The Yoons' story is a tale of
fate, faith and friendship.
Cecelia's husband, Pius Yoon,
started the Yoon's Judo and Taekwondo School of Tulsa in 1975.
Mr. Yoon studied judo at the
largest judo school in Korea. Back then, it was simply called 'Judo
College' (now it has been renamed 'Yongin University' and they now do
more than judo). Through the school he got a job at the Sports Center,
Nippon, in Germany in the early 1960's. They stayed in Germany for 10
years and their first child was born there.
When Munich held the Olympics in
1972, their friends came and they had a great reunion. Mr. Yoon's
friends encouraged him to move to the USA saying it had more opportunity
for him and his family. The Yoon's decided it was an excellent idea.
They obtained visas quickly and
found a sponsor from Missouri. By the first of the year, they were in
the States. Their sponsor provided a place to work in Little Rock,
Arkansas. They felt obligated to their sponsor, but the job in Little
Rock was too small. They were offered another job in Rogers, Arkansas.
They went to Rogers and worked 3 months. They decided the town was too
small and they needed a place that was more metropolitan. It was the
summer of 1975, and they were looking for ideas.
That summer they met 'Susan' from
Oklahoma City. She said there wasn't a judo school in Oklahoma City and
she was sure her children had never heard of judo. Susan said Oklahoma
City would be a great place to open a judo school. They thought about it
and decided to go to Oklahoma City. It was the capitol of the state, it
must have the most opportunity.
On their way to Oklahoma City,
they had to pass through part of Tulsa and were very impressed with its
cleanliness. They got off the expressway and toured Tulsa. After having
lunch, they pulled out the phone book. "I wonder how many Koreans live
here?" They found a Dr. Kim and a Mr. Kim (Kim is a very common last
name in Korea). "Let's call Mr. Kim, because Dr. Kim would probably be
busy." They called Mr. Kim (it was Dr. Kim's home phone). They asked
many questions about Tulsa and got on like lifelong friends. The Kims
convinced the Yoons to stay in Tulsa. The Yoons went back to Arkansas
that night. Three days later they were back in Tulsa, and never even
went to Oklahoma City. Two weeks later their second child was born.
Through Mr. Kim, they met other
judo students. The students helped put together the first school and
then helped with teaching. After the first few years, they needed to
move the school. Judo black-belt Dr. Luis Gorospe helped find their
current location near 25th and Harvard, which just happened to be close
enough to where he worked that he could walk to judo.
Mrs. Yoon's husband started
business in Tulsa in 1975. Unfortunately there are no guarantees for
long life. Master Yoon died in 1992. Leaving his wife with a child in
high school and one in college. Subsequently, after 10 years, one is a
JAG officer with the Navy and the other is studying to become a doctor.
What more could parents ask for.
The Yoon's school is operated
more as a service to the arts. There are no gold-plated doors to go
through. It is a simple school; humble, honorable and respected. But the
number of trophies are becoming a little unmanageable. More trophy space
If you would like more
information on the school please feel free to contact us:
Call (918) 742-2311