Knowing No Limits On Taekwondo

July 15, 2014, 10:33 a.m. (ET)

By Ryan Lucas

The confines may be small. But at Team McEuin Taekwondo, the owners’ reach of passion for the sport extends far beyond any physical boundaries.

For 17 years, the school has operated out of a modest space in the local recreation center in Bremerton, Wash. Overall, though, the family business still provides for outsize success and expectations.

“We used to be in the banquet room, but we’d leave a smell from the feet,” Mary McEuin, the mother of three taekwondo coaches, said with a laugh last week at the 2014 USA Taekwondo National Championships in San Jose, Calif.

“Now we train on a racquetball court, but we like it small. It gives my son Brian a lot of opportunities for one-on-one coaching.”

For more than two decades, taekwondo has functioned as an adhesive in the McEuin family structure. Mary McEuin and her three sons—Casey, Jason and Brain McEuin, all three of whom competed for the USA Taekwondo Junior National Team at one time—just attended their 22 national championships together.

“It’s been everything,” Mary McEuin said. “When the boys were younger, all of our family vacations were planned around taekwondo.”

Then, after the McEuins opened their school, changes in the family dynamics prompted a reworking of the school staff.

When Casey joined the U.S. Army and Jason moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., and began preparing at the Olympic Training Center as part of the USA Taekwondo Senior National Team, Brian picked up the reins of control at the family school. He has yet to relinquish that duty.

“Brian was 14 years old when he took over, and no one said it would last,” Mary McEuin said. “Here we are 14 years later, and we’re still going strong.”

All three of Mary McEuin’s sons used the family business as an eventual springboard to coaching. Jason is a lead instructor for Master Herb Perez at Gold Medal Martial Arts in Burlingame, Calif., and Casey works with U.S. Army taekwondo competitors.

“I’m my boys’ secretary,” Mary McEuin said with a smile. “I take care of all the paperwork and take care of the kids, and they do all the teaching and coaching.”

Mary McEuin revels in each moment she spends with her sons near the mat. As she watches them coach and attempt to shape their athletes’ perspectives, she sees many of the qualities their masters once pushed to instill in them.

“They’re good people, and their integrity is totally intact,” Mary McEuin said. “They give back, too, so they’re good boys, and it’s exciting to watch them coaching here.

“It’s a mother’s dream to watch your kids grow and become such great people.”

Part of that great pleasure also keeps lit the torch of infatuation that she and her sons share.

“We have a lot of passion,” Mary McEuin said with a laugh. “Instead of getting angry, we say that we have a lot of passion. We love it.”

And the McEuins are infusing that obsession in another generation. One of Mary McEuin’s three grandchildren, her 8-year-old granddaughter, Jaylynn, is now training at the school with Brian.

“We have another round of McEuins in the sport,” Mary McEuin, who’s still trying to spark an interest in the sport with her two grandsons, said. “We’re looking forward to that.”

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