UKTA History

The United Kingdom Taekwon-​Do Association (UKTA) was founded by Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha OCM, in 1967 and is the original Taekwon-​Do organisation in Great Britain. The UKTA is a full member of the International Taekwon-​Do Federation, and is a founding member of the All Europe Taekwon-​Do Federation (now Europe International Taekwon-​Do Federation) and the British Taekwon-​Do Council (BTC).

The BTC is recognised by UK Sport as the governing body for non-​Olympic Taekwon-​Do in the UK.

The UKTA was founded when Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha (then Mr Rhee, 5th Degree) was teaching Taekwon-​Do to British Military personnel at RAF Changi. On their return home to the United Kingdom, they invited Mr Rhee to come to the UK and continue to teach them Taekwon-​Do.

Mr Rhee arrived on British shores on 2 July 1967, reportedly only planning to stay for two years.
This was the birth of Taekwon-​Do in the UK.
The UKTA was formed, and the rest as they say, is history.

Here is a list of current and past Presidents of the UKTA

Grandmaster John Williamson 9th Degree 2012 — present

JW

Grandmaster Williamson was unanimously elected 4th President of UKTA at the AGM of November 2011, having held the position of Acting President following the resignation of SM Paul Cutler in May 2011.

GM Williamson began training in Taekwon-​Do in May 1977 and was promoted to 7th Degree Master in 2001 and 8th Degree Senior Master in 2006.

He was promoted to the terminal grade in Taekwon-​Do, 9th Degree at Congress at the 19th ITF World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on 26th August 2015.

After a prolific competition career, GM Williamson spent many years as Scotland Coach as well as running one of the UK’s largest Taekwon-​Do School’s in his hometown of Elgin.

Senior Master Paul Cutler 8th Degree 20102012

PC

SM Cutler became the 3rd UKTA President following the re-​structure of the Association in 2010.

He started training in TKD under Mr. Ted Hopwood in 1973 at the UKTA class in Oxford Polytechnic. In 1981 he took over as Instructor at Abingdon from the retiring Phil Holmes, before opening the first TKD School in Reading, Berkshire in 1982.

SM Cutler held the role of UKTA National Secretary for many years before working abroad teaching TKD in Australia. Prior to his promotion to Master on 11th September 1998 he relocated back to the UK, after which he settled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Promotion to 8th Dan followed in 2004.

Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha 9th Degree 19752010

GMR

Grandmaster Rhee is the Founder of UKTA and became its second President in 1975, holding the position until 2010.

Grandmaster Rhee was born on 20th March 1938 in Seoul, Korea, the eldest of seven children of Rhee Yung Ei and Ahn Soon Rae. His martial arts training began when he learned Judo from his father at around 8 years of age, and he was the only one of his siblings to pursue the martial arts. He later learned karate from one of his schoolteachers.

While serving in the South Korean military forces, he came into contact with Gen. Choi Hong Hi and learned Taekwon-​Do in the 35th Infantry Division. Grandmaster Rhee, as a TKD Pioneer, was a key figure in the introduction of Taekwon-​Do around the world, performing demonstrations in many different countries. He taught Taekwon-​Do to the US 8th Army and in 1964 travelled to Singapore, where he trained Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel. Through the late 1960s and 1970s, Grandmaster Rhee was a key member of the ITF Demonstration teams that accompanied Gen. Choi around the world.

In 1967, some of his students from RAF Changi, who had returned home to the United Kingdom, invited him to teach them in the UK. He arrived on 2 July 1967, ranked 5thDan, reportedly only planning to stay for two years. GMR founded the United Kingdom Taekwon-​Do Association (UKTA) in 1967, the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-​Do Association (RITA) in 1972, and the All Europe Taekwon-​Do Federation (AETF) in 1979. He was promoted to 7th Dan in 1974, followed by 8th Dan in 1981. Gen Choi then made TKD history by promoting GMR to 9th Dan on 2nd July 1997 at the ITF Congress in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Sir Luke William Burke Teeling 19671975

SL

The first President of UKTA was Sir Luke William Burke Teeling. Having finished a career in the RAF he then became Member of Parliament for Brighton until retiring in 1969. He was born on 5th Feb 1903 and died on 26th October 1975, after which GM Rhee Ki Ha became President.

Throughout his Parliamentary career Sir Luke remained on the backbenches, but his expertise on foreign affairs was acknowledged. He was a Freeman of the city of Seoul in Korea.