How long have your classes been running?
I’ve been teaching taekwondo in Edmonton, consistently, since June 1993.  Initially as a hobby club, I taught twice a week, but in October 2000, I left my job in I.T. and began teaching professionally.  I opened the Wood Green venue in March 2010, and we got our first students there to black belt in November 2011.

I’m a complete beginner. How long does it take to get to black?
You can complete our black belt training programme in only 27 months for adults and juniors.  From that point, you’ll be continuing training, refining your skills and participating in gradings for free until you take the next black belt grading, which are usually held in November and May.

How can you claim to get people to black belt so quickly, when local karate clubs take anything from 4 to 6 years?
There are two distinct reasons for this.  Firstly, in most martial arts clubs, they have gradings every 3 months.  But then, as you get about half way to black belt, their gradings (i.e. martial art examinations) are less frequent, typically every 6 months for the next couple of grades, and after that, between 6 to 12 months for the two or three grades prior to black.  We have gradings every 3 months, for every belt level from complete novice, to the highest grade prior to black belt, and all students are expected to take each one of those.  Our training programme is purposefully designed to accommodate this.

Secondly, there is a misconception that once someone has achieved a black belt, they are automatically an instructor and can open their own club.  Achieving the level of black belt is certainly no easy task, it is only a qualification of personal competence of martial art skills, it is not a coaching qualification.  Instructing, coaching and teaching are a completely separate set of skills.  I have studied sports coaching for children and sports coaching for adults at Level 3, but my highest regarded qualification  is with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, where a gained the Professional Trainers Certificate, which is also known as the “Teaching the Teachers certificate”.  I am trained, experienced (21 years of teaching experience), and qualified in delivering information to people, using methods that they will understand and relate to.

In summary, we don’t slow down the grading process as you climb up the ranks toward your black belt, you should be taking gradings every 3 months until you are ready to take your black belt gradings (or as we say in The Academy “black up”).  There is a very high level of teaching and coaching in The Academy.  It’s not about what is taught, but how it is taught.


Here are questions that I ask when I consider training at another martial art club:

  1. Can I have a list of ALL your fees, up to and including black belt gradings?
  2. Can I see your syllabus of all grading requirements up to and including black belt?
  3. How frequent are you gradings?
  4. Who is the examiner at the gradings?
  5. Where are all your gradings held?
  6. When I take a grading, will I be told immediately if I have passed?
  7. Will I be allowed to take every grading up to black belt, or do I have to wait for extended periods as my grades get higher?
  8. Do I have to buy any equipment or uniforms?  If so, how much does it cost and when must I buy it.  If you are only telling me this now, why did you not disclose it when I asked the first question?
  9. Am I covered by any insurance policy?  Does this cost me anything extra, and if so, why did you not disclose it when I asked the first question?
  10. What grade is the instructor, when was that achieved and from whom?
  11. Has the instructor passed any coaching qualifications?
  12. Does the instructor have Professional Indemnity insurance?  If so, can I see it?
  13. What safety/sparring equipment do I need?  Why did you not tell me about this when I asked the first question?
  14. If I join your club, do you put any restriction on me training at other clubs?