Sole founding member of Melbourne Taekwondo Centre in 1963.
9th Dan Jidokwan Grand Master.
8th Dan Kukkiwon Grand Master.
World Taekwondo Hall of Fame Inductee.
Recipient of the President of the World Taekwondo Federation Award.
Blitz Hall of Fame Inductee.
1st non-Korean Australian to earn 1st Dan Black Belt.
1st non-Korean Australian to earn 9th Dan Black Belt.
Grand Master Jack Rozinszky wrote this brief essay for a competition in 2009 that was run by the Kukkiwon. This essay was selected as one of only nine that were published in a book called "Taekwondo: A Journey".
This is the printed version of the essay and will serve as Grand Master Rozinszky's biography until such time as he decides to tell his whole, truly amazing and inspiring story!
This essay chronicles the experiences and personal development of Jack Rozinszky, a man who escaped communist Hungary to Australia, who became interested in martial arts and due to the limited opportunities in the country at the time decided to travel to various countries around Asia to seek further knowledge and experience that he could learn from and take back to Australia. These adventures where in the formation years of Taekwondo, and while Korea was trying to expand Taekwondo to the outside world, he one was of the early people to go to Korea going with his new wife and training at the Jidokwan to learn the art from the instructors of the instructors and the heart of the world of Taekwondo, this has lead to forming friendships and lifelong relationships with many senior instructors of Taekwondo today.
These experiences include the struggles of forming one of the earliest clubs in Australia and being involved in the formation of the early Taekwondo associations in the country. Expanding the club against many challenges and difficulties, while still having the drive and determination to succeed. This is not just a story about learning a martial art but the personal challenges of moving to a foreign country and developing a martial club of a foreign based art in a growing and developing country. In the pioneer times of the spread of Taekwondo across the world and being part of the growth of the martial art and it’s acceptance in to the major international sporting associations.
His own club the Melbourne Taekwondo Centre has sent many competitors to various worldwide events where they have had enormous success and a high reputation, while prompting goodwill and the spirit of friendship that Jack personally tried so hard to express himself in the 1960’s. The club has grown into one of the biggest and most successful in Australia through years of difficulties and challenges, which required leadership, and the development of a family environment.
These competitors have won medals in some of the earliest international events and competitions around the world in a time when few countries competed, this has grown to the extent that last year at the first World Poomsae Championships, one of the clubs senior instructors won first medal for Australia.
It is this criteria that is unique in it experiences and time in the foundation years of Taekwondo which truly exhibits the overcoming of challenges and difficulties in spreading Taekwondo.
In The Beginning
After fleeing from the 1956 revolution in Hungary, before I left there I studied wrestling and gymnastics. After arriving on the ship in Melbourne, I found accommodation and became involved with the Hungarian community, who had a social club where there was a Judo club that also taught Jujitsu, this is when I first began training in the martial arts of Judo and Ju-jitsu in Australia. I also discovered another Judo and Jujitsu club, in which the instructors had come out from Holland, they were members of the club in Holland which had produced a world champion in Judo. After a long search I come across a Jujitsu and Karate club called “Silver Top Taxi Club” with instructors of high-calibre and very caring, but also demanding the best from each student. We started to practice our skills, blocking and kicking techniques, one of the first instructor the club invited was from Korea and his name was Chan-Yong KIM, his skills were excellent, we learned a lot from him, during this time I was promoted to Brown belt, after training very hard.
In 1962, I decided to open of my own club that was in located in St Kilda. The club flourished this was the first club in Australia many members from this club became very famous instructors in different martial arts as well. Because the club grew so quickly we had made a decision to relocate to a more central location, this we found at Little Lonsdale Street in Melbourne. This was a two-storey building where you could use one floor for beginners and the other for a more advanced students. As I was still practising at Silver Top Taxi Club, I invited many different martial artists to come to our club and show their skills, our self defence techniques was very good. I needed to find some new Karate practitioners to fight with, as my goal was to improve and find out how good we were, it was a challenge every night after work as I would go down to the ships in the port and look for some martial artist to come to our club to exchange skills and have a chance to fight with them. It was one of these times when met an excellent instructor from the Japanese navy, he was from Hiroshima, at the time we had no protectors and it was full contact fighting with no rules I was out there to learn as much as I could without getting hurt, after when we finished I went home and mentally replayed the training and fighting we had just done, realising my mistakes, and correct them at the next training session by visualisation.
Visiting many more times to the ships, I found myself in the very peculiar situation, I was asked to come aboard a ship, and was sent down to where the sailors was having dinner, I was introduced to a sailor who said he was interested in coming down to our club to have a fight, however in the corner of my eye I noticed another sailor coming towards me and as I had my back to him all I felt a punch aimed at my head, without thinking I blocked it and then I delivered a kick to his head stopping a few centimetres away, until now it was very noisy soon as this happened you can hear a pin drop, the answer to my search was clearly that is no one here who would be interested in coming to my club and fighting.
We invited to our club Grand Master Ky-Hung NO, he was from the Korean Yudo College and also a practitioner of Taekwondo. We learned some new skills and new way of approaching our training, together with new forms. In the meantime new instructors come to Australia from different martial arts, some from Okinawa and from Japan, one of these was named Kato from Kyokushin-kai Karate-do club, he was very famous from his movie role in the James Bond film when he first arrived into our club he showed his skills and we just watched with amazement. He was taking the warm up exercise and having us do the splits, I was nearly to the ground, however he made sure by pushing me down to the floor that I completed the full split. After that had finished, he asked me to have a fight with him and I was very proud to represent our club. I wanted to be sure I did not get beaten up or disgrace Australia. He continued teaching at different venues. In the meantime another famous martial artist came to Australia who’s name was Don Dreaga, he was an expert swordsmen and judo and jujitsu master.
Our club continued to grow, I wanted to learn from my instructor’s instructors, and so I decided with my new wife Valerie that as our honeymoon we would go to Korea to achieve this. We boarded a cargo passenger ship, and because of our financial situation was bad, all we could afford was to stay in were different quarters from each other, as we travelled we stopped in Guam where there were US Air force B-52 bombers were taking off to Vietnam. On the ship each morning as I was getting ready to train in the limited space, the crew watch me as they were doing day everyday chores. After arriving in Japan at the port of Yokohama we decided to take a trip to Mikimoto Pearl Island with limited money but with great enthusiasm. After arriving back to the port we found that our ship had left, without us to another port. We had nowhere to stay and we were very lucky that a nice man come to our rescue and found us a place at a nearby Japanese inn, and he went to look for our ship. Next morning after waking up we found our ship at the next port. Our travels in Japan were very exciting, and we travelled by a very new train to Tokyo known as the Bullet Train. Before leaving Japan to go to Korea, I visited and trained at the headquarters of Kyokushin-kai Karate-do and Shotokan dojo’s, then returning to Osaka we got the ship to go to Korea and the port of Pusan. As my wife and I got on the ship we started looking for our cabin on the upper deck, however the Purser told us to go down to the hold below, we did not know why and found ourselves laying on the floor with only one blanket the only other foreign passenger was a young lady from America. We got seasick and I think we looked very funny because we found out later that all the other passengers were sailors on leave.
When we got to Pusan, and departing the ship our first experience in Korea was strange, a young man came to help us to take our luggage and to catch a train to Seoul, the tickets that we had paid for were first-class, but they put us in a second-class carriage with no seating. My wife was at one end of the train and I was at the other end, it was a long night. After arriving at the Seoul Station we got a taxi to the YMCA Hotel. After arriving at the YMCA Hotel we were very tired, it was fairly late in the evening so we unpacked and went straight to bed. The Hotel room was very small but very comfortable, the first thing in the morning we went around exploring and found out how busy it was, there were lots buses everywhere and the smoke from the buses was incredible. They were packed with people and the street was like a car park. People were everywhere and we were not used to seeing schoolkids up in the morning decked out in their school uniforms. After breakfast we started to look around to find out where can we find the Korean Taekwondo Association.
They give us the address to go to, it was not very far from YMCA hotel. As I arrived I first met Byoung-Ro LEE he asked me my background in Taekwondo and then he invited me to train with the Jidokwan club called Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan it was not very far from the YMCA hotel. Early the next morning I got a taxi to find out how to get to the training area. It was very hot and humid, the club was three levels with wrestling on top Taekwondo in the middle and boxing at the lower part. As I tried very hard to fit into the club I followed the normal routine getting out water and rags and washing the floor. As I was still having sea legs from the boat trip, and it was very hard not speaking the language I tried to make it through the training. The whole class was very surprised seeing an Australian in the club training. The next day I met Grand Master Chong-Woo LEE the head of Jidokwan a very impressive gentleman, in the afternoon session he would sit outside at the front of the Club, it was amazing the amount of respect everybody paid to him. As students arrived they would not turn around until they got around a corner so as not to turn their back on him.
The afternoon sessions, three different classes of one hour at a time I was only non Korean in the class. To make sure I would learned as much as I can, I was taking all three classes. Each class had new students coming in so they were all fresh, after normal basic and hand techniques, then we would start to do kicking. The hardest part was that at the end of the training, you had to fight with everybody. As I was running each morning and evening from the Club back to my hotel I would get very thirsty, and saw on the side of the road a young man selling water melon drink. He was very happy to see me, because every time I nearly bought all his drink as it was very hot and humid. My wife Valerie after a few days found a job at the Peace Corps, this was very good because we had very little money. The window of the hotel was facing north it was blocked off and we could not see outside, we had a small table and a wardrobe, a bed and luckily a shower in our room, so I could shower after each training session. I had to throw my uniform into the shower to be washed. It was the best way to lose weight, after while I got used to the heat and humility.
The afternoon sessions instructor was Grand Master KIM (now in the Ivory Coast) a senior in the club, and after a few days I was introduced to Young-Youl OH a young man who could speak English very well as he was at the University, he had holidays coming so he had to go. Everybody in the club was very friendly and helpful, they all try it to teach me all much as they could, some times however it caused trouble, at one time one of the national champions was sent away from the club because of his interference in my training program. As I was progressing well I was accepted as a member, and was then invited out for lunch by Grand Master LEE and some his instructors, as we were walking on the street away from the club, I noticed the difference in the way they walked, I realised the difference once I picked up the rhythm of them walking, it felt very comfortable on the street as everybody knew Grand Master LEE so they will step aside. Everybody respected him very much in the club and outside on the streets as well.
As I was getting more fitter and more comfortable, new members from different branches coming to the club as I was still had a white belt they all try to give me much as they could, but I was out there to learn, in this time you could not and would not try to hurt anybody as they were tough fighters. At one time one of the branch club members training at the club, as he was from outside this branch everybody would give him a very hard fight. On another occasion some of the red belt’s would give me probably the hardest fights, as they were doing back kicks to my lower parts and as I could not speak the language I showed them my fist and told them if they kick me again I'd would punch their face in. Another time another black belt kept holding my leg after executing a kick, and as I had previously learned judo I did a “stomach” throw and he landed on his back, he would not try that again. As weeks went by I got to know many of the senior instructors and students, probably the hardest one was Grand Master PARK (now in the USA) who I remember as having had very big callouses on his knuckles. I think at that time he was the national champion, he was also a gentleman as he called me a younger brother. However, later he found out that he was younger than me.
My wife Valerie was working but because of our lack of money we could only afford to go on Saturday to a movie and also of having a small bottle of beer to share. As we were walking on the street to go to the movies my wife’s arm was pinched by girls going past us, after awhile we found out these girls were “working girls of the night” not knowing that she was my wife they thought that she was competition. Not long after Grand Master LEE invited both of us out for dinner to a Korean restaurant with Grand Master OH, during dinner I will never forget that Grand Master LEE asked me if I was afraid of him, I answered no, but I do greatly respect you. He would make sure we were safe giving us advice as to where not to go.
As my time was getting towards the end of my training I was invited by the senior members of the club to be part of a demonstration at the nearby U.S. Army base, I was very proud to be amongst the most senior and successful instructors in Korea, the demonstration was excellent, and I was ask to perform one of the forms that was required for grading to black belt. The demonstration included a breaking demonstration by Grand Master An-Dae SUP, who was a police instructor and very famous in Korea. I was fortunate enough to meet Grand Master Song-Su LEE who at the time was a reporter for the Korean Time magazine, in which he wrote an article about me, and my training experiences in Korea.
I never thought that my training would be that hard, thou I tried with much spirit and effort, as I did not want to show any weakness. In trying so hard to kick with as much power as possible, on one occasion I strained my knee by doing a sidekick, injuring it so much that I could not bend down, so I had to fight virtually on one leg, not showing that I was injured, I just had to put up with it. As training went on, one-day I ended up with over 30 bruises as we did not wear any protective equipment, but I still had to turn up next morning for training. As a was about to finish my training course Grand Master LEE asked senior instructors to attend my grading which was by myself in which I had to show all the techniques, patterns and other requirements, obviously I was extremely nervous but I believe I learned a hell of a lot on that day. After the examination Grand Master LEE placed the black belt around my waist, which is probably my proudest moment in my Taekwondo career, (This tradition of personally placing the belt around a new black belt in my Club is carried through today, as a mark of respect). My photo with Grand Master LEE is on the front of the Korea gym in 1967. As our training came to the end, it was a sad occasion because I made some lovely and caring friends that I will never forget.
Our trip back to Australia started well, by now we had got to know the customs and how to go about receiving the best service possible, on the train back to Pusan, was much more comfortable at the station I met the same person, however this time knowing all the do’s and don’ts, I let him take our luggage to Hotel and I reminded him of previous incident that happened when I arrived the first time in Korea, he remembered us, so he was very polite and did not even ask for any money for his services. The boat was waiting in the Port for us and I was thinking very hard what to have for dinner, so I decided to fill myself up with rice, which was a big mistake, I got very thirsty and started to drinking water but the rice kept coming up and when the Boat started to move I was very ill all the way back to Japan. I was very happy to disembark and see land, we went to the Hotel, the next morning and we went to visit one of the more beautiful Temples, on the way back to hotel I noticed a Japanese warrior statue that I could not take my eye off it, next morning I had to go back and buy it, which I have still in my procession today.
While I was away, the club seniors that I left in charge worked very hard, they had hard training with the Kyokushinkaikan instructor Kato. I did not realise how fit I was after my training in Korea, at the first lesson back, I lined up my top students and managed to knock them down, all but one, he was a very hard to fight and a big man, I made a mistake, in that I should have started with him first and not leave as the last person to fight. The club from that day started to grow and many new students joined, some of our senior instructors urged me to open up at full-time club in the permanent location, which we decided would be best suited in the centre of the city of Melbourne, which we found at 474 Lonsdale St, it was at that time that we could separate the beginners and the advanced into different classes, it was July 1970.
As Taekwondo popularity increased, I decided to open up a new venture, it was then located at Caulfield, as I was while I was teaching at the Caulfield College that I came across a good man and martial arts technician, he was very keen to learn so I decided to give permission and send him to Korea his name was David Butler and would be our first black belt in the club. As the club grew I needed assistant instructors, these were Neil Anderson, John Le Busque and Glen Lee, we had many visitors coming to our club from different parts of the world, some from Malaysia where they called it Korean Karate, they had some fantastic techniques, lots of jumping kicks but they were not used to hard fighting especially contact fighting, and some of the Praying Mantis schools students come to our club didn't do any better either.
At this time as our club continued to grow, and membership numbers increased. I invited Grand Master Ke-Hyung NO and his students for a competition, which was to be the first competition of Taekwondo in Australia and it was held at my club (I still have Black and White photos from this Competition).
In September 1971, I received my second Dan black belt.
In 1972, because of the growth of my club, I had to make a decision regarding expansion, so after a very great consideration and lots of sleepless nights, and as I had previously promised, I invited Grand Master Young-Youl OH to Australia to help me do this. When he arrived he lived in our house, which was very small at that time, sometime later he moved into our club premises to live. As the branches of the club were now in different locations, he needed a car to get from one place to another, which I provided. Sometime later he invited his new wife to come to Australia. Unfortunately the relationship with him and our club didn't last very long and he decided to move, unfortunately some of my best black belts went within him, this was in 1974. At this time we decided to have a meeting with all the instructors with the aim of forming an association, which we did and it was called Australian Taekwondo Association, then we started organising competitions at different clubs and schools this was probably a beginning of the competition era, in which we were very successful. As international competitions began we were invited to Korea to the World Championship, some of our former club members were in the Australian team and performed excellently, this was at KUKKIWON. By this time Taekwondo in Australia had grown much bigger and Grand Master Yong-Dae CHO was invited to come to Australia by Malcolm Brown he was from the same school Jidokwan, we got on very well we are still colleagues after 40 years.
In 1975, I visited Korea again and trained, receiving my third Dan black belt, this was four years between gradings.
In 1976, I was the tournament director for the second Asian Taekwondo Championships in Melbourne, the competition was very successful, at this time the Korean team arrived, and my friend Jeff took them out for dinner at midnight, at that time Melbourne was not very open for visitors to restaurants at midnight but we managed. The competition was held at Albert Park stadium, our club was nearby and therefore the training centre for international competitors to train, we also held probably the first or second international referee seminar. But because of an unfortunate incident that happened during the Christmas holiday break, The club was burnt down and until now we are still do not know how it happened, I believe some one had a grudge against us, the club had to be completely repainted and ventilated to cater for the international competitors. The competition was very successful, all teams went home with good feelings and remembering Australia as a place to come back to.
Selections went on for a national team for the 1978 Asian championship and I asked for permission from then National President to visit Korea to sit for my fourth Dan grading. As I was elected as a trainer for the national team, we practised hard, it was in the centre of the city at the Melbourne YMCA gymnasium. I was in charge of day to day activities I knew all the competitors, our trip to Hong Kong for the Asian Championships was exciting, we trained every morning in the gardens across the road from the Hotel it was very humid and hot, it was great to see older Chinese people practising a martial arts. One day as we were leaving our training session, not walking far behind me, were three young men and until now I don't know how it happened that was no breeze but I just heard a tremendous noise and I saw a big tree moving side to side, I believe one of them hit the trees so hard that it moved. He must have some he has must and some special techniques and inner power that they used. Unfortunately next morning running round the track, my left knee which I injured in 1967 locked up I was very concerned I had to look very quickly for a Chinese medicine to relieve my agony as I was preparing for my trip to Korea. After this competition I had to be fit and able to move freely, unfortunately I was still waiting for permission from the President for my trip to Korea, at the last night as we were staying in the same room he told me that I can go and take my fourth Dan grading I was very delighted and my trip to Korea was one of the highlights because after passing this grading I was recognized as a Head Instructor and the first fourth Dan in Australia. This means that after coming back to Australia I could grade my students at the Melbourne Taekwondo Centre and also become a member of the grading panel.
In the next few years we achieved an enormous success with our competitors some of these results would speak for themself in the near future. We started to train for the first World Games, which was to be held in the U.S.A. in California in 1981. The competition was very exciting because we had the privilege to see some other sports participating, one of my favourites was the tug-of-war which each team of end of the rope tried their best to dislodge the team from the existing positions. As this was held in the University grounds, we had good food and accommodation and everybody was very happy because of the friendliness of the local people, our team members performed very well.
After returning from the world games in 1982, Grand Master Hae-Man PARK came to Melbourne for a seminar, which I attended and was the only non Korean born instructor there, as sometimes is usual at these types of the seminar they can be controversial as every instructor had they own view in regards to how the pattern should look like and be performed.
After returning to Korea, I had opportunity to take part as a team trainer for Sixth World Championship at the Korean Gym this was an opportunity for me as a senior to be involved with some of the classes, at one time I remember the senior instructor for the club was late coming from his previous engagement, so as a senior at the class I took it on myself to run the Club until he came back, some of the techniques that I show them were in regards to self defence, they were very excited about because for some reason or another they had not the chance to practise self defence and they enjoyed it very much, they asked for some more as the instructor came back to the class, he gestured to me to continue, after the class finished everybody asked for some more. The competition continued, our club showed great success, I also took part in 1994 international referee course at this time.
In 1988, Grand Master Hae-Man PARK came back to Australia and conducted seminars on patterns and the new referee course that I have attended again.
In 1990, as a team official I attended the Asian Championship, which is when our new era started, the Collinson's brothers were very successful in this competition.
In 1991, we were preparing for the World Championship, our club as usual were in the forefront. At the selection Andrew Rozinszky (my son) was competing, but as there was enormous trouble with the existing Taekwondo Association, however we still had chance to make the finals, in the finals it was a drawn match, we were under much scrutiny as he was my son, it was eventually decided to give it to John Collinson. The finals as they all were club members, and as the head instructor I found it difficult to help my son and prepared specially for this competition. I felt guilty after this event because I could not even tell him that my family from Hungary would come to see him fight in Athens. However, in the end John performed very well at the Championships and received a medal for his effort.
Returning from this competition our trouble started with the Association at the previous competition we have been told as a member of this organisation that we cannot sit with the Australian team and we cannot even talk to them this was against our beliefs. At the competition Alf Dell’orso and myself played some mind games and also took videos of the previous fights so we could have a very good understanding as to what to expect and how to beat the next opponent. On our arrival backed Australia, the Association decided to take action against ourselves and lay charges in regard to misconduct at the competition we believed that we did the right thing because none of the coaches had much idea about our competitor and how to perform at the highest level. We were threatened with expulsion from the organisation as one of my instructors was working for a law firm, we decided to challenge the organisation and the decisions that they made. At the meeting at Flemington, they would decide our fate, our club members came to the meeting and we were prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Australia to stop the sanction, after long and tedious and nerve wrecking months of negotiations even at the last minute, before they decided to negotiate an outcome. On the day of the court hearing some of them even lied under oath. Our family's were nearly financially ruined, my wife Valerie said to me “if they can do this we must finish it now” because nearly our houses and past savings were on the line. At the Association's meeting Alf and myself were inside and outside our members were waiting the for an outcome. I asked them for their support and strength in believing our rights. Inside the hearing that asked me if I if I want to remain a member, but to do this I would have crucified Alf, I said no, after the meeting on the way home I stopped and realised that at 51 years old, I had done something that I should have done much earlier, and that was to be strong enough to stand up against everybody when I believe that wrong thing were being done to our members.
In 1994, after 11 years between my 5th Dan and 6th Dan I was finely awarded my 6th Dan.
After receiving my sixth Dan in 1994 Taekwondo Association started to have more problems in that two senior instructors had a falling out, NO and OH and the power struggle started now, coming back from the last competition at the airport we found out just as we were about to board a plane that NO had approached the Olympic Council in regarding to have reunification between the two existing Taekwondo organisations to merge, this was quite a political move and the two leaders had some discussions, I believe in regard to how to go about it and after a lengthy negotiations the was government intervention, one of the men was put in charge Jim Barry who later become the patron and fortunately this caused a disturbance for the organisation the 1999 world championships elections was held at the unification competition which our club was probably of more successful for a long time to come this was for selection for Asian Championship to be held in Manila, five members won the right to represent Australia some of the members were Lydia Zakkas, Tanya White, Michelle Harrison, Bertie Collinson did this proud. That year I was selected from the many hundreds of instructors around Australia via a the Blitz magazine for “Instructor of the Year” at the Hall of Fame ceremony, this was a big honour amongst my peers, the ceremony was great having my son and family around me and seeing me receive the trophy.
In 1996, the selection trials were held in May for the selection to represent Australia at the Asian Championship, this was very successful. At the Invitation Competition later this year held in Petersburg in Russia we won two gold medals at the international level the winners were Lydia and Bertie. Then we went to Barcelona for a World Junior Championship, it had been a long time since my first opportunity to be member of the national team official. Our juniors were superb having the competition in the Barcelona Olympic Stadium was the highlight, as always as a team official I took my job seriously, one of the incident that happened at the competition stayed with me for a long time to come, as the team was preparing to support one of our competitors at one of the courts, I volunteered to stay with the team's belongings, however Mr CHO the head of the team and the most senior in Australia, said no, and I should support them and he will sit down and look after everything around here. This simple gesture stayed with me for all these years, I believe that it showed the character of the man even with the senior grading.
As now Taekwondo was going to be a demonstration support and aiming to be a full medal support in 2000 in Sydney, the competition and participation has increased enormously. Our biggest and probably most important time come about after the unification, I decided with Andrew (my son) to open up of full-time centre which I was fortunate enough to find at Glen Waverley above the railway station, which was the most suitable place anywhere, we were probably one of the first clubs to implement safety procedures by putting competition mats down on the floors and mirror walls. The access from the railway station becomes one of our most successful strategies. Not long after this I was introduced to Grand Master SUH who was organising competitions participation in Korea for the Korean open in 1999, I decided to team of instructors and students over to see and experience and be able to show at the places that I have visited in my early days of training. Greg Butterworth, Bronwyn Butterworth and David Atkinson were amongst other students that came with us. As the head of the team that time I experience something that be waiting for a very long time Grandmaster SUH introduced me to many of the senior instructors and dignitaries and I was invited to Mr Oscar OH house for dinner with other head of the team members from around the world.
At the competition I was very honoured and delighted to be able to present medals. At the competition David Atkinson did excellent demonstration of Poomsae receiving a Silver medal which was a highlight of the highlights for me, he was brilliant. After coming back to Seoul we had a good time together going out for dinner and showing them the places, after the competition I showed the seniors the YMCA where my wife and I stayed in 1967 and all the surrounding areas, it was a memorable experience and I was delighted to be able to share it with my students. Coming after this it was very important to me having visited the Kukkiwon and having a meeting with Grand Master Chong-Woo LEE, explaining my situation I was put to the test, and also expanding his knowledge of my involvement in Australia by showing him my resume and involvement and previous experiences with him. Later I found out that I was awarded Jidokwan 8th Dan and this was the highest in Australia and definitely the highest non-Korean born, this recognition is one of my highlights of my life.
As the 2000 Olympic’s were approaching a rapidly, I decided to try very hard training to sit for my 7th Dan Kukkiwon examination. The panel was put together from senior Grand Master’s and instructors from the now called Taekwondo Australia. My grading examination included poomsae, board breaking, free fighting and self-defence. My partner at the grading was my son, I was very proud to be able to work within at the time I was promoted to the 7th Dan it was against the highest in Australia our Olympic preparation was great our student Tanya White was representing Australia in the heavyweight division. Her preparation was reasonable the team coach not knowing her complete history in the past was not quite the wily it should have been attending the Olympic Games was a great experience seeing the colourful as it has never been presented before front of my eyes. Our members attending the competition was fully supportive of all and our members in the Olympic team. We're all knew about them and therefore history from the past because some of am already practised in our club as well. The days to come we were very very proud of our competitors seeing the gold medal presented to one of our dear friends Lauren Burns and also silver medal too. Our club member the heavyweight was performing creditably and fortunately, which not too many outside this knew, she had an awful experience, which to overcome was a great personal achievement. Her father who was attending the competition after the first fight he had a heart attack. She had to take him to the hospital and come back and compete on the same day. At the time I was the senior vice president of the National organisation, and for my contribution to Taekwondo I was awarded the Sport Medal of Australia by the Prime Minister of Australia in 2001 again I have taken a team of competitors to the Korean Taekwondo festival. It was a great experience for my students to see the culture and some of the historical sites. Our result at the competition was third overall.
In 2004, I also took part in a special training course conducted by Grand Master Hae-Man PARK at the Kukkiwon, the letter of commendation from the President W K UHM for a great contribution to Taekwondo development and promotion.
In preparation for the 2005 World Championship, our club achieved one of the largest number of selected competitors to represent Australia. We had five members in the national team and two coaches, one of which was my son Andrew. The competition was a great success for Australia, two of our club members winning a bronze medals.
The new era is started in Taekwondo, the Poomsae competition, our preparation now began for the World Championship, it started a year earlier and we worked very hard as a team to be able to be a member of the Australian team these championships I have decided to work with the team to get the best result for them, the final result was that seven of our club members were selected to represent Australia in this prestigious competition. I was elected as the head of team, which I cherish forever. The competition was a great experience all our senior competitors got into the finals, which was a great result for Australia. But, the biggest thrill was seeing a club member who has been with the club over 35 years, receiving a silver medal for her effort, her name is Bronwyn Butterworth. She is a role model for all competitors at all ages, I was fortunate enough to attend and experience the promotion for higher Dan grades conducted by the Kukkiwon, and having a meeting with Grand Master LEE. And the lecture conducted by him in regard to the application of the technique and Patterns and his great knowledge and also encouragement for future competitors. Grand Master LEE again acknowledged and recognized my contribution to Taekwondo after this competition, I was awarded the 9th Dan in Jidokwan, which is the highest rank anyone can receive from his Grand Master. Once again I am honoured to be in this position as the head instructor of Melbourne Taekwondo Centre, the leading club and one of the biggest and the most successful clubs in Australia with instructors and members some with over 35 years, as a colleague and my involvement in Taekwondo in over 45 years has taught me a lot, as one of the most senior and the longest practitioner in Australia.
A great joy and pride for me was the selection of eight club member successfully making the Australian team for the 2nd World Poomsae Championships in 2007.
I have taken my position very seriously as Taekwondo is an Olympic sport and also a way of life, which is the true meaning of “Do” in the word Taekwondo. For many of us we have a responsibility for future generations, we need to show young people the directions that they should take in life and encourage them, for they are no losers in life, only one’s that are too scared to have a go, or find they have no time to improve themselves and take chances and have a go. The final outcome of this is best demonstrated in our club the Melbourne Taekwondo Centre where we have created a family atmosphere, where all ages can practice and participate in our programs as passionately families, where mothers and fathers can participate in the same activity as their children, and they have something to share. My motto is “The family that plays together stays together”.
As the head instructor for the Club, I am in the fortunate position to oversee many hundreds of students taking part and achieving their goals and encouraging them to have a go, regardless of the end result. I am now 67 years old and still teaching six days a week and still enjoying it, and looking forward to the future with great expectations. I believe Australia offers participants a great future, our multi-cultural society and tolerance for each other, and teaching our young people the same values.
Taekwondo can play a big part of this, breaking down the barriers between Male and Female participants, and believe that Taekwondo offers a healthy lifestyle and a family activity, which can for example lead some of them to represent Australia. I have always kept in mind that this country is giving me the opportunity and freedom. I always strived for the best and continue to encourage all my student’s to do the same. I will continue to promote Taekwondo and I will aim for higher gradings for myself to show future generations that even at my age of 67 you can still achieve your goals if you're set your mind to it. As I was fortunate enough to be able to teach many thousands of young and not so young Australians, and I believe “That is no master without students to carry on the tradition”. I am fortunate enough to have many students who I believe will carry on and maybe even take it to the next level, if I have achieved this then I believe that Taekwondo in Australia and in the Club are in very good hands.