20 Questions with Phillip Yun

Photos of National Team middleweight Phillip Yun

April 20, 2015, 10:42 a.m. (ET)

In this first installment of 20 Questions with..., we get to know a little bit more about Senior National Team middleweight Phillip Yun.

1. It's Sunday morning, what are you having for breakfast?
Phillip:
Rice with quinoa, sam gyup sal, kimchi, garlic, onions and seaweed.

2. If you didn't compete in taekwondo, what else would you be doing?
Phillip:
I would probably be mediocre at basketball.

3. Who's your hero?
Phillip:
My grandpa. He was a decorated 3-star general and even served in the House of Representatives in South Korea. He had a significant role in making difficult decisions during the Korean War, which saved thousands of lives. He looks great at 89 years young, and he has always been my moral compass. From him, I learned that integrity is something you cannot buy.

4. Last book you couldn't put down?
Phillip:
I don't really read books for leisure. I thought the movie Whiplash was awesome. I'm sure many athletes will agree.

5. Who was your childhood celebrity crush?
Phillip:
Jennifer Love Hewitt

6. What's playing on your IPod right now?
Phillip:
Daler Mehndi- Tunak Tunak Tun

7. If you could see one concert, what would it be?
Phillip:
Michael Jackson during his prime.

8. What's the best thing about your hometown?
Phillip:
I am from Diamond Bar, Calif. The best thing about it is that it is safe and boring. It forces people to become explorers out of frustration.

9. What's your weirdest habit?
Phillip:
When I am at my parents' house, I open the fridge and admire the contents as soon as I walk in the door. Ninety percent of the time I am not even hungry, I just like looking at what's inside.

10. What's your biggest pet peeve?
Phillip:
When people talk about toilet humor while I'm eating. My ability to visualize is a gift and a curse.

11. What's your fast food guilty pleasure?
Phillip:
Chipotle. I think I can eat it once a day for about 20 years.

12. What was your most embarrassing moment?
Phillip:
Back when celebrating after scoring a point was common, I wanted to come up with a natural and fancy celebration. I felt like it defined the fighter's character and individuality at the time (it didn't). I was practicing just my point celebrations and whispering intense kihaps in the hotel gym at the U.S. Open. After about 15 minutes of "intense" practicing, I noticed that the coach from Puerto Rico saw me doing the whole thing. It was very awkward.

13. Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have dinner with?
Phillip:
Hyun Woo Park. He passed in 2011 in his early 30's from late discovery of stomach cancer. He taught me the basics of "Korean-style" sparring and used to give me an awesome beating (he was a flyweight). He was such a vulgar, goofy and fun person. I would love to have dinner with him and tell him of all the accomplishments of my athletic career. He would probably downplay and mock my accomplishments and tell me stories from his competition days, but I know I would make him proud.

14. What's your favorite vacation destination?
Phillip:
Maui. I love nature. Maui has both magnificent mountain trails, waterfalls and beaches.

15. What is your favorite TV show?
Phillip:
Game of Thrones.

16. What's your dream car?
Phillip:
Tesla. I hate spending money on gas.

17. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Phillip:
I would like to have an unlimited amount of money, like Batman's super power.

18. What's the one thing you haven't done that you'd love to do?
Phillip:
Fight a professional taekwondo match, like they had in the early 90's.

19. If someone was buying you dinner, you're having...
Phillip:
All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ.

20. What are your words to live by?
Phillip:
The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.