We have students aged from 6 to 50 years old, covering the grades of 10th Gup (white belt) to 2nd Dan black belt. The class covers all aspects of Tang Soo Do, which includes hand and foot techniques, one step sparring, free fighting and self defence. Along with bongs (bo) and knife defence. We do not discriminate between the male and female students, and try to 'bring out the best' in all participants.
We have 'special' classes during the year to cover some aspects of martial arts that may not get the covered during a routine lesson.
Frequently asked Questions & Answers
Who practices Tang Soo Do?
at Godmanchester Tang Soo Do Club
People from all walks of life, religion, culture and gender can be found in the Tang Soo Do training hall. Although the art originated in the East, there are no barriers or secrets that are kept from people outside of the Korean homeland.
What age limit is there?
Ideally we would like to say there is no age limit, but that would not be realistic! Students are accepted from the age of six years, and some bigger five-year-olds will also be considered for membership. For the more matured student, we advise a consultation with both their doctor and prospective instructor before embarking upon a training program, and providing all agree, there is no real upper age limit.
How often should I train?
Like all activities, the more effort you put in, the more reward you will earn. The same applies to Tang Soo Do training. However for the beginning student two, two-hour lessons each week should ensure a reasonable rate of progress is shown. But remember that most techniques can be practised at home in the garden quite easily and will assist in the learning process.
What if I have a disability?
We try to accommodate all levels of physical ability in our students. We recognise that no two bodies are the same, and we are happy to fit you in, as long as your doctor agrees with a suitable training programme.
What benefits will I get?
That’s almost down to the individual. For the junior student we hope that they make new friends. They should get to understand their physical abilities and limitations. Hopefully, become more self-disciplined and also learn respect for elders and higher ranks.
For adults the benefits are just the same, but we would hope to add the potential to protect our lives and possessions from injustice and danger. To promote our physical and spiritual health and enjoy strong bodies and minds. And become of better character through endurance and hard work.
What do I need to train?
Quite simply, you and your enthusiasm are all you need to get you going. Although we do wear a proper outfit, called a do bohk, there is no immediate requirement to wear one. Just start in jogging bottoms and a tee shirt.
Once you have decided that Tang Soo Do is right for you, then you can purchase a beginner’s suit, which should see you through a good number of lessons.
How much will I have to pay?
For all students the first lesson is free. Thereafter we charge per lesson, per student at £4.00. We also have a discount structure for families and advance payments. For those who have ”special” financial circumstances, we can waive certain fees until such time as payments can be made.
Once progress has been made, you will need the training outfit, which for a beginner’s suit is approximately £15. Next you would need to pay the fees to the association that we belong to, which is The World Tang Soo Do Association. This fee is an annual payment of £15. This payment also entitles you to participate in the grading syllabus.
Next are the Association badges for the uniform, which range from £2.50 to £6.00 according to the badge, a total of £15 for the set.
Therefore, the total start up cost is approximately £45 - Don’t worry if that seems like a lot to pay out, you don’t have to do it all in one go, and you can time the payments to suit your budget and time scales. We only ask that all badges be on the uniform by about green belt stage, which is approximately six to nine months after commencement.
How do I get a Black Belt?
That must be the most frequently asked question in any martial art! The simple answer is hard work, perseverance and patience.
The training syllabus that we follow is very extensive, and a requirement of Black Belt grading is that the student can demonstrate a solid understanding of all of the techniques they have been taught and that they can demonstrate them to the best of their ability.
We also have set patterns or forms of techniques that in Korean are called hyung. These are learnt from start at white belt and more are added as the student progresses through the ranks. As progress is made the hyung become more complex. These too will have to be mastered in order to gain the coveted Black Belt.
How long will it take to get a Black Belt?
Unlike the previous question, this subject should never be raised with your instructor...
STUDENT: Master you have asked me to become expert at using the sword, how long do you expect it to take me?
MASTER: Well if you work very hard, I expect you should be quite good in about five years time
STUDENT: And if I work doubly hard twice as often, how long then?
MASTER: Oh, about ten years.
Who is the instructor?
The instructor for this class is Mr Ritchie Dakin, who is a 3rd Dan Black Belt holder, and Mr Dakin has been instructing since 1992.
Mr Dakin has qualified under the World Tang Soo Do Association instructor’s certification as Kyo Sa Nim (Head Instructor) and is also a holder of the St John’s first aid certificate. Mr Dakin also maintains full part-time professional martial arts insurance and is fully CRB checked.
Who helps in the class?
Mrs Helen Dakin, 3rd Dan and Miss Anna Dakin, 2nd Dan (his wife and daughter) ably assist Mr Dakin in the class. Both are also holders of first aid certification and CRB checked.
Mr Dakin is a firm supporter of the family in training and there are many family groups within the club.