SGM Mark Richardson achieves 9th degree black belt

The test took place at Song Moo Kwan Headquarters in Minneapolis, USA, on 22-23 April 2022, along with an instructor’s course.

Chong Jae Nim (Supreme Grand Master) Hee Ro, World Song Moo Kwan President, said how proud he was of SGM Mark, for the respect shown and the level of technique speed and strength, and was very pleased and proud of his performance.

Congratulations Sir you are an inspiration and the embodiment of the Five Tenets of Taekwondo!

SGM Mark’s words:

The feeling of this week is just sinking in, the enormity of the achievement, all the serious injuries over the years, I’ve never given up or quit not once. I’ve gone from strength to strength, happiness and the feeling of my life back is true happiness, spending the last 8 months on hospital crutches and a walking stick, requiring a new hip and knee, I never stopped practicing, performing Koryo Keumgang Taebaek Pyongwon Sipjin Jitae Cheonkwon Hansu Ilyo for my students, and Hoshinsul and Kyukpa.

To be tested in front of Chongjaenim Hee Ro world Song Moo Kwan President, SGM Joe Cole 9th dan, SGM Leo 9th dan, SGM Kathy Cole 9th dan, all that practice was worth every second, of thought nerves more practice, the traveling was nothing, all I wanted was to show my seniors my respect and walk out on the floor and perform my Taekwondo at 61 years old, to perform my best and even show my skill as an instructor with Song Moo Kwan.

The results and successful testing, the support and respect shown by my Song Moo Kwan family 4,600 miles from home was unbelievable. The feeling is now sinking in the lonely young boy from a poor beginning who made it to the top 9th degree blackbelt.

My beautiful wife was so pleased and proud of me. My best friend GM Ewan Briscoe was overwhelmed and my brother of 42 years right by my side was so pleased and proud of our achievement. Then my mentor GM Guy Jones was so proud of everything I had done. I’ve never once looked back or regretted a thing. The best feeling was informing my Taekwondo family I had made it for them all. The messages of congratulations made my life so much happier and filled my heart with a harmony I’ve never felt in my life.

From 9th kup to 9th Dan, I made it.

United Kingdom Song Moo Kwan president

Former world medalist

10 times national champion Kyorugi

8 times national champion Poomsae

Former GB national coach

Former Ireland national coach

My journey continues

From my heart, Thank you all, Gamsa Hamnida

Senior Grand Master Mark John Richardson, 9th degree blackbelt

Song Moo Kwan Headquarters and history:

Instructor’s Course:

Grandmaster Ro says, “Song Moo Kwan taekwondo forms are for your health. Even if you need to do them slowly, complete each technique. 100 percent. Then your body will be healthy.” You embody the Song Moo Kwan philosophy: With body and mind together, nothing is impossible. With enthusiasm and perseverance, nothing is impossible.” (A fellow participant to SGM Mark)

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GM Mark Richardson awarded lifetime achievement by GM Reddy of India

Grand Master Mark Richardson was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Taekwondo by Grand Master Jayanth Reddy from India.

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British Spring Open 2022 results

Brilliant first day at The British Spring Open with the Poomsae championship!

Well done everyone who took part. A special mention to the awe inspiring para competitors, you were the embodiment of Indomitable Spirit 👏💪

🏆 The first ever Master Errol Edwards Award goes to Nici Russell, para. Congratulations!

🏆 Overall kup Grand Champion: Amal Mohamed (Manchester)

🏆 Female Dan Grand Champion: Brooke Kirlew (Reays)

🏆 Male Dan Grand Champion: Abdul Kaleel (Reddy Taekwondo Academy India)

📜 Grand Master Mark Richardson was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Taekwondo by Grand Master Jayanth Reddy from India.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Kyorugi championship!

🏆 First ever Master Errol Edwards Kyorugi Award goes to: Zayd Zulqurnain

🏆 Player of the day: Poppy jaundrell (Warrington)

🏆 Overall best player: Amal Mohamed (Manchester)

🏆 Team places for koryugi:

1. Manchester

2. Panther

3. Northern

4. Millennium

5. Gold

6. Strike

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British Spring ‘Old School’ Open 2022 getting closer!

You still have time to get your entries in for the upcoming British Spring Open held in Manchester and hosted by Manchester Taekwondo Schools, on 12th-13th March 2022. Poomsae on Saturday and Kyorugi on Sunday, old school with manual scoring.

Entry deadline is 26th February, so don’t delay, as places get filled very quickly! It is a very successful annual event with a real family feel where everyone’s welcome and encouraged, from Para to Vets, through PeeWees to Seniors, there will be something for you! Spectators are welcome (see fees on poster below), you don’t need to have anyone to support, come and see what Taekwondo is!

See below for further information, rules, how to enter, and the entry form to download.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you!

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The British Autumn Open 2021 was a great success!

Team overall result:

1st: Manchester Taekwondo Schools

2nd: Camran Taekwondo

3rd: Panther Black Belt Academy

After two years of lockdowns, online training, cancelled events and general uncertainty, the 2021 edition of the annual Autumn Open hosted by our club, Manchester Taekwondo Schools, could at last take place. It was a very successful event, not only in terms of medals but also – maybe more so – in terms of friendship, fun, and technical quality.

As envisioned by GM Mark Richardson, Head Coach, and Song Moo Kwan UK President, the Kyorugi championship only used manual scoring to encourage the traditional, faster, more powerful form of fighting, which we used to see on the mats up to the early 2000s before the electronic scoring was introduced. And the difference was clear: faster rhythm in every game, greater power in each shot, it was a joy for everyone, whether you were watching, fighting, scoring, coaching, or refereeing!

The Poomsae competition was of equal high level of quality and excitement, everyone gave their all on the mat. Well done to every single participant!

Thank you to all those of you who helped: the Grand Masters at the judge tables, the referees and scorers, the parents and club members who helped set up, manage the tuck shop and the front desk, or run errands in the background, without you this wouldn’t have been possible. We’re a great family!

A final heartfelt thank you to everyone who travelled whether from near or far, some with great difficulty due to Covid restrictions, the stormy and icy weather, you came from all over England, Scotland, Ireland, Morocco, and even India! You truly made this the success it was. We are looking forward to seeing you again on 12-13 March 2022!

Team results:

🏆Yellow belt champion:  Lina
Yasmin, Lina, Thomas, Shahine, Zayd, Neil, Alastair, Safiya
Ayah, Ridwan, Zaneb
Sumeyah, Sundus, Aliyah, Howard

Pair – kup grades
Ralph, Max

Amal+Sundus+ Lina
Yasmin + Ayah + Sumeyah
Thomas Ralph Max

Thomas, Max, Ralph, Amal, Sundus, Ridwan
Howard, Aliyah, Zaneb, Safiya

Ridwan, Thomas, Samir, Aiden, Sorayah, Daryub, Neil, Shahine

Ridwan, Aiden, Zaneb, Lina, Ralph , Yasmin, Ruben x 2

Max x2, Ralph, Ruben, Conrad

A weekend we all needed obviously I’m proud of my guys but more important is the feedback from my peers about the etiquette shown respect and passion for our art. Thank you GM Mark Richardson you gave us all the opportunity to be a part of a true taekwondo / martial arts experience and to all the masters GM thank you for the unconditional friendship you have shown.” Master Derek Sumner

What can I say, An incredible weekend of taekwondo in Manchester with an incredible bunch of people! Thank you soo much for looking after us GM Mark Richardson… we are truly honoured. Also thanks to the other Masters and GMs for showing us what true traditional values our beautiful art has to show.” Master Steve Graham

Loved the weekend of Taekwondo at Manchester great bunch of people always make you welcome.” Master Phil James

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Presentation of Song Moo Kwan Dan certificates

Congratulations to all new Dan graduates!

Comments for each student by GM Mark Richardson

3rd Degree Howard Kwan you have achieved excellent standards and your techniques are inspiring for the younger students From a small boy you have grown into a fine young man So so proud of you sir

Fabulous Michelle Galliani brand new 1st degree blackbelt
Never quit never gave up
I’m so proud of you and all the dedication you have shown
Been with me since a little girl I always new she would make it. A joy to teach
So much respect for all students around her. Patient strong dedicated indomitable spirit
I am so so proud of the young lady you have become
Now lead from the front as a fabulous role model
Brand new 1st degree blackbelt
My honour to be your teacher
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Manchester Taekwondo Schools is back on-site!

Classes in various venues across the West of Manchester and Salford have finally resumed!

Monday 21st June 2021 saw the return of MTS students to on-site training to the great pleasure of everyone from the youngest student to our dedicated instructor GM Mark Richardson. Most had managed to follow the classes online for the last 15 months and were very excited to be training again in the same physical space at last, enjoying kicking the mitt, kihaping loudly and simply having the space to jog and move around without hitting furniture in the process! It was also a pleasure to see how much everyone had progressed after training hard the whole year in unusual circumstances, focusing on specific technical drills.

Many students are continuing their training online, some having moved to another city or country, others working long hours or away, or having to self-isolate.

Welcome back everyone!

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Manchester Taekwondo Schools holds its first ever online Poomsae championship!

First ever England Spring Online Poomsae Open took place on 22nd May 2021

Circumstances in the UK with the COVID pandemic meant that this spring again, we weren’t able to hold it usual two-day championship and so decided to offer many competitors from across the world to take part in an online Poomsae competition to give everyone something to work towards to, and keep them on their toes until we can all get back on the mats.

160 competitors from a dozen different countries from around the globe, Nepal, Ireland, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Japan, India, Morocco, France, Portugal and of course the UK, sent in their videos and were judged by six high-ranking Masters from the UK.

Results were released on Saturday 22nd May 2021. All participants were sent a certificate of participation or of their medal ranking by email and their medals by post, as a nice souvenir of this exceptional event for everyone to cherish for years to come. 

Congratulations to everyone who took part, whatever your result, you showed indomitable spirit and dedication to our beloved art!

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Success at the first ever Online Poomsae Competition!

A year ago, the thought of taking part in an online Poomsae competition would have sounded rather puzzling and most definitely unfeasible. However, in February 2021 this is exactly what 17 of our club members did! William The Marshall Cup offered our students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and progress over the past year by submitting a video clip of their favourite pattern.

The results could not have made our club’s Chief Instructor, GM Mark Richardson, prouder:

“So proud of everyone! Considering the year we have had!” he said as he announced the results which saw Manchester Sport Taekwondo rank 3rd.

Ann Cooney (A class Vet F 45+) – Gold

Safiya Florence Ascoli-Ball (A class Vet F 45+) – Silver

Zaneb Ali (A Class Vet F 35+) – Gold

Sundus Mohamed (B Class SF) – Gold

Michelle Galliani (A Class SF) – Silver

Ridwan Ball (C Class SM) – Gold

Genevieve Galliani (A Class JF) – Silver

Asalah Zakir (B Class – JF) – Gold

Aliyah Ball (A Class JF) – Bronze

Neil Manoj (A Class CM) – Gold

Mu’adh Zakir (C Class CM) – Bronze

Maximilian Vernon (C Class CM) – Bronze

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First ever online Song Moo Kwan black belt grading

2020 will probably come down as being the oddest year in living memory the whole world over. When we, at Manchester Taekwondo Schools, started training online five times a week, we thought that at the most we would limit the loss of the gains we accumulated over the years of nearly daily training on-site. Little did we anticipate that we would not only achieve this, but improve so much more too! Being online in a limited space, in our lounges, kitchens, cellars, attics, gardens… and without training partners, we were forced to focus exclusively on very specific individual but essential skills, stripping everything back down to the traditional techniques of basic blocks, strikes and kicks, strengthening those techniques that we can then transfer onto more complex ones, making these techniques sharper, stronger and more precise. Fitness, footwork, sparring drills were not forgotten of course, and were an integral part of all training sessions.

The hard work of all our dedicated students, coupled with the immense energy and innovative approaches of world-class chief instructor GM Mark Richardson – without whose expertise and creativity none of this would have been possible – meant that a series of junior and senior grading tests could take place online in October and November, including, for the first time ever, several black belt 1st, 2nd and 3rd Dan tests.


Senior grade promotions:

Grading test date and place: 21 November 2020 – Online

Examiner: GM Mark Richardson, 8th Dan

Observers: GM Ewan Briscoe (President, SMK England), Master Susan Sadler, Master Jaki Richardson

Promoted to 3rd Dan: Howard Kwan

Promoted to 2nd Dan: Zaneb Ali, Safiya Ascoli-Ball, Geneviève Galliani, Adam Scholes, Millie Scholes

Promoted to 1st Dan: Aliyah Ball, Michelle Galliani, Neil Manoj, Christian Moss, Jeannette Pope

Congratulations to all, well done, your hard work, perseverance and indomitable spirit paid off!

GM Mark Richardson presents the certificates and belts to some of the local students, respecting the social distancing rules in place in Greater Manchester, November 2020. The official presentation ceremony will take place when training resumes on-site in Spring 2021.


It’s not just a martial art

To teach a student to focus

To respect

To concentrate

To prepare

A coachable youngster will go further

It teaches honour humility elation dejection

To be humble in victory Honourable in defeat

It shows when you attain your blackbelt

On application jobs interview college university applications YOU NEVER QUIT

The tenets teach you

Courtesy self control perseverance indomitable spirit etiquette

The oath teaches you

To observe the tenets

To respect your instructors and seniors

To never misuse your art

To champion freedoms and fairness


It’s not just about medals they tarnish

It’s not just about fighting It’s not just about patterns

It’s about all of The art

It’s certainly not just about YOU, it’s about what YOU make of yourself

It can only HELP.

GM Mark Richardson

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