Celebrating 30th

Life lessons key to Eun’s Martial Arts’ success

Grand Master Seong J. Eun, 2019
Coming to the United States from South Korea in 1987, Grand Master Seong J. Eun, 58, has been teaching children and adults alike martial arts for 30 years at his Aspen Square studio in Farragut, Eun’s Martial Arts Center, 11110 Kingston Pike.

A former South Korean Marine, Eun celebrated his 30-year milestone, which was Monday, July 1, remembering his local beginnings, his business success and the community’s growth.

He founded the center in 1989, and through the years Eun has taught about 1,600 students tae-kwon-do, hapkido or judo — with roughly 600 earning Kukkiwon-certified Black Belts — ranging in ages from 3 to 85 years.

Eleven teen instructors and 10 adult instructors, who provide individualized training, support him.

“God has blessed my studio,” Eun said. “There’s some people moving, some people closing down their businesses or some people who have health problems and close.

“But me, 30 years and still this time, I’m teaching in Farragut,” he added. “Not too many businesses stay more than 30 years.”

A 7th degree black belt in tae kwon do, kukkiwon and hapkido, Eun has operated his studio in the same location for all 30 years.

With the school motto “Be Humble,” Eun’s initial focus for new students is to teach “respect for parents and authority figures, including the military and teachers,” he said.

He attributes the success of his studio to the relationships he has formed with students and their parents through the years.

“I teach every class most times,” he said, noting parents say, “‘Master Eun (is) here all the time. He teaches my kid.’

“So between me and parents and me and students, (it builds) faithful relationships,” Eun added.

The school holds six different classes a week with between 20 and 25 students in each class.

“Our program is to physically and mentally train,” Eun said. “We teach more traditional. I not only teach my students how to punch and how to kick, I teach my students how to respect and love.

“For example, when I teach my students, right before class or after class, I spend time with students talking — 30 seconds or one minute — about their family,” he said.

“He’s wonderful, especially with kids” said Leslie Freeze, a Farragut mother of 8-year-old student Clare Freeze.

“I actually broke a board with my head today,” Clare said, smiling.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays; and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays.

For more information, call 865-675-2255 or visit www.eunsmartialarts.com.

Through the years, Eun has taught the children of his students and has seen his students grow up to succeed.

For example, Logan McKeehan, 18, has been a student for 15 years and has just been accepted into the Marines. He leaves for Paris Island, South Carolina, Oct. 27. “I’m nervously anticipating it,” said McKeehan, a current instructor at Eun’s.

Smiling, Eun said, “I think he got influenced by his master."

“That’s partially correct,” McKeehan said with a smile.

“All the time I spend time (talking about) how much family is important,” he said.

Eun’s focus is first to teach respect for parents, him and then other authority figures, such as military and teachers.

“Then, you can respect everyone,” Eun added.

While he has classes for children, teens and adults, he especially is interested in teaching children. He noted he has seen success with students having ADD, ADHD or autism.

A former Korean Marine instructor, he came to America from South Korea 33 years ago, making the Farragut area his first home.

He recalled his brother already was in America and had a job and invited his mother, who in turn, invited Eun to come to America, where he came first to East Tennessee.

“I love the United States because I got a lot of benefit from this country,” Eun said. “I live in the United States and then I have a studio — this is my first full-time job — and then I met God (in America). I’m a Christian.”

Opening a martial arts studio was natural for him as he practiced tai-kwon-do since he was 7 years old. He attributed his start in America to a “good American friend,” Roy Fry, and his wife, Cindy.

“I didn’t have any money. I was poor,” Eun recalled. “I didn’t know anything about U.S. culture. “(Fry) gave me his wife’s car. He wanted to help. He invited my wife, Yumee, and I to dinner.”

He expressed his gratitude, adding, “I cannot forget their kindness.”

Through the years, the studio has garnered accolades, such an award for “outstanding contributions to development and dissemination of tae-kwon-do from Tae-Kwon-Do headquarters in Korea, and a 2018 award for top ranking in the Kukkiwon membership system from Kukkiwon headquarters.

But, Eun said he is more focused on his classes.