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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