1 The Man Who Saved Karate

Joon Byung In

In Korea there was a fellow name of Byung In Joon. Korea was a rough place. Icy snows straight out of Siberia and the arctic pounded the little country. Mighty monsoons drowned the country. And during the summer the heat was worse than a heater in hell.

One winter young Joon was standing around with the men, trying to get close enough to the fire to get warm…and he fell in. He would suffer a damaged hand over which he would wear a glove the rest of his life.

korean karate

Joon Byung In

In spite of his handicap, Joon wanted to learn martial arts in the worst possible way. The problem was that the only teacher around was Chinese, and the Chinese didn’t teach the Koreans.

Joon asked and was turned away.

He peeked in windows, and was chased away.

Finally, he started lining up the student’s shoes on the porch every class.

When the Chinese teacher discovered who was aligning the student’s shoes he gave in and accepted Joon as a student.

Joon was a good student. He was smart, he followed directions, and he conducted himself honorably at all times.

Eventually, Joon was sent away for higher education. He studied hard, and during breaks he would go out and pound a tree. The tree began to slant to the side.

One day a fellow Korean came running up to Joon, he was being chased by a band of Karate students.

The student had signed up for a karate class, then decided he’d rather spend time with a girl friend. The Karate students didn’t think much of this, and they wanted to beat the Korean up.

Joon came to his countryman’s aid. He stepped forward and confronted the Karate students.

A fight commenced, but it was an odd fight. The karate students tried to kick and hit Joon, but the Korean lithely danced away, evaded, and defeated the karate students without harming any of them.

The teacher of the Karate students, a man named Kanken Toyama, upon hearing of the incident, decided to pay Joon a call.

He was not met by a wide-eyed radical, but rather an intense young man who wanted only to practice the martial arts.

This was a supreme meeting of like spirits, and the older Toyama and younger Joon decided to trade martial arts systems.

It should be noted, at this point, that Toyama did not come up through the Japanese Karate system, he was actually a classmate of Gichin Funakoshi, and he trained under such people as Itosu Anko and Itarashiki primarily, and under Ankichi Aragaki, Azato Anko, Choshin Chibana, Oshiro, Tana, Yabu Kentsu, Yasutsune Itosu and Kanryo Higashionna.

He studied under the most important people in Karate, he had direct lineage to the bodyguards, and he didn’t water down the techniques or use the mass teaching methods utilized on school children.

Joon take advantage of his situation and studied hard. He quickly became the head instructor, and was one of the only people promoted to master level.

Joon went home and he established his own karate school It was called the Kang Duk Won, or ‘House for Espousing Virtue.’ On the next page I will tell you about the Kang Duk Won in those early days, I will tell you how it survived the Korean War, and eventually came to the United States.

Take me to The Early Days of the Kang Duk Won!

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