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Meet Young Kim of Master Kim’s Tae Kwon Do Academy in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Young Kim.

Young, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My father introduced me to taekwondo in Korea when I was in the sixth grade for character development and self-defense. I was a bit of wild child, and getting in trouble in school. Starting taekwondo was a turning point in my life. After starting taekwondo, my school attendance improved and I studied hard in school. I loved taekwondo, and wanted to be the best teacher I could be, so I went to college and graduated from the College of Physical Education in Korea.

After graduating from college as I was preparing to be a Physical Education teacher, Jeonbuk State Taekwondo Association was recruiting a Taekwondo Master to go to the USA and teach taekwondo. It was my dream to teach taekwondo in the United States so I took a chance and submitted my application. I got the position and went on to be a Master Taekwondo Instructor in NY for 10 years before opening my first school in NJ. Then I ended up purchasing the taekwondo school that I had taught at NY when the opportunity arose. We owned that school for 13 years before deciding we wanted to move to Arizona to be closer to my wife’s family. We made the move to Arizona, and opened Master Kim’s Taekwondo Academy in Tempe in January 2017.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I arrived in the United States, I did not speak a lot of English. Even after arriving I was mainly around other people that spoke Korean. This wasn’t really a big issue when I was only teaching, and working for someone else.

It became a bit more of an issue when I opened my own school. Since conversational English was different than having to have business discussions in English. I had to study hard to learn and be confident speaking in English. Today I’m still continuously working on improving my English.

For teaching taekwondo, healthy aging is something I must pay attention to. I love taekwondo and teaching students. I’m 48 years old, but my goal is to still be teaching taekwondo when I’m 80 years old. To do that, I need to manage my body well. I eat healthily. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, or eat junk food.

For running a small business, I’m having to keep learning new skills to stay current with issues that are important to running your own business. For example, when I opened my first school to advertise you put an ad in the yellow pages, and that was just about it. Today I’m learning about social media and online marketing.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Master Kim’s Tae Kwon Do Academy story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m proud to be teaching character building martial arts at Master Kim’s Taekwondo Academy to our community in Tempe, AZ. I’ve been teaching taekwondo to children, families, and adults for over 25 years in both Korea and the United States.

Our school’s program for kids help develop a child’s focus, self-esteem, and self-confidence, helping a child set goals and develop a “Yes, I Can!” attitude that will extend outside taekwondo. I also pride myself in making our school a safe, comfortable, and positive learning environment for our students.

In our program for families, everyone participates: children, parents, and grandparents can attend classes and progress at their own pace.

We help our adult members safely build muscle, quickly burn fat, gain flexibility, and release stress in a fun and supportive environment.

It’s very important to me to offer my students the most up to date taekwondo technique and curriculum. I work closely with other Taekwondo Masters here in the Arizona Taekwondo Association. I’m an 8th-degree black belt, but I’m continuously learning and growing to be the best teacher I can be for my students.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think luck has definitely played a role in my life. Taekwondo brought me to the United States, when it had always been my dream to live here.

I think each big move in my life was impacted in some way by meeting the right person at the right time, and being ready to take a chance on an opportunity.

The Phoenix area has really been amazing. Since we moved here I’ve met so many great Taekwondo Masters and school owners that have been very welcoming. We meet regularly to learn from each other to be able to provide the best experience to our students.

Then, of course, meeting my wife, she is amazing, and very smart. I feel lucky to be able to live here in the United States and live my dream of teaching taekwondo at my own school.

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