Friday, December 28, 2012

Training with Gyoo Hyun Lee

by Master Doug Cook
article appeared in Totally Taekwondo Magazine issue #46

Paging through the Kukkiwon Textbook many years ago, a comprehensive volume originally published in 1975, I took notice of a severe looking martial artist chosen to model the technical attributes of taekwondo by virtue of his long experience and skilled attention to the art. Again, in 1998, this accepted standard-bearer recognized for his extraordinary acumen, would appear in a promotional video produced by the Organizing Committee for Taekwondo Korea 2000 as a staff instructor. Seeing who I eventually came to know as Grandmaster Gyoo Hyun Lee in motion rather than on the printed page, convinced me all the more that I would someday seek out his instruction.

As destiny would have it, this was more difficult than expected. In planning the 1999 Chosun Taekwondo Academy Korea Training & Cultural Tour partially sponsored by the Committee, I inquired if Grandmaster Lee would be one of our teachers as advertised, but was informed that his schedule did not coincide with our visit. Likewise, in the initial planning stages of our 2004 tour, I once more requested his talents directly; “Unavailable” was the response from Korea and so, disappointedly, I turned my gaze elsewhere. Then, a few short weeks before departure, I received a surprise email from our travel service stating that the grandmaster had accepted our group provided we allow his senior instructors to assist. Naturally, rather than a condition, this stipulation amounted to a bonus. Since then, I would not consider developing an itinerary without including a day of training with Grandmaster Lee.
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