Origins of the Brotherhood TKD Foundation

 Foreword: ~

This site is constantly being updated and further detail added. A fuller history of the Brotherhood, including more recent years, and it's members and their personal histories, will be included in time. Contributions are invited from all current & former members, including written detail & both still pictures and video footage, which are to be added to the site in due course. Contributions should be sent to ' via  the email link on the page headed 'Contact Us'

Some of the older photos on this website were taken by Trevor Webster, one of the first generation British Taekwondo pioneers from the Nottingham area. It is only through his diligence and photographic skill that a bit of our history has been saved for posterity and for which we are eternally grateful. 

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A significant number of photo's have also been contributed from the camera of Master Niall Grange (below); details about Master Grange can be found in his profile below.

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John Ingram

A powerful guiding influence in the formation & history of both the Brotherhood Taekwondo Foundation and also the British TKD Control Board (WTF), more can be read about John below.

Over the years, we have lost contact with John Ingram; if you are able to help us get in contact with John, please email via the link on the page headed 'Contact Us' or phone Con Halpin on   0791 250 3707.  ***

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 (above left: John Ingram as a guest of honour at the 21st anniversary party for the UKTA, 1987)

(above right: with Con & Fatima Halpin in 1994)

  *** we were recently contacted by Ebe Ghansah, who is in contact with John. Ebe, please get in touch again.

THE NAME

The name was taken from the hall where the founding instructors trained for many years: The 'Brotherhood & Sisterhood Hall' in Masons Avenue, Wealdstone, (Harrow, Middx) was a church hall which was used between c.1972 and 28th February 1983, when it was sold to new proprietors . The hall still stands today, unchanged from the 1970's and 1980's, and is now known as the 'Navnat Bathan' hall!

THE EARLIEST CLASSES

The first classes were held in c.1972 with Master Fred Lee (see photos below of Master Lee) then a 5th dan black belt (now an 8th Dan Grand Master).

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 1978 - Karate & Oriental Arts magazine featured Master Lee on its front cover and in a report extending over several pages.

Master Lee continued training and establishing new clubs in and around the London area. He also established clubs throughout the UK and found many existing Taekwondo instructors who wanted to join his new organisation, the British TKD Association (B.T.A.). He was instrumental in establishing WTF Taekwondo in the UK and highly influential in the development of clubs in London and the Home Counties.

Master Lee was also responsible for the first (B.T.A.) WTF - style British Taekwondo championships to be held in the UK, held at the Picketts Lock Sports Centre, Edmonton, North London on 1st April 1978.

Sometime in 1973, the Brotherhood Hall club passed to one of his senior students, Audric Begg, who continued teaching there until illness forced his early retirement in 1977.

 

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above: Audric Begg leading the class at the Brotherhood Hall c.1976

 

Classes continued at the Brotherhood Hall until Feb. 1983 (variously under Con Halpin, Mick Sutherland, Chris Sawyerr, Mick King & Hyron Thompson), when the premises were closed to external bookings. Although the name of the 'Brotherhood' was derived from the main dojang (training hall), the spirit of the 'Brotherhood' is wherever the members train; the actual building structure is simply a shell and without the members has little meaning in itself.

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Left: Mick Sutherland and (R) with Con Halpin   (c.1979)

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 1974: training in the Brotherhood Hall; top Kevin Breen & John Halpin (foreground),

lower photo shows green belt Con Halpin (background).

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above: two young black belts of the Fred Lee era - Wayne Gates (L) & Matthew Stein (R).

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c. 1980 - (left) John Halpin was a junior black belt of the Fred Lee era, who trained alongside brother Con, under Audric Begg, from 1974.  (right) Sean Daly & John Halpin; Sean was an outstanding fighter who won numerous British titles and was a GB Team member for many years.

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above:  Harrow Observer report on the winning Brotherhood/London team (1979)

 

THE BROTHERHOOD AS AN ORGANISATION 

Disatisfaction with the leaders running their existing organisation, following the departure of Master F.Lee to Hong Kong, and the absence of a National Association at the time, lead senior members of the Brotherhood Hall club to form their own organisation. The idea and the impetus to carry this through, came from Chris Sawyerr, with the backing of the senior black belts. Chris had also come up with the name for the organisation and so the Brotherhood Taekwondo Foundation was born.

Simon Ingram, who had met and begun training with Chris, introduced him to his father, John Ingram, an articulate, knowledgeable, and highly motivated individual, with outstanding management & organisational skills. It seemed that destiny had fortuitously dictated that, just at the time when the members of the Brotherhood Hall and associated clubs were to embark on a journey in a new direction, a manager with all the right skills to guide them appeared on the scene.

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John Ingram making a presentation to Master Y S Chung

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John's involvement with Taekwondo took him to events both in the UK (2nd from right, top) and overseas (centre front row, below).

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Although he had no previous connection or involvement with Taekwondo, John Ingram was to become very much the face and name of British WTF Taekwondo throughout the 1980's, both nationally and internationally. John Ingram, a man with no background in Taekwondo,  managed to achieve what the many masters in the UK had failed to previously do, over many years - establish a lasting Governing body for WTF Taekwondo in Great Britain (see below).

  • The meeting to establish the Brotherhood was actually held in a Chinese restaurant on the Edgware Rd, near Marble Arch, late in 1980.
  • The Brotherhood TKD Foundation formally came into being as of 21st February 1981.
  • Chris Sawyerr, whose vision lead to the formation of the Brotherhood, was the first Chairman with John Ingram the first Secretary General.

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Even without a press office, Brotherhood members prominence on the competition circuit lead to numerous magazine articles over the years

 

THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS (BROTHERHOOD TKD FOUNDATION)

The original founding members* from 1981 were: ~

  1. John Ingram
  2. Chris Sawyerr (Chairman)
  3. Lindsay Lawrence
  4. Michael King
  5. Con Halpin
  6. Hyron Thompson
  7. Sean Daly
  8. Bernie Whitmill
  9. George Prowse
  10. Ebe Ghansah
  11. Alan Buck
  12. Simon Ingram
  13. Alec Judas Bryan

*(there were numerous other prominent black belts and instructors, who did not sit on the Board, but who were part of the BTF at the outset, such as Wayne Gates, Donette Gates, Graham Rance and John Haynes, amongst others).

The current Board is : ~

  1. Con Halpin (Chairman)
  2. Donette Gates-Day
  3. Wayne Gates
  4. Fatima Halpin
  5. Kevin George

The above members also make up the Brotherhood Technical Committee.The Board of Governors is supported by a team of Instructors and black belts throughout London and the Home Counties. We also have strong links with other organisations throughout the UK, including some of the UK's most senior graded Masters.

  

NOTABLE STUDENTS  WHO HAVE TRAINED WITH THE BROTHERHOOD

Prime amongst Brotherhood members over the years are fighters Lindsay Lawrence & Chris Sawyerr. At a time when Great Britain Taekwondo was both financially and organisationally the poor man of Europe (& the world), both Lindsay & Chris still managed to shine on the international stage, between them taking 4 World Championship/World Games & 5 European championship medals, with each dominating the British championships in their respective weight classes for a decade. A testament to the both fighters was the fact that their respective groups were not defined by the opposition by weight,  but by their names (i.e. I'm in Lindsay's/Chris's weight group)!

Lindsay's first ever competition was the 1976 European Championships which he won, taking the Lightweight division gold! A remarkable start to a remarkable fighting career which would see him grace the GB team between 1976 and 1985.

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Combat magazine (November 1986) ran a special on Lindsay, an outstanding TKD fighter.

 

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above: Lindsay (in blue) in action on his way to another championship medal.

Chris went on to become one of the elite athletes to represent Great Britain at the 1988 Olympic Games and to eventually coach the GB mens team. When he eventually retired from competition as a fighter, Chris had become the longest ever serving GB team member (1977 - 1994), a record unsurpassed to this day.

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Combat magazine (Oct. 1985) reported on Chris's epic battle with eventual World Games Gold medallist, JK Moon (Korea)

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above: Chris on his way to another Gold at the British Championships c.1983/4

There was always intense interest when fighters like Chris took to the mat, as can be seen from spectators in the background of the picture above.

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above: Chris collects gold at the British International Open in 1994, bringing a close

to a glittering fighting career as he announces his retirement.

Alongside them, both benefitting from their skills and also helping them in return, were numerous British Champions such as Wayne Gates*, Sean Daly, Donette Gates*, Hyron Thompson, Con Halpin*, Graham Rance, Mick Sutherland, Ebe Ghansah, Kwok Wan, Lene Lauridsen,  Mike Newland, Errol Aldridge and many more.

*(see profiles under heading 'Instructors')

Amongst the many students who have trained at, or been trained by the Brotherhood over the years, have been many other notable instructors and fine martial artists such as  Master Niall Grange (6th Dan), Kevin Woollett (3rd Dan TKD/1st Dan Jui Jitsu) and even stars of T.V. and film, Lindy Brill ('Grange Hill'), Brenda Emmanus (T.V. reporter) & Phillip Tan (fight choreographer, 'Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom').

In particular, Master Niall Grange, who came to train at the Brotherhood Hall c.1979, having started training just a few miles away in South in Ruislip with Phil Notley (one of Master F.Lees original students), is now a noted Master of Taekwondo, twice crowned British Poomsae Champion, an International medallist and Republic of Ireland team member. Niall moved to Steyning (near Brighton) in the late 1980's and established a high quality club there, which went onto produce many British Champions, including son Liam & daughter Emma, both of whom he would train to become British Grand Champions** .  Niall was for many years a top European poomsae judge and has since relocated, but continues his personal training and retains strong links with the Brotherhood.

Niall can be contacted through his website (see also 'Homepage'  and click on link for 'Dragon TKD'): ~

http://www.taekwondodevon.com/

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above: Master Grange

**(Grand Champion: each British Champion plays off in a grand final to find the overall winner).

Kevin Woollett also had his origins at the same club as Niall (as did Lindy Brill) and also moved when the South Ruislip club closed. He too started training at the Brotherhood Hall c.1979 and went on to establish himself as one of the top Brotherhood Kup grades at the time, winning a bronze medal at the 1982 British championships as a blue belt against black belt opposition, before attaining his 1st dan black belt in late 1983. In 1988, Kevin went onto win one of the qualifying tournaments to select the team for the 1988 Olympic games held by the BTCB and collect silver at the British Championships later that year.  Kevin partnered Con Halpin in running the Kings Cross club for some years, before moving outside London and teaching at Coles Green, near High Wycombe. To complement his Taekwondo, he began training in Jui Jitsu and in recent years graded to 1st Dan.

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above: Kevin Woollett (on right of picture) following his medal success at the 1988 British Championships.

Fraser Bradshaw (4th Dan), who currently runs classes in Bath, also had a spell training with the Brotherhood TKD Foundation at Kings Cross in 1987-88. Originally a student of Master Stuart Halliday in Preston, Lancs. , work & studies brought him to London in the late 1980's where he trained with Con Halpin and Kevin Woollett. His committment to training was evident back then, even as a red belt. Fraser went on to become a GB International and British Poomsae Champion at the first BTCB championships in 1994, finishing ahead of Des Day (2nd -  and now National Poomsae Coach) & Con Halpin (3rd). He also partnered Con Halpin & Jason Borg in the winning Brotherhood synchron team at those championships.

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(above) Fraser Bradshaw, at the 1st European Poomsae Championships in Austria (1993) &

(right) with the Brotherhood 'Z' Team winning the synchron division at the 1st BTCB British Poomsae Championships in 1994.

  

The Brotherhood and its role in establishing the British Taekwondo Control Board (B.T.C.B.).

 
With so many talented fighters in it's organisation, members of the Brotherhood were concerned that their ability to gain access to international competition such as World & European Championships (and eventually Olympic Games) would be damaged by the fact that all attempts to form a UK governing body for Taekwondo, constantly failed, or were short lived. Matters came to a head at the 1980 European Championships when two Gt. Britain teams turned up. Fortunately for Great Britain, the team that gained access to the tournament contained Brotherhood members Lindsay Lawrence and Chris Sawyerr, both of whom went on to win gold medals. Below: the GB team were secure in the knowledge that with John Ingram at the helm, International competition would always be available to them.

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Although regarded with some disdain for not being a practitioner and by those who did not know him, John Ingram (Brotherhood Secretary General) was instrumental in setting up a national association which still exists to this day (BTCB). John was also the first person to gain backing  from the World TKD Federation (WTF), British Olympic Association (BOA) & Martial Arts Commission (MAC), for a UK based British Taekwondo organisation.

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above; a man with statesmanlike qualities, John Ingram always sought to promote British Taekwondo throughout the world, forging friendships in many countries.

 

Key dates : ~

January 1981 -  Seven members of the Brotherhood travel to Hong Kong to take part in a series of charity Taekwondo displays and championship, with teams from Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. They were: Chris Sawyerr, Lindsay Lawrence, Michael King, Wayne Gates, Con Halpin, Sean Daly & Eamonn McInerney.

21st February 1981 - Brotherhood Taekwondo Foundation is formally inaugurated.

28th May 1981 -  Master F.Lee returns to UK to conduct first Dan Promotion testing for the Brotherhood TKD Foundation. Lindsay Lawrence, Michael King & Wayne Gates all successfully promote to 3rd dan, Con Halpin to 2nd Dan.

19th September 1981 - Brotherhood stage the 1981 British Championships in Wembley, on behalf of the steering committee of the BTCB and produce the winning team in the process.

24th January 1982 The President of the WTF and members of the WTF Committee, together with British Olympic Association officials  visit the Brotherhood London Championships in Wembley, the only occasion where a WTF President has been guest of honour at any event in the UK.

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March 1982: Combat magazine reports on the Brotherhood London Championships, including the visit by I.O.C. & B.O.A. members

 

24th April 1982 - Under the guidance of Brotherhood Secretary General, John Ingram, and under the auspices of the BOA & MAC, the BTCB is inaugurated.  Brotherhood TKD Foundation clubs are amongst the founding members.

17th July 1982 - the first post-inaugural British Championships of the BTCB is held in Coventry.

  

Our History in pictures

 

 

 

Sean Daly and John Halpin

Barry Walsh and John Halpin