Korean Martial Arts Center Added To Register of San Francisco Legacy Businesses

Korean Martial Arts Center founder Merrill Jung, second from right, with students circa 2018. Photograph courtesy of Merrill Jung

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — The San Francisco Small Business Commission unanimously approved the Korean Martial Arts Center’s application for the San Francisco Legacy Business registry at its Aug. 10 meeting.

Korean Martial Arts Center facade
The facade of the Korean Martial Arts Center.

Founded by Merrill W. Jung in 1983, KMAC is one of the neighborhood’s oldest community-serving institutions where people both young and old obtain and perfect martial arts skills in taekwondo, Hapkido, judo, Yongmudo, karate, kung fu, Filipino stick fighting, tai chi and Wing Chun. 

“Being 37 plus years at that location along with this Legacy Business recognition, it really sets up my family,” Jung told The Ingleside Light. “My son and daughter are ecstatic about this recognition. This sets up another generation to support the community to continue the journey long after when I retire.”

Jung, who attended city schools including City College of San Francisco, retired from the San Mateo Probation Department in 2005. His parents taught martial arts, specifically kung fu but it wasn’t until he attended a Mormon Church group meeting did he formally begin his studies.

Today, he is a member of the U.S. Taekwondo Grandmaster Society, an International Sin Moo Hapkido 10th Dan and a certified 8th Dan Black Belt in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo to name a few of his achievements.

Some KMAC students have gone to the junior Olympics and to Korea for competitions as well as the usual regional competitions.

One student from 30 years ago, Mike Chaung, testified to the Small Business Commission about KMAC’s value to the community. (Disclosure: This journalist wrote the application and spoke in favor of the nomination.)

“A good percentage of clients are very excited to be part of our center,” Jung said. “Our goal is to continue to serve the public in the Ingleside area and beyond.”

KMAC was among the first group of businesses approved by the Small Business Commission for the Legacy Business Registry since the shelter-in-place public health order was issued in March in response to COVID-19.

The Legacy Business Program recognizes longstanding, community-serving businesses that serve as valuable cultural assets to the city. There are currently 243 businesses on the registry.

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