Visit our ATC Facebook page



Visit our SATI Facebook page

Training Taekwon-Do and working in London, UK

The mention of the name London conjures up a myriad of different images: An old colonial power where people enjoy high tea at four a clock in the afternoon, a modern city where black is so last season and where black is the new black, a stuffy underground, black taxi’s, Big Ben standing sentinel over the Houses of Parliament, red busses…However, having spend almost three months in London, I realised that none of these stereotypes nearly match the reality and the privilege to work, live and train Taekwon-Do in the largest city in Europe.

The first thing one notice in London is the diversity of people and cultures that inhabit this magnificent city on the Thames. It seems to be the melting pot of cultures, communities and different ideas. Each day one is confronted with a new point of view, whether it is on politics or religion or morality and one quickly realised that respect for one another in such a diverse society is of the utmost importance.

I arrived in London carrying a huge suitcase of black clothing, eagerly anticipating a new experience. Using the internet I contacted a couple of ITF schools but only one of the instructors replied, Sabum Thomas Denis, 6th degree and the ITF-England National Team Coach and ITF Instructor. He invited me to train at his two clubs in Docklands and in Pimlico, free of charge.

What an experience! I trained with European champions and World Champions, people who can do a reverse turning kick quicker than you can utter the word “dolyo”. I was welcomed into the club and the diversity of people and nationalities was amazing, a truly global village: People from Japan and Kyrgyzstan, Poland and Ireland, the Ukraine and Scotland, Latvia and France, white belts and European and World Champions, youngsters and those who are not so young… and all were united by their love for martial arts.

The training itself was very physical and the contact at times quite hard. We did a lot of sparring training as the club was preparing for a tournament in Benedorm, Spain. Some of my British colleagues, who are usually extremely polite and diplomatic, wondered about the bruises on my arms but I quickly told them that I was not in an abusive relationship but that I merely enjoy a very physical kind of sport. Not everyone understood the concept though.

An important paradigm shift took place and I realised that the ones physical and emotional boundaries are mere mirages, ghosts born from our own insecurities and which we continually feed with self destructive criticism. Strange though how quickly these monsters dissipate when we are faced with new challenges. When sparring against a European champion one does not have the luxury of concentrating on ones weaknesses, one has to rise to the occasion and concentrate on one’s strengths and the words “I can’t…” also magically vanishes in the face of adversity, albeit friendly adversity.

Once again I realised that martial arts is a physical and metaphysical journey, the opportunity to better oneself, to become a more a stronger person, a more balanced person, able to defend the tenets of our art to create a more peaceful world where freedom and justice reigns.

On a lighter note I must add that I made amazing friends in London. One should never expect to find the mundane and the ordinary because it is only when we are prepared to experience the extraordinary that we open ourselves up to new experiences which enables one to grow.

To Sabum Thomas Denis I am grateful for the privilege and the opportunity to train at his dojang, for his endless support and patience, for his invaluable instruction and his ability to make one see that one is capable of so much more than what one give oneself credit for. Most of all I want to thank him for his friendship.

To the other students at Docklands and Pimlico: I will carry your unconditional friendship in my heart back to sunny South Africa and I hope to see you either in Europe or South Africa sooner rather than later.

Ronel Rust
© 2006 Acestes Taekwon-Do Clubs  |   Hosted and Maintained by WebHeaven
ViVisitors since 2006:
Nice Amazing Counters