Her story is a timeless, epic journey. It has been a monumental struggle with the hearts and minds of a world that tried to tie her down at every turn of her life. Through it all, Great Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim has demonstrated the power of her motto "He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me".
Tae Yun Kim offers her life story as a message of hope to all who want more from their lives. For those who find themselves wrapped in their own struggles, bound by weakness, taken over by the negative influences, or just simply those who feel there must be more to their lives, Tae Yun Kim's life story is a point of inspiration and a road map for others to use so they can find completeness and fulfillment in their own lives.
From the moment of Tae Yun Kim's birth in 1946, her family and all the people of the small South Korean village in which she was born called her a curse. She was born on the Lunar New Year. Her family was certain that on this special day, they would be blessed and their first born child would surely be a healthy baby boy to carry on the Kim family name. When her Grandfather found out that she was not a boy, he was horrified. He ran to the temple and prayed, asking why his family had been cursed...
It was very hard for young Tae Yun. Her mother, also ostracized for not producing a son for the family, blamed young Tae Yun for her hardships. She often left Tae Yun alone, without food for days, hoping that she would die. Surviving this abuse at home, Tae Yun grew into a young girl only to find that even the other village children did not like her. They threw snakes at her and also called her bad luck. No one wanted anything to do with her.
During the Korean War, young girls were abandoned by their families who fled the towns with their sons. Tae Yun was one such girl. It was during this time, left alone, with bombs falling around her, that she met another young girl, a few years older than her. She came up to Tae Yun and told her that she had to run, that she had to get out of there and then said "let's race!" These words sounded so sweet to Tae Yun's ears. This was the first time someone had actually been nice to her. Someone cared about her and wanted to help her. Tae Yun was so excited! She raced after her new friend. She ran hard to keep up with the older girl, but as she was running a bomb exploded right in front of them.
As Tae Yun came to her senses, she immediately began to look for her friend. She was desperate to find her. She looked and looked, and then she saw her, lying on the ground, motionless. Her friend's arm was blown off and all around her she could see the bodies of people from her village. She had been told her whole life she was a curse, bad luck, but now here she was, alive. Filled with sadness from losing her first and only friend, from this point forward, Tae Yun Kim decided that she would stand her ground and fight for her life; she was not going to run anymore.
Having survived the war, Tae Yun went to live with her Grandparents. It was here she first saw her uncles practicing Tae Kwon Do in the morning mist. Intrigued and fascinated by what she saw, she knew at that moment what she wanted to do with her life.
Women at this time were forbidden to practice Tae Kwon Do. It was a ridiculous notion, but Tae Yun persisted. Her uncles told her that because she was a girl, she could not train. They told her to learn to cook and sew, grow up and if she was lucky, she could get married, produce twelve sons and then her life would be all set. But Tae Yun's mind was set. She would learn the martial arts. She did not want to be like her mother or her grandmother. She would be an original. Finally, certain that after a few bruises, she would give up, one of her uncles agreed to teach her. To his surprise, she did not give up. Instead, she trained hard and progressed quickly.
At this point, her grandparents had reached their end. Enough was enough. In their eyes, it was bad enough that this girl had been such a curse to their family, but now she was practicing Tae Kwon Do. It was outrageous to them. They decided to have her married off, but Tae Yun would not let that happen.
During an interview with the matchmaker, Tae Yun was asked to serve tea. This would show to the matchmaker that she can be graceful and polite so that she could serve her future husband well. As the tea was being served, Tae Yun dumped the tea into the lap of the matchmaker. The matchmaker stormed out of the house proclaiming that this girl was bad luck and would never get married.
At this point, her Grandfather had tried everything to make her change. So, finally, he called in a well known Buddhist Master to convince this young girl to behave as they thought she should. This special meeting would change Tae Yun Kim's life forever.
Tae Yun was outside when her Grandfather and this new person approached. She could see that the person with her Grandfather was a monk, but she did not know what was about to happen. The Master asked her to look at him, but that was unthinkable. As culture and tradition demanded, the little girl didn't dare to look into the Master's eyes. So he put his finger under her chin and gently lifted her face until her eyes met his. "What do you want to do when you grow up, little girl?" He asked. "I want to be a teacher and help people," she replied. He asked her why she would want to do that. "Don't you want to grow up, get married, and raise a family?" Tae Yun replied, "No Sir, I don't want to be my mother or my grandmother. I want to be me. I want to be an original."
The Master gazed into her eyes, into her heart and then he said, "Ok, I will teach you." Tae Yun Kim's life and mission started at this moment.
Training for Tae Yun was everything. Everywhere else in her life, people pushed her aside, ostracized her, and treated her like an outcast. But when she was training with her Master, none of that mattered. She put everything into her training and dedicated her whole self to being the best she could be. She looked around and said to herself, "He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me!"
She learned the ancient principles of Ki energy from her Master as they trained in the mountains of Korea. In the snow, the rain, the sun, throughout the day and the night, Tae Yun Kim dedicated every ounce of energy she had to learning and being the best student. Her Master recognized her dedication and passed on the secrets of internal energy, Ki energy that would form the foundation of what Tae Yun Kim shares with the world today.
In 1968, Tae Yun and her family came to America, to Burlington Vermont, with just $300.00 to their name and not a word of English. Even so, Tae Yun set out to make a place for herself in this new world. However, she was quickly struck with the harsh realities of stifling prejudice and an insurmountable language and cultural barrier.
She wanted to open her own school and teach others the amazing things she had dedicated her life to learning, but she was shut down at every turn. No one would rent her space to open her school. When she finally found a small space to open her school, it was quickly burnt to the ground by an arsonist.
Working three jobs to make ends meet, Tae Yun pumped gas, cleaned bathrooms at a local hotel, and even sold cars on weekends. People still did not accept her. She had spent her whole life dedicated to learning and preparing to help people, but now here in America, the land of opportunity, she was still being shunned by everyone around her.
She hit rock bottom, then lost all hope and all will to live. Her excitement about coming to the USA was completely gone. No matter how hard she worked, how much enthusiasm she put into everything she did, she felt like she wasn't getting anywhere. She was even wondering why her Master wanted her to come to this strange and hostile place. All she could feel was utter despair, loneliness, pain and suffering. The only thing that kept her from committing suicide was her strong belief in God, which kept her going, day-by-day.
However, one dark and hopeless day, she felt she couldn't go on any longer, so she only took her bible and went up a mountain. No tent, not even a blanket, and nothing to eat or drink, she went up, and fasted and prayed for two weeks, begging God to let her die because she didn't feel she could go on like this any longer. At the end of the second week, she received a vision of the passage Isaiah 60 and was tremendously comforted by that. At the same time, her vision included a message from God to start a computer company.
Since she didn't know anything about running a business, and didn't even know what a computer was, she thought that perhaps after 2 weeks of meditation and exposure to the elements, she was simply hallucinating, and put aside this vision.
But a couple of months later, when she wasn't fasting, she had the exact same vision, and this time, she knew she had to take action.
Tae Yun Kim, with a few of her students, founded Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions in 1982. The mission of Lighthouse would be to use science and technology for the betterment of mankind.
As with everything else, this too was a struggle. Funded from the money Tae Yun got from selling her house, she quickly lost everything. But Tae Yun Kim again said He Can Do She Can Do Why Not Me! She did not give up. In a small apartment, she ate soup that she made from discarded beef bones from the local grocery store, and herbs and plants that she picked from the surrounding mountains.
Tae Yun Kim noticed some of the kids in her Martial Arts classes had these funny blisters on their hands. When she asked how they got the blisters, they told her about the video games that they spent hours playing. Recognizing the trend she was seeing, and the negative outcome from sitting in front of a TV playing violent or mindless games for hours, Tae Yun set Lighthouse in motion to make Bible-based video games. The Story of Moses, Samson and Delilah, and more were the first games they made.
Lighthouse continued to develop custom software applications for businesses, but in Burlington, Vermont, the need and interest in computers was slight at best. So Tae Yun moved her company to California, to the heart of the Silicon Valley.
This is where technology was happening and Lighthouse quickly gained a reputation as a leading custom engineering solutions provider, working with Lockheed, FMC, Intuit, McAfee, IBM, Texas Instruments, and more.
Then in 1989, Lighthouse did a project with the leading provider of components for hard disk drives in the world. It was a global system that monitored the cleanliness of the air and water in cleanrooms around the world. In a time before the internet was created, this was a very cutting edge development.
Lighthouse continued to develop and innovate real time monitoring for clean air and water, and today manufactures the world's most innovative line of monitoring equipment. Winning several technology awards for the products it has developed, Lighthouse was also the winner of two back-to-back "Best Places to Work" awards.
Earning a highly honored business degree in one of Korea's top schools, Tae Yun Kim is now known around the world as a Business Visionary. She was awarded the Grand prize from all the businesses throughout California in the California Chamber of Commerce's Simply Success Story Challenge for the bold and innovative way she led Lighthouse through an economic downturn.
Tae Yun Kim continues to drive the Lighthouse Development Team to invent and create new products that lead the industry in monitoring our clean air and water. She is regarded as a Technology Giant even in the highly competitive world of the Silicon Valley.
Offering her life story to the world as a point of inspiration so that others can use her life experiences as a roadmap to their own unique and individual success stories, Tae Yun Kim has become a true Icon of Success.
As a Modern Day Warrior, Tae Yun Kim still teaches the ancient principles of Ki Energy at her martial art school, Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy and her own Tae Yun Kim Academy of Higher Learning. At Jung SuWon, students overcome their challenges and achieve their successes through Tae Yun Kim's teaching and inspiration.
The country of Korea named Tae Yun Kim "The Hope of the Country, the Face of the Country and the Pride of the Country" for the outstanding story of challenge and ultimate success that she has achieved in her life. She embodies the spirit of a Great American Success story. Her motto, "He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me!" motivates her to continue to drive herself and those around her to new levels. It inspires people around the world to really go beyond what they think is possible.