Martial Arts Master Instructor

Asheville Sun Soo Welcomes Master John Penn as Our Guest Master Instructor for December Testing

Master John Penn began his martial arts journey in 1986, when he began studying Chung Do Kwan, one of the five primary styles of Traditional Tae Kwon Do. Master Penn started his martial arts practice through the University of Toledo.

After receiving his 1st Degree Black Belt in 1992 in Traditional Tae Kwon Do, he began a martial arts program at the YMCA, which he developed into a full-time program. In 2002, after additional training in complementary martial arts styles, Master Penn opened Satori Martial Arts in its current location in Maumee OH. He is still the primary instructor and is on the mat teaching 7 days a week, including classes in Garamot Arnis, Japanese Jujitsu, Karate, Yoga, and Danzan Ryu healing arts.

Master Penn loves teaching and inspiring people. He is an excellent instructor who has the mission to make each student feel engaged, important, and accomplished. Besides his full-time martial arts and healing arts instruction, he also serves as the State Director for Garamot Arnis.

Master Penn currently holds a 5th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate, a 5th degree black belt in Japanese Jujitsu, and is Shodan in Danzan Ryu healing arts. He is father to 5, all but one of whom have earned at least their 1st Degree Black Belts. His 15 year old daughter is an assistant instructor at Satori Martial Arts, and two of his sons still train.

Master Penn would like to acknowledge all of his instructors:

Guru Baet

Professor Tom Ryan

Hanshi Steven Roensch

Shihan Pete Pukish – founder of Satori in Roswell, GA

Please help us to welcome Master Penn by personally introducing yourself and thanking him for his presence.

Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts Welcomes Master Bob Kerr To Our October 2017 Testing

Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts Welcomes Master Bob Kerr To Our October 2017 Testing

Please join us in welcoming Master Bob Kerr, originally of Charlotte NC, to our October testing event! Master Kerr trains and teaches under Grandmaster Ju Hun Kim (of Kim School of Tae Kwon Do, in Charlotte, NC), who was Master Morris’ first teacher. He has also been the general secretary of the International Black Belt Association (founded by Grandmaster Ju Hun Kim) since 1984, and is a 5th degree Master Instructor.

Master Kerr’s main reason for beginning Tae Kwon Do was to counter the effects of a sedentary vocation – he is a Methodist minister – and to achieve and maintain excellent health. He began his journey in 1974 at 28 years old, when he decided to stop in and observe a Tae Kwon Do class at a school he regularly passed by, and at which he still practices. At the age of 72, he is still teaching and enjoying his practice. He loves embracing exciting challenges and tapping into his potential as a martial artist. In fact, he had hip replacement surgery four months ago, and is back on the mat already. He attributes his speedy recovery to his 43 years of practice.

Master Kerr and his wife have 3 sons, including John Flynn, who practices here at Asheville Sun Soo with his son, Gage. All three of Master Kerr’s sons practiced Tae Kwon Do during their childhood and teenage years, and one is currently a 3rd degree Black Belt in South Carolina.

In his spare time, Master Kerr enjoys woodworking. He is also a songwriter – he and his wife perform together, and he is a regular participant in an annual songwriting workshop held by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

Master Kerr is looking forward to being with Master Morris and the students and other instructors at Sun Soo this upcoming weekend!


Asheville Sun Soo Welcomes Additional Guest, Professor Thomas Ryan to Our August Testing

Asheville Sun Soo Welcomes Additional Guest, Professor Thomas Ryan to Our August Testing

Professor Thomas H. Ryan Jr.Please join us in welcoming Professor Thomas Ryan to our August testing event. This will be Professor Ryan’s first visit to our school, and we are excited to have him here!

Professor Ryan has received training in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kodokan Judo, and Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. He has also studied Escrima, Wing Chun, Judo, Aikido, boxing, wrestline, Karate, Lua, Philippino knife, Kun Tao Silat de Thouars, and other styles of jujitsu.

He holds the title of Rokudan (6th Degree) with the title of Professor with Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu Hombu,Costa Rica. He is Hachidan (8th Degree) with the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation and the American Traditional Jujutsu Association. In addition, he is a Sandan (3rd Degree) in Kodokan Judo, a Jujitsu Rokudan and a Master Jujitsu Rank Examiner with the United States Judo Association and also holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

In addition to his martial arts studies, Professor Ryan is also a Certified Okazaki Restorative Massage Therapist, a distinction he earned in 1985 from the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation’s Okazaki Restorative Massage program. He has built upon this by earning his Okazaki Massage Instructor Certificate in 1988, his Massage Therapist Instructor certification from the Human Touch School of the Healing Arts in 1990, and has been a Certified Instructor with American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) since 1993.

He believes that his greatest reason for studying and teaching martial arts is to strengthen his spirit for all of life’s challenges, to be discriminatory so he can gain wisdom, to have a positive impact on the youth and adults in his community, and to be compassionate so he can serve others to the best of his ability.

Professor Ryan is an associate and fellow practitioner of Professor Thabiti Sabahive, the head Jiu Jitsu instructor of Asheville Sun Soo.

sheville Sun Soo Welcomes Master Ron Whitted to Our August Testing

Asheville Sun Soo Welcomes Master Ron Whitted to Our August Testing

Master Ron WhittedPlease join us in welcoming Master Ron Whitted to our August testing event! Master Whitted is president and founder of the North Carolina Taekwondo Organization and has launched an Olympic Taekwondo Development Program in his region.

Master Whitted is a Level 1 Olympic Taekwondo Coach, a B-1 USAT National Referee and a National and International Taekwondo champion – having won Gold medals in Forms and Sparring at the US National Taekwondo Championships and the US Open Taekwondo Championships. As a coach, Master Whitted has guided his team to win over 50 national medals at the US Junior Olympics and National Taekwondo Championships since 1992. Master Whitted is also the Taekwondo Competition Manager of the Powerade State Games of North Carolina Taekwondo Championships.

Master Whitted’s personal motto is “still kickin’,” believing that a committed and consistent practitioner will live a long, happy and healthy life!


Taekwondo Bootcamp at Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts

2017 TKDI Bootcamp A Huge Success

Asheville Sun Soo was honored to host the TKDI (Tae Kwon Do International) Bootcamp, held August 4th through August 6th, 2017. This event brought together over 100 practitioners of varying ranks, representing schools throughout the TKDI family. All classes & training sessions were run by Grandmaster Kim, who shared his vast knowledge, enthusiasm and many years of experience with students of all ranks.

Bootcamp began Friday night, with registration and a meet and greet. It was wonderful watching students from different schools interacting and getting acquainted with one another. Practitioners then shared a meal, and got prepared for the an exciting and rigorous training session, finishing with a talent show that evening.

Saturday morning, there were many opportunities to learn about the nuances and mechanics of proper kicking technique, as well as words of wisdom from Grandmaster Kim about recognizing that we each practice for ourselves. Practitioners from all participating schools then enjoyed a tubing field trip, and were able to take in some of the natural beauty of this area while resting and relaxing. Students reconvened at Asheville Sun Soo in the late afternoon, and after enjoying a shared dinner, resumed training with a short session, led once again by Grandmaster Kim, in the evening.

Sunday morning’s training session although optional, but was a fantastic turnout despite the tired legs! Each visiting Master Instructor led a session, with the purpose of reviewing material covered during the weekend. Practitioners were able to ask questions, get clarity on techniques, and otherwise absorb additional information.

All in all, TKDI Bootcamp was an excellent opportunity to enhance the practice of all who participated, to meet fellow practitioners from our sister schools, and to receive instruction from other Master Instructors, thereby further contributing to a more whole understanding of the curriculum. Students left inspired and invigorated in their practice.

Many thanks to all of the highly skilled instructors who supported the training. They include:

Grandmaster S.J. Kim, 9th Dan, Founder and President of Taekwon-do International
Master Mark Nathanson, 8th Dan, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do
Master Tony Morris, 7th Dan, Asheville Sun Soo, Asheville NC
Master John Meany, 7th Dan, Taekwon-do International Chief Instructor, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, Montclair, NJ
Master James Marr, 7th Dan, Master Marr’s Taekwon-do, Shaker Heights, OH
Master Paul D’Ambrosio, 6th Dan, Aliso Hills Taekwon-do, Aliso Viejo, CA
Master Laura Giletti, 6th Dan, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, Montclair, NJ
Master Keith Klok, 6th Dan, Klok’s School of Martial Arts, Wake Forest, NC, Full Instructor Krav Maga
Professor Thabiti Sabahive, 5th Dan Dansan Ryu Jujitsu, Asheville Sun Soo, Asheville, NC
Master Michael Dickinson, 4th Dan, Asheville Sun Soo, Asheville NC

Next year’s Boot Camp will be held in early August (2018). More details to come as definite plans are made.

Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts Hosts 2017 TKDI Bootcamp

Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do is excited to be hosting the 2017 Annual TKDI Bootcamp, which will be held from August 4th -6th. This is our second year hosting this event, and we at Asheville Sun Soo are honored to host the event once again. Last year marked the largest attendance ever for a TKDI Bootcamp event at over 130 practitioners. We expect this year’s attendance to set another record!

There are under 3 weeks left until this event, so see your school’s Master Instructor for registration and details. In order to help with the logistics of planning this event, we are offering a free t-shirt to all participants who register by Wednesday July 26. Anyone who registers after this date can purchase the t-shirt once they arrive at Bootcamp.

Host families are available for out-of-town students who would like to avoid the cost of lodging while attending Bootcamp. Please let your Master Instructor know if you would like to make this arrangement.

We are happy to announce that Grandmaster Kim will be lead instructing ALL of the major training sessions during this year’s Bootcamp – and he is excited to see and work with everyone’s Tae Kwon Do. Supporting Grandmaster Kim’s lead instruction will be more than a dozen additional TKDI master ranks.

In addition to all of the awesome training seesions, we will also hold a talent show, share 5 meals together in the dojang, and hit the river for tubing!

Don’t miss this awesome TKDI training experience!

We look forward to seeing you at Bootcamp!

Special Note: Remember that Asheville is a fantastic vacation destination, and we invite you to consider staying and enjoying additional vacation days in our city. For more information on things to do while in Asheville, please visit


Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts June Belt Testing – Guest Master Instructor Corey Lewis

Master Lewis is a 7th degree black belt with over 35 years experience in martial arts. He is a Master Instructor in the Sun Yi system, of which Master Tony Morris was a part for over 25 years, and he and Master Morris have enjoyed a friendship since the early 90s. In addition to his Tae Kwon Do practice, Master Lewis has complementary experience in Aikido and Jiu-jitsu. Master Lewis owns and operates Sun Yi Academy in Arcata, CA.

Martial arts are not the only field in which Master Lewis has expertise. He is also a father of 2 boys, a formally tenured professor of English at Humboldt State University in California, a professional coach, and the author of a recently released book, “Art of Becoming.”

Master Lewis is an accomplished teacher, and an excellent martial artist. We look forward to having him as our Guest Master Instructor at our June belt testing event.

Guest Master Instructor: Master John Meany of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do

Master John Meany of Glen Ridge Taekwon-DoPlease join us in welcoming Master John Meany, Owner and Head Instructor of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do and Chief Instructor for Taekwon-do International, to our April 2017 testing event!

Master John Meany is a 7th Degree black belt with over 20 years of experience practicing and teaching  Taekwon-do.  Master Meany is a student of Grand Master Suk Jun Kim in New York City. Grand Master Kim was a member of the internationally renowned Korean Taekwon-do demonstration team under General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of Taekwon-do. In 2014 Master Meany was appointed Chief Instructor of Taekwon-Do International.

Under Grand Master Kim, Master Meany has served as Patterns Demonstrator at Taekwon-do International seminars, and has also competed extensively in patterns, breaking, and free fighting.

Master Meany will be arriving Thursday, and will conduct our Saturday morning Master’s Class this week.

Please remember that due to testing this week, the school will be closed for classes beginning directly after our Friday morning class sessions. Other than the special Master’s class on Saturday morning, there will be no classes until Tuesday afternoon. Also remember that testing is free for spectators, and is open to the public.