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Korean businessman sees thriving business grow

Seong “David” Eun left his home in Korea almost 20 years ago and, to paraphrase Horace Greeley, to go west.Eun is the owner of Eun’s Martial Arts Center, 11110 Kingston Pike, but came to Tennessee years ago knowing very little of the English language or American culture.“My mother and brother had immigrated over here,” Eun said. “I came over here as an instructor to The University of Tennessee swim team. I taught tae kwon do to the swim team to give them focus and confidence.”It wasn’t an easy task, he said. The language barrier caused difficulty in instructing students properly.

“I remember one time I was giving a television interview,” Eun said with a chuckle. “It didn’t go so well.”

The job with UT required his time for two days a week. Eun said he decided to get a job at an “American restaurant” to help him learn to speak English better. But there was a slight problem.

“I was just a little too shy to try and talk to people,” he said. “I eventually got over that and started talking to people.”

In 1987, a year after he came to the U.S., Eun decided to open a tae kwon do studio in Farragut.

“The business has been here for eighteen years,” he said. “Eighteen years and one instructor — me.”

He had a lot of help in the creation of the business and his life here in America. One of those people was a man by the name of Roy Frye.

“I hadn’t been here too long and this man gave me his wife’s car,” he said. “Over the years he has helped me out many times in different ways. I’m grateful and thankful he’s my friend. He’s my heart.”

Eun said he currently has 170 students, but has had thousands over the years.

“I’ve never been concerned about doing this for money,” he said. “I love tae kwon do and teaching it to other people, especially the children. When you do what you love, the rest will take care of itself.”

Eun said tae kwon do teaches its students discipline and confidence, but also respect and humility.

“I usually spend the last five minutes of the children’s class talking to them about respect,” he said. “I tell them they should respect their teachers and their parents.”

Besides teaching classes, Eun and his wife, Yumee, are involved in a Korean church in Knoxville.

“God has really blessed my life,” he said.

For more information on enrolling in classes, call



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