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Y.K. Kim

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Y.K. Kim
BornYoung-kun Kim
(1946-11-29) 29 November 1946 (age 77)

Young-kun Kim[1] (김영군,[2] born November 29, 1946[3]), known as Y.K. Kim, is a Korean-born taekwondo martial artist who resides in Florida. Kim was the producer and main actor of the film Miami Connection. He also publishes Martial Arts World Magazine,[4] a quarterly magazine for professionals in the martial arts,[5] and wrote the book Winning Is a Choice.[4]

Early life


Kim received a taekwondo black belt at age 13, making him among the youngest in Korea to do so. At first, he studied and taught in Korea, and in 1976 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and taught there. In 1977, he moved to New York City, and to Orlando, Florida a year later, where he opened Y.K. Kim's TaeKwon-Do, his first taekwondo school.[6] The school became the Martial Arts World, a franchise that Erin Sullivan of the Orlando Weekly described as "the McDonald's of martial arts schools" in Central Florida.[7] The school was originally on Robinson Street, then on Mills Avenue, then its current location on Colonial Drive.[citation needed] As of 1988, Kim only claimed ownership of the East Colonial Drive school. As of then, the other schools are part of the American TaeKwon-Do Federation, which Kim founded. The federation establishes the philosophies and rules used by the schools within the federation.[6]



In the mid-1980s, Korean film director Richard Park met Kim after seeing Kim interviewed on the Korean talk show Meet at 11 p.m. (11시에 만납시다) and the two agreed to produce a film, Miami Connection. Originally, the film had a very limited release with no significant attention.[8] The film's production almost bankrupted Kim. In the meantime, he established his business and became a motivational speaker.[7] In 2012, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema redistributed Miami Connection, leading to a positive reception and subsequent cult following.[8]

Other ventures


In 2002, Kim and Choung Byoung-gug, a legislator in Korea, proposed a Korea pavilion at Epcot.[9]


  1. ^ Hastrom, Suzy (20 June 1994). "Customers: Y.k. [sic] Kim Blindsided Us". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  2. ^ "‘마이애미 커넥션’ 내달 DC서 상영." Korea Times. November 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "YK Kim is 49". Orlando Sentinel. No. Section A2. 29 November 1995. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Petrosexuals." Riverfront Times. January 4, 2006. p. 2. Retrieved on February 12, 2013.
  5. ^ Argetsinger, Amy and Roxanne Roberts. "George Allen, Willing to Go to the Mat for Martial Arts?" (Preview version) Washington Post. Sunday April 23, 2006. Retrieved on February 12, 2013. "Sen. George Allen's little-known life as a taekwondo aficionado was exposed in an exclusive interview this month in Martial Arts World, a quarterly magazine for professionals." and "Key excerpts of a five-page interview with Publisher Y. K. Kim:"
  6. ^ a b Smith, Denise L. (12 September 1988). "Grand master of daring moves Y.K. Kim keeps coming back when odds seem to mount against him". Orlando Sentinel. No. Central Florida Business p. 13. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
    • "Milestones: At age 13, was among youngest in Korea to achieve black belt in TaeKwon-Do. Studied and taught TaeKwon-Do in Korea until 1976, when he moved to Buenos Aires to teach the martial art. Moved to New York in 1977 and then to Orlando in 1978, where he opened his first school, Y.K. Kim's TaeKwon-Do."
    • "Some of [Moon Kim]'s first students opened the other Central Florida schools bearing his name. Although Kim claims ownership in only the East Colonial Drive school, all Y.K. Kim's are united under the American TaeKwon-Do Federation, an association founded by Kim that sets the rules and philosophies of the schools."
  7. ^ a b Sullivan, Erin. "Orlando's Grandmaster Y.K. Kim just wanted to make a good taekwondo movie." Orlando Weekly. December 12, 2012. Retrieved on February 12, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Ayers, Mike. "'Miami Connection' goes from flop to fame." CNN. November 8, 2012. Retrieved on December 1, 2012.
  9. ^ Johnson, Robert (19 January 2002). "Dream of Korea pavilion meets with cool reception from Epcot". Orlando Sentinel. No. B1 Money. Retrieved 23 April 2018. "Too similar? A former Epcot official says a Korea pavilion would be too much like Asian exhibits such as China's. But a backer argued, 'Koreans have better food ... and superior martial arts.'"

Further reading