Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts Prepares for February 2020 Testing

Asheville Sun Soo will conduct belt rank testing on Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th.  We are excited to welcome 3 visiting Guest Master Judges for this event – 9th Dan Grandmaster Ju Hun Kim, 6th Dan Master Robert Word, and 5th Dan Master Bob Kerr! 

Grandmaster Kim (not to be confused with Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim, Founder of Taekwon-Do International, our parent organization) was the first Tae Kwon Do instructor under whom Grandmaster Tony Morris studied, when he was only 10 years old, in 1972! Grandmaster Kim ran his own school, Kim’s School of Tae Kwon Do, which was headquartered in Charlotte, NC (with many associated schools over the 50-year history of Kim’s School of Tae Kwon Do that were located in other cities, states and countries!) for several years.  Grandmaster Kim instilled a sense of excellence and tradition that Grandmaster Morris continues to pursue in the day to day operation of Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts. Please be certain to greet Grandmaster Kim at testing this weekend! 

Master Robert Word is a longtime friend of the school. He and his wife, 5th Dan Master Dawn Word, owned and operated AIM Tae Kwon Do in Greensboro, NC, for several years before taking some time off. Masters Word plan to open a new school in the upcoming year. We are happy to welcome him back to the school! 

Master Bob Kerr, also a longtime friend and frequent visitor to Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts, has been a pastor for several decades, and still practices with Grandmaster Ju Hun Kim today. Welcome back Master Kerr! 

We want to congratulate all of our testing students for all their efforts and accomplishments. We want to give special recognition to the five students testing for Black Belt ranks: 

John Mellin, 13, testing for Junior 1st Dan 

Lucca DeGennaro, 10, testing for Junior 2nd Dan 

Silas Flaum, 14, testing for Junior 2nd Dan 

Devin Martin, 18, testing for 2nd Dan 

Amerie Delfin, 14, testing for Junior 3rd Dan 


We will be closed for classes beginning at 11:30am Friday, February 14th. There will be no classes on Friday afternoon or evening, all day Saturday, February 15th, and all day Monday, February 17th. We will resume our normal class schedule on Tuesday, February 18th.  

Testing Schedule: 

Friday, February 14th 

4pm: Mighty Tiger/Mighty Lion Testing 

6pm: White Belt Testing, White-Yellow Belt Testing, Color Belt Board Breaks, Black Belt candidates begin testing. Please arrive by 5:30pm.  

Saturday, February 15th 

10am: Special Seminar for students in the Black Belt ranks, conducted by Grandmaster Kim! 

12pm: Testing for all students, ranked White-Yellow belt and above, Black Belt candidates complete testing. 

Community meal immediately follows testing. Food will be provided by Happy Cinco de Mayo, a delicious restaurant located within the River Ridge Market Place, specializing in Mexican cuisine. 

Students should wear WHITE uniforms ONLY! 

We will be closed for classes throughout testing weekend, as well as on Monday, February 17th  (in order to reset the space)! Classes will resume on Tuesday, February 18th and will follow our regular schedule! Please wear your current belt to your first class back. Students who have been promoted will receive their new belt at their first class back.  

Kids who move up to yellow belt or blue belt should attend one more class for their current rank. White-Yellow belts who test to Yellow belt should attend one more Kid’s Beginner class, then begin going to Kid’s Intermediate classes after receiving their new belt. Green-Blue belts who test to Blue belt should attend one more Kid’s Intermediate class, then begin going to Kid’s Advanced classes after receiving their new belt.  

We look forward to seeing all of you this weekend! 


Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts Hosts Annual Fall TKDI Invitational Tournament


Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts is honored to have hosted the 2019 Fall Taekwon-Do International Invitational Tournament. The Fall TKDI Invitational Tournament is hosted annually by Asheville Sun Soo, and this year’s event was the first invitational tournament held in our new River Ridge location!

Master Instructors and students from several different schools participated and contributed to a fantastic day! Competition was rigorous, respectful, and challenging and allowed students from different schools to share brackets, which made the day fun as well as a valuable way to develop and improve martial arts skills.

Students ages 3-80 competed in different areas of practice – forms (patterns), sparring, and board breaks. Competing in these areas provided competitors with multiple opportunities to cheer for their fellow practitioners, make new friends from participating schools, and to notice things about their own practices – all of which contribute to growth as a martial artist!

We want to give special thanks and recognition to 9th Dan Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim, President and Founder of Taekwon-do International, 9th Dan Grandmaster Terry Brumley, Founder of United Taekwon-Do Alliance, 8th Dan Grandmaster Barry Partridge, 7th Dan Master John Meany, 7th Dan Master James Marr, and 5th Dan Master Shay Tippens – as well as all their participating students – for their collective contributions to the 2019 TKDI Invitational Tournament.

Congratulations to all who competed! We look forward to seeing our sister schools at future events!

Master Marr to visit Asheville for April Testing

This weekend at Asheville Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do, we would like to extend a warm welcome to 6th degree Master James Marr. When you see him in the studio this weekend, please introduce yourself and thank him for being here!
Master James Marr, 6th Dan, teaches traditional Taekwon-do as envisioned by its founder, General Choi Hong Hi. Master Marr opened his first school, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 2002. Eleven years and over 1500 students later, Marr moved with his wife and two children to Shaker Heights, Ohio, to be closer to extended family. His first school continues to run under the leadership of Master John Meany.

Although Master Marr’s Taekwon-do is independently owned and operated, it maintains a close association with S.J. Kim’s Taekwon-Do in Manhattan and Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in NJ. Master Marr’s Taekwon-do is a member of Taekwon-do International, of which Marr is Vice President.

Always a dedicated athlete, Master James Marr competed in track and field, swimming, wrestling, football, and bicycling before discovering Taekwon-do in college. After earning an undergraduate degree in psychology and a masters degree in technical theatre, he moved to New York City to pursue a theatre career. Researching the numerous Taekwon-do schools in Manhattan, Master Marr found Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim, a direct disciple of Taekwon-do’s founder, General Choi Hong Hi.

Master Marr considers his school to be a place of learning, and his method of teaching emphasizes the traditional values of discipline, practice, hard work, and focus. He oversees all classes, and his goal is to help each student reach his or her full potential and therefore, he expects his students to learn and practice with diligence and sincerity.

When asked his favorite thing about practicing Tae Kwon Do, Master Marr says, “I don’t think about it anymore. I just do it.” He added that his favorite part of the traditional curriculum is the patterns (forms). Master Marr’s favorite teaching moments are the times when “a student’s face lights up because they suddenly get it!” He is excited to see Asheville Sun Soo students trying their hardest this weekend and shared that “best effort” is what he really cares about.

Thank you to Master Marr for making the journey to be with us this weekend – we greatly look forward to your visit!

Leah Dickinson loves Tae Kwon Do…and manatees!

Our student spotlight this week is on Leah Dickinson!

leahdickinsonLeah is a sweet, hard working student who is very enthusiastic about her Tae Kwon Do practice.  Leah practices with her Dad and participates in both kid AND mixed adult classes.  Leah brings a great attitude to the mat and always treats her classmates with respect.  She has improved immensely since beginning her practice and sets a great example for the other students.  Leah is also a great at sparring – she is fierce but has excellent control, and above all is a team player.  Leah is an awesome member of our community and we are grateful to have her as a student here at Sun Soo!

Age: 8

Rank: Blue-Red

Where you go to school:  Isaac Dickson Elementary

How long you’ve been practicing: 2 years

What you enjoy most about your practice so far: I get a good exercise, I also get to meet new people and I get to learn about being more organized

Other hobbies/interests: roller skating, disc golf, running, swimming and biking

Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you:  That I love, love, love manatees!

Favorite Tae Kwon Do moment:  My blue belt testing.

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.

photo 3








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!

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

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


Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria