4th degree Master Chris Malarkey to visit Asheville for April Testing

This weekend at Asheville Sun Soo we are pleased to welcome 4th degree Master Chris Malarkey as our guest judge.

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Master Malarkey has been practicing for 20 years and currently teaches full time under Master Meany at Glen Ridge Tae Kwon Do in New Jersey.  Master Malarkey is a talented, friendly, and devoted practitioner and we are excited to have him with us for our testing.  Please welcome Master Malarkey when you see him in the studio this weekend!

Master Malarkey

Master Malarkey grew up in Brooklyn and began his Tae Kwon Do practice in 1993.  Only 5 at the time, he cites his earliest influence as some of his childhood friends and “the power rangers.” He has trained under Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim and other Taekwon-Do International instructors for his whole life as well as in other styles for short periods of time. Master Malarkey started unofficially assist-teaching around red belt, being asked here and there to demonstrate something for a lower ranking student. He received his 1st degree black belt in 2003, and fondly remembers traveling with Master Marr to test in front of Grandmaster Kim.  Initially thinking he had “finished something” he soon realized that 1st degree was really just the beginning.  Master Malarkey had a “Let’s do this” attitude upon realizing how much there was still to learn and says that he noticed big changes in himself after reaching 1st degree and continuing to train hard. He says that he started “requiring more” of himself and wanted to always be ready and maintained his body and skills as such.

In 2007, Master Malarkey recalls working at A&P Supermarkets and regularly training hard after work.  He really enjoyed his practice and was constantly improving.  Master Marr offered him a teaching position at the school, and Master Malarkey accepted.  He wanted to pursue a career that he felt would facilitate his growth and he had always felt called to the martial arts path.   Since then, Master Malarkey has enjoyed teaching immensely and is growing both as a student and a teacher, bringing in his life experiences to round his teaching philosophies and balance his approach to the craft.

Master Malarkey is proud to be a Tae Kwon Do Instructor believing “It’s a different kind of career”, and is “constantly surprised that people are open minded about it.”  He loves that it’s not just a job for him, rather “it’s a whole direction that I’m going… it’s something I’m building.”  His favorite elements of his practice are padwork and free fighting (sparring).  He enjoys free fighting especially because it provides an opportunity to break something down, think about the theory, and try new things.   In terms of teaching, Master Malarkey’s favorite moments are all about watching students grow.  He loves when students start to believe in themselves and start pushing themselves independently.

Aside from the sheer amount of time he spends devoted to Tae Kwon Do and improving his mind and body, Master Malarkey is an avid reader and also loves music (anything but country!).  He also loves to write and is currently working on a book.

To all the Sun Soo students testing this weekend, Master Malarkey’s advice is to relax, and to give YOUR personal 100%, and to not worry about what anyone else expects.  He is excited to be somewhere different, to see the area, and hopefully to enjoy some warmer weather! Additionally, Master Malarkey looks forward to seeing friends and meeting new students, and to feeling the energy of an Asheville Sun Soo testing!

We are thrilled to have a passionate, kind, and accomplished guest instructor here with us this weekend.  Thank you Master Malarkey for making the trip to Asheville and we are excited that you will be a part of our testing!

Sharon Smith – Math Teacher…and Tae Kwon Do student!

Our student spotlight this week is on Sharon Smith.  Sharon is a dedicated student who takes the time to seek out details and appreciates her practice greatly.  Sharon is also a math teacher at Ab Tech Community College. Over the past year, Sharon has developed excellent technique through her regular class attendance and effort in class.  She has also confronted both physical and metaphorical fears through her practice.  We appreciate Sharon’s humble and giving attitude.  She contributes in many ways here at Sun Soo and we are happy that she is part of our community!









Age: 39

Rank: Green/blue

Occupation: Interim Coordinator of Academic Learning Center at AB Tech.  Currently seeking certificate of Major in Applied Math at UNC Asheville.

Why you practice: I was having recurring nightmares about being attacked. After nothing else helped, I decided to try martial arts.  Tae Kwon Do has become my therapy and the nightmares have gone away!

How long you’ve been practicing: One year – I started March 1, 2014

What you enjoy most about your practice so far: I love learning something new every class and every class is different.

Other hobbies/interests: I spend my spare time building model planes, trains, and cars.  I also play piano.

Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you:  I do know how to crochet and cross stitch.

Favorite Tae Kwon Do moment:  When I first visited Sun Soo, it was a testing day (Saturday).  I was very impressed with how the school and audience rallied around students.  It happens every testing and I love being a part of it!

Zinnia Marquis – author, drummer, Tae-Kwon-Do-er!

Our student spotlight this week is on Zinnia Marquis.  Zinnia is a kind and hardworking 3rd grader who practices with her father and her younger brother.   We appreciate Zinnia’s inclusive attitude and the responsibility she takes for her own learning.  Zinnia was also recently published in the Mountain Xpress! She wrote a piece called “What is community?” and you can find it on pg. 48 of the March 17-25 issue of the Mountain Xpress.  To quote Zinnia, “community is a group of people, but it’s not just a group of people, it’s people who care for each other and are willing to lend a hand when needed.”  We are grateful to have Zinnia and her family as part of our community here at Sun Soo!

zinnia marquis








Age: 9

Rank: Blue

Where you go to school: The Learning Community

Why you practice: I don’t really know why but I wanted to learn Tae Kwon Do ever since I was about 5 years old and it’s still really important to me to keep going.

How long you’ve been practicing: About a year and three quarters.

What you enjoy most about your practice so far: I think what I enjoy the most so far is two things, one is that new burst of energy you get after testing even if you didn’t test that says “I’m doing to keep going, I’m going to do my best and beyond.”  And two is sharing the experience with my family and friends.

Other hobbies/interests: Music, theatre, and any form of art.

Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you:  Apart from Tae Kwon Do I also take drums and I am a quarter Irish.

Favorite Tae Kwon Do moment:  If I were just picking something off the top of my head I would say everything but I’ve thought a lot about it and I’m going to say being invited to the Black Belt Club.

Taekwon-Do International Tournament Registration

We are honored to host the 2014 Annual Taekwon-do International Invitational Championship Tournament, and we are looking forward to seeing you! You have two convenient options to register for the event: Read more

Asheville Sun Soo Taekwon-Do To Host International Tournament

Taekwon-Do International PatchMark your calendars, folks! We’re honored to be the host of  Taekwon-Do International’s Annual Black Belt Seminar and Invitational Spring Tournament for 2014. The tournament will take place at the DeVries Gymnasium at Warren Wilson College on Saturday, June 7th. Tournament participation is an important part of a developing a complete martial artist. Read more

Guest Master Mark Tung Visits Asheville Sun Soo Taekwon-Do December 2013 Belt Rank Testing

Here at Asheville Sun Soo, we were pleased to welcome our guest master instructor for the December 2013 belt rank testing, 4th degree Master Mark Tung. Master Tung is admired and appreciated for his experience in martial arts and also for his kind and helpful nature with people. Read more

Sun Soo at Eblen Intermediate School

In February, Master Morris, Mr. Dickinson and several Sun Soo students volunteered at Eblen Intermediate School, teaching 6th grade PE for a week. The focus was on practicing self discipline and self respect while learning some of the tae kwon do  fundamentals.

WLOS did a story about it on their “Never Stop Learning” segment with Tammy Watford. Watch the video here.

A Visit from Esteemed Grand Master Suk Jun Kim

Grand Master Suk Jun Kim will be our special guest next Saturday at color belt testing. There are very few 9th degree black belts in the world and even fewer who were directly promoted by General Choi, considered the “Father of Tae Kwon Do”. He has been practicing for 50 years.

Read more

Sun Soo Members Attend TKDI Summer Camp in New Jersey

September 19, 2011 – The instructional TaeKwon-Do International Summer Camp weekend was held in New Jersey at the end of August. There was plenty of training as well as summer fun.

Read more

Belt Level Testing 2011 Dates

When a martial arts student has mastered specific belt level requirements and has met minimum training times as set by Asheville Sun Soo Taekwondo, he or she will be able to test for the next belt level.

Testings are great opportunities for students to invite friends and family to enjoy the amazing progress everyone is making!  Testings always occur on weekends and have two parts: White and White-Yellow belts test on Friday nights and then Yellow belts and higher test the next day on Saturday afternoons (there will be one Sunday this year).  Following are the dates and times:

White & White-Yellow:  Friday, April 8th @ 6pm
Yellow and above:         Saturday, April 9th @ 1pm

White & White-Yellow:  Friday, June 10th @ 6pm
Yellow and above:         Saturday, June 11th @ 1pm

White & White-Yellow:  Friday, August 12th @ 6pm
Yellow and above:         Saturday, August 13th @ 1pm

White & White-Yellow:  Friday, October 7th @ 6pm
Yellow and above:         Sunday, October 9th @ 2pm

White & White-Yellow:  Friday, December 9th @ 6pm
Yellow and above:         Saturday, December 10th @ 1pm