I commenced training in September 1987, at the age of 16, as part of the first enrolment of a new club, in Hitchin, opened by Master Bhup Sahota (TAGB). In 1990, I left the UK, and travelled to Australia. However, I kept my training going, and joined a TKD club in Sydney, where I achieved my Black Tag with Ree International TKD. Upon returning to the UK, I rejoined my old club and in 1992 was graded 1st Degree Black Belt, by Grand Master He Il Cho. I entered many TAGB tournaments as a coloured belt and black belt, and also represented my local club at team tournaments. I also attended a seminar under the founder of TKD, Grand Master Choi Hong Hi, and seminars conducted by Master Willi Lim and Grand Master Bok Man.
Master Sahota was one of the founding members of the GTI and in 1993, at the age of 22; I opened the first TKD club in Letchworth. The inaugural night was supported by a fantastic demonstration of Tae Kwon Do by the North London GTI club, led by Mr Williamson-Taylor. On a regular basis, I travelled to train under Mr Williamson Taylor, at North London, and Master Murphy, at Gravesend. I also attended seminars under Grand Master He Il Cho and Master Tony Sewell. Just prior to the opening of the club I achieved my 2nd degree Black Belt, under Grand Master He Il Cho, at the GTI’s first Black Belt grading. I also became a Qualified Coach, via the Martial Arts Development Committee.
The club was very successful, and I guided many students to black belt, and many students were successful at GTI tournaments, in patterns, sparring, and breaking. GTI examiners such as Master Murphy, Master Sewell and Master Cockburn visited the club as grading examiners. I entered the very first GTI tournament in Gloucester, in 1993. I umpired and refereed at many GTI tournaments, as well as open tournaments (and continue to do so).
I continued to compete at tournaments both GTI, freestyle and kickboxing.
- 1994, MAI National Circuit, Silver, continuous Sparring
- 1997, Gold, GTI English – Black Belt sparring
- 1998, Silver (light continuous) AMA WAKO
- I also won various local tournaments, such as Master Harrison’s regional tournaments and entered tournaments in the local kick boxing scene , in 2000, I won my bout at the ‘only the strong’ event.
- I achieved two silver medals at the CIMAC, Super league for patterns in the ‘hard form’; category.
In 1996, I achieved my 3rd Degree Black Belt (GTI)
Upon invitation by Master Murphy, I became part of a team that performed GTI demonstrations. We performed at key events in the martial art calendar, such as;
- The Clash of the Titans
- The EURAM – Headline event Mark Weir v Buster Reeves
In 1999 I was awarded 4th degree black belt, by Master Tony Sewell. I also travelled to Germany to compete in a national tournament; I was part of a team that achieved bronze in the team tournament – WMAS Deutschland Cup.
For twelve years’ I was a senior member of the UKTI (ITF), where I achieved my 5th degree black belt. In 2006, I was invited to Malta to grade for my 6th Dan.
After several years of absence, I have recently re-entered the tournament circuit as a veteran
- Gold – Veterans Black Belt sparring– GTI Open, 2014
- Gold – Veterans Black Belt (Points), GTI British, 2014
- Silver – Veterans Black Belt (continuous), GTI British, 2014.
- Gold – Veterans Black Belt sparring, GTI Open 2015
- Gold – Veterans Black Belt sparring, LTSI, English Open, 2015
I have been an instructor for over 22 years. At present I instruct at a small club in a local village. Within the club there are two 5th Degree black belt students who started as white belts and have trained with me for over 20 years. There are also two 3rd degree black belts, who have trained at the club for many years.
Last year I asked permission of the GTI Grading Panel to grade for my 7th Dan (Master grade), and submitted a written application. Over the next 10 months all my energy became focused on the grading, I travelled to train under Master Cockburn for a pattern session. On the 11th October 2015, I was awarded the grade of 7th Degree Black Belt, by Master Tony Sewell and Mr Burgess.