There's modest and then there's Jungsuv Song.
The 19-year-old participant in Howe Sound Secondary School's international student program participated in the West Coast Can-Am Championship martial arts event at the B.C. Institute of Technology on June 5.
Jungsuv did really well in his first ever-competitive event. He won gold in his men's novice weight category.
The Howe Sound Secondary student didn't celebrate his win; instead he kept it quiet. He didn't tell his parents and he didn't tell his Canadian host family the news.
In an interview with The Chief, Jungsuv was reluctant to talk about his success.
Initially, Michelle Park of the Squamish Martial Arts and Yoga Centre translated the interview. She encouraged Jungsuv to do the interview on his own in English and once he started speaking, it became clear that his English skills are adequate and he simply wasn't comfortable with the idea of sharing his story of success.
With his kickboxing coach, Shusei Kushida, and other students at the centre looking on Jungsuv opened up and started talking about the competition held earlier this month.
"I was happy and thankful for all my friends who were there - Korean friends and Japanese friends," said Jungsuv. "Because of their support I was able to put it out there."
He said that he drew inspiration from the crowd of supporters that watched him in competition and he added that his coach helped him a great deal. Coach and student have a good working and training relationship and they are also friends outside of the martial arts program.
To prepare for the competition, Jungsuv said he did some free sparring with his coach and other students. He also worked on the heavy bag he has at his home.
The Korean student said he was nervous leading up to the event.
"I couldn't sleep the night before the competition," said Jungsuv. "Before I started sparring I was nervous. When I started I was fine. I had no time to think."
He participated in two matches at the competitive event. The first he won by a single point.In his second match he knocked out his opponent with a hook punch in the first round.
The gold medal victory is amazing in light of a number of facts. Jungsuv had to compete in a weight class higher than his own because of a lack of entries in his category. Also, he began studying Tae Kwon Do with Scott Strachan in Squamish at the martial arts centre on Cleveland Avenue only a few years ago when he started in the international student program in Squamish. He did not take up the sport when he was growing up in Korea.
Park said that many Korean parents are very protective of their children and they are reluctant to allow their kids to study martial arts.
He started with Tae Kwon Do and then expanded to learn kickboxing techniques from Kushida.According to Park, Jungsuv started his training so he could feel closer to his homeland.
He expects his host family in Squamish will learn of his victory by reading the newspaper and he wants to show his parents the article instead of actually telling them himself.
Through the summer, Jungsuv will be in Korea. He doesn't plan to train while he is at home but when he comes back to Vancouver in the fall to start college classes, he intends to pick it up and he's contemplating a return to competition.