My Taekwondo life started when I was 12. During Junior School (6 years to 11 years in the UK) I was bullied over the last few years of it. When I raised it with my parents, I was told “it’s just kids being kids” and “don’t worry, new school soon, it’ll be different kids and it will all stop”. Well, I changed school at 11 and for the first year things went from being a whole year of new kids who didn’t know each other, to me being back at the bottom of the pile, bullied by the cool kids…

Overseeing a belt promotion test with my dojang’s senior masters

Having spoken to plenty of masters on this topic recently, grading scoring is generally done in one of two ways:

  1. Watch the candidate and pick a score out of 100 that feels right for them
  2. Watch a group of candidates, pick what feels like the middle of the performance and give marks/final grade from that relative position.

Both of these ideas really hinge on just a feeling from the examiner and are therefore subject to individual preferences and moods, and that doesn’t seem like the right way to do it.

It also doesn’t help for instructors during grading preparation and…

From my few times at doing courses under Kukkiwon’s World Taekwondo Academy and from my instructor Grandmaster Pan, I’ve learnt that a lot of Taekwondo practitioners around the world treat poomsae as just a series of kicks, punches, blocks etc — without thinking about the core concepts of Kukkiwon Taekwondo movement and how they are applied in poomsae.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and teach these core concepts in my dojang, but thought it might be time to put electronic pen to electronic paper and put them out there for others to reference. …

One of my students has gone to South Korea for a cultural trip and to experience Taekwondo in its home country, the following is his unedited diary (well, clarifying comments in square brackets). I’ll update it with every update he sends me until he returns home.

Friday 15th September

Okay so I started today with a few nerves about training for the first time in Korea but there was a huge load of excitement at the same time. I was lucky enough to have Suhyun as a friend who collected me from my hotel to the dojang [Master Kim Kwang-soo’s Taekwondo gym, in Sinchon, South Korea — Gaon Taekwondo]. It was so easy to get to, about 5 minutes walk away.

In the morning before training I went out to the supermarket to buy some breakfast as I wanted to be energized for training. I couldn’t find my choice…

I had the time in 2010 to ask Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon, 8th Dan in Taekwondo, some questions about his views on Taekwondo and poomsae.

Andy Jeffries: Good afternoon Grandmaster Pan, thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. Let’s start off at the beginning; when and why did you start training Taekwondo?

Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon: I started training Taekwondo in 1964 under my secondary school senior who was a brown belt then. We were camping one weekend as I was a scout then when my senior had to leave camp. He would not tell us where he was going to. We pestered him and he told us that he would tell us in the morning. After chores in the morning, my…

I’ve been a Taekwondo instructor for nearly 25 years now, so while my own start in martial arts was a lifetime ago, the experiences are fresh because I’ve seen the same thing on so many people’s faces over those years.

Generally I would say that beginners to martial arts classes come in three types:

  1. I’ve never done martial arts before, I want to, but I don’t think I can do what you guys do.
  2. I’ve never done martial arts before, I want to and think I’ll be really good, so let’s get started.
  3. I’ve done some martial arts before, I…

Day 1

I arrived at 4pm on the Thursday, but missed the Hanmadang as it had finished early. A quick meal at Seoseokdae and then I crashed by about 8pm. I’m considering Day 1 to be my first full day.

On the next day I turned up to the grand Hilton at 9am as per the schedule. However, check-in wasn’t open until 1pm. I met Master Na and Miss JUNG Ga-Young of the Kukkiwon. After checking in, I went with two new friends Cesar (6th dan from Brasil) and Hermann (4th dan from Austria) along with Cesar’s friend Doohee in to Dongdaemoon…

Saturday 13th July

I arrived at Incheon at about 8:30 and got on the KAL bus to Gangnam. After a short walk I arrived at my room and the landlady kindly talked me around the place and facilities. By about midday I was just about to pack my dobok and head over to GM Kang, Ik-Pil’s dojang for a private lesson with the guy who literally wrote the book on Kukki-Taekwondo poomsae, but the landlady wanted to take me and an American girl that’s been staying here for 3 years out for lunch. She drove us out to a restaurant and we all…

I’ve been doing Taekwondo since 1986 and over the years I watched gradings done in different ways, by different teachers. Some I agreed with, some I didn’t. In the end I came back to how my first instructor Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon did promotion tests and I found that it is the way I feel most comfortable. It’s easy to write this off as just copying the first example, but I feel that I have reasons for doing things that way and can therefore justify why I do it that way.


When I first started as a child training once…

What’s this all about?

I’m a big fan of The Setup on and while I’m not famous enough to warrant my own article on there, I thought I’d actually like to document my own current setup/tools/etc so in the future I can compare how things have changed. I wrote an original version of this article on my blog in 2014, but have updated it for publishing on Medium.

What hardware do you use?

My only sole machine is a Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" with Touch Bar. It has a 2.9GHz Intel i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB ultra-fast PCIe SSD. It replaced a Mid 2013…

Andy Jeffries

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store