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C.S. Kim still going strong in Monroeville |
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C.S. Kim still going strong in Monroeville

Michael Love
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Master C.S. Kim gives a form demonstration at his studio in Monroeville on Jan. 18, 2016.

Master C.S. Kim has been a part of the Monroeville community and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh for more than four decades, and as 2016 gets going, Kim is happy to say he’s still going strong.

The International Tang Soo Do karate master is reminded every day of the reward he gets working with so many of his students.

“Some students start out when they are little, and they grow up and go to college, get a job and get married,” Master Kim said.

“As an adult, they stop by and say hello. It feels good that we are able to have a place they can come back and visit.”

Master Kim came to Monroeville in 1972, and he has helped instruct more than 1,000 students at his studio on Monroeville Boulevard.

One of his former students is now a master himself — Master Patrick Leech.

Leech is a chief instructor at the Monroeville studio.

“It’s a good feeling that Master Leech is an instructor here,” Master Kim said.

“We have a good relationship. He has a good relationship with students and parents.”

Master Leech said he is grateful for Master Kim’s teachings, and he said he’s glad to be able to pass that along to area students.

“Master Kim is working with third- and fourth-generation students,” Master Leech said.

“He has touched many lives. He has helped develop many successful people. That’s why so many bring their kids back to learn Tang Soo Do.”

Master Kim said an important aspect with any martial art is that it’s not just kicking and punching. It strives to help one become an overall strong human being through mental toughness and physical fitness.

On Jan. 17, a 73-year-old man earned a 3rd degree black belt at C.S. Kim studios. Master Kim said that while some think if they get to a certain age they are too old to train, that is not the case.

Self-defense, Master Kim said, often is a main reason for someone’s decision to train in a martial art.

“People worry about defending themselves with the uncertainties of today,” he said. “They want to feel safer and have the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Master Kim and Master Leech said that while it remains a little more than three months away, they are gearing up for the 42nd annual National All Martial Arts Championship at Gateway High School’s Furrie Sports Complex.

One of the biggest such events in Pittsburgh and the U.S., it features competition in forms, sparring, weapons and breaking among athletes from all over the U.S. and Canada with many styles, ages and ranks featured from Tang Soo Do and taekwondo to kung fu and karate..

“It keeps getting bigger and bigger each year,” Master Kim said. “It’s on a national level, and all the local students look forward to that.”

Master Kim said he’s pleased to be able to continue the working relationship with the Gateway School District to be able to host the championships.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at

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