• The Y.K. Kim Connection - An Interview With The Star Of The Miami Connection And Martial Arts Grandmaster!

    Before Grandmaster Y.K. Kim achieved fame for his books, philosophy, teaching and martial arts training he was the producer, writer and star of the cult classic 1987 action extravaganza, The Miami Connection. In the film, Y.K. Kim plays a rocking and rolling ninja hating orphan named Mark who, along with his orphan pals, performs in a band called Dragon Sound who wind up on the wrong side of some bad guys. Left with no choice but to use their martial arts skills to defend themselves, the orphans find themselves in a quest to stop the ninjas and reunite one of their own with his long lost father.

    Since then, Y.K. Kim has published numerous books, delivered countless seminars, developed successful training programs and gone on to be widely regarded as a positive force in the martial arts world. Mr. Kim was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about his work in front of the camera and his fascinating life.

    Rock! Shock! Pop! - You left Korea in 1976 to start a new life in America. What made you want to leave your homeland for these American shores?

    Y.K. Kim - Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. America is the land of opportunity for many people in other countries. I came to America for the same reason most immigrate here; Self-improvement. Despite hardships, it was the best decision of my life, and by achieving the American Dream, now I can help others do the same and more.

    R!S!P! – As an immigrant myself, I completely understand. Do you miss Korea at all? You must have friends and family there that you want to stay in touch with.

    YKK - Of course I miss Korea, it is my homeland and my roots will always be there. Naturally I keep in touch with friends and family. With the technology that we have today, it’s much easier to keep in touch and up to date than before. It’s very important to maintain a successful network in this manner.

    R!S!P!- Very true. When you arrived in the United States, you already had your black belt. Tell us about the martial arts training you went through in your younger years and how they inspired you.

    YKK - That is a very long story. Initially I began taking Tae Kwon Do for the purpose of physical self-defense. I wanted to be strong so that nobody would bother me. But as many people find out, Martial Arts are much, much more than that. It was truly the turning point for my entire life. After building a strong foundation with Martial Arts, I made a better life for myself then I could have otherwise.

    R!S!P! – In 1987 you played a large part in the creation of an action movie called The Miami Connection, which you wrote and directed and also starred in. Where did the inspiration come from to make this movie?

    YKK - Great question! At that point, I had a million questions in my head regarding martial arts in America. I strongly believe that martial arts are the best thing for everyone’s lives. Several times a day I would ask myself “Why can’t martial arts be as big, as or bigger than other pro sports in America?!” So I decided one of the best ways to increase the popularity of martial arts was through cinema screens.

    Check out a trailer or The Miami Connection!

    R!S!P! – Why did you choose to make the central characters a gang of orphans?

    YKK - The spirit and training of Martial Arts is for everyone regardless of age, religion, gender, race or social status. I thought it was important to highlight this. Many young teenagers find themselves on a self-destructive path, and I hoped that the message of the movie might help give direction to those who may need it.

    R!S!P! – In the movie, you can also be seen rocking out when the band, Dragon Sound, is on stage. How hard did you practice to learn your instrument and how hard was it to learn the dance moves you show off in the movie?

    YKK - Hahaha! It was tough! I learned a lot of new skills and had to work very hard, but the experience was one of a kind. Fun, exciting and meaningful!

    Watch Y.K. Kim and Dragon Sound rock out to Against The Ninja!

    R!S!P! – Dragon Sound not only sings about Tae Kwan Do but also about standing up to ninjas. How do you feel about ninjas personally? Are they always bad? Sometimes in movies there are good ninjas but in your film, they seem to be troublemakers.

    YKK - In this case, the ninjas were just an example of bad martial arts. If used improperly and without correct philosophy, martial arts can be just like a street gang. Martial arts are martial arts. It doesn’t matter if it’s Ninjitsu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Juijitsu, Aikido or any other form. What matters is the spirit and philosophy behind it.

    R!S!P! - Why have you only made one film?

    YKK - I appreciate all the thoughtful questions! You’re really making me think! I loved making the movie, but more recently I’ve had other top priorities. Over the years I have authored martial arts text books, motivational books, martial arts business books and books on general leadership and health. Most recently I’ve been focusing on my two core projects: The New American Dream for mental sweat and the U.S. National Exercise for the everyday American to get in shape without needing any extra time, space, or equipment.

    One of the current goals of our organization is to begin producing additional films within the next 3 years. If all goes according to plan, we will film several, all of them beginning production within a year of completion of the one before it.

    R!S!P! – We look forward to them! What was it like working with your co-director, Richard Park and why have you not been involved with some of his other movies?

    YKK - Director Park is a super hero of a director! I greatly enjoyed working with him as he is an amazing and innovative action director. Unfortunately, my recent priorities have kept me from working with him again, but I would certainly be open to further partnerships in the future.

    R!S!P! - If you could work with any of the martial arts greats, who would you choose and why? I’d choose Sonny Chiba. I like him best.

    YKK - There are a lot of exceptional martial artists out there, but I’d choose Chuck Norris first. He’s got great character, indomitable spirit and has shown exceptional leadership over the years.

    R!S!P!- How do you feel about people using the phrase "McDojo" when discussing the many martial arts schools you have created over the years so quickly?

    YKK - That’s an excellent question! I think that many people are operating with the idea that quantity means less quality. But that isn’t always the case. It is a matter of supply and demand. Look at what is going on in the US today! Over 200 million Americans are overweight. An additional 80 million are plagued by drugs and/or alcoholism. In addition to that, modern stress contributes to 80% of the serious diseases people face: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even depression leading up to suicide! In my opinion there are not enough martial arts schools in the US. Besides, I strongly believe in free enterprise, and the more schools there are, the more choices the consumers have to choose the one that is best for them.

    R!S!P! -Has you ever had to use your martial arts skills to thwart real criminals in real life?

    YKK - Of course! Martial Arts has saved my life! For example, we teach people practical mental self-defense, so I don’t go to places that I know will be trouble. Sure, we have the tools to physically defend ourselves, but prevention is always better than a cure. That is real martial arts philosophy. If somebody tries to fight with me, I do what I can to talk it out with a smile first. The BEST self-defense is confidence. Martial arts gives me my self-confidence and I use it every day to defend myself against all manner of attackers.

    Physically – Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food can damage me just as much as any punch. I defend myself by refusing them so that I keep my body healthy!

    Verbally – Criticism, discouragement and swearing attacks as us all every day. But all you have to do is smile and let it roll off your back. Nobody can control me.

    Financially – Especially when you have so many resources, it’s easy to get carried away with spending, and this can quickly damage your life! I avoid unnecessary spending by exercising emotional control to build financial success.

    Most importantly, Self-Attacks, or attacks from within. Laziness, Negativity, and especially self-doubt are the most dangerous. To be an ultimate winner, you have to compete within and control yourself.

    So, to answer your question, because of Martial arts self-defense, I am healthier, wealthier, and happier than ever.

    Learn about the New American Dream!

    R!S!P! – You are very well known for your inspirational speaking and your books and DVDs relating to The American Dream. Tell us about these projects and how we can all benefit from your system to gain personal success.

    YKK - The NEW American Dream and U.S. National Exercise is the culmination of over 30 years of business, research, and philosophy that I have taught and lived. It is continuously evolving and is the basis of the martial arts philosophy taught in my schools.

    I said much of it in your earlier questions, but America is suffering needlessly. 400,000 people die every year because they are overweight. Even more, including 12.5 million children continue to suffer for the same reason. Beyond that, modern stress affects nearly everyone, causing disease, broken relationships and even suicide.

    These problems are no longer personal, they cause: A National security concern: The Defense Department rejected 27% of enlistment candidates because they were overweight. A National Heath care crisis: Too many people and companies cannot afford insurance because healthcare costs are skyrocketing! A National Trade Crisis: How can the US compete with China, Korea, or any other growing nation of the world when we are physically and mentally handicapped!?

    The main cause is a lack of physical exercise, and a lack of mental motivation. It is almost always one of two reasons: Either they have no time to exercise because they are too busy, or they have no desire to exercise because they lack motivation.

    The New American Dream is a motivational form of mental exercise that will educate and encourage Americans to live happier, healthier lives by burning the “mental fat” inside in order to burn the physical outside.

    In conjunction, the US National Exercise is an innovative program that allows the everyday American to get essential exercise without spending any extra time. You can exercise at home, work, even while driving (and it’s completely safe!)

    With these programs, we will be a healthier, stronger, and happier America. We will save hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer funded healthcare costs per year, and build a stronger nation!

    R!S!P! – Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know in regards to any other exciting projects that you might have in the works?

    YKK - First of all, I want to thank you for the thoughtful questions, and the opportunity to share this with your readers. You have obviously put a lot of research into your interview and I appreciate that very much!

    My primary focus at this time is what I described above. In addition I am always guiding my schools and reinforcing the curriculum with proper philosophy and training. We’ve had a number of exciting new additions and partnerships to our business and we’re experiencing huge growth. Our current long-term goal is to found a true, four-year Martial Arts World University. Here, we will train the future leaders of America in academics, martial arts, business and leadership. It will be the first of its kind in America and will pave the way to making the martial arts a greater part of our lives.

    And with that, we’d like to extend our most sincere thanks to Grandmaster Y.K. Kim and his Executive Assistant, Jordan Robinson, for taking the time out of their schedules to answer our questions. For more information on YK Kim, his thoughts, his training and his programs readers are encouraged to visit his website by clicking here!

    Thanks also go out to R!S!P! Message Board Members Barry M and Toyboy for helping to come up with the questions and to Alison Jane for the Photoshop work.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Toyboy's Avatar
      Toyboy -
      Best interview yet!
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Any word back from Y.K.?