16 October 2022

The Grand Master Interviews: Kim Seng

16 October 2022

Grandmaster Kim Seng has carved out a successful journey in the martial arts and created many pathways in Taekwondo.  He has achieved much since he started martial arts 52 years ago back in 1970 in Singapore.  

He had practiced in 12 different styles of martial arts but concentrated on Taekwondo as he experienced the evolution of this martial art that transformed into a modern and progressive martial art and Olympics sport.  Grandmaster Kim has reached the highest rank of Kukkiwon 9th dan earlier this year at the World Taekwondo headquarters, after having to wait through the covid pandemic years due to the Australian international border closure.   He had passed his 9th dan ChungDo Kwan in 2016 previously.

Grandmaster Kim’s pathway has earned him significant awards including the Western Australian Sports Federation Service to Sport of the Year in 1999 and the Sports Official of the Year in 2006.  He took pride in these awards as he became only the 4th recipient to have won two individual sports star categories in the Western Australian Sports awards history since the 1950’s, and in so doing he is very proud to put taekwondo in amongst the sports elites in WA.  The other elite sports were cricket and hockey (Rick Charlesworth), athletics (Shirley dela Hunty) and badminton (Don Stockton).  He was also a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal, awarded in 2000 to commemorate the Sydney 2000 Olympics.  

Grandmaster Kim reached the highest ranking possible for International Referees of S-class after more than 20 years’ service, achieving this class level in 2014.  He was awarded the Best International Referee at the 2006 World Cup Taekwondo.

Grandmaster Kim earned his official Grandmaster qualification status when he gained the Kukkiwon 1st class Taekwondo Master qualification in 2017 from the World Taekwondo Academy.  He was invited in 2015 by Kukkiwon in their launch of the inaugural Poom/Dan Examiner international invitational course held in Korea and gained the 1st class qualification.  He was awarded Citations for his first Master course attended in 2013, and the Hanmadang referee course in 2015, where he gained the 2nd class qualification.  He has also gained the 2nd class Poomsae International Referee qualification from World Taekwondo since 2019.

Grandmaster Kim served on the Board of Management and Directors for the national taekwondo body, then was Taekwondo Australia from 2001 to 2008.  During those years he was National Referee Board Chairman (2004-2008) and served on other sub committees, including Technical committee, Risk Management and Constitution task committees.  In recent years, he had served on the Australian Taekwondo Kyorugi Referee Committee (2016-2019), Poomsae Officiating Committee (2016-2018), Events Committee (2017-2018) and the Grandmasters Advisory Council (2016-present).  He had been Head of Team, Team Manager and assistant coach on Australian National teams in 1994, 95, 96 and 1998.  He had also served on the WA state Taekwondo organisation for 20 years from 1988 to 2008 in roles such as Vice President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Referee Chairman, Technical Committee and Tournament Committee.   

Grandmaster Kim’s most significant achievements while serving on the National body was getting $40,000 between 2004 to 2008 with referee scholarships (4) and women leadership grants (4) to help referees in particular to reach international status and develop their own leadership and mentoring skills.  He helped re-write the National constitution twice as part of task teams, wrote the National Strategic and Business plan that helped gain the Sports Commission continued funding when under threat at the time in 2004-05.  In the WA State he initiated the state funding from the WA department of Sports with the development funding program between 1988 to 2008. 

Grandmaster Kim was the inaugural Referee Chairman for the Commonwealth Taekwondo Union (2006-2008) and inaugural Referee Director for the 1st and 2nd Oceania Taekwondo Union championships (2005-2006).  He has officiated in ten World Taekwondo Championships, World Taekwondo Cups and two Olympics selections over 20 years’ service as International Referee.  He credits the Best International Referee award from the 2006 World Cup and gaining the highest S-class level in 2014 as his most significant achievements as a referee. 

Grandmaster Kim enjoys his taekwondo these days teaching martial arts, coaching his members at tournaments and himself participating at international poomsae competitions, winning gold and silver medals in poomsae competition.  He believes in ensuring that he keeps practising his martial arts, embraces the values and keeping in shape as he teaches his members and guiding them in learning and practicing the correct principles, values and skills.  His players and members have won at international, national and state level competitions in kyorugi, poomsae and self-defence. 

Grandmaster Kim believes in continuous learning, practice, keeping active, keeping ourselves involved.  There is so much more we can learn.  Even though he has earned the highest ranks possible for dan, international referee class, master class, examiner class plus the many other sports awards, he still has a mentor and grandmaster who he still respects, associate with and learn from. 

We all learn from the past so we can live and shape the present and then we create the future.  So are there any more goals to reach for Grandmaster Kim Seng.  “Yes! “ he says.  There are always pathways to continue on, and goals to reach, as he passes on his legacy to his members and to the taekwondo and martial arts community that needs it. 

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