Kim started university as a directionless teenager in 1973. Gaining entry to the University of New England by the skin of his teeth, he commenced with the vague intention of studying Arts/Law but by the beginning of his second year he was struggling. Too much partying and not enough direction were proving a poor combination.
Then he discovered Tae-Kwon Do and found himself engaged in something that appealed, challenged and satisfied. He began to look at his life from a different perspective. Then, after only 20 months the club lost itsí instructor, Kim was faced with a choice. Step in as the instructor or watch the club fold.
Within months he changed his focus from law to education. He had new found confidence, positive goals, a reason to eat well, go to lectures and engage with life in a constructive way.
Kim went on to build a successful TKD club at UNE and achieved his Black Belt just after Graduating with a BA and Dip Ed. In 1977
From the beginning of his professional teaching career, he was struck by the twin challenges of successfully engaging students in the process of learning and implementing effective behaviour management strategies in his classes.
"In some schools I spent a large part of my energy managing the behaviour of a small minority of students, - and in my fitness business I found that many people who wanted to be active and learn new skills were intimidated by programs that demanded a high level of skill to even commence. Many found it too hard - or too scary - to get to the point where they felt confident and dropped out"
Kim realised that many people have limited opportunity to learn physical skills from a young age. "I had the benefit of growing up on a farm and was physically strong and confident as a result. Many however, donít have that advantage. And in our hi tech world they don't encounter the physical world of chopping wood, digging holes, fishing, shooting bows and arrows, running, riding - or just playing with a stick and creating a game with their imagination;- The direct result is that up to 70% of kids today lack well developed fundamental movement skills"
But how to engage them in activities that would set them on a lifelong pathway of healthy life skills and choices?
On September 17th 1987, an idea struck! "Give a kid a stick and they know instinctively what to do; prod, swing, lever, imagine, play and learn.
It took the next ten years to build the iKiSticks and another five to create the iKi Music but when they were put together Kim realised he had created something that could change lives.
Over the years as he built the physical components of the program, Kim thought about the things that had cemented his attraction to TKD. The Values. The sense of community and belonging, honesty and courtesy, of mutual respect and learning with and looking after your friends, sharing family and community connection.
So, in the early 2000s the iKi Principles and Pledge and leadership components were added to the classes and students responded on a whole new level.