GTUK Senior Instructors
Grand Master Roy Oldham IX
Present Day . . .
We are proud at this time in our history to be founder members of a new and exciting group OPEN ITF TAEKWONDO. This will make certain that our national squads enjoy an abundance of International Championships at European and World level in the future…
This international organisation is unique in its structure allowing autonomy to member groups, and are positively a modern approach to the future of Taekwon-do. Our association has access to international instructor courses, seminars & international degree certification. The association has a vibrant future for all our membership and up and coming black belts.
History . . .
My first instructor was First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha, the father of British Taekwon-Do. I was one of the first twelve civilian Black Belts to be promoted in the UK. The test took place in Coventry England in September 1971.
In 1990 our association heard through the grapevine that Grand Master Park Jung Tae had left the ITF, and was forming a new world body. So I phoned Grand Master Park, and he asked me to join him, and others in Toronto Canada. At that inaugural meeting we became founder members of the newly formed Global Taekwondo Federation. In 1992 Master Andresen (Norway) and myself set up the European arm of the GTF, called the European Global Taekwondo Council (EGTC) it grew very rapidly. We held many seminars, IIC’s, European and World Championships throughout Europe. Also at that time we traveled as assistants to Grand Master Park to many countries throughout the world promoting the GTF.
The GTF organisation was formally founded in October 1990 at a statutory congress meeting in Toronto, Canada. The organisation held its second congress meeting on the 4th of October 1993 in Moscow Russia. Representatives from many nations, and all member states from Russia were present at the meeting. Since that time the organization enjoyed a phenomenal growth throughout the world. In the year 2000 the organization held its 3rd World Championships in Rimini, Italy to celebrate the Millennium, and the coming of the organisations tenth anniversary.
In late 2002 I attended an inaugural meeting in London along with five other group leaders to form the UKITF under the leadership of Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa (son of our taekwondo founder) My belief at this time was to help rebuild one Taekwon-do “I still believe in the unity and strength of one Taekwon-do, with one technique” In October 2004 I was promoted to 8th degree (GBR-8-1002) at the ITF World Championships in South Korea and to 9th degree in March 2013 – UK.
. . . Also see more about GMO’s history here:
I am very proud to introduce our Senior Instructors who know and display the true “Tenets of Taekwon-Do”. Please can I ask you to take time to get to know them a little better by reading their profiles below.
Senior Master Richard Auciello VIII
Senior Master Richard Auciello has spent the past thirty years training in Taekwon-Do and is currently one of Europe’s youngest 8th Degree Black belts. He has represented the country at International level and won World titles at several tournaments including Individual World Gold in 2000. He’s been teaching for seventeen years and has been decorated for his instruction by Lincolnshire’s Sports Council and nominated at the BBC East Midlands sports awards for Performance Coach of the Year for his work with his Clubs and the England Squad.
His experiences make him quickly acknowledge that Martial Arts has forged him into the person he is today; giving him the confidence to have a public voice, make a positive contribution to society and a difference to the lives of others. Taekwon-Do has enabled him to improve the lives of students including some who suffer with physical or mental disabilities, one particular student who suffers with Asperger’s Syndrome and Tourette’s started Taekwon-Do barely able to stand on one leg; through careful instruction, patience and perseverance, he not only has achieved his Black Belt but was also presented with a BBC Sports Special Achievement award by Dame Ellen McArthur, making Master Auciello one of the proudest Instructors in the World.
Even during the time Master Auciello has been training he has seen Taekwon-Do spread rapidly throughout the world proving that a sport/Martial Art can cross all boundaries of race and creed, joining together international friendships in a pursuit of excellence of both their minds and bodies. He is very proud to be a member of the GTUK, an association which has the Tenets of Taekwon-Do at its core, under Grand Master Oldham, for whom Master Auciello has the greatest respect and loyalty.
Master Paul Burgess VII
I have been training since 1976 and my first club was in Rugby in 1980 and then in 1985 I moved to Cornwall and set up 12 clubs including a Jeegoo club. I have been in numerous tournaments, won some and lost some. I have dedicated my life to Taekwon-Do and it has made me a better person and has given me confidence. All my promotional tests have been under First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha, Grand Master Park Jung Tae, and Grand Master Oldham.
I have been with Grand Master Oldham from the start, in the UKTA / ITF, GTF, ITF/ Canada, and now the UITF and I have seen a lot of members come and go.
Its been a great journey over the years, and I feel we as an association are stronger now than ever before. Thank you GM Oldham for your dedication and hard work……
Master Steve King VII
I started Taekwon-Do in December 1984 in Wellingbrough and the club had only been going for nine months when I was told to take over the training at red tag and I have been running the club ever since. I took my 1st Degree Black Belt in 1988 with Grand Master Hee Il Cho (TAGB) I have started clubs at Olney, Leicester, Kettering and a few more besides.
I joined the GTUK in 1991 and currently hold 6th Degree Black Belt and the main Instructor at Wellingborough. I am also the Senior Instructor for Northants and have taught at the Northants JeeGoo club since 1997. Upon joining the GTUK I am now the only one left who took their 4th degree test with Grand Master Park Jung Tae in Scotland at the European Championships in 1996 along with Mr Ridley, Mr Archer, Mr Cunningham, and Mr Iqbal. The test was the hardest physically I have every taken lasting more than four hours. Grand Master Oldham and Master Andresen (Norway) successfully passed their 7th degree tests at the same time. This promotional test is still talked about to this day.
I have won many medals in the past 26 years including British, Scottish and International Championships together with some team medals. I have always believed an Instructor should compete in competitions, so I regularly took part from yellow belt until 2009 when I was Hong Kong Champion at the age of 48. I am Proud to be a member of the GTUK.
Master Darren Holmes VII
I enjoyed a very active coloured belt training and successful tournament history before gaining my 1st Degree in 1994, under the instruction of then 4th Degree Mr Clive Daffey, a former student himself of Grand Master Oldham.
After spending a couple years around Manchester promoting and teaching Taekwon-Do around Salford University and UMIST I moved back to my original home in North East Lincolnshire. Based there I set up clubs at Hull University, Cleethorpes and Loughborough University.
My daughter was born in May 1996 and with my brother now having achieved his black belt I was able to rely on Andrew to take the Loughborough club forwards to growing success.
My work commitments later brought me down to Derby where I was able to train regularly with Grand Master Oldham in Coventry and later set up the club in Chellaston. Saw success at many GTF and BTC national tournaments as a black belt and later represented the national team at international events between 1998 and 2005.
Passed my 4th Degree in 2003 under an ITF Masters panel in Norway. Work opportunities took me to Hong Kong in 2006 where I helped promote and organise ITF style Taekwon-Do in the Hong Kong and China region. Back to the UK in 2009, I graded to 5th Degree later that year and I’m now concentrating on regional JeeGoo training, Squad coaching and the general GTUK growth and success. I gained my 6th degree in May 2015 under an ITF panel headed by GM Oldham / SM Ian Lawes VIII / Master Clive Daffey VII. It was one of the toughest tests I have ever taken.
Mr Andrew Holmes VI
I started Taekwon-Do in 1993 whilst I was studying at Loughborough University. Before I went to university I had done some Karate and been a member of a local “freestyle club”. I was instantly impressed by the structure and discipline of the Martial Art. At the same time my brother had started training at a club at Salford University with an instructor who was under Grand Master Oldham. I used to travel to visit my brother quite often and I would also train there too.
In 1995 my brother and I set up our own club at Loughborough University. I got my Black Belt in 1996. I can still remember the feeling of putting it on for the first time… It was a mixture of relief for all the previous hard work and excitement for all the years that were to come. I focused my efforts into running my Taekwon-Do clubs and training hard for the competitions that I was keen to win as a black belt.
In 1998 I was part of the England team that went to Germany for the European Championships. We had a great time and went on to win gold in the destruction event. This was the real start of my competing career and I continued competing until May 2010. At this time I was about to take my 5th Degree and I felt it was time to retire from competitions. I am now very privileged to be part of the England Squad coaching team and I am able to see the same fears and rewards that I had, in the eyes of the young and old members who train as part of the England Squad.
Here’s too many more successful years of Taekwon-Do in the GTUK. On saying this on the 7th of October 2017 I successfully passed my 6th degree. It was one of the most physically and mentally challenging tests I have ever taken.
Mr Martin Harvey VI
I started Tae Kwon -Do in 1974. ‘Enter the Dragon’ had just been released and there was great public interest in all martial arts because of Bruce Lee.
I picked Tae Kwon – Do purely by chance as it was advertised in the local paper that week and I started training with Mr Clive Neal (2nd degree) who was one of the first civilians in the UK to get his black belt under FGM Rhee Ki Ha. I took all my coloured belt gradings under FGM Rhee. I still remember taking my yellow tag as there were 400 white belts there. When the split with the UKTA happened we joined the newly formed TAGB.
I took my first degree in 1984. My instructor never pushed us to grade, we just enjoyed training. I eventually took my 2nd degree in 1992. Both gradings were under GM He Il Cho. After several years at 2nd degree I left Tae Kwon-Do for several years and trained in other martial arts and obtained two other 3rd degrees.
When I decided to return to Tae Kwon -Do I joined a club in Solihull run by Mr Ian Hughes.
I took my 3rd degree in 2003 and my 4th degree in 2009 under GM Oldham. I then sustained a back injury that eventually needed surgery. The surgeon and doctors all told me that I would have to stop training due to my back condition. I decided that was not going to happen and eventually after a lot of work and pain I took and passed my 5th degree in 2015.
Even after I took 10 years off TKD to learn other styles I still came back to TKD because it is in my opinion the best ‘all-rounder’ if trained in and applied correctly and the GTUK is the best martial arts association I have ever belonged to. I have met many Grandmasters, Masters, Instructors, Black Belts and Students over the years ranging from the amazing to the ‘not so amazing’. These people came from all walks of life, but they all had one thing in common, they were all there, sweating, trying to beat their limitations and improve that little bit more. Whether they were a white belt trying to get their head around it all or a senior grade trying to master that one difficult movement, they are all part of the same like-minded group which, in my opinion, makes martial artists different from other people.
I would like to thank everyone that I have met along the journey for making it so interesting.
I often wonder how boring my life would have been if I hadn’t gone to that first class and how I would be a completely different person if I had given up at the first hardship. It has been the biggest single influence in my life and I intend to keep training until I physically can’t do it anymore. I am nowhere near as good physically as I used to be but I still have the occasional good day and that usually makes up for the bad ones.
So if there is a summary to all this, it is ‘Don’t Give Up. It may be hard, but it is worth it.
Mr Clinton Gillett VI
Many people ask why I started martial arts, and the answer is quite simple. From the age of 4 I could not walk, suffering from Perthes Disease which means that the top the femurs do not form properly and consequently spent nearly 4 years in a wheel chair, callipers and plaster in order to correct the condition.
Spending all this time watching friends playing sports and being bullied led me to join every single sports team possible. At 12 years old being small and slightly formed I joined the local Karate club (Wada Ryu) and gained 1st black belt and a national championship by the age of 16. Fracturing a vertebra led to a break but at university I took up Saibuka and Kick boxing, teaching my best friend led to a love of instruction so when I became a teacher I decided to train in the world’s biggest martial art at the time Taekwondo.
In just one and half years I gained my 1st Degree and in 2000 was selected to compete in the World Championships in Rimini (Italy) Winning Silver in the sparring event was a career highlight but I still love to compete even now as it is great to challenge yourself, I also love long distance running and have completed 10 marathons and ultra marathons which helps maintain strength and stamina.
I am very proud to have achieved my 5th Degree in April 2015 and love running Bungay Taekwon-Do and Eastern JeeGoo clubs, many of my students have become national champions which makes me immensely proud and we hope to grow in the East and contribute towards a resurgent GTUK!
Promoted to 6th Degree on March 26th 2022.
Mr Leslie Thomas VI
I started martial arts while in the police force representing the Coventry City Police Wrestling Team around 1965. I also trained in Judo & Aikido from 1965 to 1970. Playing Rugby Union for some years I notice an advert at a sports centre we were training at advertising Taekwon-do classes. I inquired and started training the next week under Mr Bob Edwards and his assistant Mr Clive Daffey, this was in 1985. Through regular training I achieved my ITF 1st degree in October 1988 and also in July 1989 my 1st degree from the Kukkiwon Headquarters. I trained for many years at this club in Coventry. At this time the association was expanding quickly throughout the country so Mr John Mc Donald, Mr Matt Walker and I opened two clubs in the area. Within a couple of years both clubs were very successful and we were once privileged with a visit and training session from GM Park Jung Tae in 1992. In March 1993 I successfully past my 3rd degree and 4th degree in September 1997 I took both tests under GM Park Jung Tae. Because of my age I felt it time to hand over the two clubs to our younger instructors who ran the clubs until the early 2000’s.
I along with Mr John Jackson in 2003 thought it a good idea to open a veteran club, as we were both missing teaching students. This club still operates today, and has opened its door every Friday night for the past 20 years. Over the years I have produce many black belts the oldest being Mr Ray Green at the tender age of 65 years successfully achieved his 1st degree. I was so proud as an instructor when he surprised everyone by breaking a brick with a knife hand at the test!
In competition I have entered many times, especially the destruction divisions. I have competed nationally and internationally and my greatest achievement was becoming silver medallist (hand technique) at the TAGB World Championships 1988. I have umpired nationally and internationally and my highlight accomplishment was to centre referee at the GTF World Championships USA.
I have attended many International Instructor Courses with GM Park Jung Tae and GM Oldham. The hardest course I ever attended was in Toronto, Canada. GM Park conducted the course along with numerous Masters from all over the world. The course lasted four challenging days on a solid stone floor. But the event was fantastic with meeting so many different Masters who put on a demonstration which was televised.
In October 2010 I successfully past my 5th degree test, followed by my 6th degree test in October 2019. Both tests were conducted by a Masters Board headed by GM Oldham under the banner of Unified ITF.
I would like this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me on my Taekwon-do journey, a journey that’s helped me so much in my life.
Miss Jane Aikman V
My interest in martial arts began in the 1970’s when Bruce Lee films appeared and caught my imagination. Everyone at the time was talking about Kung Fu and Karate, but 2 friends were training in Taekwon do and invited me along.
I began training under Murray Walker in 1977 and even after the first lesson I was hooked. I had always enjoyed sport at school, but never found anything that really suited me. I was mainly taught by Andrew Gibbon as Mr Walker was busy with other commitments. Unfortunately, the club folded and I then started Shotokan, which I did until I got married in 1979.
I had my second child in 1985 and the following year I found that another Taekwon do club had opened in Wellingborough. I began training here in June 1986 with Miss Suzette Knight, I enjoyed a busy and quite successful tournament career in the TAGB as a colour belt. I took my 1st degree in October 1989.
In 1991 we joined the newly formed GTF, these were very exciting times and I am proud to have been there at the beginning. I achieved 2nd degree in 1992 and 3rd degree in 1995, during this time I trained with Grand Master Oldham at the first Jee Goo club and was teaching at Finedon. I also had the privilege of training with Grand Master Park Jung Tae on several occasions.
I had some years away due to family commitments and returned in 2009 and now train with Mr Steve King 6th degree, who I assist at Northants Jee Goo club. I achieved 4th degree in April 2015.
My main priority now is teaching and developing young talent of the future but I do still love to compete, although only in patterns now.
I am proud of the GTUK and what we have achieved and also of our own Grand Master, I am honoured to be part of the great GTUK family.
Mr Darren Twelvetree V
Following a rugby accident where I broke my femur just below my hip, and after a long rehabilitation period the doctors suggested that I should attend a martial arts class to help my recovery with stretching exercises.
After seeing a local flyer, my son and I went along to our first training session at the Wellingborough Club where we meet the Instructor who was Mr Steven King who is now a 6th Degree. We both enjoyed the lesson so much we joined and I have been training with Mr King ever since who has been a great support throughout my Taekwon-do journey to date. Working hard my son and I both attained our 1st Degree Black Belts on the 7th of November 2004 and have not looked back winning numerous competitions nationally and internationally. Since then, I have progressed through the grades until I was able to start supporting others and giving back what I have learned.
I am now a Senior Instructor working with Mr Steven King covering three local clubs in Wellingborough, Kettering and Wollaston and in addition a GTUK England Squad Coach, in which I enjoy helping and training other students to enable them to reach their true potential and attain their own personnel goals.
I am proud to have achieved my 4th Degree in 2013 in front of Grand Master Oldham following one of the hardest tests I have ever taken. In addition, I am the Safeguarding Officer for the GTUK and the BTC to help promote safety within our sport.
Promoted to 5th Degree November 2021
Mr Will Dewey V
I started my Taekwon-Do training in 1996 with Martial Arts America in Detroit, Michigan, aged 6 and since then have been totally hooked. After moving back to the UK, I soon joined the GTF-UK at a club in Balsall Common under the mother-son duo June and Anthony Nash and was among the club’s first seven black belts in 2003. Regular training and commitment lead to selection for the GTUK England junior squad in 2006 and an international debut that year at the ITF European Championships in Wetzlar, Germany. In 2008 I moved to Loughborough for university and had a great time training with two of my England coaches and many great Taekwon-Do practitioners. During my final year there in 2012 I was named by the squad coaches as the male captain, after taking a leading position within the team throughout that year, and have continued to lead the team to various successes, one being our double world silver feat in 2015 at the UITF World Championships, where we lost narrowly to a strong and experienced Argentinian team.
Over the years I have trained and competed across Europe, Asia and North America. I have been very fortunate to train under many reputable and world renowned masters and grand masters, as well as European and World Champions, and always try to take on board this wide variety of experience and attributes. To mark my 20th year of Taekwon-Do in 2016 I went on a 3-month training adventure across the Far East, where I trained in Shaolin Kung Fu and Jeet Kune Do at a school in China as well as Taekwon-Do in Malaysia and North Korea.
As a competitor I have received national and international medals of all colours and continue to push myself in training to keep this up and achieve more. Competition has opened many doors for me over the years and has proved a great way to make friends all over the world. As an instructor I opened my first club in 2012 at the Woodlands Academy in Coventry, the site of the first civilian club in the UK back in 1967, but unfortunately this club had to be closed down after a year of struggling with membership. After that I took over the post of instructor at GTUK Balsall Common and then at the University of Warwick Taekwon-Do and both clubs have been keeping me extremely busy for the last three years!
Achieving my fourth degree black belt in 2015 and seeing my seniors continue to progress has made realise how little I really know and I am now ever keener to continue to develop my understanding of all aspects of Taekwon-Do while passing on my knowledge and experience so far to the next generation of the GTUK.
Promoted to 5th Degree November 2021
Mr Dirk Sumners V
I started training in Taekwon-Do in 1992 purely by accident. I was looking for a physical, structured activity for my eldest son to do and had decided that some sort of martial arts training would fit the bill.
After months of checking out classes in many different styles I decided that Taekwon-Do with its mixture of competition sparring, traditional patterns and effective self defence was the class for my son. He then told me that he didn’t want to start training on his own & so I reluctantly joined with him.
Very early on in my training I got completely hooked and soon I was training alongside all three of my children and my wife (who now works as my club secretary & welfare officer).
I started training with the TAGB and later with GTI as my Instructor was one of the founder members. I achieved my 1st Degree Black Belt in 1997 and opened my first Taekwon-Do school in the same year. In 2007, following an extended period as an ‘independent’ instructor I joined the GTUK and have not looked back. I have both taught and trained continuously since starting out in ’92 taking my 2nd Degree in 2003, my third in 2011 and my 4th Degree in 2016 the latter two under GTUK President Grandmaster Oldham.
I enjoy all aspects of Taekwon-Do but especially teaching the Art. To date my clubs have produced 8 world Champions, 9 European Champions, numerous domestic champions and have developed over 70 students from beginner to Black Belt.
I am also a qualified first aid instructor and am honoured to hold the position of GTUK First Aid Officer.
Mr John Jackson V
In 1988 Mr Les Thomas (currently a Black Belt 5th Degree) informed me that he had opened a Mid West Tae Kwon Do club under Grand Master Oldham and approached me about joining the Whitley club. At the time I was 45 years old and voiced doubts, which he thought was utter rubbish, I was to be at the next class at 6.30pm prompt. You could say I was press ganged into turning up! In 1990 I gained my first degree black belt and a year later my daughter started training with me, which was great as there are very few sports in which fathers and daughters can train together. I have fond memories of these times and I have to say that after 31 years I am still just as passionate about Tae Kwon Do.
Over the years I have attended many seminars such as a week’s intense training in Scotland in 1998 learning from Grand Master Park Jung Tae. I also regularly trained at a Jee-Goo club under Grand Master Oldham for several years, where I learnt advanced techniques and gained invaluable knowledge that furthered my training. I have found that Tae Kwon Do is a great way to exercise and keep fit, with the added bonus of self-defense. In 1992 and onwards I sat on various committees, and held different officers positions throughout this period.
In 1998 Mr Les Thomas and myself (as secretary of the Whitley club) decided to hand over the club to a younger generation of instructors.
As time went by Mr Les Thomas and myself again felt the urge to open new clubs. We first opened at Fitness First in Coventry and two further clubs in Earlsdon, Coventry. After several years of running them we again decided to let the young guns take over.
Getting older “much older” we thought it would be a first and a great idea to form a club for veterans only, which we still run to this day. Throughout the years Mr Les Thomas and myself have through the clubs helped over 20 members gain their Black Belts, including one member who gained their Black Belt at the tender age of 65 years old.
In 2010 I graded under Grand Master Oldham and gained my 4th degree, one of toughest tests I have ever taken. I more recently gained my 5th degree in October 2019.
Mr Chris Peake IV
I have been training under Mr Burgess since November 1992. Had fun doing demo’s, tournaments and seminars throughout the coloured belt years. I took my 1st degree grading in June 1995 and the next day sparring in a tournament for the first time as a black belt against Master Auciello, I saw stars that day, I can tell you!
I have been an Instructor in clubs down in Cornwall and a regular team member at the JeeGoo Championships. I got Black Belt of the Year award in 2001. Also, I was the Editor of the Association magazine (2001 – 2004), a great honour. I got my 4th Degree in October 2010 and I am loving the GTUK and all it stands for.
Mr Andrew Pitchford IV
I started Taekwon-Do in January 1998 at Solihull Club which was run by Mr Ian Hughes IV Degree and trained hard and obtained my Black Belt in 2001 from Grand Master Oldham, which was one of my proudest moments!! During this time I got experience in teaching the younger members of the club and I really enjoyed this. In March 2001, Mr Gary Preece opened Knowle Club and I assisted my friend at this club for the next 7 years whilst juggling a demanding job. The club membership grew and soon I was teaching twice a week and the club produced many good black belts and had the highest standards.
In 2003 GM Oldham opened a Jeegoo Club in Solihull and I have continued to train there ever since and took all my grading’s under GM Oldham. During the last 19 years, training /learning Taekwon-do in a fantastic association “GTUK”, I have assisted GM Oldham when required, during Black Belt gradings, helping out setting up and running numerous tournaments, GTUK courses and with the administration of the website. I also hold the position of Website Officer.
It has been very eventful last few years and in June 2013 I helped Mr and Mrs Williams open Sharmans Cross Club before, joining Miss Marie McAneny GT-Scotland (XS Taekwon-Do). I was employed as a Business Development Manager and Senior Instructor from July 2013 to September 2015. During this time I helped Miss Marie McAneny grow XS Taekwon-Do to 44 clubs, develop XS website, obtain numerous club accreditations and put together UK’s first Sports Apprenticeship in Taekwon-Do, SVQ Level 3 in Leisure Management with Sports Academy of Scotland. I also passed my IV Degree under GM Oldham in 2015 which is a highlight of my Taekwon-Do journey to date.
Due to family commitments I moved back to Solihull and took over Sharmans Cross Taekwon-Do Club from Mr and Mrs Williams. This club continues to grow and I look forward to producing many more Black Belts’ over the coming years.
Mrs Kay Parker IV
1987 my children trained with Sensei Junior Anderson ECKA so I joined. My first trophy was awarded to me by Howard Brown (Chief Instructor ECKA). I was awe inspired by the likes of Kash Gill, Dev Barrett, Howard Brown and Junior Anderson. Best memory was a black tie dinner event in Northampton’s Moat house where I fought in a female demonstration match in a ring.
1994 opportunities arrived to take over a failing Freestyle club with my partner Steve, a friend and my son. I was now fighting and coaching on the WOMA, WAKO and AMA circuit. Our club become 60+ members by 1996 when it was transferred to ECKA.
1999 getting older, I trained at Wellingborough Taekwondo Club with Mr Steve King IV. The next three and half years were spent training. Patterns were not my favourite part, but slowly they become easier as I stopped resisting them. Attending seminars by Gm Rhee Ki Ha, Gm C K Choi, Gm Choi Jung Hwa and GM Roy Oldham gave me greater understanding.
2003 I opened Northampton GTUK Club and I graded for Black Belt in Cornwall under GM Oldham and Mr Paul Burgess.
2005 I opened Thrapston and Raunds clubs, so I changed the club name to Northants Taekwondo.
11 years later we have produced 54 Black Belts some of those are now 2nd and 3rd degree Club Instructors and our students have gained International and National awards in Competitions.
Being part of the GTUK England Squad coaching team for three years was exciting and in 2015 GM Oldham honoured me with a 4th Degree.
Teaching and seeing my students work towards their goals and gaining more confidence is rewarding. But Competitions are my passion and I still support those by refereeing at National and International events.
Mrs Emma Collett IV
I started my Tae Kwon-do journey with a different association. I began in my early teens when a friend of the family set up his own club and asked me to go along so that he had at least 1 person. Fortunately I wasn’t his only member, the club still goes to this day, but I did instantly fall in love with this martial art.
Very quickly I was training all the hours available, and being the senior grade at my club I was permitted to travel to other clubs to get the higher level of tuition I needed. I also discovered I was keen on competition – the training, pushing myself and seeing the higher standards. Because of this I attended (and medalled in) several regional and national competitions throughout my time as a colour belt and as a black belt.
My first competition as a black belt was an open World championships, when I had just transitioned from junior to adult status too – quite the opener. Very inspiring.
I trained with this association for a long while, achieving black belt in 2007 and 2nd degree in 2009. Along the way though I had started training with the GTUK while at Loughborough university, under the fantastic instruction of Mr Andrew Holmes, and on occasion Mr Darren Holmes too. During this time I also met my now husband, Alex, who had joined the Tae Kwon-do club there. Upon graduating we had the hard decision to make about which association to continue with in the future.
We both committed ourselves to the GTUK – and while it was hard to tell my original instructor that I was leaving – it is a decision I haven’t regretted.
Alex and I opened up our own GTUK club in Sutton Coldfield in 2014 and I find a great pride in being an instructor; watching our students grow in their own techniques and confidence.
I still train myself all the hours going – including taking the weekly drive to still train with Mr Holmes in Derby – whose support, guidance and instruction has been invaluable. Due to my commitment to GTUK seminars, training and squad as well as the guidance this brings from the other senior members of the association, I have made rapid progress in all elements of Tae Kwon-do. I have been honoured with the title of GTUK England ladies team captain since 2015 – and with the GTUK I have won regional, national, European and World titles both individually and as a team.
I took my 4th degree black belt grading in November 2018, and look forward to continuing my Tae Kwon-do journey with the GTUK, it’s senior grades and all of it’s members.
Mr John Bowman IV
My love for martial arts started as a child, growing up in a house where martial arts was everything, it wasn’t going to be long before I myself fell in love with the arts.
I dabbled in Kickboxing, RSD, Jeet Kune Do and Karate before finally finding and falling in love with Taekwon-Do.
My journey started at Northants Tkd, my instructor Mrs Kay Parker had me hooked. Her love and passion for the art was infectious and before you knew it was training 3 days a week and never missed a lesson.
In 2012 I helped opened a club in Wollaston along side Mr Darren Twelvetree and Mr Steve King, this club has been opened almost 10 years and I’m still teaching there along side my instructor Mr Steve King.
I’m proud to say that I passed my 4th degree in 2019 the same year my wife passed her 1st degree together we opened our first club (Stanwick Tkd). It hasn’t been the easiest ride because of COVID however with the continued support of the GTUK we’re still going strong.
Miss Amy Ridgard IV
My club is Redditch Taekwon-do Club where I instruct along with my father, (Mr Stephen Ridgard), as my assistant. We have been training and teaching together on and off for over 20 years.
My Taekwon-do journey started when I was 11 as my father wanted my brothers and myself to keep active and look after ourselves. I have been on the GTUK National ladies team since 2011, competing in the UK, Poland and Netherlands.
During February 2019 I opened my own club and passed my 4th Dan in October 2019. I enjoy helping in the GTUK, be it setting up for the competitions, umpiring, teaching or even doing demos.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the association and the members within.
Mr Mark Watkinson IV
I first became interested in Martial Arts as a child watching David Carradine in the TV series “Kung Fu”.
I like many others suffered at the hands of school bullies which probably wasn’t helped by the fact my mouth seemed to have a mind of its own and my unfiltered thoughts often escaped from it resulting in much more anger from the bullies, once their small minds had realized I was actually making fun of them.
Watching Carradine’s character “Caine” deal with all the injustice and the bullies of the world made me wish I could do the same but coming from a poor background my parents weren’t in a position to send me to a martial arts lesson of any sort.
Fast forward 25 years and my eldest son had just started school when the dreaded bullying raised its ugly head again, this time my five year old son was the victim.
Fortunately, I was in a position that I could do something about it and after seeing a flyer for Tae Kwon-Do I enrolled my son, Liam, into a club run by a very nice chap called Mr Richard Auciello. He loved it.
I wanted my youngest son Jamie to start but he was too shy to start on his own so after being tricked into it one New Years Eve I agreed to start with him.
I never looked back.
In 2006 all of my hard work paid off and I gained my 1st Degree Black Belt at the ripe old age of 38.
I was amazed at getting to this level but I was hungry for more. I went on to gain my 2nd degree and then my 3rd Degree in 2011.
In 2019 I took part in the hardest grading I’ve ever taking. Mentally and physically exhausting.
I was rewarded the following day and was presented with my 4th Degree International Grade by Grand Master Oldham.
I still have to pinch myself some days to believe that this mouthy kid that got beat up every day has achieved what I once believed to be the impossible.
Passing on the knowledge I have gained over the years has always been the most rewarding aspect of my journey. Being an Instructor and having helped run clubs in Stamford, Oakham and Bourne for the past 17 years under Master Auciello, I feel I have found my true vocation in life.
Over the years I have been an assistant coach with the England Squad and I am currently the Merchandising Officer for the GTUK dealing with the association ties and lapel badges.
I am immensely proud to be part of the GTUK and train under Grand Master Oldham and my mentor and friend Master Auciello, and to have done it with my two boys and played a part in their Tae Kwon-Do journey as they are now 2nd and 3rd Degree’s respectively.
Although age hasn’t been particularly kind to my body, the spirit and determination that drives me forward has never waned and deep inside that mouthy kid has become a lot more thoughtful and respectful (but I still dislike bullies).
Mr Jim Freeborough IV
Stamford & Oakham Taekwondo | Instructor Master R Auciello
Like so many I have always had an interest in martial arts and on joining the military I was introduced to Judo, Aikido and a various mishmash of unarmed/armed combat.
However, it wasn’t until 1984 that I took up training in Taekwondo alongside my first instructor, and together we created an independent Taekwondo club for fellow military personnel and families. We had a successful three and years together until I was posted out to Germany where I continued to train with Mr. H. Harris, achieving my 1st Kup.
My TKD journey then came to a halt due to operational reasons but continued to train in my own time when possible. After a few years, I managed to return to full time training, but after being out of the loop for so long took the decision to start again form 10th Kup, rapidly moving through the grades to my previous grade of 1st Kup.
Reluctantly through injury, my training came to an abrupt halt and once I regained full fitness was redeployed.
After having a break in training of five years on discharge from the military my partners son Daniel was interested in learning a martial art, having tried Karate he found that was not for him, however a local Taekwondo club run by Mr. R. Auciello was holding a demonstration evening to which he showed a great interest. To that end we both started training in 2001 and I took the decision the start again from 10th Kup.
After being assessed by GMO once again, I swiftly moved through the grades finally reaching 1st Degree black belt in 2003 and 18 months later Daniel also achieved his 1st Degree, sadly he moved on to other things in 2007, but my daughter Imogen started training alongside me, and still does to this day, proud of both of them.
After training with Master Auciello for twenty plus years and meeting some great people through TKD not to mention my training partner Mr Mark Watkinson who together we both achieved our 4th Degree in 2019, we continue to develop and pass on our knowledge to others.