Meet team Tonbridge

Kevin Palmer

 I first stepped into a Dojang back in 1998. 

 

 A friend of mine had been doing ITF Taekwondo for a long time and had already reached Black Belt. He asked me to attend a class with him. Which I did, instantly falling in love with every aspect of the Martial Art.

 

 I continued going with him until he received a serious injury, which prevented him from going any longer. As I relied on him for a lift I had to look for a Club closer to home.

 

 After sometime away I discovered a WTF club near me and started to train there. Although it was full contact Kyorugi* and the Poomsae* was different. I felt I had really found the place I wanted to be in, within the Taekwondo World. Plus I was told how WTF was an Olympic Sport! Which really had me excited. 

 

 I have been doing Taekwondo ever since. Wow! Twenty years now! How time flies. 

 

In this time I have had the chance to train at various clubs and with some of the best Masters and Instructors both nationally and Internationally. Learning so much on the way. 

 

 I have competed in many competitions over the years in both Kyorugi* and Poomsae*. Winning a tally of Gold, Silver and bronze medals. This is at regional and international level.

 

 I have been training with Mathi and Sydney for many years now. Forming life lasting friendships with them both. So it made perfect sense to start Tonbridge Taekwondo club together.

 

 Thank you for taking the time to read this short but sweet Bio. I'm guessing that if you have read this, then you have an interest in Taekwondo. So please pop down and introduce yourself. 

 

 See you soon!

Mathi Gupta

As a young boy growing up in Greater Manchester in the 70’s and 80’s, I was always mesmerized by the Martial Arts Legends, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung and Yuen Biao. My cousin and I often used to choreograph fight scenes to show friends and family, as we were fascinated by the speed and agility of these truly exceptional martial artists. It was something we both longed to do.

I started university in September 1991 and, during Freshers week, I joined the Korean Martial Art of Taekwondo. I trained 3-hour sessions three times a week throughout my years at university. I absolutely loved a sport that kept me physically fit and taught me key life skills. Taekwondo feIt natural and was a sport that would quickly become a huge part of my life. I entered many Kyorugi* competitions and my best accolade was a bronze in the Inter-University Championships.

My goal was always to get my black belt. It was a very nerve wracking time because my then instructor, Master Stuart Halliday, was going for his 5th Dan and his son, Christian, was going for his black belt alongside with me. Stuart said to both Christian and I that none of his students had failed their black belt grading. Thankfully we all passed! As soon as I got my black belt, I started to help out at my club by teaching university students this brilliant sport. I was able to appreciate a contrasting perspective on Taekwondo, which enhanced my love for Taekwondo.

Sadly, I snapped the ligament in my right knee, which put an end to my Kyorugi*. I then started doing Poomsae* and started to compete. I was successfully ranked in the top 10 in GB in my category and was selected for the GB national team. I retired from Poomsae* on a high by winning Gold in the NTC championships.

I have been practicing Taekwondo for over 25 years and have run a club for the last 10. We have produced a silver medallist in the Kyorugi* British National Championships and numerous champions in Poomsae*, who have also been selected into the GB national Team.

I have always loved Taekwondo and believe that giving something back to the community is vital, as well as incredibly enriching. Taekwondo has also allowed me to promote the message of leading a FIT and HEATHLY LIFESTYLE.

Throughout my work career and personal life, I have lived by the tenets of Taekwondo, and believe they are key to a happy and content life.

Sydney Craven

I've spent 3/4 of my life learning Taekwondo, and I'm still going strong. 

I was taken along to my local Taekwondo club for a bring a buddy day by a good pal at the age of 6, I fell in love with the sport and the rest is history.

I achieved my black belt at age 11 and set my sights on the next goal...to win a medal!

Crystal Palace 2006 was my first ever competition...I came last. Over that next year I did everything in my power so that would not happen again...at the end of 2007, I won the gold at the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships in Winnipeg, Canada. I remember little 12 year old me making the phone call to my parents that were across the pond in the middle of the night, saying 'Mum/Dad I've done it, I won a medal! And it was GOLD!' 

 

This was just the start of my competitive journey, I went on to win the British nationals 10 years in a row, competing in both individuals and pairs all over the world.

 

Over the past few years working as an actor has taken me on a slight different path with my competetive side, however I'm back in the dojang teaching and passing on everything I've learnt, soon to be coming back to the competition circuit! Watch this space!

Kyorugi* (Fighting)

Poomsae* (Patterns)

© 2018 by Tonbridge Taekwondo. 

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