We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joseph, what principle do you value most?
“QUESTITEMENT” = The excitement you experience while on a quest/ journey (Quest + Excitement) Yes, yes. I made up a word. But shouldn’t it be an actual word? My job is to guide people to a place they’ve never been. It could be a certain ranking, getting a spot on the tennis team, or finally learning a sport they’ve always wanted to learn. Each student wants to be somewhere they’ve never been. It’s my job to help get them there. The road map to that special place is unique to each person and so too are the challenges. But the willingness to guide them and to face the hurdles, and setbacks, and mountains, and frostbite, and hypoxia, and work load comes first from this value, “questitement.” When questitement is present, many things are possible. I’m essentially a tennis Sherpa!
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a tennis instructor/tennis sherpa (I have the farmer’s tan to prove it). I have a little basecamp of tennis players in Glendale, mostly composed of kids and a few adults all trying to climb their metaphorical tennis mountains. I started my tennis sherpa business in 2014 shortly after my dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. He was my tennis sherpa. At the time of his diagnosis, our relationship wasn’t great and I hadn’t touched a racket in nearly 10 years. But after his diagnosis, I felt an incredible need to be on a tennis court. Every little thing from the weird way windscreens smell like the dustiest thing in the history of dust, to the way heat radiates off the top of a tennis court in the summer, helped me to feel connected to him and to the great memories we had. Since then, the academy has developed a good number of juniors and adults who have progressed almost shockingly well.
What sets me apart from other instructors is that I am constantly learning. My range of interests span from mindfulness, to learning theory, to art, to neuroscience, to endurance sports, to history, to psychology, to Sponge Bob. All of these things come together in a unique (and often unpredictable) way and allow me to see and teach tennis with a weird degree of creativity and efficacy. As the saying goes, “To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I am on a continuous journey to develop and compile new tools so that I can see and teach tennis with greater clarity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
WARNING: This list will mess you up! Consume carefully. First! We’re going to go to Pete’s Blue Chip in Eagle Rock for chorizo breakfast burritos. Followed by coffee and pastries at Little Grounds in Glendale. Go for a (looong) run along the bike path in Santa Monica to burn off the calories from the morning and to make space for lunch at Spicy BBQ in Thai Town (terrible name, great food). Follow that up with ice cream at Scoops in Highland Park (the original premium ice cream shop in LA). Go play tennis at Scholl Canyon in Glendale (cell service sucks but the view is spectacular). Swing by Racket Doctor in Atwater Village and get all of my tennis needs fixed. Followed by Korean seafood for dinner at the Redondo Beach Crab House. Then wrap up the night with some Bossa Nova waffles at Fed62.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Too many people! But let’s give it a shot. Shoutout to Lindsay, Hyo, Tim, Glenn, Jane, Aaron, Robyn, The Dragon Kim Foundation, Mom, Dad, David Goggins, and all of the students and parents I work with for all of your love, support, sometimes tough but always honest feedback, and encouragement. Also shoutout to all of the books that have sown the seeds for many of the beautiful ways I get to see and experience the world. – Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by: Doris Kearns Goodwin – The Inner Game of Tennis by: Tim Gallwey – Tattoos on the Heart by: Father Greg Boyle – How Emotions are Made by: Lisa Feldman Barrett – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by: Shunryu Suzuki – Triumphs of Experience by: George Valiant