30 Year Anniversary
Updated: Jun 28, 2021
Well where did that go?
30 years ago I started Tae Kwon-Do. A friend of mine called Lenny asked me to come along and I met my first instructor and Tae Kwon-Do role model, Mr Raymond Gilbert 2nd Degree Black Belt (at that time). I will just refer to the great man as Raymond from now on.
The class soon grew and I remember all the influential students. The most memorable was Mr Richard Waters 4th Degree Black Belt. He could do the splits, kick anyone in the head and he was so so fast. He also had some interesting cars too :)
I can say I wasn't the best when i started, but I worked hard and got A passes in every coloured belt grading. I listened and did exactly what Raymond told me, no more, no less.
Raymond was amazing. Strict, direct, skilful, meticulous and if you ever trained under him and struggled to do something his advice was........"Deal with it". It might not sound helpful, but its the mantra he lived by and it worked. I think he drew inspiration from Master Hee Il Cho (8th Dan at the time), a colossus in Tae Kwon-Do. I went to one of Master Cho's seminars with Richard and it was a real eye opener. He was in films as such as Best of the Best. He is calling out commands to the Korean team.
The club started me on my TKD road as i had lost my way. My father had died not long before and i wanted to do something i could stick at. I wanted to honour his memory and get a black belt. I went on to grade not just for Dad, but my Gran, who ironed my kit twice a week and my family with my last possible grading (5th Dan) being for my mum who died in Feb 21 and my father in law who succumb to Covid in 2020.
The club had lots of characters, small tough nuts, tall axe kickers, fast punchers, WALLS... yes really, one guy was a wall. You hit him and he didn't move! We had to spar all of them and often Raymond would tie belts together so we couldn't run... We leant to face our fears. Sometimes you got a kick in on him, but you knew it was coming back to you 10 fold.
We won national tournaments, patterns, sparring and even destruction and we got lots of A grades in front of Grand Master Dew (4th Dan at the time when i started). It was a successful and admired Club and didn't try to be the biggest, just one of the best.
Raymond built a dynasty, but as we know in TKD terms they all have to end. His friend and supporter at the club was World Master Gellard 7th Degree Black Belt. Master Gellard took over and ran it for 15+ years. He kept people training and moved the club to Costello School, keeping the standard and setting a good solid example.
I will always be grateful to Raymond and later Mr Gellard who is my instructor.
Basingstoke Club was taken over my me, one of the first students, Martyn Green 5th Degree Black Belt, and i have tried to keep the standard, keep both instructors in TKD terms alive (they are both well btw) and instil enthusiasm, belief and confidence in students. Its not hard when our students are so good already. Students and parents have been so supportive and I am so very grateful.
So there is only one way to show my respect to Raymond and Mr Gellard and that is to do my / our best, keep committed and to 'deal with' any problems as they come along.
We have all (in TKD terms) survived the worst period probably in our lives, but now is the time to be ultra positive, look forward and grow ability and belief not just numbers.
We have a duty to the children and adults we teach and i am humbled by this every day. When i think of the past, the belief and dedication always sees me through. It should now give all my students that feeling. You need to earn respect and grow belief. Hard work, loyalty and dedication will improve you, i can vouch for that. Perhaps like me you may not always be the most naturally gifted but perseverance and integrity will lay an immovable foundation that will help you reach the highest pinnacle in Tae Kwon-Do and in life.
Keep training, stay committed even if you cannot train, you can watch, coach, support and inspire others. Never forget what you have learned.
So here is to the next 30 years and to so many improved lives and friendships. The dynasty continues, Gilbert, Gellard, now Green in Basinsgtoke :)
Martyn / Mr Green
p.s anyone with a surname in Basingstoke that begins with 'G' please get in touch and start training....