My husband and I left Oom Yung Doe (formerly Chung Moo Doe / Chung Moo Quan) and we are glad to be out. I have spent time researching Oom Yung Doe, its current activities and what I found is quite shocking.
Many of us who were taken advantage of by Oom Yung Doe feel that we cannot, in good conscience, stand back and allow this to continue and happen to others.
Based upon the results of my research I am convinced that Oom Yung Doe is still very much a destructive cult [sic]. The public face of the organization has changed dramatically since Kim's incarceration in 1996. We are now seeing a meticulously crafted, "kinder, gentler" image. The more extreme, heavy-handed tactics popular in the heyday of the organization appear less evident.
This deception is unmasked, however, once you get below the surface. The organization has not changed on a fundamental level--they have simply become more adept at "applying the con." Students are still routinely fed misinformation and twisted truths regarding the nature of their schools. Also, as they have done in the past, Oom Yung Doe continues to foster an "us against them" mentality, augmented by a false sense of the superiority.
To add to these concerns, I have learned that two of the recently released [from prison] national instructors are aggressively trying to integrate all of the old dogma back into the schools, which is in violation of the terms and conditions of their parole. People at one affected school waited to see what would happen after the return of a previously jailed national instructor. The events that followed confirmed fears of a return to the "old days." Some members left the organization rather than suffer again.
Many members were bilked out of large sums of money in return for their loyalty and support.
For others, the devastation was on a much more emotional level. Many came to Oom Yung Doe seeking direction in their lives. Some were looking for a means to break free of the destructive downward spiral of alcoholism and drug abuse. Others were from dysfunctional families. It is easy to understand how such people became so dependent upon the constant direction and leadership of higher belts and instructors. Oom Yung Doe fosters such relationships.
By contrast, there were others, such as myself, whose lives were fairly balanced and well organized prior to any association with Oom Yung Doe. Many of us had real life goals, and enjoyed successful careers. One such goal was to learn, what many of us once believed--was a valuable martial art to the best of our abilities.
Some of us had our futures derailed. We were pushed to practice Oom Yung Doe to the best of our abilities to the complete exclusion of everything else. Marriages failed, careers ended, students dropped out of college due to the influence of the organization and its instructors. This is still happening today, but it just isn't as well publicized.
One member I spoke with not long ago told me, that under advisement from an instructor, he took a year off from college so that he could concentrate on his Oom Yung Doe training. He was told that the training would sharpen his mind, increase his concentration, and make him more determined--all of which would benefit him greatly in his studies. He never returned to school. His instructor convinced him that Oom Yung Doe would teach him "everything he needed to know."
Another member I have heard from left her husband as a result of his involvement with Oom Yung Doe. Her home life became so unbearable that she has moved out, and decided to stay somewhere "safe."
Someone else contacted me recently who wants to leave, but feels too intimidated to take the first step.
Arrogance and irresponsibility are, sadly, all too common of the organization today. How can they expect anyone to honestly believe that they or their instructors have any level of understanding regarding their student's lives and aspirations? How can such instructors hope to guide their pupils?
The real tragedy is that though money can be replaced--time and lost opportunities cannot. Many of us are still trying to put shattered lives back together--a process which could take years.
This all will continue as long as Oom Yung fails to maintain reasonable boundaries--separation between its practice, leadership and the personal lives of students.
Currently some suspiciously similar schools claim to be unaffiliated with Oom Yung, but I believe that this is only for appearances. I don't trust them. My hope is to educate the public.
The Oom Yung organization has stepped up its public relations efforts once again and schedules events such as blood-drives, kick-a-thons, etc.. I don't want to seem overly critical of an organization that appears to be doing a great deal for the community, but these events seem to be attempts to create good public relations with the ultimate goal of attracting new students.
There are several such groups throughout the East, with Oom Yung Doe Instructors teaching at Fitness and Senior Citizens Centers.