Mr Austin V
I started training in 1983 at the Haringey school of Taekwon-do in Bowes Road in the days when the UKTA was the premier Taekwon-do organisation. The Instructor there was Mr CY Cheung II who was a student of Master RMK Choy, a 4th Dan then, from the school he operated in Camden Town. Mr Cheung's English being not as good as his Taekwon-do technical ability meant that his students had to learn his way - hands on.
After about 8 months of training in Bowes Road we were informed that we were moving - to Camden town which had been passed over to Mr Cheung by Master Choy after he decided to cut back on teaching to concentrate on national UKTA duties that started to take up more of his time; he was its Chairman for five years. Unfortunately due to work commitments coupled to distance of travel and various injuries I had picked up along the way, I had to curtail my training after six months at Camden, finally stopping altogether.
Time nevertheless flew, 5 years to be exact, and contrary to the saying, I wasn’t enjoying myself. This restlessness, brought on by total inactivity led to my rediscovering the need to get back into a Taekwon-do training program of some sort again. My forays into the martial arts press led me to the doorstep of the nearest school to me which was in Edgeware where the Instructor Mr D Richards II happened yet again coincidentally, to be from another one of Master Choy’s stables, this time from his Hillingdon School. He informed me that he was part of a newly formed organisation the British United Taekwon-Do Federation (BUTF), which was going places and was headed by Master Choy a V Dan at the time, following his and other Instructors parting of ways with the UKTA.
The year was 1990. Imagine my horror when a year later I was informed by Mr Richards that he would no longer be operating the school which was to close soon after. I consider myself extremely lucky in that he pointed me in the direction of another BUTF school which was in Barnet which I discovered to be under the Instruction of the man who was to be the architect of my accomplishing the dearly coveted Black Belt in what was an extremely demanding organisation. Mr. L. Bernard a II Dan as he was then was from another of Master Choy’s schools, Putney.
My commitment to Taekwon-Do, rejuvenated after a five year absence, stood me in good stead and saw me through my 1st 29/09/1991 2nd 28/03/1993 & 3rd Dan 24/09/1995 examinations with a continuation of my training regime in Barnet even after I opened my first school for the BUTF in Edmonton in 1994.
My activities in the arena of competition continued well into my time as an Instructor with Mr Bernard, a IVth Dan by that time, fine tuning my destructive skills to succeed at the Federations British Championships in 1998 in gaining the accolade of being the first member to break 3 break-up boards using the Reverse Knife hand (Sonkal Dung) as the striking tool. To this day I am led to believe that although this feat has been equaled once, it has never been surpassed.
My retirement from active competition allowed me to concentrate on building my school in Edmonton from which I produced countless students of quality culminating in three Black Belts, my pride and joy, along with permitting me the time to train and finally apply for the all important transition in Black Belt ranking of going from junior to senior, that of 4th Dan. This milestone was passed on the 25th March 2001.
I take pride in stating that all my Dan Grades have been achieved under the critical eyes of three outstanding Masters in Taekwon-Do, Masters Choy VIII, Au VIII, and Wolf VII who unfortunately has since seen fit to go his own way thereby severing years of achievement with the BUTF.
Due to circumstances beyond control, Edmonton had to be relocated down the road to Tottenham which is now the centre of my efforts to regain past glories.