Mt. Kim Taekwondo
I am currently observing several classes at Mt. Kim Taekwondo in Holly Springs, NC. I previously visited this school a while back. It's a pretty decent looking dojang with a nice size training area, with standard training equipment, three water core kicking bags, and kicking pads. The Taekwondo classes are taught by Master Will Howard . (From the looks of things here, something's not right, and I smell BULL, but before I write anything more, I need to do more research on this dojang.) Well, I've done my research, and this is what I found. Will Howard is actually a 1st Poom - that originally train with Grandmaster Mt. Kim of Vienna, VA, a 1969 World Judo bronze medalist from Korea. Mr. Howard was awarded his Poom Dan (Child's 1st degree black belt) at the age of 12, and did not continue practicing taekwondo until maybe about 3 years ago, when he showed up at Asian Academy of Taekwondo in Cary, NC. He showed up there with his brother, sister-in-law and their children. The family studied there until he opened his school. He helped out there for a few months, got angry at the master (Master Teresa Edwards) went down the road and tried working out at Grandmaster K. S. Lee's Best Martial Arts and lasted there about two weeks. It seems that Mr. Howard became angry because Master Lee asked him to wear a white belt with a black stripe at the end on the belt (to show that he was a black belt, but did not receive his rank from master Lee, also Howard did not have a black belt with his master's name embroidered on it.) After, leaving Master Lee's dojang, Howard decided to open his own dojang and promote himself to 4th Dan.
Mt. Kim Taekwondo received the following ranking from me. Aliveness -1 Just talking to Howard almost put me in a coma. His presentation and sales pitch of his school was a long drawn out synopsis of gibberish about what masters had treated him badly, and how his school was better than all the rest. Equipment 4 - standard taekwondo matted floor, kicking bags and striking paddles. Gym Size - 5 Enough room and open space to conduct classes. Instructor/student Ratio 1 - He was the only instructor there at the time, but he did mention that he also has a MMA instructor that teaches Brazilian Jujitsu classes. Atmoshere/Attitude 3 - The atmosphere seems laid back, but his attitude was horrible. Striking Instruction N/A - I did not witness they were working on kicks at the time. Grappling Instruction 6 - I gave the school, just because Howard didn't teach this skill, but allowed someone else teach the art. Weapons N/A - I did not ask about weapons training.
I tried calling to make an appointment to visit, but the number to the school has been disconnected.
So, I saw this posting a few months ago and then i kind of forgot about it. It did get me to register with intentions of responding sooner. I am Will Howard, the owner of Mt Kim Tae Kwon Do in Holly Springs. I must say that I was surprised to see a review of our program. I was just bored and started searching random things about me and my family one afternoon.
I am sorry that you seemed to have a poor experience with me. I can't say as i remember who you are (I have tried) and was wondering if you could give me any insight as to me remembering you. I don't have a large program (when I was at my busiest i had 39 but I had many families relocate with the job losses we had here in the Raleigh area). I am also admittedly not much of a business man and don't care to run my program with the business mind set.
Now with that out of the way, I wanted to kind of pick apart your write up, not because I am looking to get into a proverbial pissing contest with you, but because as of today, there have been 1,131 views on this particular thread and I feel I should at least get my fair say in the matter. I am going to go through your write up with rebuttals by paragraph and I'll throw in a closing paragraph... I will try to keep it short but, well, I can go on... it's hereditary.
You state that I have a nice sized area, standard equipment and that it's a "...decent looking dojang" and follow up in the very next sentence that "...something's not right..." and that "i smell BULL." I'm confused how you can go into something that you admittedly consider a nice spot and then say something is wrong. It would be like going into a 5 star restaurant and as soon as you walk in the door, expect to get food poisoning. I don't get how you came to that conclusion... but I'll move forward as you say you need to do more research on the matter...
As far as the rest of your opening paragraph, there's a lot of, I'll say misinformation, to set straight... To start off, you seemed to have done your homework, or you happen to know a very disgruntled relative of mine... I'm not sure which. That being said, yes... I did train under Grandmaster Mt Kim (Master at the time) in Vienna Va. I am not actually a "1st poom" as you state. While I did recieve my 1st poom (at age 9 though, not 12) I am a 3rd degree black belt through kukiwon and a 4th degree black belt through Grandmaster Mt. Kim now and have been for years (and yes, I have a black belt with Grandmaster Mt Kim's name embroidered on it. I don't wear it often but I have it. I've also never understood why it matters if your master's name is on the belt but he put it on there when he ordered it. I have 2 black belts under my program who have been training for 6 years and they do not have my name on their belts. It's not about me... it's about them). I chose not to spend the money on the paperwork from kukiwon as I really don't find that pieces of paper make you any better. I also didnt feel like spending the money on kukiwon certification. maybe one day I'll file the paperwork, who knows. Right now though i have no plans to. I am pretty content with things as they are. I also did not take the leave of absence that you make it seem I did. Yea, i had a few years off... I got busy with a family owned business but I did try to keep up with my own practicing to prevent from being too rusty.
That being said, I make a pretty good effort to not volunteer where I had taught before in Cary, though now that it's out there, yes... I did train and teach there. How you know that I started with my brother, sis in law, and my nephew and niece is beyond me. That is factual though. As far as my split with Theresa, I never had a falling out or argument with her (at least none that I am aware of). I have never spent any time training with any of the Lee Brothers. I had stopped by his Holly Springs location quite a few times to introduce myself when I chose to open up in Holly Springs because I thought it was the respectful thing to do. I never was able to meet up with him though and have never met the man.
I think just reading this response, it's fair to say that I am capable of talking people into a coma. Quite a few of my friends and some of my parents from TKD actually reference that line a lot. I come by that trait honestly. My dad can do the very same thing. I have never gone on about what masters have treated my poorly. I have never been treated poorly by an instructor. I have heard stories from other people with those problems but I guess I have been fortunate that most of the people i have trained with have become friends of sort. You state that I said my school is better than all the rest. Well, while I don't run my school with the business mind set (clearly or I would still be teaching out of that location), I do have to promote my teaching methods and why I think they are better than my competition's methods and I think I do a good job of doing so without badmouthing anybody. If I have, I assure you it was accidental.
As for your rankings. Since I see a score of a 6 in there, I have to assume you are ranking on a 1-10 scale. I don't understand how i can have a standard matted floor and equipment and only get a ranking of "4." It would seem if things are standard, I would at least get a 7 or so.
My gym size is a 5 because there is enough room to conduct classes. Well, how much more room should I have? I didnt, and don't, wish to have a humongous school with lots of open space, office space, lounge space etc. I want enough to teach.
Instructor/Student ratio was a 1 because I was the only instructor. Well, based on the date that you wrote this posting, I probably only had about 20 total students. Back then over that summer, I may have had anywhere from 1 or 2 students a class to maybe, maybe 8 or even 10 on some crazy busy class. What should my ratio be in your opinion?
Instruction.. I get it, you don't like me
Atmosphere and Attitude... I try to stay laid back. I think I've got a pretty good attitude, I don't know... maybe I'm wrong. Again, I don't know who you are so I don't know if you happened to come in on a bad night or what. I have had some pretty crazy personal issues going on the past few years but I think that by the summer of 2009, I had started to move past them.
I don't train weapons. Yes, they are fun but I am not a big fan of teaching things that aren't practical. I have more moved to a self defense program over anything else. More on that in my closing (if you're still awake... no, that's not a jab or anything at the original poster, that is a legitimate statement).
As far as the number being disconnected, I have closed my doors on the store front. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not much of a business man. I didnt do contracts. Yea, i had people fill out the forms, but I didnt send my billing off to other company's. If somebody wanted out, I let him/her out. If somebody was sick or out of town for a week, two weeks, a month, I wouldnt charge.
Look, here's my deal. I'll start by saying that with looking at your other threads, you don't seem to like anybody but Master Gordon. I am not aware of her or her teachings but since you seem to hold her in such high regards, I have to assume that she is a good instructor. As far as I'm concerned, I still teach. I operate out of the Hunt Community Center in Holly Springs, NC. I am not your traditional Tae Kwon Do program as I mentioned earlier. I do not teach forms anymore. We spend our time working on striking and blocking techniques, sparring, grappling, and hapkido. I'm more concerned with my students learning to defend themselves than I am with them learning forms. I think forms are great, don't get me wrong, but with a 55 minute class, I can only do so much and something had to give. I can talk, and often bring that up in class when running late that it's my fault for talking too much while we go. As far as anybody else is concerned, there are 4 storefront schools in HS and my program at the Hunt Center. Go try things out. I can tell you my thoughts on what to watch out for (I have a very bad taste in my mouth from the things i see martial arts schools doing, not just locally, but world wide. While it is important to operate a business, the business mind set has taken over too much). Try out some schools and see what works for you and yours before you sign up. That's about all I can think of right now.