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Master Rudy W. Timmerman began his martial art studies in Holland, his native country, when he was ten years old. His initial studies were in the art of Jiu Jitsu (some called it Catch as Catch Can). After moving to Canada this changed due to the unavailability of Jiu Jitsu in the new location he moved to. Continuing his search for a suitable martial art, he stumbled onto his first experience with Master Pak in shyuk during a demonstration in the late 1950's. Excited about what he saw, he immediately joined Master Pak's Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do school and stayed with him until Master Pak unexpectedly left the area. Certification at that time was in Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do and came from Korea signed by Grandmaster Suh in hyuk.
After Grandmaster Pak suddenly left the area, Master Timmerman opened his own school called Ancient Fighting Arts. In 1985, in order to provide proper certification for his students, Master Timmerman searched for, and later found, Master Pak in Calgary, Alberta. Once again, there was a connection between Grandmaster and student. It was in Calgary that Master Timmerman helped Grandmaster Pak complete the development of Kong Shin Bup™. Before returning home, Grandmaster Pak appointed Master Timmerman as the successor of Kong Shin Bup™. After Grandmaster Pak passed away, he assumed that role, and he was recognized as Grandmaster of Kong Shin Bup™ by the World Council of Grandmasters in 2000
|Master Rudy Timmerman demonstrates ancient
techniques as it appeared on the cover of Tae Kwon Do Times
During Grandmaster Pak's absence, Master Timmerman joined a local Tae Kwon Do school (a white belt once again) under the guidance of yet another Master Pak. Master Pak sung bok taught the ITF version of Tae Kwon Do, and this is where Master Timmerman picked up the tournament sparring skills that were not a focus of Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do. Master Pak sung bok's close ties with the well known Tae Kwon Do Master Park jong soo gave Master Timmerman the opportunity to participate in the North American Tae Kwon Do Championships and observe and learn from world class competitors: Dohee Lee, Don James, Alphonse Gabidon, and Kees Keukens (and many other international competitors). Master Timmerman's enormous appetite to learn more prompted him to travel the world over in search of more knowledge and competition. During his travels he had the opportunity to study with some of the greatest martial art Masters and Instructors of that era.
Not hampered by the Korean v/s Japanese feuding, Master Timmerman studied with anyone who was willing to teach him, regardless of their allegiance. He attended Summer camps and seminars by such notable Masters as Chuck Merriman, Robert Dalgleish, Glenn Premru, Wally Slocki, Sensei Kai, Sensei Yamaguchi, Sensei Sato, Professor Morris, and a host of other great martial artists. To this date, Master Timmerman urges his students to learn from anyone who has good technique. In addition to attending countless martial art seminars, workshops, and camps, Master Timmerman participated in martial art tournaments in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Europe in order to increase his skills. Later he would share this knowledge and conduct seminars and lectures across the globe to the friends he had made over his many years of traveling.
Eventually Master Pak in shyuk dropped his allegiance with Grandmaster Suh in hyuk and founded his own Kong Shin Bup™ Hap Ki Do. While he was eager to learn Kong Shin Bup™, Master Timmerman also wished to remain loyal to his Roots and was disturbed by the apparent lack of loyalty among Korean masters. In 1975, Master Timmerman traveled to San Francisco to attend the first Kuk Sool seminar taught in the U.S. by Grandmaster Suh in hyuk, and he later became his personal student. At this time, Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do had become just Kuk Sool Won™ (at least one Canadian school still calls their style Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do; however, we don't know by whom they are certified).(For those who are interested in this transformation, a World of Martial Arts, June, 1998 article by Dr. He Young Kimm addresses the Kuk Sool Won Hap Ki Do split in more detail. Another article by Robert Young also discusses this topic - see KMAR)
Disturbed by the split, Master Timmerman continued to teach the curriculum he had learned from Master Pak in shyuk. During this time he continued to study with anyone who was willing to teach him. In 1989, Master Timmerman reached an agreement with Grandmaster Suh in hyuk, and he was appointed Branch Director for Canada and the State of Michigan. Master Timmerman quickly spread the art of Kuk Sool Won™ and, with the help of a number of his students, opened fifteen schools. He single handedly put Kuk Sool Won™ on the map in Canada and Michigan (except for a small Dojang in Detroit that later closed, there were no WKSA Kuk Sool schools in these areas at the time). During the next decade, Master Timmerman coached a number of his students to become World Champions.
A trademark issue prevented Master Timmerman from using the name Kuk Sool Won™ in Canada. Unwilling to get into the politics of this situation, Master Timmerman began using the name National Korean Martial Arts Association (the English translation of the Korean words Kuk Sool Won) which he had founded during the early seventies. Ironically, the Grandmaster who registered the name Kuk Sool Won™ in Canada now uses the name Dahn Mu Do. A number of Instructors who were introduced to the WKSA by Master Timmerman became unhappy with WKSA for one reason or another and left to join the Canadian Kuk Sool Won™ association. Unfortunately, WKSA politics have resulted in poor relationships between many area schools that had been on friendly terms for decades.
Master Timmerman continued to be a loyal supporter and student of Grandmast Suh until the WKSA committed a serious breech of his license agreement in 1998. Although he still believes that Kuk Sool is a great martial art, and he remains on friendly terms with many Kuk Sool Black Belts, Master Timmerman was unable to continue his allegiance with the WKSA after their blatant violation of martial art and business principles. Master Timmerman believes that loyalty, integrity, and honesty are an integral part of "the Doh". Saddened by the lack of loyalty and integrity displayed by the two Korean Grandmasters he was so closely associated with, Master Timmerman decided to concentrate on further developing the National Korean Martial Arts Association he founded in 1974.
After more than forty-five years of diligently practicing and/or coaching martial arts, it has become very apparent that the ancient virtues of martial arts have been replaced by unethical business practices and greed by many organizations. While Master Timmerman believes that Instructors and organizations deserve to be paid as well as the market will bear, he also believes this doesn't have to be at the expense of quality, integrity, honesty, and loyalty. Perhaps this is a naive outlook on modern martial arts; however, the continued success in his own school seems to indicate there is a place for an organization that does not favor the almighty dollar over the ancient virtues that make Black Belts the role models children look up to. On a more positive note: We have also witnessed many organizations that still hold dear the ancient values and principles of martial arts. The old adage of "Buyer Beware" is now an essential issue when seeking a school or organization to join.
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