Friday, July 31, 2015

Ginseng Chicken

By Pamela Pyke, Chosun Taekwondo Academy 3rd Dan Instructor
     During the hot summer months of July and August Koreans fight fire with fire!You would think you would eat Ginseng Chicken (Samgyetang) on a cold wintry night, but not in Korea! Ginseng Chicken is served at the height of summer. Long lines are seen outside the Ginseng Chicken restaurants as patrons wait to sweat away the heat of the summer. The idea behind this is if you sweat bullets as you eat this amazing meal you will cool down. This is
considered a very therapeutic experience.
     A beautiful Cornish hen is stuffed with short grain rice, garlic, jube-jube (date), ginseng root and lowered into a pot of boiling water. This simmers away for about an hour. Each are served a stone pot with your own chicken. Break open the super tender chicken to reveal the sticky rice, garlic, jube-jube and ginseng root. The chicken and broth is seasoned at the table with salt and pepper. The broth is heavenly. Eating the now tender ginseng root revitalizes your entire being. On our last trip in 2014 the game was to see who could empty their stone pot completely. Cheers would abound as each person displayed their empty bowl!
     This meal is easily enjoyed by Americans because it is quite mild compared to some of the more exotic flavors we experience in Korea. I have made this at home and was thrilled with the results. As my chicken simmered I added sliced ginger to the broth to kick up the flavor. So easy and super yummy!
     Not all soups are served hot during the summer in Korea. Mul-naengmyeon is a soup that is served icy cold. We experienced a bowl of this at lunch with Master Ahn. A sweet and tangy icy broth served with chewy buckwheat noodles, radish and beef brisket. It was so unusual! I thought I was drinking a salad!
     Please consider experiencing these amazing soups with us on our tour in 2016. An adventure awaits your palate and your Taekwondo practice.
Haengbog meogneum
Happy Eating!

Pam Pyke

photo pam 2
When it comes to researching Korean cuisine I follow two amazing Korean women who have shared their love of good home cooked Hansik (Korean food). Go to You Tube and check out and omma's

Plowing a Deep Furrow

By Master Doug Cook
Totally Taekwondo Magazine February, 2015 issue #72

Over the course of the past two and a half decades, the martial arts community has experienced inroads by several martial-oriented disciplines, some genuinely rooted in traditional arts, others less so. In the early 1990’s Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, a form of the ancient Japanese art refined by Brazil’s Gracie family, dominated the burgeoning UFC competitions and became the defacto self-defense standard of many police forces and military units. Shortly after, the Tae Bo craze swept the nation with creator Billy Blanks motivating thousands of weight-conscious men and women through a series of instructional videos. Then, Mixed Martial Arts or MMA made its debut. With the exception of the Gracie family’s contribution, many of these trends in non-traditional martial arts and martial arts-related programs, have, or are likely to, reach their apex and begin to fade into the background along with the general public’s waning interest and a lack of appreciation for in-depth training. This leads us to a point of self-examination concerning the unconditional commitment required for excellence in the classical martial arts.
Grandmaster Richard Chun & Master Doug Cook

On average, the Western mind is a questioning mind. It is also at times an impatient mind. We as a culture are not content with unexplained actions but frequently require detailed, verbal clarification for almost everything we do. Moreover, we place great emphasis on variety with a plethora of choices at our fingertips including the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and our wealth of leisure time activities. And then there is the matter of respect for contrasting worldviews coupled with a reverence for the traditions of the past. Being insulated between two vast oceans and surrounded by friendly nations sharing similar customs, many in America are frequently unaware regarding the life styles of others. Compound this with the fact that we as a people presently live in the midst of a technological revolution, the scope of which has never been seen before, and a picture begins to emerge portraying a society that is ambitious, inquisitive and sophisticated, while at the same time often cynical, anxious and mistrustful. Taken in sum, these attributes define our social character and on a less overt level, have a direct bearing on the martial arts we tend to popularize.

Drilling deep into taekwondo poomsae
Looking back, most martial arts, including karate and taekwondo, were taught very differently in the past than they are today. Venerable masters, both here and abroad, would demonstrate techniques of varying complexity with a minimum of explanation while worthy disciples quietly observed. The students would then practice, mimicking their teacher without comment, until deemed proficient enough to advance to the next level. Sometimes this took days, other times weeks or months. Moreover, instruction in hyung or kata would be limited to four or five forms over the course of the martial artist’s life rather than the multitude required of a black belt today. Students were also expected to display a commitment to the overarching philosophy and cultural traditions that sanctioned or limited the use of hard-earned combat practices. Furthermore, mastering these skills necessitated seemingly endless repetition leaving no room for impatient protest. In short, martial artists of years gone by were expected to cultivate a profound understanding of the mechanics, purpose and consequences of the techniques they were gifted with by going deep into their art rather than simply wide, thus leaving no room for involvement with, or dilution by, potentially conflicting styles. This concept was poetically articulated in Ryukyu Kempo Karate, a rare book written in 1922 by Funakoshi Sensei (1868 – 1957), where he states:

"The old masters used to keep a narrow field but plow a deep furrow. Present day students have a broad field but only plow a shallow furrow."
This viewpoint is further amplified when one takes into account Funakoshi’s description of his nocturnal training sessions under Azato Sensei (1827-1906) in his autobiography Karate-Do: My Way of Life. In it, he claims that countless repetitions of a single kata were required by Azato nightly, for months on end, almost to the point of humiliation.
Grandmaster Richard Chun, too, in his fifth book Taekwondo Spirit and Practice: Beyond Self-Defense, supports this notion as he depicts the early years of his training under Grandmaster Chong Soo Hong at the famed Moo Duk Kwan (Institute of Martial Virtue) in Seoul, South Korea:
“Our routine was very demanding and followed the age-old traditions of taekwondo masters. Every few days, our master demonstrated a specific technique to the students without taking any questions or giving any explanation. We simply observed. Our usual practice session, then, consisted of executing that technique two or three hundred times a day.”

How then does this principle apply today given the general public’s expectations concerning modern martial arts like MMA that tend to sample many styles and cultures?

Without a doubt, a sincere practice of the traditional martial arts demands unyielding discipline, perseverance, patience, and the acceptance of philosophical doctrines often foreign to the Western mind. Subsequently, given our modern approach to living overshadowed by a desire for diversity, we can see how these conditions might be
Karate practice at Shuri Castle
compromised. Remaining steadfast to a single discipline such as taekwondo or karate, rather than becoming involved in the amalgam of styles evident in MMA, requires an uncommon commitment and focus. Clearly, the attraction of switching from a takedown found in Japanese judo to a kick featured in Thai kickboxing, may hold a fascination for many. But, at least in my estimation, we may be short changing ourselves by not interrogating a single, traditional art to its core, finding that there is much more to discover beneath the surface than initially meets the eye.

At our school, the Chosun Taekwondo Academy - a United States Taekwondo Association affiliate dojang under the direction of Grandmaster Richard Chun - we focus on more than the superficial aspects of our art, physically, intellectually and spiritually, by applying the principles of taekwondo in their fullness. For example, we go beyond the deceptively simple dynamics of a low block by investigating the purpose of the chamber, the initial contact, and the ultimate follow through of the technique thus revealing scenarios that make this basic skill more than a simple block. Simultaneously, we pay close attention to Ki flow and the targeting of specific pressure points. Unfortunately, a concentration on detailed technique such as this appears to be sadly lacking in the many martial styles and practitioners that leap from one discipline to another, clearly going wide rather than deep.

One of my students once said, following a particularly demanding training session, that:

 “There is no elevator to the top floor of traditional taekwondo; instead it is a walk-up with many flights of stairs.”

In short, in order to gain pronounced proficiency in their chosen art, the student must immerse themselves in deep training to the point where they realize that everything they do is part of practice rather than accepting the erroneous perception that practice is a limited part of their life.

Choosing to study MMA or any other martial-related form of exercise in and of itself is not necessarily off the mark. Rather, an attraction to these styles dovetails nicely with the general public’s expectations of the martial arts as seen on television and the cinema and given the hectic schedules entertained by most people today, they offer a convenient method of becoming involved with the martial arts in the first place. Yet, to the practitioner seeking a holistic understanding of a single martial art that includes embracing the culture from which it is drawn, plowing a deep furrow rather than one that is wide, should be the obvious course to take.

Master Doug Cook, 6th dan black belt, is head instructor of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy located in Warwick, New York, a senior student of Grandmaster Richard Chun, and author of four best-selling books entitled: Taekwondo…Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior, Traditional Taekwondo - Core Techniques, History and Philosophy, Taekwondo–A Path to Excellence, and Taekwondo Black Belt Poomsae: Original Koryo and Koryo, co-authored with Grandmaster Chun along with its companion DVD. Master Cook can be reached for Korea tours, seminars, workshops or questions at or

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

YOGA at CHOSUN "Know and Go"

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center 62 Main St. Warwick NY 
"Know and Go"

The practice of yoga as with many other physical disciplines, involves training the body. In most yoga classes, particular attention is paid to alignment of the body, details of technique and intense focus on the execution of the poses. But just like a trained musician, at some point, the yoga practitioner must trust her knowledge and "let the movement flow." After all, we are not robots and it is through movement that we engage the world around us. Join us this week for a version of Ardha Chandrasana  (Half-moon pose) that goes with the flow!

Join us and celebrate movement...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free

$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes

For more information:
(845)986-2288 or

Beginners Welcome!   Bring a Friend!

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Chosun Yoga News                                                                                             July 8, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Academic Taekwondo

by Master Doug Cook
Taekwondo Times Magazine "Traditions" Column January, 2015

      Tae Kwon Do is composed of many components, most dominated by physical qualities. Front kicks, round kicks, side kicks, hand and aerial techniques abound, endowing the national Korean martial art with its unique character. Yet, as the discipline matured from its humble beginnings in the 1940s and 50s, it gained both complexity and academic
Kukkiwon with Dr. Un Yong Kim (center)
dimensions until today, modern educational institutes of higher learning located in Korea offer Taekwondology, along with its comprehensive syllabus of technique, tradition, rules and regulations, as a major.
     Regardless of the fact that the roots of tae kwon do date back to antiquity, historians agree that during the mid-twentieth century, the primordial forms of the art then known as kong soo do, tang soo do and for a brief period of time, tae soo do, were heavily influenced by Okinawan karate-do coupled with Chinese chuan fa, Japanese judo and, to some degree, aikido and jujutsu. While in transition, ritual and practice fortifying the burgeoning discipline innocently drew breath from these styles.
     Then, just as the citizenry of the Korean nation were given the opportunity to reestablish their cultural and technical infrastructure - admittedly after immeasurable strife and bloodshed - so too did tae kwon do. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of war, the disparate styles that evolved into the single, standardized national treasure that we know today, took on its own identity within the pantheon of Asian combat disciplines. Distinctive skills and strategies featuring philosophical underpinnings exclusive to Korean culture clearly began to emerge. This process was not easy and came at great cost, both socially and politically, to many of its founders and the organizations they would come to create. Yet, today, tae kwon do stands tall as a battle-proven form of self-defense and a fully recognized Olympic sport boasting a growth curve second to none, crystallized in the span of a short sixty years.
     Miracles of this magnitude cannot be accomplished purely on a physical level. Rather, planning, forethought and the accumulation of knowledge must be converted into action; action stoked by the uncorrupted transmission of wisdom across generations. Lessons learned in battle during the Silla (57 BC-AD 935), Koryo (918-1392) and Chosun (1392-1910) dynasties, exemplified by warriors of the Hwarang and preserved by fighting Buddhist monks called on to defend the nation against Japanese invaders in the late 1500s, are as valid today as they were then. Couple these tactics with a contemporary understanding of physiology, sports medicine and body mechanics, and a valid blueprint of academic standards begins to materialize.
     The academic approach to tae kwon do becomes abundantly clear as one sifts through the many editorial contributions offered by scholars, masters and enlightened practitioners dedicated to the worldwide proliferation of the art. Through the magic of the Internet, technique, decorum and training rituals have been exhaustively documented for current and future use. Books, treatises and dissertations have been written to intellectually support routines and principles. These, amplified by visual aids, amount to a supreme body of knowledge that can quite literally take a lifetime to absorb. Great men and women come to mind who have generously contributed to this paradigm of data - more than not, at little or no personal gain above that of serving the art. Highly qualified individuals such as Richard Chun, Sang Kyu Shim, Kyong Myong Lee, Son Duk Sung, and Sihak Henry Cho share this distinction with others too numerous to mention.
Grandmaster Chun and Master Cook
     And just what is being documented that justifies tae kwon do as a discipline worthy of academic pursuit? First and foremost, the technical catalog that defines the traditional Korean martial art. General Choi Hong Hi, a primary founder who created the International Taekwon-Do Federation in March of 1966, claimed an arsenal containing 3200 separate techniques, each with its own distinct purpose and method of execution, many depicted in his fifteen-volume Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do. Similarly, an updated version of the Kukkiwon Textbook reissued in 2005 devotes over 700 pages to the proper articulation of technique. But wisdom accumulated over the decades does not stop there. Landmark works by Grandmaster Richard Chun and his contemporaries portray defacto training standards and procedures relied upon worldwide by hundreds of thousands of students.
Moreover, since tae kwon do is recognized as a comprehensive form of self-defense with a pedigree reaching far back into the distant past, there are metaphysical and well as physical concepts to ponder. Exploring the use of meditation and ki, or internal energy development, as essential elements of the art demands research that can only be accomplished through the interrogation of Asian historical and, in some cases, medical records compiled centuries ago. Valid examples of these are the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, a cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine, coupled with the physical lessons posited by the Myue Dobo Tongji (Illustrated Manual of Korean Martial Arts), authored in 1790.
     Then, not to marginalize their significance, if one is to accrue an absolute understanding of any classical martial art, it is equally essential to survey influential native customs, physiological concepts that power its engine, and moral doctrines that govern its use. Many of these can be found in the teachings of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.     
Clearly, taken as a whole the ingredients cited above compound to represent a body of academic knowledge profoundly worthy of transmission from one generation to the next. One only need embrace it.         
     Naturally, as with any established sport, there exists a majority of practitioners who will exclusively participate for competitive purposes only. And because tae kwon do offers much in the way of physical fitness and athletic recognition on the collegiate, state, national and international level, and because just as a coin, it exhibits two sides, one representing the game and the other the art, this is entirely understandable. Yet it is important to recognize the difference between developing athletes and cultivating holistically-trained martial artists - practitioners who are not only proficient in the ring, but who wholeheartedly welcome the ancient wisdom that composes the vast mosaic that is traditional tae kwon do.

 Master Doug Cook, a 6th dan black belt, is head instructor of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy located in Warwick, New York, a senior student of Grandmaster Richard Chun, and author of four best-selling books entitled: Taekwondo…Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior, Traditional Taekwondo - Core Techniques, History and Philosophy, Taekwondo–A Path to Excellence, and Tae Kwon Do Poomsae: Original Koryo and Koryo, all published by YMAA of Boston. He has been a staff columnist for TaeKwonDo Times for over fourteen years. Master Cook can be reached for lectures, workshops or questions at or

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chosun e-newsletter Archive Volumn 6 #7 July, 2015

Dojang News and Events

Chosun Taekwondo Training in the Park and Special Summer Programs
Spend four summer Sunday mornings training against the backdrop of nature in the
beautiful surroundings of the Warwick Town Park and take advantage of special summer programs at CHOSUN for the whole family! Classes are no extra charge and are open to other martial artists. Some of the highlights are:
  • Asian Arts and Crafts for Youth Training students 
  • Traditional Taekwondo Knife, Pistol and Club Self-Defense Drills 
  • Mindful Meditation & QiGong Practice
  • Full Moon Poomsae Practice at Lewis Park 
  • Bring-A-Friend Days(adults, teens and children) 
  • Taekwondo History Night
The full schedule of events is available on the Events calendar on the Chosun website

Chosun e-newsletter Archive Volumn 6 #6 June, 2015

Dojang News and Events
Chosun Belt Promotion Test
May 17, 2015

The Warwick Town Hall was packed with spectators and Chosun students at the recent May Belt Promotion Test. Skill and spirit were on display as students demonstrated their techniques. Congratulations to Chosun students on your achievements and Kamsahamnida for your dedication to traditional taekwondo and the Chosun Taekwondo Academy.
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View a video montage

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