How I Started My Taekwondo Journey – An Interview With Master Hyun Kim

For this months blog post I sat down with Master Hyun Kim to find out how his Taekwondo journey started, and how it affected his life.

Growing up in Seoul, South Korea Hyun Kim was bullied in kindergarten. He didn’t feel confident in himself, and had low self-esteem due to the bullying. His mother signed him up for Taekwondo lessons and the change was almost instant. However, Hyun swung in the opposite direction.

“I became the bully, I had too much confidence and not in the good way,” he recalls.

It took time, and the right instructors to show him the direction he needed to go. Having the right teacher can be the difference between becoming a bully, and growing as a person. He strives to fill HK Taekwondo with the right instructors who share his vision.

He competed with his program from years, and took classes through his school until moving to the United States in his late teens. Hyun moved to California to study and lost his love for Taekwondo, and lost sight of himself. He felt that he had lost his passion for many things that he loved, and felt he no longer had a sense of purpose.

Having an expired work VISA, and unable to go back to Korea, finding work became difficult. The only places that he could find work were Taekwondo studios willing to pay in cash until he was able to sort out his VISA with the Embassy.

It comes as a surprise that Master Kim never intended to open his own studio when he was younger. “Taekwondo was all I had, and it gave me my purpose back,” he confessed. Having that purpose back in life inspired him to bring that passion to others, and opening a studio was the best way to accomplish that. “I didn’t find Taekwondo, it found me. And it found me again right when I needed it.”

Coaching youth teams brought him a feeling of purpose again. He repeats the phrase ‘If you train hard enough you can accomplish anything you want’ so frequently that it has almost become creed within the walls of the studio. Coming from another country and striving to reach the American dream drove Master Kim to open his own studio when the time was right.

“When you own your own business, and you pay your taxes – you are the boss, and no one can take that from you. I never had an ‘Ah-ha moment’ to open a studio, it was the only option in my mind. It is all I could do. You have to have the heart for it”

Opening a studio gave Master Kim the ability to help young students that he saw himself in, seeing the same struggles he faced at their age. It is easy to see that Master Kim has the heart for helping others and sharing his passion for the thing that brought him back from the verge – Taekwondo.

“Taekwondo held me accountable – to myself and my family, now my students and my staff. And I expect my students to hold themselves and each other accountable too, that’s the best part of Taekwondo.”

When thinking of accountability Master Kim mentions his responsibility to Korea. “I see myself as an ambassador of South Korea. I represent my home country and the Korean people. I think it’s important to bring that love of Korea to America…to show Americans all the great things Korean culture has [to offer].” This attitude is brought to life in the way he teaches the Korean language to anyone who asks, shares Korean food with our staff, talks K-movies and K-dramas with me – and of course when he shares his love of Taekwondo wherever he goes.

HK Taekwondo is the legacy of a man who cares deeply for his family, students, staff, and community. Master Kim will continue to work hard and persevere through every obstacle – and inspire others to do the same.