Student Spotlight: Emily Orozco – 4th Grader, Martial Artist

Emma Elementary Student Activities AshevilleHow old are you?
9

What is your rank?
Red-black Belt

Where do you go to school?
I’ll be in 4th grade at Emma Elementary

Why do you practice?
Because I want to be able to protect myself if someone tries to do something mean or if they try to steal something from me.

How long have you been practicing?
2 ½ years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
Meeting new people and having more self confidence!

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
I like to play!

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
That I enjoy playing soccer.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
When I was a white belt and I had to learn my form and I didn’t know it yet!

Student Spotlight – Nicholas Tavernier

How old are you?
10

nicholas tavernierWhat is your rank?
Red Belt

What grade are you in?
4th grade at Atkinson Elementary in Hendersonville, NC

Why do you practice?
I like doing the kicks, and I feel safer because I know I can defend myself.

How long have you been practicing?
Almost 2 years.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
Learning the forms and the one-steps – the movements helps me think better.

What are some of your other activities, hobbies, or interests?
Playing piano and chess.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
That I play video games.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Sitting down and taking deep breaths before class because it gets me calmed down.

Student Spotlight – Matthew Abrams and Erica Carroll

Erica Carrollerica and matthew

How old are you?
34

What is your rank?
Yellow

What is your occupation?
I am the owner of a landscape design and maintenance company.

Why do you practice?
For the strength, focus, skill, and community

How long have you been practicing?
4 months

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
The community, having new skills and practices to take off the mat and into my everyday life.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Biking, relaxing in hammocks, hanging out with my dog

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
After meeting my husband 11 years ago, I moved into his mother’s garage with him so we could save money to travel.  We had only known each other a few months and had only spent about 4 weeks of that time together in person.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Every time we as a class share in a laugh about anything – these are my favorite moments.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Practicing here has given me more space in my life and I have less anxiety in general and am more confident off the mat.

Matthew Abrams

How old are you?
39

What is your rank?
Yellow

What is your occupation?
Executive Director and Founder of Mycelium

Why do you practice?
To be grounded, to support others, to build authentic relationships, to move my mind and my body.

How long have you been practicing?
4 months

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
The people

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Poetry, time in nature, traveling, photography.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I spent 9 months traveling cross country in a van.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
When Master Morris cried telling the story about how an elderly woman noticed the vitality in his eyes and actually shared that with him, even though they were complete strangers.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I love being here.

Student Spotlight – Eve Flaum, Homeschooled 4th Grade Student

Eve FlaumHow old are you?
10 ½ years old

What is your rank?
Blue

What is your occupation?
4th grade, homeschooled

Why do you practice?
To try something new and to learn self-defense

How long have you been practicing?
1 ½ years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
The support that I get from the teachers and the other students

What are your other hobbies and interests?
Horseback riding, drawing, and video games

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I really love cucumbers – enough to eat a whole jar!

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Receiving my invitation to the Black Belt Club.

Student Spotlight – Sarah Philipp, Athletic Trainer and Martial Artist

sarahphilippHow old are you?
Still 29

What is your rank?
Red-black belt

What is your occupation?
Athletic trainer at Southeastern Sports Medicine and I cover Enka Middle School. Go Jets!!

Why do you practice?
To stay healthy and because it’s fun.

How long have you been practicing?
2.5 years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
I like how my confidence has improved, and I enjoy figuring out new ways to take care of my body.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Soccer, volleyball, hiking, yoga, cooking, playing with my dog.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I played college volleyball at Tusculum College.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
When Amy and Tina held my boards for my board breaks

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am really grateful for the family I have at Sun Soo!

Student Spotlight – Agya and Barfuo Boakye-Boaten

This student spotlight focuses on brothers Agya and Barfuo Boakye-Boaten.

agyabarfuocroppedHow old are you?
Agya: 8
Barfuo: 10

What is your rank?
Both: Red-Black Belt

Where do you go to school?
Both: Ira B. Jones Elementary

Why do you practice?
Agya: It’s fun and I like to learn new skills.
Barfuo: It’s exciting and it teaches me discipline.

How long have you been practicing?
Both: 3 years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
Agya: The forms and the 1-steps.
Barfuo: Sparring and board breaking.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Agya: Soccer, basketball, and reading.
Barfuo: Soccer, reading, football, science.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
Agya: I get bored in social studies, but I love math!
Barfuo: I like to write stories.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Agya: I felt really good when I broke my first board.
Barfuo: At my second tournament I broke a board into 3 pieces!

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Agya: No ma’am.
Barfuo: I think Tae Kwon Do teaches me to do more and excel and not be mediocre. I used to give up easily if I couldn’t get the hang out something, but now I use perseverance to keep trying.

 

Student Spotlight – Grey Hallock

Grey Hallock is a 25 year-old Traditional Tae Kwon Do practitioner in our community at Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do.  An on-the-go-breaking-news producer for local TV station, WLOS, Grey is a high-energy professional.  Grey brings that same high-energy to class where he is a dedicated student and an enthusiastic partner for all.  Though only a green belt at this point in his practice, Grey is quickly establishing excellent fundamentals while contributing greatly to the level of energy and engagement in the room at every class he attends.   Grey is an excellent example of a working adult professional. He uses his martial arts practice to enhance his level of professionalism, focus, and efficiency at work while simultaneously discharging the accumulated stress from the day.  We are honored to have Grey as part of our Asheville Sun Soo practice and part of our Asheville Sun Soo family.

Grey Hallock AdultHow old are you?
25

What is your rank?
Green Belt

What is your occupation?
News Producer at WLOS

Why do you practice?
Before Tae Kwon Do, I was working out and running but I wasn’t becoming more flexible or learning anything while improving my fitness. I started Tae Kwon Do because I wanted to learn a skill while getting a great work out. Now I continue because it’s helping me a lot with my focus. My job as a news producer is really demanding and often I don’t have much time to react to a change of plan – if we a get a breaking story I need to be able drop whatever I’ve been working on and switch gears. Tae Kwon Do is helping me learn to do to this quickly and effectively.

How long have you been practicing?
Almost a year.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
My improved ability to focus in all aspects. I also enjoy feeling accomplished!

What are some of your other hobbies, activities, or interests?
Snowboarding, wakeboarding, soccer, hiking, and reading – my favorites are science fiction and history.

What is something people at Asheville Sun Soo probably don’t know about you?
Over the past 6 years I’ve lived in several different cities in Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, and several cities before that, mostly moving around for work. I think Asheville is a really cool city and I’d love to stick around long enough to earn my 1st degree black belt.

What is your favorite Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do moment?
The first time I took a class and felt like I understood how the moves worked – like this wasn’t impossible for me, I could actually do it and it was accessible.

Student Spotlight – Pyper Keliher

Piper Keliher is an 11 year-old , blue-red belt, Traditional Tae Kwon Do practitioner in our community at Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do. She is part of a sibling dynamic duo, practicing along with her brother Banyan. Piper is a dedicated student, who consistently demonstrates focus, precision and rigor in her execution of technique while maintaining a calm, friendly and approachable demeanor with her fellow practitioners. Piper is an excellent example of the combination of grace, intelligence and power that serves as an inspiring example to us all. We are honored to have Pyper as part of our Asheville Sun Soo practice and part of our Asheville Sun Soo family.

How old are you?
11

What is your rank?
Blue-red

What is your occupation?
Student

Why do you practice?
To learn self defense and other important characteristics of life

How long have you been practicing?
1 ½ years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
Getting to know all of the instructors and the people who practice at Asheville Sun Soo.

What are some of your other hobbies, activities, or interests?
Soccer, swimming, me time, family time, and hanging out with my friends.

What is something people at Asheville Sun Soo probably don’t know about you?
My passion used to be gymnastics, but now it’s Tae Kwon Do!

What is your favorite Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do moment?
Testing for my white-yellow belt, my very first testing ever.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Tae Kwon Do to me is more than just how to defend your self- it is about how to be kind, patient, and helpful to others. Asheville Sun Soo is truly my family.

Mark Meiri – Science Teacher, Father, Asheville Martial Artist

adult sports lessonsHow old are you?
I will turn 50 on October 25.

What is your rank? 
I have a 2nd degree in TKD and a Brown belt in Danzan Ryu jujitsu

What is your occupation? 
I am a science teacher currently working with at risk students.

Why do you practice?
This is a huge question – – I believe that martial arts serve many purposes for many people such as: exercise, the beauty and tradition of the art, spirituality, community/friendship, sport, self-defense, self-improvement, etc. All of these are important factors for me, and each one’s prominence in my thinking changes from month to month and year to year. Currently exercise and self-defense hold most of my attention.

How long have you been practicing?
About eight years in formal martial arts – but I believe that many other sports/activities have been an art in their own way and have I been on a 40 plus year path to what I do now.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far? 
I enjoy the ever elusive challenge of perfection. (And that my family is there to enjoy it with me.)

What are some of your other hobbies or interests? 
I love joking with my kids/family, being outdoors, reading/learning, playing guitar and listening to music. I am enriched by studying religion, history, spirituality and martial arts. I enjoy cooking and craft beers and I have a modest single malt scotch collection. I hand carve wooden knives and Japanese katanas/boken and a few other things.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment? 
There are so many that it is hard to say – – – the easy answer would be my black belt testing. But I’m not so sure that that would be true. Then my mind jumps to my intro or my first class. They were pregnant with such hope and possibility. But today, my answer is every class I come to – because it is one more day on my martial arts journey!

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to all of the staff for who you are and what you share with my family and me.

Asheville Sun Soo’s resident septuagenarian raises the bar for indomitable spirit!

Mr. Randy Langley is an integral part of the community at Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do. As one of the most experienced students, Mr. Langley’s leadership helps to set an example of excellence and encourages all students to persevere to succeed. At the age of 73, Mr. Langley keeps up with teenage students and is always humble about his accomplishments, which include achieving 3rd degree black belt and attending 1500 classes since he began his practice. Additionally, Mr. Langley puts in many hours of practice outside of normal class times – for which he gets no official credit – but the extra time shows up in his technique and his ability to assist other students with their curriculum.

asheville adult recreation

We are so fortunate to have Mr. Langley as a student at Asheville Sun Soo. He provides inspiration and friendship to all who interact with him, living life with a code of honor, effort and dignity while encouraging classmates with his indomitable spirit. Thank you, Mr. Langley for your contributions, your kindness toward others, and your fantastic work ethic! We are honored that you practice here at Asheville Sun Soo.

How old are you?
73

What is your rank?
3rd Degree Black Belt

What is your occupation?
I retired almost 15 years ago from a career in engineering – primarily in supervision & management. During my “retirement” I taught cycling (nee spinning) classes at the Reuter YMCA (using music from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s), later was an insurance agent, and up to this past July 15 “worked” (if you can call pouring wine and talking work) at the Biltmore Estate Winery tasting room.

Why do you practice?
At first it was a strong curiosity. I knew Master Morris though a networking group and my older daughter is also a master in northern Virginia. After starting at Asheville Sun Soo, the challenge of an organized sport and the attainable goals via the belt system kept me going. Now, it’s the investment in friendships and the practice that keep me going.

How long have you been practicing?
Eight years.

What do you enjoy about your practice so far?
This is difficult to answer; surprisingly not for fitness as I have always believed that physical fitness is a personal responsibility. What I take pleasure in is the agility and confidence I have gained from the challenge of both form-work and self-defense. I also appreciate the belt system, which I believe is key to retention – most people really appreciate the sense of accomplishment of reaching the next level. Finally, the friendships I have developed, particularly among the staff of Asheville Sun Soo, make each class a pleasure no matter how worn out I get!

What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
My family, particularly Sandra, my wife and best friend of more than 51 years, is my first interest and priority. Then come my daughters and their families, including four grandchildren. Politics and current events come next. My hobby and passion is photography.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
Sandra and I have lived in seven states and have owned seven homes. After graduate school, I spent two years in the US Army attaining the rank of Captain. I have managed engineering groups, taught spinning classes, sold insurance, and was a server in the Biltmore winery.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Completing my latest form successfully (though, I keep reminding myself that I always need to improve.)

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Wasn’t that enough? Probably like drinking through a fire hydrant!