My TKD Years

My TaeKwonDo Years

Despite being my starting point in martial arts, I do not look back on my time learning TaeKwonDo [TKD] too fondly.  This has nothing to do with the art itself, rather the organisation I was part of and the politics that occurred.

I studied World TaeKwonDo Federation Styled TKD under the various instructors of the now disbanded Irish Counties TKD Union (ICTU).  The focus of the majority of these instructors was on competitive sparring.  If I recall correctly, my first Sabunim, Master Gerry Fleming went deeper then just the sport-orientation in his instruction.  Unfortunately, Master Fleming's school folded due to lack of membership.  Afterwards I bounced between a couple of clubs, learning from Master Fleming's instructor and students.  Eventually, one of those students opened a club back at Master Fleming's old location.  As school became more important, I stopped bouncing around and focused my training there, earning my first degree Kukkiwon black belt at the age of thirteen.

Two years later, and literally an hour before my scheduled second degree black belt grading, I found out that the organization I trained in had changed.  I learned many hard lessons really quickly: that the some pursue their own agenda at the cost of others; that good students can be lead awry without knowing it; that an instructor's words and teachings are not always honourable or correct.  I left the club that day, the ICTU shortly after, and the style not long after that.

Earning a black belt makes you realise your journey has just begun; you now have enough mastery of the basics to begin walking your own path.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and I would not trade these experiences for anything as they raised questions that I have been working on ever since.  Seeing a bad side of martial arts has allowed me to appreciate all the positive.  It inspires me to make doubly sure that I add only positive to the martial arts community.

TKD is still a corner-stone to the artist I have become.  Through learning other styles, I have learned deeper meaning to TKD's techniques.  Meanings that I openly share.

The start of the path ...