Master David Mitchell

7th Dan Black Belt and Head of Kim Soo Karate of North Carolina

Master David L. Mitchell began his martial arts training as a twelve year old in Salisbury, NC. After receiving his black belt at the age of 19, he felt, deep within, that he would be affiliated with the world of traditional martial arts for his entire lifetime. After moving to Brownsville, Texas later that year, he introduced the martial art of Chang Moo Kwan, to the Rio Grande Valley. This was the first time martial arts, of any style, had been taught in this region of America. In 1971, he began teaching at Texas Southmost College, now a branch of University of Texas. Through his teachings, and all the success he met, he realized his potential as a public school educator.

In 1973, Master Mitchell enrolled at the University of Houston to obtain his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. A major reason for his relocation to Houston, was to meet and train with a renowned martial artist and educator, Grandmaster Kim Pyung Soo. Grandmaster Kim accepted Mr. Mitchell in his school as a Black Belt, as they had both originally studied in the Chang Moo Kwan system. However, Mr. Mitchell had to start his training from the ground up learning the basics of Chayon-ryu. Grandmaster Kim expressed the idea that this system was a very "good fit" within the realm of the public school curriculum. Mr. Mitchell began working in earnest to learn as much as possible from his teacher, with the ever present goal to become a school teacher and teach Chayon-Ryu (CYR) in the public schools. For the next seven years, Mr. Mitchell trained hard; directly under the leadership of Grandmaster Kim.

In 1981 Master Mitchell returned home to North Carolina. With an ever-present goal to teach CYR in the public schools, he decided that it would be an imperative stepping stone to gain a good repore within the community. After obtaining permission from Grandmaster Kim to spread CYR, Master Mitchell became an adjunct professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1984. Working relentlessly to bring ChaYon-Ryu to as many people as possible, Mr. Mitchell gained the trust of not only the college, but the entire community. With the aid and guidance of former president of Catawba College, Dr. Robert Knott, the class had both a solid and confident backing.

On December 4, 1993, Grandmaster Kim promoted Mr. Mitchell to the level of Master, fifth Dan Black Belt. The Mayor of Salisbury attended the celebratory event and presented Grandmaster Kim with a key to the city. It was there she noted our Catawba College CYR Dojang and its positive educational influences within the community.

As Master Mitchell continued his teachings he approached former Rowan County school superintendent, Don Martin, to begin spreading Chayon-Ryu within the educational realm. Through the attendance of one of Master Mitchell’s many demonstrations, Dr. Martin was immediately convinced that CYR would be beneficial to Middle School aged students. Hence, it became the will of Dr. Martin to commission Master Mitchell to teach two hundred eighth grade students the art of ChaYon-Ryu. 1996 marked the first year that Martial Arts was incorporated in the public school curriculum for PE credit. Grandmaster Kim commemorated the occasion by flying to North Carolina and witnessing the special demonstration by Master Mitchell and his eighth grade students. The founder of CYR addressed the students and spectators and informed them of the magnitude of this moment. The front page of The Salisbury Post quoted Grandmaster saying, "This is the first time in the world that martial arts is being taught in a middle school," he said. "The whole world is watching you." Nearly twenty five years in the making, Master Mitchell’s dream became a reality.

The following year Master Mitchell received an induction into the International Hall of Fame, as Instructor of the Year in North Carolina. Grandmaster Kim also honored him with the Award of Dedication to the International ChaYon-Ryu Association.

Over the past twenty three years, Master Mitchell has educated over 750 students, 25 Black Belt students, and has promoted, with Grandmaster Kim’s permission, two Masters; Master Lane Graham and Master Bobby Knott. Master Knott and his family currently live in Japan, where he holds the title as Chief CYR instructor of Japan. Master Lane Graham teaches Chayon-Ryu at Cleveland Elementary and is also the Chief Instructor of Ellis Park here in North Carolina.

In December of 2005 Grandmaster Kim Soo promoted Master Mitchell to the distinguished level of Seventh Dan Black Belt. This promotion signified the accomplishments and continued successes gained through Master Mitchell’s teachings of the Chayon-ryu martial arts.




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