Begun in June of 1974 by Mr. James Cocker, the Grande Prairie Taekwondo School was continued by Master Kwang Soo Kim, who came to Alberta from Korea in March of 1975. Master Kim's beginnings were in the Oh-do Kwan style under General Choi Hong-Hi. However, when General Choi left to start the ITF, Master Kim chose to stay with the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), and while our forms still contain subtle nuances of our Oh-do Kwan origins, the WTF is the basic foundation of the school.
Under the guidance of Master Robin Peterman, who took over the school after Master Kim moved to continue his theological studies, the school has expanded, and continues to follow the Olympic WTF Taekwondo.
We teach the traditional WTF Taekwondo forms and sparring, and have expanded to also teach self defence and Bong-moo-yea.
While the physical aspects of Taekwondo are important, so is the mental training necessary for the success of our students in life, so the tenets of Taekwondo; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and Indomitable Spirit are an integral part of our teachings.
WE ARE A MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL WHERE THE GENUINE CARE AND GROWTH OF OUR STUDENTS IS OUR HIGHEST MISSION.
OUR GOAL IS TO PROVIDE THE FINEST TRAINING, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS AND COMMUNITY-ORIENTED SERVICES TO OUR STUDENT BODY.
MARTIAL ARTS STUDY SHOULD INVIGORATE THE STUDENT’S ASPIRATIONS, STRENGTHEN THEIR COMMITMENT, INSTILL WELL BEING AND FULFILL EVEN THEIR UNEXPRESSED WISHES AND DESIRES.
9022B - 108 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C8, Canada
Kwang Soo Kim was born September 5, 1946, in Wonju, Korea, to Chong Ho Kim and Jung Sook Park. He was the seventh of nine children; five sisters and three brothers. From a young age he was involved in developing and organizing Christian outreach programs. He entered Yonsei University on a full scholarship where he majored in Library Science and met many of his lifelong friends.
It was at Yonsei that he captained the university Taekwondo team for four years, before entering the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and serving as second lieutenant for two and a half years near the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
Kwang Soo Kim met Young Sook Kwon and they wed on April 7, 1973, in Seoul, Korea. His son Joo Hyun (John) was born a year later in Seoul, and their daughter Julie was born in Grande Prairie in 1975.
The Grande Prairie Taekwondo and Dawson Creek Schools had been without a master for some time and in 1974 the Instructor went to Korea in hopes of enticing a Master to move to Canada. Several Masters were interested and in June 1975, Grand Master Kim emigrated to Grande Prairie and our lineage was established. Grand Master Kim was and is the longest standing member of the Grande Prairie Taekwondo School; over 34 years influencing the many students who've walked through its doors.
Grand Master Kim's roots in Taekwondo grew and spread from the Oh-do Kwan style that later became known as the International Taekwondo Federation, (ITF). He and several other masters stayed with the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) when General Hong Hi Choi, head of the Oh-do Kwan, broke away to form the ITF. In time the KTA transformed itself and became the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), under which the schools still operate.
Grand Master Kim was on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Taekwondo Association for many years including the position of President for more than one term. He was one of the Alberta pioneers who helped develop the association and Taekwondo in Alberta. He also served on the Board of Directors of the BC Taekwondo Association in various capacities including its President.
With schools (dojangs) in Alberta (Grande Prairie, Slave Lake, Chauvin, Debolt, Vermillion) and British Columbia (Surrey, Grand Forks) under Grand Master Kim's tutelage, 160 individuals received Black Belts of which;
- 37 individuals received 2nd degrees,
- 18 received 3rd degrees,
- 8 individuals achieved the rank of Master,
- 2 of his students achieved international referee status.
Grandmaster Kwang Soo Kim achieved the level of seventh degree Black Belt with the World Taekwondo Federation and also achieved the top level of international referee-first class.
After moving to Edmonton, Grand Master Kim started his studies at Concordia Lutheran Seminary and graduated with his Master of Divinity in 1992. He was ordained at Bethel Lutheran Church, Edmonton, in May 1992 and was installed at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Surrey, in August 1992. He served at Faith for 17 years. Grand Master Kim was also awarded his Doctor of Ministry from Carey Theological College, Vancouver, on May 31, 2009, posthumously.
Grand Master Kwang Soo Kim, was a 7th Dan Black Belt, an International Referee, a Husband, Father, Pastor, Teacher and an Inspiration to everyone he met. Not many people have a leader that they can really model themselves after. Someone with a genuine need to serve others…to help them achieve…to see what others could be rather than what they are. Grandmaster Kwang Soo Kim was just such a man. He was one of the few who truly 'walk the walk'. He was a relationship builder, always there to help, or to simply listen, or to recognize your efforts.
"He will continue to travel the committed journey with us." Sometimes it takes the death of such an inspirational person to "awaken us" to reflect on our values and "fine tune" our moral compass. His mentorship will remain with all who he interacted with, for many years to come. His direction, influence and mentorship will continue to influence those who join these Taekwondo schools through the Instructors who were so influenced by him.
Grand Master/Dr./Reverend Kwang Soo Kim was called to his heavenly home after a courageous battle with cancer on the evening of May 26, 2009, at Surrey Memorial Hospital.
At the inagural Hall of Fame Gala held at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites on Friday July 29, 2011 Mr. Richard Ashby of the Grande Prairie Taekwondo School, and a student of Grand Master Kim had the honour of hosting the Awards Gala and the privilege of announcing Grand Master Kim being named to the Taekwondo Canada Hall of Fame. Master John Kim, Grand Master Kim's son accepted the recognition on behalf of the Kim family.
Why Study a Martial Art?
Martial arts are not for everybody, though anybody can do them. They are not esoteric, magical or brutal. They do however, take dedication and practice. To fully understand the art takes years. In the highest sense, the practice of a martial art is a journey of self discovery, about learning who and what we are in this vast world of ours, the here and now, our past and our present on the earth and in the universe. It is a physical and mental activity developed that enables us to unify the body, mind and spirit.
There are many practical less lofty reasons to study a martial art. Learn self- defence, get in shape, become more flexible, sweat, meet new people, and have fun. But even on an everyday level, the value of integrating your mind and body, of uniting special attitudes like respect, discipline, perseverance and responsibility with physical movements and high level attentiveness in a very structured environment relieves stress and helps you get your act together.
The martial art you practice should be compatible with your body, and you should stick with it long enough to realize its benefits. Since the real benefits from martial arts training are long term, it isn’t a quick, impulsive thing to do.
As in any situation where learning is critical, a good teacher, whose personal development transcends physical techniques, is essential. Recognize that the serious practice of a martial art is about self knowledge, managing fear and anger, and finding inner strength. This results in the confidence and greater ability in coping with uncertainties that so many accomplished martial artists possess.
Why Study Taekwondo?
Like other classic martial arts, taekwondo stresses proper attitudes and the balance between mind and body. Taekwondo is the way of hand and foot fighting for self defence. It originated in Korea, but is now practiced in over 120 countries by an estimated 63 million people. This makes Taekwondo the most practiced sport in the world.
Taekwondo is distinguished from other martial arts by its extensive use of the legs for kicking. This makes it a superb conditioning art and great cross- trainer. You will get in great physical condition, become much more flexible, and be capable of fast and balanced striking movements with your hands and feet.
Taekwondo stresses the art (or way) of a classic martial art. It offers the rigorous demonstrable results of a science and the physical and mental training of a top athlete, tailored to your specific starting condition and goals.
Taekwondo is in a period of great change. Its position as an Olympic Sport has made its emphasis on sport somewhat disturbing to those who fear the traditional art will be lost.
9022B - 108 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C8
While its roots are old, the unification of Taekwondo as it is recognised today as a martial art dates back to 1955. Some of the older taekwondo instructors are caught in the perceived conflict between the art and the sport that results from inclusion in the Olympic Sports. Some instructors have moved toward teaching only the sport aspect. The Grande Prairie Taekwondo School strives to take a more balanced approach and teaches the traditional art of Taekwondo together with the Olympic Sport of Taekwondo sparring. We are one of only a few schools who are striving to fully integrate modern science with traditional martial arts philosophies in order to truly offer taekwondo as the martial art and sport of the 21st Century that it is destined to be.
At the Grande Prairie Taekwondo School we strive to create an atmosphere of friendship and family with respect, discipline and humour. We are particularly proud of our traditional approach to Taekwondo as we work on Poomsae, Sparring, self-defence, Bong-moo-yae and mental training. We train not only physical aspects, but the mental tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self control, and Indomitable Spirit.
Before you start any martial art, check out the school and the instructors. Check us out – carefully -and discover for yourself what sets us apart from most of the other taekwondo schools.