Over 180 Taekwondo students presented themselves for grading at Loreto Gym recently, with ages ranging from five to 55 years, and representing schools from Kilkenny City, Inistioge, Belmount, Ferrybank, Ballingarry, Urlingford and Thurles.
The grading started with a warm-up, and progressed through to testing for the difficult belts. One striking feature was the uniformity of student ability, especially considering they attend different schools with different instructors.
Master Sheamus O’Neill, seventh dan (the only official Chung Do Kwan Grand Master in Ireland, appointed by Grand Master Park, Hae Man and Grand Master Shin, Byoung Hyoun) ensured that this uniformity of standard was achieved under the World Taekwondo Federation regulations. All black belts and instructors are certified by Kukkiwon and Chung Do Kwan; this a rigid syllabus, which is exte nsively applied and maintained throughout the World Taekwondo schools.
In three months time, the Kilkenny School will host the grading again, and students will continue to develop and progress in the art. Some students have even joined schools abroad, gaining experience in the World Taekwondo international community, safe in the knowledge that they meet the recognised standards of expertise.
The World Taekwondo Association School started in Kilkenny with two students eight years ago. The Kilkenny school has produced three third dan, two second dan, three first dan students, four instructors and three assistant instructors.