UK 1st For Clubs Grand Master in Malaysia 2019

Not long ago, our chief instructor became the joint first UK born practitioner to be promoted to 8th Dan Black Belt at the Kukkiwon, World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul South Korea. He had to share that honour with another practitioner based in Scotland.

This time however, he is a UK born first after successfully passing the Kukkiwon’s class 1 International Taekwondo Master Instructor Course and its class 1 Dan Grade Examiners Course.

Bought courses took place in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia in June 2019, with nearly 150 participants from around the world taking the 2 courses.

This included instructors from the Philippines, Cambodia, Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Australia.

Participants at the instructor’s course were either taking class 3 for 4th Dan Black belt applicants or above, class 2 for 6th Dans and above who have previously passed class 3 and class 1 for 8th dans or above who has previously passed the previous 2.

He was the only instructor to pass the class 1 test, which consisted of both theory and practical testing after 40 hours of theory and practise over 4 days.

He then went on to take class 1 in the examiners course which was held over 2 days consisting of 24 hours of theory of practical training. Only three instructors passed class 1 with the other 2 both being Korean.

Traditionally instructors who have 6th dan or above have been allowed to grade students in their own country and obtain Kukkiwon certification.

Over the years however, there have been issues with Black Belt grades been given out too easily so the Kukkiwon have begun imposing restrictions on instructors with their plan to only allow those instructors with examiner qualifications to grade students.

His 1st class pass now enables him to grade students up to 7th Dan Black Belt and to recommend students for an 8th Dan test at the Kukkiwon.

He is the first UK born instructor to obtain class 1 certification in either of these 2 courses after the results were just recently released. He has done 3 previous Kukkiwon courses since 2015 in the UK, Vienna and Italy. The course held in the UK which was back in 2017, was the first and only time the Kukkiwon has ever held one in this country.

The course was organised by Grand Master Lee Byung Hee who was sent to Malaysia many years ago as a Kukkiwon despatch Master to develop Taekwondo there. The Malaysian Police handled the operational side of things in relation to the courses.


World Taekwondo Norwich Chief Instructor with the Malaysia Police chief and Grand Master Lee 9th Dan

Our Chief Instructor with other trainees on the course in Malaysia 

     Club Medal Success at Peterborough Open

Natasha, Maria and Helen with their well deserved medals

Our club female Poomsae (technical ) competitors put on fantastic performances at the Peterborough Open Championships In July with Natasha and Helen taking bronze medals and Maria securing our first Gold medal in in a National Poomsae event. A big congradulations to all three!





World Taekwondo Norwich Chief Instructor tests for 8th Dan in Korea

WT Norwich Chief Instructor (2nd right) at the Kukkiwon in the presidents office after being one of the first two people from the UK to test there for 8th Dan

Quite recently, WT Norwich Chief Instructor tested for his 8th Dan Black Belt at the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters) in Seoul, South Korea. He took the test alongside two Koreans and Master David Bailey from Scotland.They were the first masters from the UK to test for 8th Dan at the Kukkiwon. The official results of the grading will be released later this year but both have been unofficially informed that they were successful. The test involved the submission of a thesis on the development of Taekwondo techniques, the submission of a CV, a physical test on the floor followed by an interview with the Kukkiwon President Master Oh Hyeon Deuk.




                                                                                                                       Training at the Kukkiwon 

Training with the Kukkiwon Demonstration Team in Korea early June 2016

A couple of days before testing for his 8th Dan, WT Norwich Chief Instructor had the pleasure of training for several hours with the Kukkiwon World renowed Demonstration Team on the floor at the Kukkiwon. An amazing experience!




                                                                                                                                       WT Norwich Gradings 

Dan and Kup Grading early May at our Thorpe Marriott Venue

Congradulations to all successful candidates at our May Dan and Kup grading in Norwich at our Thorpe Marriott Venue. Some great performances form both the children and adult applicants.



More successful candidates at our other May grading at our Sportspark Venue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                World Taekwondo Norwich Chief Instructor attends Kukkiwon Dan Grade Examiner course in Vienna

Senior instructors from around the globe in attendance at the course in Vienna

Our Chief Instructor attended the Kukkiwon Dan Grade Examiners course in Vienna'. Kukkiwon are in the process of changing the rules as to who can grade students for Kukkiwon Dan grades which has resulted in a number of examiner courses all over the world. He successfully passed the course which had attracted nearly 200 instructors holding a minimum rank of 4th Dan Black Belt.

UK instructors in Vienna with their pass certificates

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            WT Norwich senior instructors attend Kukkiwon                                   International Instructors Course

Kukkiwon Chief Instructor Grandmaster In Sik Hwang
Our Chief Instructor and Andrew Chrysafi at The Kukkiwon Instructor course

Our chief instructor together with Norwich WTF club member Andrew Chrysafi 4th Dan, attended a 4 day Kukkiwon International Master Instructor course in Brindisi, Italy both successfully passing the course and becoming class 3 International Instructors 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grandmaster Kytu Dang visits Norwich WTF

World Taekwondo Champion visits Norwich for seminar.


The Norwich Taekwondo club, who run both children’s and adults classes at Thorpe Marriott Village Hall and Norwich Sportspark, brought over Grandmaster Kytu Dang from Denmark for a weekend in May for a historic seminar which was held at the Bob Carter Centre.


Grandmaster Dang is an 8th Dan Black belt and was The WTF (World Taekwondo Federation ) World Poomsae (Technical) champion in 2007, the first non-Korean to win a World title in that discipline.

The WTF are the World governing body for Olympic Taekwondo and hold competitions in both Poomsae (Technical) and Kyrugi (Olympic fighting) competitions.


After his win, Grandmaster Dang quickly became one of the world’s most well-known practitioners and instructors and teaches all over the world several times a month, so it was fantastic to have him visit and stay with me in Norwich explained the organiser of the event, who himself holds the rank of 7th Dan and several national titles from his younger days, even competing against Grandmaster Dang himself a few years ago at the European Championships in Germany.


I collected him from the airport Saturday morning and within a couple of hours he was on the floor teaching some of England’s most talented practitioners in Luton before I brought him back to Norwich for an evening meal in the city where we also met up with Fronzie Charles, a world class fighter from Grenada who is hoping to gain selection for the Rio Olympics.


The following day we packed out the main Sports hall at the Bob Carter cenre for another 4 hour seminar attended by several Taekwondo groups from Norfolk and even a Hapkido group from Norwich, run by Master Trevor Rant.


This was the first time a WTF World Champion has taught in Norwich and all the groups that attended were hopeful that I would be able to organise another visit in the future.

It was a fantastic event and one that will be remembered for a long time by those in attendance.



         Heading up Milton Keynes Seminar

Sunday 20th July Milton Keynes Taekwondo Academy hosted a seminar for Poomsae, Sparring and Self Defence.

It was well attended, not only by members of our own club but by members of Taekwondo England clubs from Mansfield, Doncaster, Northampton and Peterborough.


The Poomsae element was led by our chief instructor, Taekwondo England’s National Coach, assisted by César, and covered all Kup grade poomsae from Il Jang to Pal Jang, together with  a few higher patterns for the black belts present. The sparring was led by Master Seelan Rengasamy, Chairman of Taekwondo England, he introduced us to some fun drills designed to help improve sparring techniques. The self-defence was led by Alison Ellerton and included some basic escape techniques for the juniors and some more advanced controlling techniques for the seniors and higher grades.

Everyone who took part enjoyed the day and everyone learned something new to take away with them to put into practice in their own training. All in all, the seminar was a great success. Our thanks go to World taekwondo Norwich's chief instructor, Master Seelan Rangasamy and Master Dennis Robinson for their help in staging the event.






On Saturday 14th  June, former GB Academy Coach; John Wright Diaz, put his coaching skills to good use helping out world class players during a seminar held in Peterborough during the weekend.

John, as a former Olympic coach and a onetime WTF World silver medallist from Spain, has all the experience to teach at the highest level, something that was put to good use at this seminar with one of the participants being none other than the current WTF  -80kg world number one and European champion, Aaron Cook.

Aaron spent a good part of the day paired up with Arron Jennings, a 4th Dan former ITF European champion and current ITF bronze medallist who runs Senshi Martial Arts in Kings Lynn. He is also the current ITF team captain. They both receive a lot of help and support from Kicksport with Mr Cook, now fighting for the Isle of Man receiving most of his funding from Creechurch Capital ltd.

Both these guys worked very well togetheruring the afternoon and it was very useful for the world number one to have a sparring partner from the ITF who had a very good front leg attack ability, something that is now very useful for WTF fighters as the front leg is now used frequently to score to the head. Even a slight touch to the head from the foot now scores several points and is often hard to deal with. Strong front leg players can also make it very difficult for fighters to defend against, something that John addressed several times throughout the day with several methods for dealing with these situations.

John opened the day by explaining that he was there to share and wanted to encourage people to ask questions and discuss techniques. This was because he was also there to learn from them; so sharing was important.

The warm up took everybody through a series of running and stretching drills intermixed with footwork and dynamic leg stretching with the odd timing exercise in pairs thrown in which also developed reaction capabilities.

On each exercise, Aaron Cook always wanted to know if it was competitive. If the answer came back "yes", that winning streak he has pushed him to finish first each time. That might have surprised some, especially as they were only doing running games, but as John later pointed out, players should train as if they were competing. It gets them into the right frame of mind as attitude is
everything - as is having the tools to get the job done using timing and
distancing to good effect.

The day basically followed a set pattern of warm up, pairs training, pad kicking combinations and full contact WTF style sparring with participants wearing full protective equipment.

During the pairs training, a lot of emphasis was put on counter attacking and correct ways to either check an opponent as he or she comes in to attack (mainly by using your front leg), followed by a kicking technique or how to move back from an opponent with various ways of stepping, including moving off the line as you retreat before counterattacking.

John explained the need to go fishing when up against an opponent. By that he meant there was a need to test your opponent to establish if he or she was ready to attack, how they would attack and having a good understanding of when the opponent is really coming in as opposed to faking an attack.

It was also explained that when an opponent commits to an attack from a good distance away that a good option is to perform an immediate kicking technique without first retreating, such as a reverse turn kick, although shorter attacks should often be met with an evasive manoeuvre before counterattacking with techniques such as doubling up the turn kicks.

John was also keen to point out that in his opinion, in respect of these double turn kicks, it was more powerful and faster to completely turn the hip into the first turning kick before kicking with the other leg as the leading leg returns to the ground.

He stated that for it to be faster than just doubling the kick up by only half turning the hip, it was necessary to use the instep of the first kick to push the kick away from the opponent's body, thus helping the other hip to rotate for the second kick.

The importance of not wasting energy by having too long a stance and bouncing too often was also mentioned as it can tire the leg muscles unnecessarily and in respect of using a correct stance it was important to not stand square-on as not only did it make you vulnerable to attack but also made it obvious that you would be unlikely to use a rear leg back kick from that stance, giving opponents valuable information about your possible intentions and any such spinning kick from a square-on position would require you to turn the body first giving the opponent a heads up on what is coming, negatively affecting the element of surprise.

WT Norwich Chief Instructor with World number 1 and Rio Olympic medal contender Aaron Cook

Recovering into perfect positions after each technique was mentioned on more than one occasion as it allowed you to easily kick again regardless of whether your first technique was successful or not. The importance of not opening your chest to a front-on position when moving forward to attack was also discussed, as was the need to be able to successfully still kick an opponent when close in, something that is being perfected by many a top
player these days as the more flexible players find more interesting and
unusual ways to still kick to the face when almost on top of the opponent.

During the sparring sessions, John was assisted by Taekwondo England's
Chairman, Mr Seelan Rengasamy, who has recently spent some considerable time helping Aaron with his preparations for major events.

Each round was followed by a brief discussion and question and answer session to evaluate the good and bad aspects of the round in question.

In particular, John stated that players should not rush into attacks to regain
lost points as it often results in falling further behind so it is often better
to go into another round 2-1 down than rushing in to try to even up the scores
only to find yourself 3-1 down or worse. The break in the round often gives you the opportunity to discuss options with a coach to better manage the situation ready for the next round.


It was also notived that some of the participants favoured certain
kicks with a particular leg so emphasis was placed on training both legs
equally. If for example an individual favoured a right leg back kick an
opponent may work out a method with his coach for dealing with it only to then find out that said individual's left leg is equally as good. This often also
then has a detrimental psychological effect on an opponent who is then not sure how to deal with you!

It's like being an actor, John explained: don't let your opponent know the real
you. Let them find out the hard way.

With the next World Grand Prix coming up in June; Aaron certainly benefitted from the advice given to him during the break while working on strategies to beat front leg fighters.

Aaron lost his last grand prix semi final to Russia but told me his Russian opponent was lighter and faster at the time and that he had felt tired during that competition although he now felt ready to deal with anyone "as they come" when he attempts his first Grand Prix win next month in China.

These Grand Prix events are invitation only and comprise of just 32 payers in
each of the Olympic weight categories.

Aaron was disappointed to have lost out to a final showdown at the last one as it would have meant him meeting Lutalo Muhammad from the GB Academy who went on to win it and with Lutalo representing GB again and Aaron representing the Isle of White a final between the two would be something to watch for sure.

After the seminar, T.K.D. England's chairman, Mr Seelan Rengasamy, stated: "John Wright Diaz has put on an amazing seminar for us today and we will be having further talks to discuss future seminars that could also involve our T.K.D England coaching staff. We had hundreds of competitors at our recent open championships and students are keen to learn and improve. Sessions like this give our members just the opportunity they need to do that and I'm sure we will be seeing John again very soon."


1st place success for WT Norwich student

Tom Read (In blue) with his beaten opponent

Norwich club member, Tom Read took to the floor on 27th February in his third attempt to win an open WTF style Taekwondo competition and this time managed to take first place.


The event, hosted by Nottingham Taekwondo Club took place at the Nottingham Wildcats Arena and attracted literally hundreds of players from all over the country.


Tom, who has previously medaled in many mixed martial arts championships has turned to WTF Taekwondo after attempting to gain entry into the national squad through the Fighting Chance initiative.


After initially believing WTF style fighting wasn't as tough as fighting in a mixed martial arts match he changed his mind after mixing it with other Fighting Chance initiative applicants and now has his sights firmly fixed on winning more titles. 

British Silver Medal Success for Norwich Student

Tessa Beecroft pictured here (center) with her fellow competitors

WT Norwich student, Tessa Beecroft took second place at the BTCB National Poomsae championships on the 6th February. The WTF event took place at Sheffields Institute of Sport. It was Tessa's first WTF Poomsae competition as she competed against 4 other competitors in the final of the 1st Senior Female category. It was an outstanding achievement for the Norwich based competitor and impressed the BTCB national coach to the extent that it was mentioned that she was extremely close to winning gold.