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. Master Tung holds an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill, has had a life time of practice in martial arts, including a master rank in Traditional Tae Kwon Do, and makes a practice of being accepting and encouraging to other people. This visit is a special treat for Master Morris, as Master Morris and Master Tung have shared a friendship for almost twenty-five years which included practicing under the same teachers for more than twenty years.
Master Tung started practicing martial arts at the age of nine to help him deal with bullying that he was experiencing. He first practiced by himself and then sought more experienced resources. Ten years later, while studying Industrial Design at NC State, he found Master Berger, a skilled Traditional Tae Kwon Do instructor in Raleigh, NC. He wanted to measure the effectiveness of what he had been able to piece together to that point and then further his martial arts education in a more formal setting. Master Tung enrolled in Sun Yi’s Academy of Tae Kwon Do and found a welcoming community and a rigorous practice there. He loved both aspects of classes and says he became “hooked,” becoming an avid practitioner and going to class sometimes every day.
Growing up Chinese in the US, Master Tung, aware of his ethnicity, often times felt like an outsider. So Master Tung has been happy to experience the martial arts world to be one of acceptance and not one of discrimination. He noticed many changes in himself as he continued studying Tae Kwon Do seriously. Probably the biggest difference he has experienced relates to his developed confidence in the dojang translating to life outside the dojang.
Master Tung is in his third decade of practice of Traditional Tae Kwon Do and has complemented that practice with exposure and training to various amounts in other styles of martial arts including Wing Chun, Judo, Aikido, Tai Chi, Jujitsu, Philipino fighting, and Push Hands. In addition to his years as a practitioner, Master Tung has enjoyed the honor of contributing as an instructor in the Sun Yi’s system for many years. For Master Tung, when students take a class where they are completely spent, completely exhausted, they have an experience that sticks with them. He says – “for each individual, this experience may create something different, ultimately, students need to find the drive within themselves.” This drive can certainly extend into other domains of life and could even possibly save someone’s life one day.
Master Tung’s favorite part of his martial arts practice is testing the resilient nature of our being and finding and feeling the many paths that lead to success at playing. As he continues to practice, he loves knowing how much there is left for him to still learn. Master Tung enjoys other physical activities as well, such as weight lifting, swimming, and various outdoor exercises. Other interests of his include reading, current events, and social change for good.
Master Tung received a warm welcome to Asheville, and was pleased to spend some time with all the fun Sun Soo students. This was his second trip to Asheville Sun Soo (last visited in 2010). He appreciated the “good energy” and “good people.” Testing is a great celebration of hard work and practice, and Master Tung was looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress and being part of this inspirational experience.
It was an honor to have such an experienced, skilled, gentlemanly and intelligent practitioner in our company. Thank you Master Tung for visiting us!