Sahun Lakhbir Singh Sangha Phal VIII Dan
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you, our membership, of the passing of my student who entered my life when he enrolled in my then school Hillingdon in 1973 as a white belt and subsequently, embarking on the never ending road of transition, graduated from Kup to Dan Grade, becoming an Instructor, first of 1, then in his heyday, 3 schools, stepping up to the mark when the situation required him to, by becoming one of the Founding Members of the BUTF and finally achieving the rank and accompanying status of Sahun, Phal, VIII Dan. Last but not least, this transition process incorporated the most important stage, that of an Instructor Student relationship to one of loyal and lasting friendship that has spanned and stood the test of time over the past 40 years.
He will be profoundly missed by me and I am sure all who knew him, young and old. As such, I am sure you will join the Executive and I in expressing our deep condolences to his beloved family Mrs Tejpal Sangha, his daughter Paraminder and his son Tejinder, who will be finding it difficult coming to terms with this drastic change in their lives.
I will shortly be publishing in writing the many tributes that I have already received, and to that end, ask that those of you whose life he has touched for the better, and those who wish to share any endearing moments you may have enjoyed with him, contribute further by writing in to email@example.com
I would ask that each tribute be accompanied by full names, past or present relationship to him, i.e. relative, student/ex-student (in which case rank is required) acquaintance etc., etc.
It goes without saying that only appropriate tributes will be published with unsuitable and anonymous ones being rejected.
Please note that there is NO deadline nor timescale on tributes for this page as they will be posted as and when they are received.
Sasung Choy IX Koo Dan, Chairman BUTF
This dreadful news and such a great loss. My thoughts are: "The mediocre teacher tells. A good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires". Master Sangha VIII was and will be a great teacher...his legend will live on.
Master A Manning, VIII Phal Dan BUTF
Very sad news indeed! Master Sangha will be sadly missed by everyone who ever trained with, or knew him. He was a really good man and a wonderful teacher. My thoughts are with his family and also with his close friends
Mr Robert Greaves, II Dan BUTF
I am deeply saddened by this. We have lost a truly humble, great man.
Mr Pete Rigg, V Dan BUTF
What very sad news. Such a loss of a lovely person, and a brave man, not once mentioning his condition when I was with him at his last tournament, just getting on with the job in hand, a smile on his face.
Master Keith Whitley, VII Dan BUTF
I am deeply saddened at the loss of such a genuine and honest man who has been such a great value to the BUTF
Mr Nicholas Sheehan, VI Dan BUTF
Funny how Mr Sangha still inspires me. Throughout this week I have remembered his smiles and encouragement. Before my eulogy, I had a smile as I thought of him laughing with me. Below are the words I spoke at the funeral. So far we have raised over £2,000, a true testament to the impact he has on the people he touched. "Just one more" will always ring in my ears. Master Sangha’s mantra for success, to always go that bit further. For 21 years I had the privilege to be under his tutelage. His dedication, caring and understanding of the needs of his students often went before his own. I remember our usual Monday night at Tooting would end between 11pm and midnight,( just one more), And on one occasion HE said " we need to finish early today " it was his wedding anniversary, and so he left at 10:45, which would have been 10 if our patterns had been better. Sorry for that Mrs Sangha. They say the brightest light burns quickest. And although his illness took him far too early, Master Sanghas light remains constant, in all the things we do, because when it came down to it Mr Sangha was a good man, a wonderful man with a great sense of humour and great sense of humanity. I hope we now, will always do "just one more" and through the extra effort smile, and proudly continue to carry My instructor, my colleague and my dear friend Master Sanghas light forward.
Mr Michael Snelders, V Dan BUTF
I would like to share with all these stories of Master Sangha: When I started at Hillingdon he was a Third Dan due to take his fourth and he visited Hillingdon fairly often for Patterns training and assessment by yourself- Everyone did! Those that have been fortunate to train with you know only full well there is only one way and that is the correct way! This I’m sure is as true today as it was then. Master Sangha had difficulty with a jump and balance in the middle of a Third Dan Pattern everything up to that point was crisp and with verve. You watched and demonstrated and encouraged him finally calling Master David Bryan(a Third Dan at the time) to do the Pattern with him. David was always good at aerial work and together they worked at it till it clicked and he completed without fault. People may not realise was drive and determination he had coupled with great resolve. As I progressed I saw more of Master Sangha at gradings and tournaments which he supported greatly. I can't remember him ever missing a tournament in my time training. When I reached Red belt the year leading up to the Black Belt grading I trained at other clubs to gain fitness and work on my patterns. It was at this time I realised what a great enabler he was for others never raising his voice always smiling and encouraging never criticising anyone. All of the senior students I met reflected his warmth and compassion, trained hard and wanted to improve.
When the BUTF was founded Master Choy brought the Hillingdon Black Belts into the kitchen changing area and explained the situation and offered us all the chance to leave or stay. At the very start Master Sangha was a great support to him undertaking the Treasurer/Administrator role. Often overlooked and not recognised by those that had not seen his workload. When we founded Wembley on many occasion I would ring and request if I could collect licences/grading books and he would always say yes please come over. Most people when you visit ask if you would like a 'tea or coffee' but Master Sangha would open the door with a big grin and extended hand (very firm handshake) and tell me "you will be needing a drink with your eats/snack”! At the time the children wereyoung and finishing off their school work or watching the telly. Mrs Sangha would wave from the kitchen and say hello. The sitting room table would full of Licences ready for despatch and without fail ours would be ready neatly prepared for me. He was always busy how he juggled family, work and TKD I’m really not sure but I do know he made a wonderful job of each and every one of his duties. Despite being busy he would always without fail ask how David and I were- how the school was doing, did we have many for grading and how many would we take to the next Tournament. He would listen intently as I rambled on and then bring me up to date with what he was doing not in a bragging way but to provide me with an insight into how to be successful and enjoy instructing. On many occasion I'd sit in the car after and then realise he was helping, advising and caring for us without me realising while he was talking- what a gentleman. Battersea was always 'his' Tournament he was never loud, flash or the centre of attention if you looked up he would always be working and helping someone. In all the time I had the privilege of knowing him I never heard him be negative about anyone or anything - always positive and encouraging. Always willing to join in and help... At that time the Black Belts had a buffet laid on and on seeing me circling the table he would ask what I thought of the food. Being honest I said these caterers are top notch and he said 'I know my wife does a great job' such was his pride and he would never brag. I always think of Master Sangha with his beaming smile at a Black Belt meal for Master Choy's birthday held in Chinatown (The restaurant had a totem pole outside as the sign) I found myself on a large circular table with a glass revolving centre to bring the dishes round the table to the diners. On my immediate left was 'Big Ron' then Leonard to my right was Master Sangha to my consternation the only eating utensils were chopstick which I couldn’t use. This prompted him to laugh at my predicament stating I would go home hungry!. As the meal began I couldn't keep up with the wheel or get anything into my bowl. Our of exasperation I asked Ron to get me 'something' and I carefully placed my thumb against the wheel to prevent it moving Master Sangha advised against this but I was hungry!. Ron put as much as he could as quickly as he could into the bowl - at the same time Leonard a devote Muslim sorted out what he could as his choices were limited. Unfortunately for me I'd held the wheel to long and a booming voice one that I had heard directed at me in frustration many times(Master Choy)asked who was at play - I quickly released the wheel and was waiting for an 'I told you so' that never came Master Sangha never highlighted a person’s faults. We carried on the meal till I got to a part that I couldn’t bite into so I carefully removed it only to my horror to see a chickens head! (I still don't know if Big Ron Stitched me) at this point I looked at Master Sangha to see tears of laughter running down his cheeks! Master Choy took pity on Leonard and myself and ordered Steamed Sea Bass which he asked to be placed down near us and finally we had something to eat. Master Sangha ever considerate of another’s welfare advised that I 'trained' with chopstickswhich I did and on the next meal he straight away picked up my new proficiencysaying that while he was relieved I won't be hungry he doubted I'd remain out of trouble! His warm smile and openness have stayed with me I haven't seen or spoken to him for twenty years I know that while physically we can't reach to him or talk to him directly I know that for those he cared for he will be there for them willing them to better themselves and to help others - The void he leaves is great and as much as Master Choy is strong he must truly thank himself lucky to have had a friend so loyal and true as dear Master Sangha I hope he sees him as I do with a Warm/Beaming Smile with a hand extended in friendship. A lovely friendly soul.
MrJohn Pepper, II Dan BUTF, Former Instructor
I first came across Master Sangha on my occasional visits to train at Hillingdon club in the early 80s when I was a red belt and he was either 1st or 2nd dan. He was the senior student and took charge of the class doing basics. When he shouted 'charyot' with that very loud sharpmanner I literally jumped, he certainly got my attention. Since becoming an instructor myself in '87 I got to know Master Sangha for the kind and gentle person he was. It was always a pleasure to see him. He always had a smile and we would always have a laugh together. I soon realised in those early years what asuccessful instructor he was and what a large contribution he made to the newly formed BUTF. His many students continually achieving great tournament results. But you wouldn't realise all this came from thisquiet, humble and modest man, never did he boast. This man was loved by his students who saw him not only as a great instructor, but as a friend and father figure, many of them being with him since childhood. He took the role of becoming a master seriously. On seeing he was getting slightlyout of condition he embarked on a personal fitness regime, doing hundreds of sit ups and running many milesover a period of months.It wasn't long before he was back in top physical condition, putting many to shame. And there weren't many that could keep up with him when the instructors did the early morning jog in Spain. Older than everyone he led the way. To see so many of his past and present black belts, and other black belt colleagues come from far and wide to pay their last respects it makes you realise in what high regard the man was held, loved and respected by all. A man who never had a bad word to say about anyone, only good. It was a fitting tribute to a true master of Taekwondo who devoted so much of his life to the art he loved. Taekwon, Master Sangha. You will be sadly missed.
Master Keith Whitley, VII Dan BUTF
Despite the years that have gone, it is with the deepest sadness that I have been informed of the passing of Lakhbir Sangha. He was one of a handful of truly inspirational people that I owe, not only my success within TaeKwon-Do, but to my upbringing throughout my childhood and teenage years. I first met Lakhbir at Hillingdon TaeKwon-Do School in 1978. I was a starry eyed 8 year old eager to embark on my martial arts journey. Unfortunately, at that time, I was the only child training. Whilst I was expected to join in with the adults, Grandmaster Choy, with the help of Lakhbir, gave me all the support and coaching they could. As my abilities and confidence began to develop, so did my appetite to train. Monday & Wednesday evenings were not enough to satisfy my hunger to learn. As I was not old enough to drive, Lakhbir would pick me up and take me to other schools in order to continue my career. I was also fortunate to meet his family as, occasionally; he would take me back to his home after training in order to enjoy his wife's home cooking! What he has achieved with the BUTF is incredible. I can't imagine the numbers of students he has trained and inspired over the years. Without doubt, he has left a long lasting legacy. I would encourage the BUTF to honour his legacy in some shape or form. The 'Lakhbir Sangha Cup' would be a trophy worthy of winning and training for. I refer to him as Lakhbir meaning no disrespect to his incredible achievements in TaeKwon-Do as I will always remember him ultimately as a personal friend. My thoughts are with his immediate and extended family.
Mr Paul Munns, IV Dan BUTF, Former Instructor
Master Sangha has left behind an enduring legacy that has stood and will continue to stand the test of time. Apart from his considerable personal achievements and endurance as practitioner and instructor he has touched countless lives for the better. The positive impact of having guidance from a genuine instructor cannot be underestimated nor understated. Teaching great and gifted students is a matter of good fortune. But being able to raise skill and fortitude where it is not so apparent is the hallmark of a true teacher. Having visited the club on several occasions in preparation of senior grades I was touched by his kindness and the level of care and attention he provided to someone not a ‘regular’ at the class. Whilst a firm and tough disciplinarian during lessons the love and respect of his students was very apparent. One image that will always stand out for me was how his youngest students would follow any instruction or ‘punishment’ without question yet after the lesson would mill around him affectionately for hugs and pats on the back. He has brought forward an entire generation and community of people who will continue his legacy and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The void he has left behind cannot be replaced and I hope that we as students continue to do his memory proud.
Mr Jay Inamdar, II Dan BUTF
I had the good fortune to know & train with Master Sangha over the last three decades. He was a man of high moral principles. For my students who trained with him felt that he represented all the qualities of a true Tae Kwon Master and epitomised the Tae Kwon Do tenants, of Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Indomitable Spirit, and Humility. I shall miss him as a fellow instructor & friend, but most of all as a genuine kind hearted honest person.
Master Bryan, VII DanBUTF
Dear Grandmaster Choy IX - as we come to terms with the sad loss, we would like to say the following as a tribute to Master Sangha: Master Sangha VIII Dan was truly a remarkable man. His tenacity was second to none and so was his commitment to the BUTF and Taekwon-Do. His light will shine brightly forever through his family and his students. He will be missed greatly.
Mr Gursharan S Kambo, V Dan BUTF
Mr Rasmeet S Kambo, IV Dan BUTF
Such devastating news. I first met Mr Sangha when I was a 13 year boy at Hillingdon. Every time he counted out loud the whole hall seemed to shake but under that awesome voice of his was the kindest, happiest and humblest man I've ever had the pleasure in meeting. Mr Sangha (he always seemed to be embarrassed to be called Master) took me under his wing at times when I needed it and always encouraged me not only in TKD but life in general. His hard work and loyalty to the BUTF was second to none and he genuinely 'loved' his students, 'they are my children' he would say. I still can't believe I'll won't be seeing Mr Sangha anymore but he lives on through Paraminder, Tejinder and all his other children, the students. Thank you Mr Sangha, Thank you so much for being in this world and given me an insight on how do things the right way. Tae Kwon
Mr Alan Liu, VI DAN BUTF
I remember my first day I walked into Mr Sangha’s Dojang, “This is it” I told my Daughters.
We had looked for several months to find the right Taekwon-do school. I had a gap in my training in TKD from 1988 until 2008, back in the days when the UKTA split and my ‘then’ instructor went overseas. We had looked at so many schools of which lacked the qualities Cranford possessed. Later it came to light that most of the better schools we had looked at, the instructors had been trained by Mr Sangha himself years earlier. The first day was daunting as Mr Sangha’s stern but warm voice shouting commands. The students responsive to every word. Training was hard but enjoyable in the same respect. Such great attention to detail and understanding to the needs of every student. It was seen immediately that this great man possessed the six Tenets we recited at the start of each lesson just before the Oath, (Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit, & Humility). Over the years I trained with Sir he gave back so much with no hesitation, his door was always open. I cannot ever repay the life lessons he has taught to me and my daughters, with guidance and sometimes just being there. Mr Sangha had great support from his family Mrs Sangha, Paraminder & Tejinder and relatives. Mr Sangha was the first to say he would not have been able to do it without his family. I would like to also thank them for all their support to each student, especially my family. Mr Sangha was a great Ambassador of the BUTF and loved Taekwon-do with a passion. (Along side with Cricket, Music and Poetry). He has been inspiration to the hundreds of Black Belts he has produced, spilling out to their families and loved ones. My daughters and I look and talk over the great things Sir used to say and often now smile about them as they lifted us during lessons. “Slap Him, it is for his own good. He will thank you one day.” - He used to say to my daughters occasionally during Sparring. “Just, one more” - Always enough time for one more round of sparring. It deeply saddens me to have lost such a great Instructor, Mentor and closest friend. Thank you for everything you have given us Sir, your Taekwon-do and spirit will fight on for many generations to come. Tae kwon
Mr Mark Wawman, III Dan BUTF
Miss Katie Wawman, II Dan BUTF
Miss Abigail Wawman, I Dan BUTF
Master LS Sangha VIII Dan 1950-201: I met Mr. Sangha at the beginning of 1992. I was a young, slightly cocky 24 year old Man. I was also a young father of two girls, then 2 ½ and 5 months old.
I had wanted to start training in martial arts since I was a child but had not ever searched it out until then. I tried a couple of lessons in another style but didn’t commit. In fact I had never really committed to anything before Taekwon-Do. I get bored and distracted easily, and I am a little lazy by nature, if I’m being honest. I had randomly bumped into an old school friend while I was training at a local gym. I noticed he was kicking and stretching in a corner, so I went over to ask him what he was doing. He replied Taekwon-Do. I had never heard of it, so I asked him to tell me more. After that conversation, I decided that I would go to the school to have a look for myself. I watched my first class and at the end I spoke to the instructor, who I found to be very open, honest and down to earth. I decided to join at the very next class. From that time on I was hooked. I didn’t really contemplate why Taekwon-Do was so different from any of the other pursuits, which I had tried and left by the wayside, until much later. The first time I had to express this was when I had to write my 4th Dan thesis. It was then that all the time and memories all came together. There is so much I have gained from being part of Mr. Sangha’s Taekwon-Do family that to list all would be seem endless. It’s true that the hard physical training and the discipline was really something that I craved and strived for. Being able to learn difficult skills that at first feel impossible, but with perseverance and dedication are achieved. But much more than this, it was because of the man that I relied on to be my mentor, was always there to push me to my limits and beyond. I think I also learned the importance of humility, even before the BUTF adopted it as the 6th tenant. Mr. Sangha taught me the difference between when to be tough and when to be kind. Since my mother and father had both passed away by the time I was 18, I had not had a positive male role model around until I had met Mr. Sangha. He steadily became a bigger and bigger influence in my life. Aside from Taekwon-Do, Mr. Sangha stood by my side through many personal difficulties including the devastation of losing my sister at a young age. He was always available to listen and to give gentle heart felt advice. This is something that I hadn’t fully appreciated and had taken for granted until the last few months, when it has hit home in waves of ever increasing strength. When my daughters were around 6 and 8 respectively, I decided to introduce them to our class. I was hopeful that they would enjoy it but not sure. Of course Mr. Sangha’s unique charm and warm personality won them over immediately and they also stayed and achieved beyond their dreams. We are all three better people as a result of this journey together. We are also extremely close. I sometimes feel like the luckiest dad in the world. In conclusion I would like to thank Mr. Sangha for playing such a big part in making my life as good as it is today. I hope that I can be a positive part of his legacy going forward. I will do my best. I do gain strength from the fact that since I started my class in 1999, I have noticed that while I’m teaching, I often hear Mr. Sangha in my own words while talking to my students, and I enjoy a little internal smile. Mr. Sangha brought so many smiles to so many peoples lives.
I will always give thanks to the day I met Mr. Sangha. I will celebrate his life and all the positive influences, fun, love and laughter that came with him.
Mr Chris Joannou, VI Dan BUTF
I was very sad to learn of Master Sangha’s passing. I trained with him for a few years at the Twickenham dojang and got my black belt under him. I have many fond memories of him…we had a fantastic class, rich in talent and enthusiasm. His teaching, motivation and kindness were a model of perfection. Even now I can’t recall him missing a class. He was always there, driving us on. I eventually moved on to try other styles and now run a mixed martial arts class in London. My favourite phrase was the one he always used as we started sparring. He would boom it out from the corner of the room to get us all fired up - “Let’s get to work!” - Even now, I use it every lesson I teach. He will be sorely missed.
Mr Cailey Barker, I Dan BUTF (2005)
I am heartbroken, angry and laughing all at the same time. I have just found out that Mr Sangha has passed away and his funeral has taken place. I am heartbroken that such a wonderful man has been taken from his treasuredfamily so young. I am angry with myself as I knew he was ill but kept putting off going to see him. A combination of thinking other things were more important at the time and naively believing Mr Sangha was indestructible. I am laughing as reading these tributes is bringing back some great memories of the man. Mr Sangha was not the biggest, strongest or fastest out there. However he was the absolute personification of the tenets of TaeKwon-Do. A kinder, gentler and absolutelycommittedman you will never meet. I am no longer a TKD student and (to my shame) have not seen Mr Sangha for many years. However his example of unwavering dedication, humility and honest hard graft will stay with me forever. His lessons have helped me become a better person, martial artist, husband, worker and father. This is Mr Sangha's true legacy. Not trophies or black belts. Mr Sangha has positively impacted on thousands of people just by being him. His catchphrases, infectious smile and ready handshake are something to miss. His spirit and life are something to treasure. "Just one more"......paragraph. Mr Sangha would not approve of you the reader wasting your time in front of the internet. So whether it is martial arts, fitness training, DIY or family time, turn off the computer, get your kit ready and......"LETS GET TO WORK!!!!!!!"
Mr Mark Agrippa, II Dan BUTF
Mr Dominic Agrippa, II Dan BUTF
Ms Laura Agrippa, Ist Kup BUTF
Ex BUTF Students
I thought long and hard on what to say about this great inspirational man. I started many a tribute over the past months and always came to the conclusion that what I had written wasn’t good enough. I had always known of Master Sangha while climbing up the ranks before going for my 1st degree back in the late 90’s. Since gaining my 1st degree, it became more apparent how kind and genuine he was, he treated everyone the same regardless of rank. Master Sangha welcomed me into his club in May 2011, while preparing for a grading, not once did he make me feel small or out of place it was as though I was one of his students. Every Sunday I would go too his school in Cranford, and a welcoming smile and hand shake would greet me with the question, “Is there anything specific you want me to cover today” Under that warm exterior was a strong disciplinarian who always wanted the best for his students, he would always try to make them realise their full potential and push them too there limit (and sometime beyond), come the end of the class, that reassuring smile would always reappear. I recall one lesson, when I was having issues with breaking and Master Sangha took me aside to the holder and asked me to break (I felt guilty that I was taking the other students instructor away). After a couple of attempts he explained what I was doing wrong, and talked me through how to correct it. Needless to say I broke a few times and he said “There you go, you got it now”. I was amazed he was able to do this so easily. I kept thanking him and his exact words to me were “No need to thank me it’s part of the job”. Whenever I hear the tenant “Humility” I always think of Master Sangha, if ever there was a true example of this tenant it is him. I will truly miss Master sangha, and consider myself privileged to have met and been able to train under him (if only for a short while). He truly is a great, kind warm hearted and caring instructor, I will never forget him.
Mr Derrick Clarke, III Dan BUTF