I have been training in Taekwon-Do for more than half my life, I started in 1973 at the Polytechnic TKD club in Oxford, England. The Chief Instructor for Great Britain was Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha (then 6th Dan). We were members of the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association (UKTA) which was the ITF representative in Great Britain. I was a member of the ITF from day one and have never had any other affiliations or breaks in my membership. All of my gradings have been under Grandmaster Rhee.
Why did I start Taekwon-Do?
I had an interest in martial arts, and in particular the mystique surrounding them. However, finding a class was quite difficult as there was no advertising for any clubs in those days. I knew there were clubs in the University – but they were a closed shop. It was quite by accident I saw a work mate training during his break, he told me about Taekwon-Do and invited me along to the club. The instructor said the right things to me and got me hooked.
Nowadays, Taekwon-Do is my life, I do something everyday, I have the first hour of the day performing a little routine to keep me flexible and in shape, I usually get to practice all patterns twice weekly in the correct manner, not just the choreography (as so many people perform them these days). I have trained with many legends in TKD, in particular the late founder General Choi Hong Hi, in fact I have done so on so many occasions its hard to remember. Since first training under him in the early 80’s I tried to train at least once a year and on occasions it was 2 or even 3 times, that wasn’t really too difficult as he was often somewhere in Europe. Fortunately I was able to do this up until his death. I have always and still do enjoy working and training with Grandmaster Rhee, he has so much knowledge and something comes out every seminar, but, you have to really concentrate on what he says as it can so easily go over your head.
I went to Australia for a while, I really enjoyed it there, it’s a fantastic place. I learned a lot about myself and Taekwon-Do during that time, because I was the most senior person there and had no one to consult with, I had to do a lot of cross-reference study in order to understand certain aspects. Therefore, my Taekwon-Do really matured which can only be an advantage for everyone.
I hope one day to see all the TKD groups in the world working under one banner instead of bickering and jostling for personal ego and power. A dream? well maybe, but if enough people want something bad enough it can happen. Let’s work together and fulfil General Choi’s ultimate dream.
Taekwon-Do has enabled me to do things with my life and to become someone I could have never been without it. I would like to thank my Instructor and mentor Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha 9th Dan, for making this possible.