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Grandmaster Dr Tae Yun Kim Icon of Success-1527727226

Biography of Tae-Yun Kim

KIM, Tae-Yun (2 February 1946- ) is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author, and founder of the Jung SuWon style of martial arts. Dr. Kim was the first female to attain the rank of grandmaster in taekwondo[1]. Dr. Kim was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in 2009. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Kim started her first computer company in 1985.[2]


Kim was born in South Korea on 2 February 1946, shortly after the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea.[3] Kim was born into impoverished circumstances, where she was often left to fend for herself at a young age. At age 5, at the start of the Korean War, Kim was abandoned by her family. After the end of the Korean War, Kim went to live with her grandparents. After seeing her uncles practice taekwondo, Kim began practicing as well at age 7. In 1968 Kim (age 22) immigrated to Burlington, Vermont USA. In 1985, Kim established the Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy.[4] 

Kim has authored self-help and self-improvement books which are published in over 15 languages.[5] She is also the CEO and Chairman of Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions, a manufacturer of particle measurement instruments and real-time contamination monitoring systems.[6] Kim started the company in 1982, relocated to California in 1985, expanded to Medford, Oregon in 2003.[7]

Kim received an Honorary Doctorate degree in Business Administration from Sookmyung Women's University in 2003.[8]

Jung SuWon[]

Black Belt testing at Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy

Jung SuWon is a hybrid martial art that combines traditional taekwondo with meditation. The focus of Jung SuWon is on utilizing the whole body, mind, and spirit in every technique, form, and sparring situations. 


Kim is an established author; her works can be found on Amazon, GoodReads, and Barnes & Noble. She is known for her inspirational and motivational lectures and writing. In addition to motivational/inspirational writing, she also has published books about the Jung SuWon discipline of martial arts. Notable works include:

  • The First Element: Secrets to Maximizing Your Energy (February, 1998) ISBN 978-0965695909
  • The Silent Master: Awakening the Power Within (May 1, 1994) ISBN 978-1880032411
  • They Call Me Success (Korean)
  • Golden Key of the CEO (Chinese version of They Call Me Success)
  • Seven Steps to Inner Power (1st printing 1991, 2nd printing-September 30, 2011) ISBN 978-0931432705

Achievements and Awards[]

  • Founder of the Art of Jung SuWon
  • Chairman & CEO, Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions
  • Honorary Commander, U.S. Air Force
  • Chairman of the Board, Martial Arts Leadership Federation
  • Susan B. Anthony Award, 1985
  • Courage to Dream Award, Asian World Film Festival, 2016
  • Ambassador to the Nations, Asian World Film Festival, 2016
  • Awarded CEDAW Women’s Human Rights Award in Entrepreneurship from the United Nations’ Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2015
  • Appointed as Senior Advisor to the National Unification Advisory Council for the reunification of Korea, 2015
  • State of California, Woman of the Year, 2002
  • Women of Achievement Award, Sports 1991 & Corporate 2002
  • Honorary Doctorate degree in Business Administration from Sookmyung Women's University, 2003
  • Women of Distinction Award in Technology, 2005
  • Selected as Grand Prize winner from all companies in state of California by the California Chamber of Commerce in Simply Success Stories contest, 2004
  • Head Coach for the U.S. Women’s team at the 1978 Pre-World Games in Seoul, Korea
  • Knight Chevalier and Grand Dame in the Orders of Constantine the Great and of Saint Helen, 2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Supreme Grandmaster Byong Yu, 2011
  • Hope of Korea & Pride of Korea Award of Recognition, presented by Korean Media (MBC, KBS, KEMS, Joong Ang Il Bo, Korea Times), 2011
  • Grand Dame, Prior for the No. California Priory, Ambassador to Korea, Japan & China for the Orders of Constantine the Great and of Saint Helen, 2011
  • Humanitarian Award, Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, 2012
  • Honorary Ambassador for State University of New York (SUNY) in Korea, 2012
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Stevie Awards for Women in Business, 2017


  • College of Learning cult like organization employed several of her key students, 1990 to 2017, as reported on Inside Edition, Is Jung SuWon a Cult, 1998, as reported again in 2007 by Bullshido.org aggregate martial arts web site, led by 35 former students allegedly inside the cult. As for interview, she claimed 'absolutely not' at the time, but the later reports by former students indicated otherwise.
  • She claims to have more than one school but due to restrictions from a pandemic in 2020 she was forced to close the school. It appears the company is still open.
  • She was not head coach of the 1978 games. According to one of the staff there, she was merely assistant coach.
  • She had been involved in pyramid sales schemes in the 1990s and also shady deals with foreign companies allegedly, but denies such allegations were fraud.
  • She has published book reprints that are misleading and her last book was actually published a decade or more ago. Her people alleged this is not the case.
  • A former master student of hers alleged that she never received a grand master but was awarded it after a payment to a wealthy businessman of the time, in about 1983, in Vermont, before she came to California, in 1985, where she 'became a grand master' once landing. She claims this did not happen and she had a master who gave her titles and official papers, none of which have ever surfaces. Nor has she ever named the master. This is according to aggregate site Cult Member before it was removed in 2007.
  • Her honorary ranks are consistent with her giving them out and that is fine, allegedly. Some ex students allege favoritism of others.
  • No one training has ever seen her spar, allegedly.


External links[]