Ethan Sen is 13 years old, an eighth grader at Union and national gold medalist.
“Whenever I went to the tournament, I got my first medal that I was really proud of,” said Sen. “I was like, ‘I really like this, I want to keep going.’"
Sen’s been practicing taekwondo since he was four and went to his first competition five years ago, right around the time he joined Hwan Soo Seo at Golden Dragon Tae Kwan Do in south Tulsa.
"I couldn't recognize his talent the first time because he was just one of my students,” said Hwan Soo Seo. “After a year, he started outstanding."
"Master Soo trained me,” Sen stated. “I'm really thankful for him. He trained me to be a competitive athlete."
What followed was a flood of state and national tournaments, each more successful than the last and each built on the same foundation.
"The result came from harder training,” said Master Soo. "Carefully, I'm watching him. He never gives up. Every night, every night, he left the school, last one."
Sen took a gold medal in team competition at this year's national championship and two bronze at the world championships in Lima, Peru.
"This was my fourth US Open,” said Sen. “I wanted to get medals like gold medals, so I was determined to get medals."
"We change Oklahoma's reputation, so we go to national championships,” Master Soo explained. “The other states start to recognize, ‘Oh, Golden Dragon Oklahoma, one of the best schools.’”
Sen’s got eyes on the national team, and the Olympics, but apart from that, he's learned one important lesson.
"Don't give up easily,” he said. “There are times where it's really hard and it may seem like you're really losing, but if you don't give up, you could make a really good comeback."