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.
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.
Master Richard Auciello VII
Master Richard Auciello has spent the past thirty years training in Taekwon-Do and is currently one of Europe’s youngest 7th 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……
Mr Steve King VI
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.
Mr Darren Holmes VI
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 V
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!
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 Darren Twelvetree IV
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.
Mr Gary Preece IV
In January 1998 I started my career in Taekwondo. Little did I know back then that I would still be here today writing about my history. I joined Solihull club run by Mr Ian Hughes IV and loved it from day one. I trained every Monday and Wednesday evening. Back then I was shy and lacked confidence. Mr Hughes soon changed that. He had an incredible knack for making you feel enthusiastic about training and I think every single member was proud to be part of the club. It’s amazing to look back and see faces in your mind and try to remember their names. Some are easy (John Budd, Laura Dumbleton, Andrew Pitchford, Jenny Williams and Ian Wilkie) because they are still with the association or have only recently left. Others are more difficult (Matt Slater, Gary Key, Rebecca Atkins, Joe Tooth, Ian Reynolds and many others)…All long gone.
In the year 2000, I started assisting my friend Mr Ian Wilkie at his club in Sheldon on Tuesday & Thursday evening whilst continuing my training at Solihull. I achieved my black belt in February 2001 and was over the moon to finally get my hands on it. Soon after, with a bit of pushing from Grandmaster O and Ian Wilkie, I opened Knowle Taekwondo club on 8th March 2001. I wanted to give back to Taekwondo and the GTF by helping others to improve their lives, the same way I had. I remember how nervous I felt on the opening night when I did my demonstration. I was more nervous about how many people would attend rather than actually doing the demo. I got quite a shock. Roughly 120 people attended that night and some of them are still with the GTUK today, my mother being one of them (not training, she’s on the door) along with Mr Neil Wishart & Mr Simon Hamilton. My first class took place a week later with 49 children in attendance followed by the adult class which had 16. Fortunately I had the assistance of Mr Andrew Pitchford so I wasn’t on my own. The initial membership was 56 and it soon grew and I very quickly moved from one to two nights per week.
In 2003 Grandmaster Oldham opened Central Jeegoo in Knowle and asked me to do the administration for him. The club very quickly grew due to the large number of Black belts in the area. The club is still as strong as it was back then with many original members still attending.
By the time I took over Studley Taekwondo as a second club in 2005, I had 147 members training at Knowle. I took Studley on knowing it had a huge debt not only to the School where it trained but also to the members with regards to equipment and suits that were overdue. Fortunately I was able to subsidise it through Knowle club. I ran Studley Taekwondo for roughly 2 and half years. It was a struggle managing two clubs, holding down a full time job, teaching 4 nights of the week and doing the administration for Jeegoo. During my time at Studley, Knowle club reduced in size to roughly 100 members due to my divided attention and funds and finally in November 2007, due to work commitments, I handed over control of Studley Taekwondo and its 30 members to another black belt. It was a time of change and soon after, Andrew Pitchford had to leave Knowle club which then opened the door for one of my new black belts, Mrs Yvonne Hill who became my assistant. At the same time, two of my new black belts from Studley came across to Knowle to help assist and to continue their training (Amy & Steve Ridgard). It was a good time, a strong time with so many black belts to call upon when I needed them.
I then toyed with the idea of another club for a while after but never took any action. Then in 2011, the big divide happened and my original club where I first trained, now in the hands of another instructor, left the GTUK. I wasn’t happy and immediately decided to open a NEW Solihull Taekwondo club with the help of my student and good friend Ashley Corke. It was a slow start with only 7 members at the beginning, something I wasn’t used to but the club ran on a Saturday morning so I knew it wouldn’t be easy. It is still running and is now doing very well, and like all my clubs past and present, the members are wonderful people.
Unfortunately Ashley had to leave due to work commitments, but his place has been taken by another one of my black belts, Hayleigh Parker, a young, enthusiastic and very good instructor.
In the 16 years that I have trained, I have amassed many personal achievements. Not only have I achieved my black belt but I’ve progressed further and now achieved my IV degree. I’ve run successful clubs as well as saving a club from closing. I’ve created many good, successful black belts and colour belt students who have competed and won both at a national and international level. I always wanted to have one of my black belts compete in the England team, but to have three of them (Ashley Corke, Amy Ridgard and Ellie Hill) was fantastic. I am very proud of what they have achieved and of the 100+ black belts I have created. I am particularly proud to be part of such a great association. I hope to help many other people in the future because at the end of the day it’s not just who you are as a person that makes you a good black belt, it’s what you do for the GTUK and also what you do to help others.
Miss Jane Aikman IV
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 Will Dewey IV
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.
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.
Mr Dirk Sumners IV
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.
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 Jackson IV
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.