(7th Degree Black Belt)
Contact: (213) 447-1981 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Inkee Lee sensei, 66 years old in 2015, earned Kumdo 7th Dan in 1996 from the Korea Kumdo Association in Korea. He has served the SCKO (Southern California Kendo Organization) as Vice President and as a member of the Board of Directors since 2009. He won a silver medal from the senior team division at the 2014 AUSKF (All US Kendo Federation) National Kendo Championship. He also serves the SCKO as an advisor for its regularly held Kendo Rank promotion tests.
Lee sensei started Kumdo under the great master Song Sung Sic at the age of 18 in 1967. Master Song was a true pioneer in rediscovering the lost Korean (ancient Cho-sun) swords art. He served as a team captain of the Hanyang University Kumdo team in Seoul, Korea. When he moved to the US in 1975, he held a 4th Dan in Kumdo. Since then, he has continued to practice and teach. He has travelled to Korea for his promotion tests, receiving 5th Dan, 6th Dan, and most recently, 7th Dan in 1996 from the Korea Kumdo Association. He has taught Kumdo/Kendo to about 3,000 people in the Los Angeles area. More than 10 people who have practiced Kumdo under Lee sensei have themselves gone on to become 5th Dan, 6th Dan, and 7th Dan masters in Kumdo and Kendo. He continues his own Kendo study at the Long Beach dojo in California under the sincere direction of Hori Atsushi sensei, one of the most respected Kendo sensei in the US.
In leading Kendo practice, Lee sensei emphasizes in building inner energy so that all the compressed energy can burst out in a decisive and committed action. He also emphasizes that the attitude built throughout the extensive training is applied to learner’s own profession, whether it is a job or study, so that a person becomes a true warrior to fit in the 21st century, striving and enhancing their own excellence. Outside of his Kendo career, Lee sensei devoted much his life to the field of Information Technology, working as lead engineer or director of IT teams for various corporations in the US and Korea over the past 45 years. He retired from his last IT job in March 2015.
I have been practicing Kendo for 48 years, since 1967. I received my Kumdo (Koreans call Kendo Kumdo) 7th Dan certificate in 1976 from the Korea Kumdo Association (KKA) in Korea. I joined the Southern California Kendo Organization (SCKO) 6 years ago, together with some 200 Kumdo practitioners who were members of the United States Kumdo Union (USKU), an organization which I had created and led for over 10 years.
I started Kendo because it was a "call from my blood.” It was very fortunate that I met my teacher, Master S. Song – the man who travelled into deep mountains and Manchurian hills in search of lost sword arts. He taught us Kumdo, which he learned and practiced under a Kendo Sensei while Korea was under Japanese control. He also taught us the lost sword arts (using real swords) that he had collected, passed down through oral tradition and from teacher to student. His dedication and life as an martial artist impressed me and captured my heart, and it was he who gave me the energy and love to continue my study of sword arts. My teacher passed away, at age 45, in 1973.
I came to the USA in 1975. I resumed practicing Kumdo/Kendo in 1979. Since then, I have diligently continued practicing. At the beginning of my Kendo studies in my college days, I thought I was very good. My teacher also praised me as a “Flying Tiger”. But I later began to realize how untalented I was. Until I joined the SCKO in 2009, I was like a master-less, self-studying Kendoist. Meeting with Hori and other good sensei in the SCKO opened my eyes, widely. I appreciate them for leading my Kendo study.
I have taught Kumdo/Kendo to about 3,000 people over the past 30 years in various places and some of my students gone on to become 5th to 7th Dan masters. Of course, my influence on them was up to their 4th Dan -- after that they improved on their own. I will be 67 in a few months, but I consider myself, honestly, a student, and I maintain an attitude of new learning every time.
This video is a wonderful tribute to Sensei Inkee Lee. I am grateful that he was able to establish Kendo/Kumdo at my dojo (Defense Arts Center Upland) before moving to Oregon.
Sensei, your legacy and Budo spirit will continue on.
Sincerely, Sensei Ty Aponte