Grandmaster Choy IX
Grandmaster Raymond MK Choy IX was the first 8th Dan confirmed by the Founder Gen. Choi Hong Hi himself (ITF Certificate GB-8-1) in the UK, and only the second person to ascend to the status of Grandmaster in the UK. He was also the first person in the UK, having commenced training as a white belt to reach Grandmaster status.
Mr. Choy commenced training in 1969 whilst still in the RAF. The school, in Barry Island South Wales was part of the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association. Discharged from the RAF in March 1971 as a 2nd kup, he returned to reside in London and had to travel up and down the M1 to the Coventry area under Mr. Rhee (VI Dan at the time) to further his training. Finally after having to train under Mr. De' Silva II for an indefinite period, Mr. Choy gained his promotion to 1st Degree in 1972 and became only the 19th person in the UK to have achieved the coveted Black Belt. Mr. Choy opened up his first school, Hillingdon, in 1973, soon to be followed by others.
Mr. Choy was elected as London & Southeast representative in the UKTA committee in 1975, and organised the UKTA English Championships in 1976, which was the first tournament hosted by the London area. In Stuttgart, 1975, Mr. Choy represented the UKTA in the ITF All Europe Taekwon-Do Championships. This was his only opportunity to do so as, in those days, instructors in the UKTA were not permitted to compete in National Championships, purely because they were needed more importantly to adjudicate and put on demonstrations, at the events. At the 1977 English Championships in Pontefract, Yorkshire, Mr Choy became the first Black Belt to demonstrate in public the pattern Choi Yong as a 3rd degree, and the breaking of 4 x 1" pieces of piranha pine with a 180 degree jumping back kick. His first school Hillingdon, won top honours in the UK at the Welsh & English Championships in 1978.
Nominated to represent Taekwon-do in the newly formed Martial Arts Commission (MAC) in 1978, Mr Choy later went on to be elected on it's executive. Mr Choy was elected to the position of chairman of the UKTA in 1983, having also become the first ITF Black Belt in the UK to be promoted to 5th Degree. He remained in the position of chairman until 1988. During a large period of this time, he took on the responsibility of the holding together and running of the UKTA during Master Rhee's illness which necessitated his return to his homeland of Korea for surgery - another task Mr. Choy took upon himself to organise. During this period the responsibility also fell upon Mr. Choy, to take over the duty of Chief Grading Examiner until Master Rhee's return.
In 1988 for reasons which have now become a matter of public record, Mr. Choy, along with a handful of other instructors (including Miss Au, Mr Sangha & Mr. Whitley) left the UKTA to form the British United Taekwon-Do Federation. He was elected Chairman, Chief Examiner and Chief Instructor, positions that he still holds to this day. He was elected to the position of Secretary General for the newly formed BTC (British Taekwon-do Council) until January 1996. He also held for the period of two years, 2002 -2004, the post of Secretary General of the ITF (Canada)
Since it's formation in 1988, (the year of the dragon) the BUTF has now completed more than a full cycle. There have been periods of turbulence & uncertainty, but throughout, the leadership along with a strong coalition between Master Choy VIII Dan (his certificate bearing the number GB-8-1 presented by the Founder Gen. Choi Hong Hi) the Executive & the Instructors of the organisation, the BUTF with it's impeccable standards has become one of the most highly respected independent Taekwon-do organisations in the world.
To date, Grandmaster Choy IX Dan remains the much respected head of the organisation.
Master of Masters
Here are just some of the Grandmasters and Masters trained by Grandmaster Choy:
Tham Ying Au Grandmaster IX Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 1st Kup in 1978, training with BUTF.
- Lakhbir Sangha Master VIII Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1974, passed away 2013.
- Anthony Manning Master VIII Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: IV Dan in 1991, training with BUTF.
- David Bryan Master VII Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in1975, training with BUTF.
- Keith Whitley Master VII Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: I Dan in 1988, training with BUTF.
- Alan Liu Master VII Dan, BUTF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1980, training with BUTF.
- Roger Koo Master/Founder, Koo Self Defense, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in1973, left as III Dan in 1985.
- Marshall Pereira Master VII Dan, Choi Kwang Do, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in1974, left as III Dan in 1985.
- Donato Nardizzi Grandmaster IX Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1977, left as III Dan in 1988.
- Ted Wolf Master VIII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 4th Dan in1988, left as VII Dan in 2004.
- George Dosoo Master VII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: IV Dan in 1989, left as VI Dan in 1996.
- Andrew Rhee Master VII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1986, left as 1st Kup in 1988.
- Trevor Nicholls Master VIII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1974, left as III Dan in 1982.
- Wayne Brown Master VIII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1976, left as III Dan in 1988.
- Jamie Hogan Master VII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: 10th Kup in 1981, left as V Dan in 1995.
- Ian Lawes Master VII Dan, ITF, started with Grandmaster Choy: IV Dan in 1988, left as V Dan in 1993.
By Sahun Anthony Manning VIII 'Phal' Dan BUTF.
"The principle of being promoted to the point of incompetence is not relevant here. His history and pedigree is very transparent for all to see. He has not taken any shortcuts or accelerated Dan grades; he has served his time, faithfully and with integrity, and deserves the honour and title of "Sasung"; Grandmaster.
The first person was Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha IX who has just celebrated his tenth anniversary in the rank, having been despatched in 1967 by Gen. Choi to promote Taekwon-Do further in this country. He saw it fit in the March of 1986 to place in the care of Grandmaster Choy the Taekwon-do grounding of his own son Andrew Rhee, currently a 6th Dan in the UKTA, who progressed successfully up to the coveted Black Belt before having to sever relationships with Grandmaster Choy due to extenuating circumstances beyond the control of both. What a credit to Grandmaster Choy, and a testimony of how highly he is regarded by Grandmaster Rhee.
A Grandmaster is a Master of Masters, someone who has excelled in a field to a level beyond that of others. It is someone who is world class. The grandmaster is the head or father figure of many, someone with great experience and wisdom, moving beyond just physical manifestation to a mental level that transcends just doing what everyone else does. Someone who brings a new insight that moves that field forward.
All the above apply to Grandmaster Choy and more. Grandmaster Choy's introduction of the sixth tenet; Humility, has been adopted internationally. For those of you who have been up close to him, you will experience a man with a bottomless pit of energy and drive to perfect the Art that was founded by General Choi Hong HI; Taekwon-Do. He is very much like a prism, with so many different perspectives.
I have known Grandmaster Choy for many years and I am still in awe of his knowledge of this Art and some of the great Korean Masters he has rubbed shoulders with. He has a tremendous mind for detail and can rivet you with some of his anecdotal stories. Some of the Masters today started with or were highly influenced by Grandmaster Choy. There are many Masters both in the UK and abroad that have been under his Instruction, interestingly some of those who started with him as children, now claim to have been training longer than him in this Art.
There are now 8th and 7th Dans: Master Tham Ying Au, Master Lakhbir Sangha, Master Roger Koo, Master Marshall Pereira, Master Trevor Nicholls, Master Wayne Brown, Master Donato Nardizzi, Master James Hogan, Master Ted Wolf, Master Ian Lawes, Master George Dosoo and myself Master Anthony Manning. Some are leading their own federations and associations, some have moved on to other things, but the seeds were planted by Grandmaster Choy, or he was instrumental in them achieving these very high grades in the art in the years they were with him. "A Master of Masters". The number of people that have achieved the coveted black belt and moved on to senior grades such as 4th, 5th and 6th Dans, is endless; what a fantastic legacy. It is therefore truly fitting for him to move to his rightful position and fulfil his destiny.
For most of you he has been your Instructor or Examiner, for me he has been all of those things and more. For nearly two decades he had also been my friend.
Congratulations Sasung Grandmaster Raymond Meng Kwong Choy IX."