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Dark Planet
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 07 Sep 2009
Posts: 38
Location: Pennsylvania
Styles: Moo Duk Kwon, Kum Do, Kickboxing

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tenshinka wrote:
joesteph wrote:
Sa does mean fourth. In Soo Bahk Do, related to Tang Soo Do, anyone holding a fourth dan or higher is referred to as Sa Bom Nim, even if the person has reached fifth or higher levels. It doesn't mean teacher, but it confers Master status and has an additional red strip within the midnight blue belt that lower dan members wear.

A dan member with Kyo Sa Nim as the title is a certified teacher, but usually less than fourth dan. If the person has reached fourth (Sa) dan, but is under 30 years of age, it's still Kyo Sa Nim. My teacher is 26, is fourth dan, is certified as a teacher (and so Kyo Sa Nim), but has to wait until the accepted age for Sa Bom Nim. She'll be going for O dan in two years, and should she make it (knowing her, she will), she'll still be under 30 and will have to wait to be adressed as Sa Bom Nim.

A certified assistant instructor is called Jo Kyo Nim.

Tenshinka, doesn't FWIW stand for "For what it's worth"?

OK folks...You all are missing some crucial aspects to this puzzle. Like english, the Korean language is filled with homonyms.

SA does mean "fourth" in Sino-Korean counting (四) the hanja is the same for net which means "four". SA ALSO means teacher/master, and the hanja is different (師), for that matter SA can also mean scholar, again the character changes (士). The list goes on, and on.

The fact that the title Sa Bom Nim is attached to the 4th dan, has only coincidental significance with the fact that SA is synonymous in english with both fourth and teacher. In looking at the characters for Sa Bom (師傅) it is totally apparent that the translation is "Teacher-Father", Nim being an honorific to the title.

The significance of the titles you reference (Jo Kyo, Kyo Sa, Sa Bom) is only in relation to your style SBDMDK, and some variants there of (TSD). In many KMA's the title has nothing to do with age, and strictly is used in reference to a persons rank. For instance:

1st Dan - Jo Kyo Nim
2nd Dan - Kyo Sa Nim
3rd Dan - Pu Sa Bom nim
4th Dan - Sa Bom Nim
5th Dan-7th Dan - Kwan Jang Nim
8th-9th Dan - Chong Kwan Jang Nim/Choong Jae Nim etc.

Very few groups in the KMA world attach a title with an age. You either ARE or ARE NOT deserving of a rank/title/position IMHO.

And yes, FWIW does mean "For What Its Worth".

While I'm at it, Kwan Jang does NOT mean "Master" or "Grand Master" (though it is usually used to refer to folks holding those ranks). It actually means "School Director". Kwan of course means school, institute, etc (館) and Jang means director/owner. In SBDMDK the current head of the Moo Duk Kwan is by default, the Kwan Jang (in this case, HC Hwang), in the Mi Guk Kwan its Charles Ferraro, in the Moo Do Kwan its Andy Ahpo, etc. etc. etc.

In other arts, Kwan Jang simply refers to a Master rank, and in some cases anyone instructor with a school. The title is not specific to martial arts, and in Korea is often used in reference to owners of hakwon (cram schools, alternate title being Won Jang) as well as owners of other types of business or institutions.

This was a great post. More on the age issue: There are photos of KJN Hwang Kee instructing a seminar of youth Dans. They were the same rank as any other Dan.

I wanted to also add a bit more to the ranking titles.
As I know it (My Great Grandmaster is Song Ki Kim):
Cheong Jae Nim- Great-Grandmaster - 9thDan
Kwang Jae Nim - Grandmaster (Head of Federation) - 7th - 8th Dan
Sa Bum Nim - Master and Master Instructor 4th-6th Dan
(Soosok Sa Bum Nim - 5th Dan )
Kyo-Sa Nim - Liscenced Instructor
Cho-Kyo Nim - Training Instructor (must be Dan)

Cho Dan Bo - between 1st Gup and 1st Dan (6-month to a year period).

Sumbomnim- Senior Belt student
Hyue-bae-nim- Junior Belt student

Peace to you.
"It is better to die for one's master than to fight the enemy."
- Hagakure
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White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 24 Jan 2012
Posts: 1

Styles: Tang Soo Do

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! I can't believe how much erroneous information is still being circulated out there. OK. First....The word is 'DOJANG' not Do Cheung or Toe Chang or Do Chong. When the word is written in 'ENGLISH' is spelled D-O-J-A-N-G. Anything else you see is someone who is trying to spell what they 'THINK' they heard. to the Chung Sa Nim. This is a very, very modern term. And it does mean 'Honorable Chief Teacher' (literally).

Kyosanim means 'honorable Instructor'. A 'Kyosa' is an 'instructor'. While Sabomnim does not actually mean 'Master', it has become accepted to translate the term as 'Master' in English. Thus, Kyosanim is an Instructor while a Sabomnim is a Master. The inference is similar to 'Journeyman' and 'Master Craftsman'.

OK. We don't use 'Sa' in 'Sabomnim' because 'master' level start at 4th Dan (Sadan). (rolling eyes) This is a silly explaination obviously given by someone that both doesn't know what they are talking about and of such little personal character they can't say the simple words "I DON'T KNOW".

Sa Bom Nim is used today to refer to a 'martial arts teacher' specifically. It is comprised of three words and to get their TRUE meaning you need to read them in the original 'hanja' (that's Korean for Chinese characters). Korea, Japan and China all used Chinese written hieroglyphs in their language. Japan calls this Katakana, and in Korea it is Hanja. 'Nim' is an honorific suffix and is never used by a person when speaking of themselves. Example: I introduce myself as 'Sa Bom' or sighn my name including my title of 'Sa Bom'. But I would never write my name and ad 'Sabomnim' or refer to myself a 'Sabomnim'. Why? Because to do so demonstrates a lack of both education and humility. However, it is appropriate, polite and expected that others refer to me by calling me 'Sabomnim'. The Nim means 'Honorable'. 'Sa' and 'Bom' when read in hanja mean 'Teacher' and 'Father'. Combined...the words 'Sa Bom Nim' mean 'Honorable Teacher Father'. The implication that the Sabomnim is both somene who instructs and someone who cares for you like a parent....with all the connotation that holds (i.e. a true Sabomnim has no problem whipping your butt when you misbehave as your behavior is a reflection upon him as a teacher just as it is a reflection of the upbringing you receive from your parents. Thus what you do DOES have an impact upon the reputation of your family. In old Korea...a clan's reputation was a VERY VERY serious thing).

as to is often translated as 'Grand Master' (there actually is no such title in Korea by the way). But the word really means 'Honorable Head of the House'. It is often used to refer to someone who is head of a department like 'Dean of Math Department' or 'C.E.O'. The word itself is not specific to martial arts or even to a learning enviroment.

I hope this helps to clear up the confusion and I would encourage all of you to read, read, read and don't be afraid to go outside your organizations, schools and teachers to find answers. Never be afraid to challenge the things you are told....even if it your own Sabomnim who is telling it to you.
Emperor of Kentukki
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White Belt
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Joined: 13 Apr 2016
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few points here that are untrue or simple erroneous:

A) The proper pronunciation for dojang is toejawng unless you wish to tell native Korean tsd master Ho S(h)ik Pak he is wrong?

B) Nim is, slightly, akin to -san in Japanese. The Korean everyday term -ss(h)i is closer. Nim, closer to -sama, is, typically, only applied to titles.

C) G(K)yosa (Kyosa and NOT Gyo Sa) is not a title. It is, in actuality, a position. The term is used when speaking about a person indirectly. Sonsaeng is the proper term when addressing a teacher. The two syllables are not two words even though kyo- is also used in kyobok.

D) Sabeom, in simplicity, means teacher just as sensei is said to mean teacher but is applied to any person senior to you except for the owner of a company, etc due to it meaning "one who comes before".

E)) Kwan Ja(w)ng simply means any school owner whether a martial artist or not.

F) Yes, sa- means fourth in Sino-Korean numerals but just because it is used as a syllable in sabeom does not indicate it means the same.

Most non-East Asians tend to hear sounds in our own language. This is why words like dobok (this is the way it is romanized but the grammar rules make it more toeboek (toebak is gamble) just as 2 is tool not dool, 5 is tawsoeht not dawsut, and 10 is yul and not yool, etc but those initial sounds can change depending on what comes before the single word.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much for all the history and things of that nature, but going back to 1993 or so, "sabomnim" has always been used as a master instructor. From TKD to TSD a master instructor was always so and so sabomnim. It was understood to be master in my schools and never heard it used differently interestingly enough. I have heard Kwan Jang Nim as chief instructor, but all of my master instructors who were also the owners were referred to as Sabomnim. It should be said after the persons last name, so as an example "Jackson Sabomnim" which the English lose translation would be Master Jackson"!
Hustle and hard work are a substitute for talent!
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KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28059
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was in the ATA, sabumnim was just instructor, not master instructor. Interesting.
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Luther unleashed
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Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So i find these things interesting so I figured I would ask my foreign-exchange student who happens to be from South Korea. Whatever she says does not necessarily mean that she is 100% right or 100% wrong because she has only a very small amount of taekwondo back around but really nothing at all in depth with martial arts and sometimes the titles used maybe different than what the common Korean Speaker says but I asked her what Sabomnim means and she said instructor. I asked her if that's all it means or if it means a certain type of instructor and she said like master instructor. I think it's easy to use it for either especially when somebody is not being specific about it as she was not. My last instructor was "Master Guffey" because we used english terms heavily but when we were doing Haidong Gumdo (Korean sword) it was "Guffey Sabomnim" which was the equivalent. Sword was run very traditional so this is why it was different.

As for the posts above im a bit taken back by the posts quite honestly. A few by new members and a bit demanding, a bit "Im right and your wrong"! I also asked my Exchange student what she calls a martial arts studio, her reply was pronounced exactally how i will spell it... "Do-Jong"! Now, i asked her to translate it into english spelling and she said D,O,J,A,N,G. These go along with the things I have always followed.

Im not saying Im right and anybody is wrong BUT I dont think we should come on here and demand that others are wrong because as yoy can see we have different experiences. My foreign exchange student is speaking from a Korean language aspect and not martial arts. She did a small amount of TKD at age 11 and now is 15. In martial arts terms she foesnt know much, in fact to my surprise she has never heard of Tang Soo Do although she translated to "China hand way" and although there are a few solid translations behind TSD that is the one I also Know. Perhaps the martial arts world uses some terms differently. In english I might say something is tight meaning awesome, and a foreigner might ask how can it be loose or tight? Its all just words so I dont think we should really get too caught up in it, as long as we get to know eachother and know what eachother means when they use it.

Candyankyosa and Emperor I am humbly refering to your posts when I say they are demanding. Its for lack of a better word, I simply mean there is more then one way to go about things sometimes, thats all, so we should not feel so right and feel others are so wrong! Take care.

Hustle and hard work are a substitute for talent!
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