Meet the Instructors
Master Thomas (5th Dan)Master Thomas started training in martial arts aged 18 and over the years has studied various arts, including Wado ryu, Aikido and Tae kwon Do before settling on Tang Soo Do. He began his Tang Soo Do training with Master Barrie Tomkins when he started a class in Kettering (Master Tomkins was a 1st Dan at this time). Master Thomas was awarded his 1st Dan by Grandmaster Lee Kang UK of the International Tang Soo Do Federation. He then moved with Master Tomkins to the Traditional Tang Soo Do Association with Master Kumar when Master Kumar formed that association. Master Thomas was awarded both his 2nd and 3rd Dan by Master Kumar.
As a 3rd Dan, Master Thomas formed Kettering Tang Soo Do Association. Kettering Tang Soo Do then became a member of The World Dang (Tang) So Do Union, with Master Thomas becoming their UK representative. Master Thomas was awarded both his 4th and 5th Dan and master instructor's certificate by Grandmaster Song Ki Kim Of the World Dang Soo Do Union.
Master Thomas also qualified as a control and restraint instructor under the Home Office. Over the years master Thomas has been privileged to train with many talented and outstanding martial artists, both in Tang Soo Do and other styles.
Mr Latham (2nd Dan)Mr Latham always wanted to learn a martial art but admitted that he was either too busy or too nervous to do anything about it. Then in 2007 he saw a poster in a shop's changing room and spoke to the manager. The manager was Jambie, our sadly departed friend, who explained the art and talked about the friendly but focused club. Mr Latham went along to a training session and his Tang Soo Do journey had begun. He was awarded his 2nd degree Black Belt by Grandmaster Song Ki Kim of the World Dang Soo Do union in October 2015 in Tucson, Arizona.
Mr Latham believes that Tang Soo Do has taught him much more than a few kicks, blocks and punches. Like many people, he has a fairly stressful job and he passionately believes that the traditional martial art of Tang Soo Do helps him to face the day to day issues, deal with them and then recover afterwards. On tough days, the discipline of attending and participating in formal classes is preferable to sitting on the sofa watching TV.
Mr Webb-Cornell (2nd Dan)Kettering Tang Soo Do association is a small yet complete club in so many ways. I have been a member for a number of years now. I first trained with another Tang Soo Do club for about 9 years, but due to a change of circumstances I stopped about 15 years ago.
In the time I have been with the club, after a lot of hard work, time and determination I was awarded my 2nd Dan by Grandmaster Song Ki Kim of the World Dang Soo Do union in October 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. I am teaching at the Saturday morning class in Kettering.
Mr Wagner (2nd Dan)The world of the martial arts was first shown to me in the 80’s with Jackie Chan, Jean-Claude Van Damme and the Ninja Turtles. But I was only able to start my martial arts journey in 1998 with Shotokan karate, achieving my 1st Dan in 2002. Due to moving around, I had to change associations and two years later I was awarded my 2nd Dan.
Throughout the years, I tried out arts like British Kickboxing (Yellow belt), American Kickboxing (Red belt), Ni-Sen karate (6th Kyu), GKR karate (8th Kyu), Lau Gar Kung Fu, Lee Family Kung Fu, Judo, Ninpo/Ninjitsu and Jeet Kun Do, but I’ve always felt something was missing.
I came across an advert for Kettering Tang Soo Do in the local Sports Centre and not knowing anything about it, I decided to give it a go. Master Thomas and Tang Soo Do took what I had learnt in the past and turned it on its head. Learning a block was not just a block, a kick was not just a kick - I was hooked.
For me, the martial arts isn’t just about the techniques - it is about the learning, self-development and the friendships made for life…
Mr Lee (1st Dan)The name may conjure up images of the late, great Bruce Lee in action, but sadly the reality is a lot more mundane. Martial arts has not come easy to me, it has been a constant struggle to develop my knowledge and skills over more years than I care to remember (or will admit to!). While it has been a long and slow journey to get where I am today, it could be said that there is much to recommend the scenic route.
I think it is testament to the values and culture of Kettering Tang Soo Do that I have persevered over the years, thanks to the support and encouragment of Master Thomas and the other instructors/colleagues/friends noted above.
The study and practice of Tang Soo Do has grounded me during times of personal difficulties. It has improved my confidence, my motor co-ordination skills, and my overall physical and mental well-being. Who knows what it might do for you? It is a journey worth making.