“Thanks to playing tennis for 50 years, I now enjoy table tennis and golf in my mid-seventies” (Yang Jong-gu’s health tips for the age of 100) – Dong-A Ilbo VRESP

I avoided sports during elementary and middle school. When he was 5 years old, he seriously injured his right elbow while playing in the field and had to use only his left arm to survive. He had undergone two surgeries at the time, but due to inadequate medical procedures, his right arm could no longer grow. It was only two-thirds as big as his left arm. Because of this, he stayed away from sports during the early years of his school days.

Toyo Corporation Chairman Mok I-kyun is playing tennis on the court at his apartment complex in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do. He has been playing tennis since he was 24, and even in his mid-70s, he is enjoying a healthy old age by playing various sports such as table tennis and golf. Namyangju = Reporter Kim Dong-ju [email protected]

Toyo Corporation Chairman Mok I-kyun (74) has overcome this handicap and has been playing tennis for 51 years, leading to a healthy old age. He turned into a sports fanatic during his first year of high school.
“I entered Daejeon High School and had to learn judo two hours a week. At the time, I told the instructor, ‘I can’t do it because my arms are like this,’ and he told me to do it, saying, ‘In Japan, even people with no legs can get a black belt in judo using crutches.’ But when I tried it, it worked. “I received only 12 out of 20 points on the high school physical fitness test, but I ended up earning a black belt.”

It was the moment when Chairman Mok opened his eyes to sports. He said, “As I developed my lower body strength while doing judo, I gained confidence that I could also play other sports.” From then on, he became interested in and delved into various sports. The first thing I started playing after judo was table tennis. He explained, “In our time, we were obsessed with table tennis because of Ierisa Ierisa and Hyunsook Jeong, who won the team event at the 1973 World Table Tennis Championships in Sarajevo.”

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun is playing tennis. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun.

“After learning judo, I actually thought of myself as a sportsman and lived my whole life. In addition to the joy of exercise itself, the pride that comes from a healthy body made me grow. “I always lived with confidence even in my social life.”

It was said that another special experience during high school had a great impact on President Mok’s life.
“At that time, there was someone who stayed in our house. He was a graduate of Gyeonggi High School and Seoul National University College of Engineering, and he also had a black belt in kendo. Not only was he smart, he was also good at sports. He was also good at baduk. “After seeing him, I wrote the phrase ‘maximize momentum’ and posted it in front of my desk to encourage myself to do my best in everything.”

The maximum amount of exercise is also engraved on his social networking service (SNS) KakaoTalk. He worked hard in every sport and did his best in everything else. Chairman Mok entered Korea University and participated in the judo club until his second year. During his college days and social life, he enjoyed table tennis, tennis, badminton, and even golf. His athleticism made him stand out in every sport he entered. As for tennis, he did not play in competitions very often, but from the mid-1980s onwards he won various amateur tennis competitions.

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun is playing tennis at the court in his apartment complex in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do. Namyangju = Reporter Kim Dong-ju [email protected]

Chairman Mok has been playing tennis since 1974. He had been enjoying table tennis with his friends since high school, and he started playing because his college friend boasted that he played tennis. He said, “Tennis was also gaining popularity at the time, and my classmate at Korea University was at KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology), and he boasted about playing tennis on the institute’s court. So he ran to KIST and started learning and playing,” he recalled.

Table tennis and tennis are completely different. I swung the tennis racket as if I was thinking of a light table tennis stick, but it didn’t hit me well. The running distance was also much longer. He said, “If table tennis requires good use of small muscles, tennis requires good use of large muscles. “It was a lot of fun to beat my opponents with a variety of techniques on a tennis court that was much larger than a ping pong table,” he said. He went to work early in the morning after playing tennis, and played again after work. He hit 2-3 hours a day. He learned by teaching himself, holding a tennis textbook. “In short, I was crazy about tennis,” he said.

Chairman Mok Lee-kyun playing golf. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun.

“I had an injury to my right arm, so I had to do everything with my left arm. At that time, there were no private lessons like there are now. Since I had to use only one arm, I needed my own know-how, so I did my research.”

He has often said that mental disabilities are more problematic than physical disabilities.
“Overcoming mental disabilities is more necessary than physical disabilities. In particular, the mental strength and will to pioneer something without lamenting one’s situation is the greatest shortcut to overcoming obstacles.”

When I started playing golf in 1989, I occasionally played tennis. He worked at a securities and investment company, and even served as CEO and President of Woongjin Lucas Investment Advisory, so there were many people he had to meet in the business field. He said, “I also heard that if you want to play golf well, you need to play less tennis.” However, he also played tennis with friends and enjoyed golf. His best golf score is even par. These days, he is focusing on tennis again, so he plays golf occasionally and his scores are inconsistent, but he says he can hit scores in the low 80s if he wants to.

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun posed while playing badminton. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun.

At one time, I was also into badminton. However, he does not play badminton often because he thinks his knees may be damaged if he tries to catch the shuttlecock that falls in front of the net.

Chairman Mok said he realized too late that he may have hurt others because of his excessive competitive spirit.
“Perhaps because I have a handicap, I was very competitive. Because of that, I had a strong desire to beat other people, but I thought that the people who lost to me must have been very stressed. I thought, ‘Even if I have a handicap, I won’t lose to you guys,’ so I thought I had to win no matter what. My friends always said, ‘You are so competitive’… . I realized it too late. I’m almost sixty. From then on, my focus is on enjoying all sports.”

Chairman Mok also created a tennis tournament under his pen name ‘Acheon (clear spring).’ This year marks the 16th Acheon Senior Tennis Tournament. Having experienced the joys and sorrows of playing tennis, he created the tournament to share the joy of tennis with other tennis players. He said, “As the saying goes in baduk, ‘victory is won by necessity,’ I want to create a tournament where you can have good relationships with people and enjoy it with joy, without being greedy about winning.”

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun (second from the right) poses after giving the award ceremony at the Acheon Tennis Championships. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun.

“Kim Moon-il, honorary president of the Korea Senior Tennis Federation, looked at some statistics and said that tennis is the sport with the longest lifespan among all sports. I think so. I get to exercise and have fun with the people I play with… . “It is the best lifelong sport.”

According to the results of a 25-year follow-up study of 8,577 people from 1991 to 2017 by a Danish and American research team, tennis was found to be most helpful for longevity. 4,448 people died during the study period. Even after adjusting for age, gender, and the effects of smoking, all people who exercised had a longer life expectancy. Tennis was the longest at 9.9 years, followed by badminton at 6.2 years. Soccer ranks third with 4.7 years.

Although we do not know the exact reason why people who play tennis live longer, we believe that social interaction along with exercise are important. Tennis is a sport that cannot be played alone, so hanging out with people seems to have an effect on lifespan. Other research results also showed that people who enjoy racket sports such as tennis had a low risk of death.​

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun (right) posed while playing golf with acquaintances. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun.

President Mok, who is an advisor to the Korea Senior Tennis Federation, plays tennis at the federation’s regular meetings, as well as Tuesday and Thursday tennis gatherings, such as the ‘Apartment Early Childhood Club’ and other events. He also gets along with his family. After realizing the importance of playing tennis for his health, he introduced his family to tennis in the 1990s. In particular, he often enjoys playing tennis with his son Mok Jin-seok (44), a professional baduk player.

If he has no special plans, he starts his day with tennis. He plays tennis with residents on the tennis court in the apartment complex in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, where he has been living for the past four years. When it rains, he goes to the table tennis court. He said, “I’m enjoying playing table tennis with my wife these days.” He still enjoys a variety of sports thanks to his strong physical strength developed through tennis.

Chairman Mok Lee-gyun (right) poses after playing tennis with his son Mok Jin-seok, a professional baduk player. Provided by Chairman Mok Lee-gyun

Reporter Yang Jong-gu [email protected]


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