Tae Yun Kim
Mountain Tiger Press, 2018
For most of us, the conception we have in our mind of the martial arts is greatly influenced by Hollywood and sports entertainment. The movies depict the fanciful while sports entertainment like MMA hold some kind of faux gladiator ideal, both are caricatures failing to do justice to the practice. In a way, Tae Yun Kim’s Seven Steps to Inner Power is meant as way to rectify this while showing readers the internal ethic giving it its vitality. Kim has written a spiritual guide of sorts but even describing the book relies upon a underwhelming convention. Her book could stand firmly next to the best business or motivational literature, yet it gives readers more than just trite platitudes. Kim’s Seven Steps to Inner Power uses the language of traditional Korean martial arts to convey and explain a purpose driven lifestyle.
Kim comes by her knowledge through expertise and experience. She is a Tae Kwon Do grandmaster and Olympian who has developed her own style of martial arts she calls Jung SuWon. The thrust of Kim’s book is honing the mental discipline and control of her brand of marital arts. This technique overlaps well with motivational and inspirational literature but goes a step farther by presenting less a guide for self-actualization as a means to live authentically.
Readers enter Kim’s method through her compelling personal story. Growing up in a small town in Korea during the war on the peninsula, she was abandoned by her family wandering the countryside until she found them. Reunited, she discovered a love of martial arts being taken under the wing of a monk who was then shunned because he dared to take a female student. Dedicating her life to the practice, Kim soon discovered it wasn’t the physical, which she mastered, but the mental aspects of Tae Kwon Do that centered her giving her life focus and purpose.
In creating Jung SuWon, Kim looks to provide martial arts lovers with what she has found. With her book, she offers readers the key principles and exercises at the heart of her martial arts philosophy.
“When we stay true to ourselves and our desires, we magnetize to ourselves the people who will help us become all that we are meant to be.”
Organized into three sections, Seven Steps to Inner Power reads as a sort of nesting doll philosophy with categories within categories allowing readers to incorporate the principles in-depth and in a myriad of ways. The principles of Jung SuWon can be pursued sequentially or taken as non-progressive, that is, done simultaneously. She also includes helpful exercises at the end of each of her chapters meant to aid readers in applying the work to their lived experience. The dominate message of Seven Steps to Inner Power is identifying one’s true nature (which Kim calls the Silent Master) and then practice principles allowing readers to become “a consciously creative thinker…controlling your own thoughts but correcting thinking patterns that have become part of you because you have accepted other people’s opinions about yourself.”
This mixture of self-actualization and self-affirmation will certainly strike a chord with many readers. Frequent readers of self-help literature will find much in Kim’s book that feels familiar but enough novelty to satisfy. While she does seem to conflate criticism with negativity, the methodology of Jung SuWon is especially positive and forward-looking. Seven Steps to Inner Power has a highly readable tone with excellent examples, scenarios, and concepts explained in such detail as to feel innate yet profound.
About the Author
Tae Yun Kim is a martial arts great grandmaster, author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. As head coach, she led the first-ever U.S. women’s Tae Kwon Do team to a gold medal at the Pre-World Games in Seoul, helping pave the way for women to compete in martial arts in the Olympics. Dr. Kim went on to found her own school of martial arts, aimed at overcoming limitations in every area of life. She is also the founder and CEO of Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions, a leading high-tech Silicon Valley company, and has won many awards for her achievements and humanitarian service. She received an honorary Ph.D. in Business Administration from Korea’s Sook Myung Women’s University and was named “Hope of the Country of Korea” by Korea’s former President Kim Dae Jung for her work encouraging people to overcome their losses and build new hope and success. In 2017, she won two Stevie Awards for Women in Business: one for lifetime achievement and the other for best new product. To learn more, visit: www.taeyunkim.com