Mr James Wilby is a 2nd degree black belt in TaeKwon-Do
He starting his training in December 2011 at the age of 17 and received his first degree black belt in November of 2014 at the age of 20. Having been an assistant instructor to Mr Martin Harvey for some time, James was offered the position of Instructor in April 2016.
I’d always wanted to take up a martial art growing up, once I could drive myself and pay my own training fees I decide to try it out at a newly opened club in my local town.
I’d very quickly taken a shine to TaeKwon-Do and it wasn’t long before I had a choice to either university or to continue training under Mr Harvey. It wasn’t a hard decision to make because I wasn’t sure what to study and in my opinion the standard of training we get in the North of England was what set us apart. I had pride in my association, club and instructor.
It was the best path to take as it led to me ultimately taking over from Mr Harvey and now I have the chance to build upon his legacy.
It fills me with excitement to imagine what I will be filling this space with in the years to come.
Mr Martin Harvey is a 5th degree black belt in Taekwon-Do.
He started training in 1974 when he was 13 years old.
He has also trained in several other martial arts and holds the rank of 3rd degree black belt in two other styles as well.
He is a fully qualified Taekwon-Do instructor and is also a qualified class A umpire and has also taken and passed the GTUK Child Protection course and First Aid courses.
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.
I started training with Mr Clive Neal, who was a 2nd degree at the time, 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 grading’s 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 3rd degrees in two other styles.
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.’