Eun's instructors earn worldwide recognition

What goes around — the privilege to train under a grand master martial artist who is quite hands-on — comes around in the form of world recognition for three instructors under Grand Master Seong J. Eun’s leadership.

“It’s not very often that instructors such as ourselves have a grand master to learn under,” said Michael McKeehan, a taekwondo fourth-degree black belt who, at 68, joined two fellow instructors at Eun’s Martial Arts Center in Farrgut to earn a Letter of Appreciation from World Taekwondo Headquarters, Kukkiwon, in Seoul, South Korea.

Owen Hale, a third-degree black belt at age 68, and Jeffrey Galler, a third-degree black belt at age 60, also were honored during a brief ceremony at the center in Aspen Square Saturday morning, Dec. 2.

Eun presented each instructor a Letter of Appreciation, which read, “In recognition of your outstanding contribution and dedicated service to the development of Taekwondo and its culture,” signed by Oh Hyun Deuk, president of the Kukkiwon.

“This community doesn’t realize that there are very few, if any, grand masters that are actually instructors,” McKeehan said.

“… These students are being rewarded by being taught by those of us who have learned from the grand master.”

“It’s a great honor. I had no idea. It was a great surprise,” Hale said. “What we do here we do for the enjoyment of it. To be honored this way is very pleasing.”

Eun’s students, around 290, range in age from 3 to 84. “It’s a wonderful family here,” Galler said.

“They brought me in as an outsider,” added Galler, one of Eun’s 16 instructors. “I’ve learned a lot from them. And I’m really fortunate to be able to work with all the kids and their families.”

“I’m very proud. They have been training more than 10 years. They always volunteer for our events — testing and demonstrations — and many times they contribute with community service,” Eun said. “And they also are good influences to little kids.”

Jenni Henderson, an instructor at the center who is a second-degree black belt, also participated in the ceremony, which was held in front of several elementary-age students and their parents following a training session.