ABOUT ZEN EI KAN
Founded in 2018, Zen Ei Kan International Association is a community of dedicated Budo practicioners specializing in the philosophy, principles and practice of traditional martial arts. Headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, our purpose is to pursue excellence on and off the mat, and our mission is to build a global community passionate about developing people, committed to technical excellence, and dedicated to the growth of modern Budo. We do this through the delivery of a variety of SERVICES, including seminars, camps, study tours, certification and exchange programs.
While officially founded on August 12, 2018, the history of Zen Ei Kan International can be traced back to the establishment of our honbu dojo in 1974. Our founder, Sang Cook Kim, was a pillar of the Korean martial arts community throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s for both ChungDoKwan TaeKwonDo and Hapkido. He was the number one student of Woon Kyu Uhm, the 3rd President of the World Chung Do Kwan Association and the President of the Kukkiwon and Vice-President of the World TaeKwonDo Federation. Kim was also considered a pioneer in the Hapkido community, adding close quarter kicking and realistic self-defense techniques to the ever-evolving curriculum.
By 1977, Kim was asked to be the President of the Korean Hapkido Federation, a newly formed organization dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of the art. As he cared nothing for rank, power, or politics, Kim was viewed as the perfect choice for President. Kim served in this role until 1985, at which point the decision was made to dissolve the organization due to the continued fracturing of Hapkido in Korea and the proliferation of new organizations. Kim founded JuSoolKwan Hapkido, a style of Hapkido drawing heavily on his ChungDoKwan roots, with an emphasis on the principles and techniques of Aikido and Judo. From 1990 until he retired in 2015, Kim served as the President of the World Martial Arts Federation, with offices in the US and Korea.
Prior to the founding of Zen Ei Kan, all TaeKwonDo and Hapkido rank earned at our honbu dojo was issued through Mr. Kim and the Korean Hapkido Federation or the World Martial Arts Federation. Judo rank was issued through the United States Judo Association. Aikido rank was previously registered through the Shudokan Martial Arts Association and the Aikido Association of America, but connections were lost with each of these organizations following the deaths of their founders.
Beginning in 2012, our President, Mike Martyn re-stablished active relationships with Japan and Korea for each of our divisions. Over the next five years, Martyn would establish relationships and a close connection with the World Chung Do Kwan TaeKwonDo Federation, the International Martial Arts Federation (Kokusai Budoin), All Japan Aikido Association, and Ryushin Shouchi Ryu Iaido. Each of these relationships remains active today, with Martyn (and other ZEKI senior instructors) earning dan rank with each of the organizations.
In 2018, Martyn traveled to Korea with Mr. Kim to meet with President Park of the World ChungDoKwan Federation and to find a quality Hapkido organization in Korea with which to affiliate. After traveling through Korea, Kim said to Martyn, “the best are all gone in Korea, it is time for you to take your place and be president.” It was at that point that Kim made Martyn the inheritor of JuSoolKwan Hapkido and encouraged him to found a new organization which would hold the ultimate authority for JuSoolKwan regarding promotions, curriculum, and doctrine.
During this same time period, Tadayuki Satoh Sensei also encouraged Martyn to create a new organization. Satoh Sensei is a Shihan with All Japan Aikido Association and a Professor of Humanities and Budo History at Waseda University. Satoh Sensei is also the head of the Waseda Aikido Club, a club established by Kenji Tomiki in 1979. Satoh named the new organization “Zen Ei Kan” and suggested that it provide training and certification in five divisions: Hapkido, Judo, TaeKwonDo, Aikido, and Iaido. As an organization, Zen Ei Kan would preserve Pacific Rim and Mr. Kim’s rich history, while at the same time strive to realize a new vision for the future. Zen Ei Kan would continue its affiliations with organizations in Japan and Korea. Students would have the opportunity of training with ZEKI senior instructors and with other senior instructors internationally. Satoh drew his vision of Zen Ei Kan on a piece of paper, and the rest they say, “is history.”