Sofia Murphy – A fierce, friendly martial artist in our midst

Our student spotlight this week is on Sofia Murphy. Sofia is a mature 16 year old who recently achieved the rank of 1st degree Black Belt by training hard with integrity and bringing a positive attitude to each class that she attends at Asheville Sun Soo. She practices alongside her step-dad, Mr. Adeeb Fakhoury, who is an experienced 3rd degree Black Belt at Asheville Sun Soo. Off the mat, Sofia is a sweet and cheerful young woman who excels academically and is a supportive friend and family member. Although Sofia is very humble and does not seek to draw attention to herself, as a Tae Kwon Do practitioner she demonstrates recognizable excellence. Sofia moves with grace and is an inspiration to all students who seek to improve their power and finesse. We are proud to have Sofia as a member of our community at Asheville Sun Soo and are grateful for the skill self-control and compassion she brings to her practice.

 

things to do Asheville student

How old are you?
I’m sixteen years old.

What is your occupation?
I’m a junior at West Henderson High School

Why do you practice?
I practice for self-defense, to step out of my comfort space, and to keep pushing myself to new limits.

 

How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing a little over three years.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
I enjoy meeting new people and the Asheville Sun Soo community.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
One of my other hobbies is yoga. I practice yoga at Anjali Hot Yatra Yoga at least twice a week.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
When I was little I used to play the piano. During those years that I played, I went to a couple of competitions and was highly scored.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
My favorite moment would have to be board breakings during testing. When you watch someone who doesn’t break the board their first try, but perseveres and eventually succeeds. Watching their expression is always the best, it goes from disappointed to excitement.

Killian Hoyer – A Leader by Example

Killian Hoyer is an exemplary member of the Asheville Sun Soo advanced kids’ class. He demonstrates both excellent technique and character, while consistently striving to do his best with integrity and set an awesome example for his younger sister. Killian is humble and open to feedback from instructors. We are proud of Killian for his participation in tournaments. He always demonstrates fantastic sportsmanship and uses the opportunity as a learning experience. Overall, Killian’s great attitude facilitates his commitment to excellence as a martial artist, a student, and a family member. We are thankful that he is part of our community at Asheville Sun Soo.

killianhoyer

How old are you?
9

What is your rank?
Blue-red

Why do you practice?
To learn better self defense.

How long have you been practicing?
1 ½ years

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
My forms. Once I learn them they are really fun!

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Basketball and soccer.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I like spinach.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
When I broke a board at the tournament.

Kari Richmond – Mom, Music Teacher, & Martial Artist!

Kari Richmond is a committed martial artist who works hard to develop her focus and control through Tae Kwon Do. Kari is a mom of two, a music instructor, and a well rounded athlete. Kari does a remarkable job of balancing parenting with running her own business.  Her strong organization skills enable her to maintain her rigorous martial arts practice in the mix of this full schedule. On the mat, Kari puts effort into both the physical and mental aspects of class, and the synergy created by her dual focus allows her train at a very high level. She also has excellent control and spatial awareness, which makes her a safe partner for new and seasoned students alike. Kari is humble, friendly, and leads by example – all qualities that make her a huge contribution to the classes and community at Asheville Sun Soo. Thank you Kari for being an excellent student!


teacher adult classes KariHow old are you?

39

What is your rank?
Red Belt

What is your occupation?
Music Teacher – founder and director of Asheville Area Music Together

Why do you practice?
I started practicing to challenge myself physically in new ways and learn some practical self defense. I continue for these reasons and also because I enjoy and am supported by the welcoming and fun community at Sun Soo.

How long have you been practicing?
One year and eight months

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
I love the progression of opportunities for increasing growth, both physically and mentally. I feel encouraged to break through my perceived limitations in a super supportive community of staff and fellow students.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
I love to hike and ride bikes with my family.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
Before I had kids, I was a drummer and a vibraphone player in a pop band.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
I love the board breaks. I’m super proud of my own 2-board break with a sidekick in the last testing, but I am always super proud of every student and staff member board break. They are such emotionally vulnerable moments and the school community really supports people in those moments.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
It is wonderful to be able to practice Tae Kwon Do with my son!

Aspen McDowell – A dedicated athlete and courteous friend!

Our student spotlight this week is on Aspen McDowell. Aspen is an exemplary student who started at the age of nine in kids classes, and has since advanced to attend teen classes and mixed adult classes. Aspen is currently 12 years old and has advanced in rank to recommended black belt. Aspen’s practice at Asheville Sun Soo is characterized by self motivation, personal responsibility, and consistent courtesy towards peers and instructors.

aspenmcdowell Aspen stays on top of the cumulative traditional Tae Kwon Do curriculum by practicing outside of class, and as a result, he excels technically and is always ready to support lower belt students. Additionally, Aspen frequently volunteers at Kids Night Out – and makes a huge difference. Aspen pays attention to the details and helps to include kids who are less social by getting to know them and inviting them to an appropriate activity. The Asheville Sun Soo community is grateful to have a student like Aspen who is friendly, hard working, and inclusive towards others. Thanks Aspen for being an inspiration to your classmates and instructors!

How old are you?
I am 12 years old.

What is your rank?
I am a recommended black belt.

What is your occupation?
I am a student at Eblen Intermediate and I am currently in 6th grade.

Why do you practice?
I practice because I want to learn self defense and it is my goal to be a Black Belt.

How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing for 2 ½ years.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
I love meeting new people and staying in shape with challenging exercises.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Some of my hobbies are playing drums and basketball, collecting coins and I’m also good at video games.

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I play percussion in the school band and I was born in South Carolina.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
My favorite moment was my first board break because of the adrenaline rush and everyone cheering me on.

Sarah Broberg – A dedicated Martial Artist

Our student spotlight this week is on Sarah Broberg. Sarah practices alongside her two sons, Zak, age 6, and Omar, age 8, who both attend the advanced kid’s class. Sarah is an intelligent, energetic, enthusiastic and conscientious practitioner who truly pushes herself to meet her potential, both on and off the mat. When met with obstacles, Sarah finds a way! Early into her practice, Sarah injured her ankle. For some this would have been a deal breaker. Sarah, however, continued coming to class. And although she could not physically practice for a few weeks, she used her class time to observe classes until she was healed – even practicing from a rolling chair at points! Sarah’s commitment to her career in international public relations, her kids, and her practice is apparent to everyone who meets her. She also possesses a unique combination of humor and positive energy that allows her to tackle challenges with grace and flexibility. We deeply admire Sarah for her courage and humility – and we are truly grateful that she has chosen to be part of our community here at Asheville Sun Soo!


sarahbrobergHow old are you?

37

What is your rank?
Green belt

What is your occupation?
International corporate communications and public relations

Why do you practice?
There are several reasons I practice, but the primary motivation is to help alleviate my self-critical tendencies and reorient the way I perceive myself. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone in a safe, supportive environment is helping me recognize that it’s ok to make “mistakes” and what I used to think were weaknesses are just strengths I’m still working to enhance.

How long have you been practicing?
Since late August 2014

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
What do you enjoy most about your practice so far? I most enjoy the self-development aspects that are incorporated into every class at Sun Soo. Students of all ages are encouraged to move past the boundaries we set for ourselves physically and psychologically in order to reach our true potential. I love the community spirit and the great workouts, too.

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
I enjoy spending time with my young sons (an 8-year-old blue-red belt and a 6-year-old blue belt), running, hiking, reading and coffee!

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I’m slightly addicted to the use of lip balm and before testing I paint my toes the color of my next belt for a little extra inspiration.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
It’s so hard to choose just one because all of my classmates are so inspiring every day. At the top of the list is Master Ethan Morris’ 4th degree black belt essay and Ms. Dexter’s gorilla fight. My personal favorite Tae Kwon Do moment is actually a series of moments: The huge outpouring of support from the instructors and my classmates after I severely injured my ankle as a white-yellow belt. Their generosity of spirit and encouragement was completely unexpected and enormously humbling. Thanks again to all of you; you’ll never know the depth of my gratitude for your strength when mine faltered.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you’re thinking about starting your Tae Kwon Do practice and feel shy, embarrassed or apprehensive, putting on that white belt is more than half the battle. As the instructors say: “We were all white belts once.” You can do this.

Jarod Doster – An exemplary Black Belt at Asheville Sun Soo

Jarod Doster started his Tae Kwon Do practice at Sun Soo as a way to rekindle his passion for martial arts after a break from practicing for many years. Despite having already received a 1st Degree Black Belt in Karate, he humbly started back at white belt in Tae Kwon Do. His previous practice prepared him well for classes at Sun Soo, and due to his prior experience and his consistent attendance and effort in classes here, he has progressed steadily to his 1st Degree Black Belt in Traditional Tae Kwon Do. More importantly, Jarod’s previous exposure to martial arts and his understanding of the culture of a do-jang has helped him to become an exceptional leader within the Sun Soo community. Jarod’s practice is characterized by patience, attention to detail, and exceptional speed – especially for his incredibly long legs. We all appreciate the overall commitment to health and wellness that Jarod brings to Sun Soo. A professional chiropractor by profession, Jarod’s extensive knowledge of the human body deepens his ability to move well in Tae Kwon Do. He frequently can be seen lending a hand during or after class to anyone with a minor injury who might benefit from the advice of a licensed medical professional. We appreciate all of Jarod’s contributions at Asheville Sun Soo. We are proud to have him among our black belt ranks and look forward to his ongoing progress.

jaroddoster

How old are you?
46

What is your rank?
1st dan

What is your occupation?
Chiropractor

Why do you practice?
I practice for my spirit, mind, and body. Having a discipline like this lets me express parts of my being that are strong physically and mentally and this supports me in every other aspect of my life.

How long have you been practicing?
2 years 8 months at Sun Soo, and 4 ½ years in American freestyle Karate.

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
All the new friends I have made since starting.
What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Competitive water and snow skiing

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
I hold the South Carolina state slalom record in water skiing.

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
Earning my 1st degree black belt.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have loved every minute of the past “almost” 3 years at Sun Soo. I’m looking forward to the next “almost” 3 years!

Max and Elliot Butterworth – A Dynamic TKD Duo!

Max and Elliot Butterworth are two fantastic teenage brothers who practice Tae Kwon Do together here at Asheville Sun Soo. Max and Elliot’s practice is strongly characterized by their amazing teamwork and mutual support. We appreciate the kind, friendly demeanor exhibited by these young men on and off the mat – they are courteous and genuine towards everyone they interact with. Max and Elliot are also strong academically. Their excellent habits around organization and time management reinforce their success at school and at Tae Kwon Do.

Max and Elliot ButterworthElliot has recently taken on a larger role as an assistant instructor at Asheville Sun Soo, helping out a couple days a week with kids classes. Elliot is remarkably mature for his age, and uses his practice as a way to stimulate excellence in the other areas of his life. Elliot is a fantastic martial artist, and moves with grace, power, and detail.

Max has also contributed many hours volunteering with kids classes at Asheville Sun Soo. He has a great sense of humor and a knack for including others socially. Max is also very mature and approaches his practice with intelligence and rigor. His great work ethic and ability to balance work and play have allowed Max to “maximize” the benefits of his Tae kwon Do practice. Pun intended.

Thanks Max and Elliot for being great role models here at Asheville Sun Soo!

Interview – Max
How old are you?
“13.”

What is your rank?
“1st dan.”

What is your occupation?
“Student.”

Why do you practice?
“Because it keeps me fit and it is cool to learn new things.”

How long have you been practicing?
“4-5 years.”

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
“The community of the school.”

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
“Playing soccer, camping, biking.”

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
“I can break dance.”

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
“When I broke my boards at my 1st degree testing.”

Interview – Elliot
How old are you?
“14.”

What is your rank?
“1st dan.”

What is your occupation?
“Student.”

Why do you practice?
“To stay in shape and because it’s fun.”

How long have you been practicing?
“4-5 years.”

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
“It’s fun, and I’ve met so many cool people.”

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
“Computer programming, biking, coffee, money.”

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
“I bike to school almost every morning.”

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
“The first Holiday parade I participated in as a black belt, when we demonstrated for TV.”

Carolyn Suess – A TKD Mom turned Martial Artist!

Carolyn Suess began her Tae Kwon Do practice several months ago, after being inspired by the progress of her son Emery, who also excels in his practice. Despite having no previous experience, Carolyn jumped into her practice enthusiastically and demonstrated remarkable focus and coordination as a white belt. She continues to challenge herself as she moves up in belts by working hard in class to improve both her fitness level and technique. Carolyn is admired by her peers for her pleasant temperament, her positive attitude, and her clean technique. We look forward to seeing Carolyn and her son Emery work towards their green belt in the upcoming weeks. Thank you Carolyn for being so humble, open, and friendly to others, both on and off the mat. We are grateful to have you as a student at Asheville Sun Soo!

carolynsuessWhat is your age?
“35.”

What is your rank?
“Yellow-green.”

What is your occupation?
“My husband and I own and operate a mail-order medical supply company and pharmacy in Fletcher.”

Why do you practice Tae Kwon Do?
“I love always having a goal to reach (to get that next belt!).  It’s also such a fun, challenging and unique way to get both physical and mental exercise.  Although I have never been one to enjoy exercising (like a lot of people), I always look forward to going to TKD class!”

How long have you been practicing?
“About 7 months.”

What is your favorite part of you practice?
“The family-like atmosphere.  Everyone is so friendly and supportive.  It’s also a great stress reliever!”

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
“I enjoy volunteering at my children’s school.”

What is something people at Asheville Sun Soo probably don’t know about you?
“I have visited 11 different countries in Europe, and got married in Austria.”

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
“Testing for and receiving my yellow-green belt.  Now my son and I are at the same belt level.  It’s fun to be learning the same material and being able to practice it together.  I look forward to us testing together in April.”

Henry Thome – a sweet friend and a fierce martial artist!

Henry Thome is a hard working martial artist who possesses incredible perseverance and maturity. Henry started his practice at the age of 5 as a Mighty Tiger, and has since graduated through the beginner class and is now in a leadership position in the intermediate class. Henry demonstrates an abundance of personal strength and internal motivation, qualities that contribute to his excellence as a Tae Kwon Do student. Henry has worked diligently to progress in several technical areas, such as stances and chambers. His efforts have paid off with continuous and steady improvement! Henry’s joyful attitude is contagious – he is quick to connect with teachers and peers and he pays attention to the needs of others – always ready to lend a helping hand. Henry is frequently volunteers his time as an assistant in the Mighty Tigers class, giving back where he first began his practice! It is a pleasure to have Henry as a student here at Asheville Sun Soo and we are grateful for his friendly, happy demeanor and for his resilient attitude!
Henry ThomeHow old are you?
“6.”

What is your rank?
“Green belt.”

Where do you go to school?
“I am in Kindergarten at Carolina Day School.”

Why do you practice?
“To get some exercise, because it’s fun, and I like to hang out with instructors.”

How long have you been practicing?
“A little over a year and a half.”

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
“The forms, the one-steps and especially meditation.”

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
“I enjoy drawing, cooking, and legos.”

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
“I had a bone marrow transplant at age 1…5 years ago!”

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
“When I won the 1st place (gold) medal at the tournament doing my form.”

Nancy Fraser – A loving Tae Kwon Do powerhouse!

Nancy Fraser is a martial artist who lives life with a beautiful simultaneous expression of power and grace. As a 1st Degree Black Belt who has been practicing at Asheville Sun Soo for the past five years, Nancy is an integral part of the leadership and mentorship in our school. She is constantly giving, both in her profession as a massage therapist and as a martial artist in her Tae Kwon Do practice. Through her study of martial arts, Nancy has complemented her gentle nature with her ability to draw boundaries and hold ground when called for. Additionally, as a professional body worker, Nancy has cultivated in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, which she applies to her martial arts practice. Nancy’s Tae Kwon Do journey is summarily characterized by excellence – both in her technique and in her character. Thank you Nancy for your contributions of wisdom, patience, and dedication here at Asheville Sun Soo.
nancyfraserHow old are you?
“56.”

What is your rank?
“1st dan.”

What is your occupation?
“Massage therapist.”

Why do you practice?
“I practice for my spirit, mind, and body. Having a discipline like this lets me express parts of my being that are strong physically and mentally and this supports me in every other aspect of my life.”

How long have you been practicing?
“5 years.”

What do you enjoy most about your practice so far?
“I love the challenge that comes with each belt rank and the constant humility that goes with each new level and for that matter each new class.”

What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
“I recently went surfing for the first time – loved it! I enjoy good theater, good music, and I read a lot.”

What is something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you?
“I worked 17 years in open- heart surgery with the 2nd busiest cardiovascular surgeon in the world (at the time).”

What is your favorite Tae Kwon Do moment?
“Definitely testing with Simon Wolf for my 1st degree black belt.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?
“I love that we come in here every day – pretending to ‘take each other down’ and there is actually more love expressed by the students and instructors for one another than in any other community that I know.”