Nicholas Hung Up on Getting an Instructor’s License


Aaron Sha

Freshman Jun Kim and sophomore Nicholas Hung perform the turning side kick and the middle block after their weekly training at IL-DO Taekwondo Center.

Jane Zou and Aaron Sha

When most teenagers think of a license, they imagine the coveted driver’s license. If you ask sophomore Nicholas Hung, however, you may not receive this answer. Hung is working hard towards an instructor’s license to teach taekwondo techniques after ten years of dedication. The instructor’s license will allow Hung to hone his communication and interpersonal skills with those in lower levels of taekwondo.

“At first, it was just the sense of ‘I need to exercise outside of school,’ but as I got to higher levels, I found that it was something that I really enjoyed and something that I can use to connect with another culture through taekwondo, while still doing exercise,” Hung said.

This passion for the sport transformed into a drive for an instructor’s license. As a third-degree Kukkiwon-certified black belt, Hung needs to test to become fourth-degree in March. After some leadership training, he can become a junior instructor.

“The instructor’s license gives you the ability to seek job opportunities within taekwondo, as you are certified to teach the material,” Hung said. “It also teaches you leadership skills and how to deal with little kids and stuff like that.”

Hung and his peers develop motor skills, respect, discipline, self-control, confidence and leadership skills, according to the IL-DO Taekwondo Association website. For his test to become fourth-degree, Hung needs to master these capabilities.

“To be fourth-degree, you have to know all the forms, create your own one-steps, break many boards and know how to spar others, which is fighting with gear,” Hung’s taekwondo classmate and freshman Jun Kim said.

Hung and Kim vigorously train at the IL-DO Taekwondo Association for 90 minutes every Friday, with Hung training weekly for 10 years.

“They are very responsible students,” taekwondo instructor Daniel Kang said. “They’re consistent in coming to help out, and I can rely on them.”

A license to teach taekwondo is comparable to a black belt: a rite of passage into being an official expert. While students earn awards through skills and hard work, the instructor’s license acknowledges compassion along with physical prowess.

Hung believes the key to growing in skill ability is self-discipline to continue.

“There is never a bad time to start taekwondo,” Kim said. “It will be tough as you try to get higher belts like Nick and I do. In the end, it’s all worth it because you can learn discipline and it’s a great sport.” Kim said.