmly believe the old master story. They have been told the story so much they believe it without question. 

     Shadow Dancer said, “I am curious about the earliest years with Art Fontaine. Specifically I would like to find some evidence that either proves/disproves her being a 'Bar-girl' when Art found her in Korea. When I trained in Vermont, the senior instructors would allude to her being a member of the CIA, or having influence with some intelligence organization. That was also the time she claimed to be an 8th degree Aikido practitioner.”

     Neither Kim or Fontaine were in the CIA as if you are in the CIA you never discuss that with anyone. Maybe they thought they were ninjas.

     The former student called clarehoare is Jacob Hunter, which is an alias Kim placed on him, or renamed him some time ago.  Both Jacob and clare will be used also.
     Then clarehoare said, “I think I explained this in the past. They had a school together, Kyong Ae Academy, it burned down (shadow dancer, help here?), and then TYK started ATC separate. ATC eventually became JSW. My understanding and I'm quoting a source “he took his frustration with his sister out on us students”. As I am sure you have found he is now the proprietor of Moo Gong Do.”

     But Shadow Dancer said… Kim has two sisters: one who is never mentioned, and the other whom she claims is 5th degree black belt. After having met her, I believe that claim to be rather outlandish. Kim claims that her sister's first marriage ended due to spousal abuse. We joined post-barbecue, so I don't know the earlier stories. I believe the Kyong-Ae Academy was started in White River Junction. We joined when it was already the ATC.”   

     Michael Gatov speculated on the origins of Tae Yun Kim, who began as Kyung Ae Fontaine in Vermont. He claims that she made up the story about the master who trained her in the mountains, based on no record of his name has ever been found or provided, or of his location, to verify his authenticity.
     Shadow Dancer (Michael) said, “Well, as much as I would like the world to know what she did for a first profession, I would rather they first learn about her actual training, who her instructor was, and what her actual rank was. This goes to the very heart of her credibility. The rest of the info is delicious icing on the cake. But if the world learns and sees documentation about her real rank and training, nothing she says can spin this to her favor, and all other stuff just piles it on afterwards. Cheers, Shadow.”
     “Well, she claims she was trained by a Buddhist priest. She talks about the severe persecution she faced from her parents for training. She talks about all the sacrifices she made to her master. So... who was her 'master'? Did she face any persecution? What were her 'real' sacrifices?
     “I think the biggest revelation that should be broadcast is that she lied about the 'master in the mountains' training shtick. She was trained in Tang Soo Do along with her husband. As such, she has no claim to the title “Grandmaster” or even “Master”, except with her awarding herself those titles in a slightly modified form she created. But long before it was Jung Suwon, it was TKD, and she fraudulently used the titles since she can't produce documentation showing any MA federation tested or sanctioned her, if the information on the web page is accurate.”

     Failed Student, who we will call Julie for clarity, is a former student of Tae Yun Kim before she called herself that. Back then, Kim was Kyung Ae Fontaine, and she lived in Vermont with her army husband, Arthur Fontaine, and trained with her brother in martial arts.

     Kyung Ae Fontaine, as she was known prior to 1989, was a practitioner of Tae Kwon Do, according to her various books and two web sites, and former and active students. She originally settled with her husband, Art Fontaine and her family in Vermont, where her stories began, in more ways than one.

      Chicabonita, Sandra daughter of Michael, former black belt COL student, said, “I wanted to say one more thing about the Bible. Many times in COL and JSW class she told us that if her master were to have written a book, it would have been exactly like the Bible. She said it in her own words. “My master was a Buddhist monk, but he was ahead of his time. If he could write a book, he would have written the Holy Bible, exactly how it is written today."

     Juliana, (mother of Jacob) former COL student and JSW student spoke out, as jdms, “I never really believed that. But now it seems as if there were really no master after all.
     “These are the types of lies that bother me the most. She fabricated a whole history between her and her Master that evidently from the records and people who have spoken up, didn't ever exist. If she lied about her foundation....there is nothing I believe now. Her entire world and perceived existence is a fabrication and that is what I hope the present COL members or any possible future members hear the most.

     Then a former student from Vermont called Failed Student commented on the story, confirming the two uncles from her stories, training her, but not the master.
     Failed student said, “I never heard about her Buddhist master. It was the story of watching her two uncles training that she told here. I did get the Howard Johnson's toilet story, and then she said she sold cars and was their best salesperson. As far as her rank when I started with her, I believe she said she was fifth dan. Then some diminutive Buddhist monk came to visit the temple, overstayed his welcome, and somehow she became a grandmaster by the time he left. I never saw her test, if indeed she did, so we all took it on faith she was a grandmaster.”

     Failed student said, “I never heard about her Buddhist master. It was the story of watching her two uncles training that she told here. I did get the Howard Johnson's toilet story, and then she said she sold cars and was their best salesperson. As far as her rank when I started with her, I believe she said she was fifth dan. Then some diminutive Buddhist monk came to visit the temple, overstayed his welcome, and somehow she became a grandmaster by the time he left. I never saw her test, if indeed she did, so we all took it on faith she was a grandmaster.”
     This moment apparently occurred in 1982, suggesting that before then Kyung Ae Kim was not a grandmaster, until this old man came and ‘tested’ her, but really there was no official testing presented to her students. One day she was suddenly ‘officially’ a grandmaster.

     Failed Student said, “Hello again Chicabonita - KAF did tell me the story of seeing her friend blown up in front of her, complete with all the details. Guts everywhere, and how they didn't have enough wood for a proper cremation.
     “She didn't say anything about her parents abandoning her to me. What I heard is from a member of the Korean community here in Burlington...The family was fleeing. Her parents told her to hide behind some doors and to not come out until they told her to. Evidently they were running low on food and without her there would be one less mouth to feed. She didn't do as she was told, and came out in time to see them leaving without her, and caught up with them. So she wasn't abandoned.
     “I want to tell you about an event that happened while I was still in her good graces. The senior students, KAF and myself went picnicking to a place called Rock Point, which is a retreat owned by the Episcopal Diocese. There is a rather high cliff which overlooks Lake Champlain. We were running around, having fun, and then she said, referring to the cliff...”When they come after us, we will all join hands and jump off together”. I don't know who they were, nor what she was running from, but it struck me as an odd thing to say. For this reason, I believe she is running a destructive cult, in the same fashion as Jim Jones. Maybe it won't be Kool-Aid, but it will be group suicide.
     “One other thing - - and this addresses her sadistic side. She told me when she had the do jang in southern Vermont, she had an outstanding student. I will only use his last initial - - J. He tested for black belt and excelled, yet she denied him the promotion. She told me she saw the bitter disappointment in his eyes. She related this to me with absolute relish.
     “Maybe in her mixed up mind, she was testing him on some other plane - testing his loyalty to her even though he did not get a promotion. That's a rotten thing to do to a kid. I guess eventually he got the promotion and kept on training with her.

     bemused said, “Interesting find, WhiteBear. The Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame website does list the 1978 Pre-World Games in Seoul, Korea. "Kyong Ae Fontaine" is listed as the manager of the US team, not the coach as she claimed to be. Most of the other info centers on Marcia Hall, the middleweight champion at that tournament. She and teammate Sunny Graf were the only non-Korean women to win. If most of the winners were young Korean women, the prejudice against women training in martial arts could not have been as intense as TYK said it was.”
     Failed Student said, “Sunny Graf is a legitimate martial artist, and was part of the NWMAF group to which I belonged and participated in their annual seminar.”

     WhiteBear said, “True it was the participants who were in the spotlight then, not her, which is how it should have been.
     “Wonder why she didn't compete in the competitions herself, she was young enough. Has she competed with anyone? I only remember hearing of the story when she "sparred" with SHS and "tapped" him resulting in a huge "energy" knot on his head which she then "healed". I'm sure you recall that story as well, it was used as the reason TYK never sparred with anyone again because she might accidentally hurt them real bad. I didn't ever see any film of her sparring, all pictures and film were of her "energy" demonstrations or the staged take downs used in the "Way of the Warrior" series.
     Shadow and Failed Student you were both there back in the day...did you see TYK spar? Just curious.
     “Wow Bemused! Did that paragraph describe who and what I think it did? The group's "controversial backstage behavior"? Indeed. Now there is an understatement. She managed to wiggle out of that one. …”

      Rossanna Cui, a former Lighthouse employee, said, “As with everything there are always two sides to every story, her version, and everyone else’s. Whether she worked in the base as a legit employee or outside the base as hospitality girl is immaterial considering that her current story is as far from the truth as you can get.
     “Looking at how her version of her past evolved is interesting. If you compare the version she told failed student to the one that was revealed in cultmaster, she went from working outside the base to inside it, from a senior officer helping the couple get hitched to the military being against it, from landing in Seattle then moving to Vermont to landing in Omaha then moving to Vermont. She edited but did not stray too far from the truth. I suspect that at this point in her life, she lacked the experience and sophistication as well as the ego to come up with as an outrageous a story as she did later on.
     “As she evolved, so did the story of how she got her start in the US. Below is an excerpt from American Fitness Magazine March 1994 Issue
     “"Banned and ostracized from any formal participation in the martial arts, Kim said good-bye to her family and left Korea at 24, arriving in America, landing in Vermont and supporting herself by scrubbing kitchens in Howard Johnson restaurants for three years. Learning one sentence of English, "My name is Kim, and I want to be your friend," she decided to overcome loneliness by finding at least one new friend by knocking on every door within a New England neighborhood.
     “Her early years in America are filled with stories of taking risks, making mistakes, and learning from them and moving on to the next challenge. Amazing goals and gruesome challenges are the primary fuel for this never-say can’t, energetic woman. The greater the challenge, the more she derives strength from it, always overcoming it. "I love it if someone tells me 'No, you can't do that.'" I can feel my ki rise in the face of it."
     “She was told she couldn't teach within the school system in the Untied States because she held no credentials. But that didn't stop her from talking with every school board member and principal in her county, convincing them to allow her to bring her lively demonstration of self-esteem and personal empowerment to the kids in local elementary and high schools. Eventually her programs were instituted at the University of Vermont, and she received recognition from state officials and local mayors.
     “She was told it was one thing to practice tae kwon do in the United States. But no woman is allowed to compete or bring her talents back to Korea. Again, hearing the word no seemed to trigger a defiant, unstoppable energy within Kim, an energy that drove her along destiny's path. Finally, it was time to encounter the patriarchy that dominated her native soil. She traveled to Korea for a world competition after several years in the United States, and was told she was not allowed to compete because she was a woman. Striding out to the center of the mat in a huge auditorium filled with male masters, judges and competitors, she withstood the deafening boos and jeers of the crowd. Summoning up all the ki in her diminutive frame, she raised her arms and yelled, "Silence, please. You will act like gentlemen!" This command stunned the auditorium and the insults stopped. Kim proceeded with her demonstration and at the end of the test received a respectful applause. She was granted the first master status for a woman from the Tae Kwon Do World Federation."   
    “Please take note of the following:
     1) There is no mention of the base, the husband, the family and the sales job, just a supposed job at Howard Johnson’s scrubbing toilets.
     2) She knew only one sentence in the English language " "My name is Kim, and I want to be your friend,” then proceeds to say that she attempted to enter the US school system as a teacher by talking to the school boards and principals in her country.
     If she knew only one sentence in English, what made her think she could teach in schools whose primary language is English and how did she manage to speak to school boards and principals?
     3) She went to a world competition in Korea and wowed a bunch of male masters, judges and competitors by commanding their silence and proceeding with her demo.
     When? What was the event? I don't think that this is something that happens a lot in events like this so you would think that there would be some record of this somewhere, a story told by one who was there? (Aside from her of course)
     4) "She was granted the first master status for a woman from the Tae Kwon Do World Federation." I did a search on this and didn't find any organization with this name. Is this supposed to be the WTF? If so, why hasn't anyone ever seen anything to prove this, a piece of paper, cert, anything. I would think that if she is so proud that she would tell the story, she would definitely hang up or display the proof of this for everyone to see.
     “So many questions, yet still no answers....
     “Back to the theory on the evolution of Kim. When you read the testimony of people from Vermont and compare it to those from California, there is an obvious change in Kim. The experiences of those in CA are harsher, more devastating, more intrusive and definitely more abusive on several levels. It seems that as time passed, her delusions of grandeur grew, as did her dark side. I do not discount the experiences of those that came in the earlier days, but I have to say that if anyone can be considered lucky in these circumstances, the earlier batches had it, and if this theory has even a modicum of truth in it, then those that are still there are probably going through an existence comparative only to Dante's 9 Circles of Hell.
     “"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here"”

     clarehoare said, “Honestly, if she came in via military transport, Omaha would make much more sense, as they have an AFB... Things may have been different then, but point of fact, Seattle has no military base, Ft Lewis to the south (a bit south of Tacoma (for the army, and Navy to the north in Everett... So actually landing in Omaha would make sense, considering the sprawling air force base... of course there may have been a military base in Seattle then, or the information on CM could have been speaking in generalities of the region.”

     bemused said, “So TYK is a third-degree black belt with a TSD/MDK background. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. If it's not stratospherically impressive, it's at least solid. Before I started training at ATC, soon to become Jung Suwon, I looked around at other schools. At the time, the quality of instruction at ATC/JSW seemed on par with that of other schools, despite the skittle belts (and later skittle uniforms). The question has persisted in my mind: Why couldn't TYK just settle for being a decent martial arts teacher?
     “I think the answer is this: to have the kind of power she wanted, she had to convince people she was superhuman. She had to meet every challenge to her authority with, "You have earthly view, I have satellite view." Although I rather doubt her "master" stories as she tells them, some exposure to religious authority might have given her the idea to use it herself.
     “She seems to think that being God-like justifies any abuses. But the opposite is true: any abuses contradict her being God-like.”

     “I have heard so many stories from the two of them, I don't know WTF to believe. Art said he worked for the CIA...a lie no doubt, since one does not speak of this ...ever...if they are employed by that agency.”

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