Martial artist shares passion with students

January 16, 2008 8:10:17 AM PST
Martial arts is Kyung Sun Shin's life's passion. It's a discipline he learned when he was just a child. Now, at 74 years young, his love of martial arts is still strong, and he's found that teaching it is even more rewarding. ABC7'S Harry Porterfield says this grandmaster instructor is someone you should know.

These kids are learning tae kwon do, a martial art, but they are also learning discipline, self-confidence and respect for others. And that's what grandmaster Kyung Sun Shin expects from his students.

"Some of the students that come in here, very poor education, after they start martial arts and they get straight A's," said Shin.

Shin founded the Military Arts Institute in 1963. Born in Korea, he's been a martial arts practitioner since he was 11. He is now 74.

"I keep practicing myself everyday and regularly. That's why I think I'm in good shape," Shin said.

You'll find Grandmaster Shin teaching six days a week, Monday through Friday, 7 1/2 hours on each of those days and five hours on Saturday.

Among his 150 students, some exceptional athletes. Soleil Strickland is a seven-time national champion with Olympic aspirations.

"He's patient with his students, he's wonderful, he has lots of consideration, he pushes us hard so we can become something in life, he's just great," said Strickland.

After four years Sharon Wright became an instructor.

"I joined for two reasons: to be with my granddaughter and my health," said Sharon Wright, assistant instructor.

"I studied with master Shin in 1980 and '81. I was a little rough around the edges and Master Shin straightened me and some of my friends. I now have both of my children enrolled here," said Phillip Schavel, student.

A versatile martial arts instructor, Shin also teaches, Hapkido and judo.

"I'd like to continue. Maybe some day I die on a mat. I don't think I'm ever gonna retire," said Shin.