San Yoon paid close attention to his thousands of students in Bellmont Hall, from correcting each individual student’s form to making sure their belts were engraved with the correct names.
Since joining UT in 1997, Yoon taught taekwondo, judo and hapkido until his death over winter break.
“The one thing he emphasized a lot on was to definitely do our best,” pharmacy graduate student Ghenica-Rose Delfin said. “He would constantly remind us to punch hard and kick hard every single time we practiced. He was very strict, very disciplined, but also very encouraging.”
Colton Rouse, UT alumnus and former student of Yoon’s, said Yoon’s patience inspired him to keep pursuing Taekwondo.
“With his peaceful and accepting demeanor, it was clear he was patient in his teaching, and that was inspiring for students,” Rouse said.
Frequently, students took classes with Yoon for two or more semesters.
“I respected his traditional sense of training and discipline, and I appreciated how he helped me develop a sense of personal pride,” physics sophomore Ethan Wolfe said.
“Yoon maintained a supportive, upbeat environment,” biochemistry junior Kevin Valdez said.
“I wish everyone had taken a class with Master Yoon,” Valdez said. “Classes with him were probably the most fun I had on campus. He was funny, both intense and lax, and gave you a good feeling all the time. He taught us not just fighting techniques but also the self-discipline, control over one’s body and control over one’s reactions.”
As a ninth-degree black belt in taekwondo, hapkido and hosin-hapkido and a U.S. Martial Arts Institute member, Yoon was an expert committed to his field, said John Bartholomew, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education.
“We’re just so appreciative that we could have such a long relationship with a faculty member of such expertise and the impact he had on us in that time,” Bartholomew said.
At Yoon’s memorial on Jan. 31, students from his classes since 1997 and members across the community were present.
“You couldn’t ask for a finer human being to be involved with as a professional colleague at this point in my life, or anyone’s time of life,” kinesiology senior lecturer Michael Sanders said. “That’s the kind of people you’d want to be working with and for. I really cherish this time I spent with him since joining the department.”