Excellence in ITF Taekwon-Do since 1993

Senior Instructor: Master Mark O’Donnell VII Dan ITF

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Welcome to the Galway Taekwon-Do School

Welcome to the Galway Taekwon-Do School Website.  If you are interested in joining and would like further information click here or  email us and we can answer any questions you have personally. Feel free to view all the available content including the photos and videos in the Gallery.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the School or Taekwon-Do in general, we would be happy to hear from you and are always willing to help.

Master Mark O’Donnell VII Dan ITF
Senior Instructor
Galway School of ITF Taekwon-Do

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In Memoriam-The Founder of Taekwon-Do

General Choi Hong-Hi
1918 - 2002


ITF Plaque No. 6097


As a member school of the R.I.T.A., the Galway Taekwon-Do School has adopted the Irish Sports Council’s Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport.

Click here to download our school’s ‘Code of Practice for Children in Taekwon-Do’ (May 2010 version)

Latest News

Celebrating 20 Years!


2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Galway Taekwon-Do School by RITA Instructors, Master Robert Howard & Master Mark O'Donnell celebrated by a special anniversary party at the Harbour Hotel, Galway. To keep up to date with other events, check out the Facebook event page.

'Tigers Class' in Athenry

'Tigers' Taekwon-Do classes for 6-8 year olds are held in Athenry. Taught by Ms. Marina O'Donnell, 2nd Degree, the class runs every Thursday from 4.00-5.00pm at District Health & Fitness, Raheen Industrial Estate, Athenry. New members are welcome. For more information, call (087) 3048057 or check out our Facebook  page for this class.

Taekwon-Do School in Tuam

We are delighted to promote the Taekwon-Do School in Tuam opened by Ms Therese McGrath 1st Degree. Classes are held in Total Fitness Solutions gym, Airglooney Business Park, Ballygaddy Rd, Tuam, available for 6-12 year olds.
Please contact Ms Mc Grath on (087) 6797849 for further info or check out the Tuam School's Facebook page. We congratulate Ms McGrath and wish her on-going success with the school!

RITA President achieves Taekwon-Do's Highest Rank of Grandmaster

Senior Master Robert J. Howard, was promoted to Taekwon-Do Grandmaster, 9th degree black belt, at the 17th ITF World Championships in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Full story

Masters Training Weekend

20 Taekwon-Do students from 6 schools travelled to Athlone for the weekend to train hard under the guidance of two ITF masters.  The students from; Athlone, Blessignton, Cork, Galway, Kilmacow, Limerick, and Old Bawn, trained, sweated, learned and laughed as Master Robert Howard and Master Mark O’Donnell drove them through the weekend's training.

It was a great opportunity for students ranging from 10th kup to 6th degree black belt to train together and cover all the five components of Taekwon-Do.  The goal of the weekend was for students to develop an understanding of how the five components; fundamental movements, patterns, conditioning, sparring and self-defence, are all linked together and that if they leave out one component then they are not doing Taekwon-Do. If they spend all their time doing patterns and omit self-defence, or concentrate on sparring too much at the expense of power breaking (conditioning) then their Taekwon-Do is incomplete.'The students got a chance to see all the aspects of Taekwon-Do. It was great, especially for the lower grades who often can't see the point of doing 3 and 2 step sparring' said Conor Dunne assistant instructor at Athlone Taekwon-Do School.

This wasn't a technical seminar, but the two masters pointed out common mistakes which students make and gave valuable tips on how to maximise the power in their blocks, kicks, strikes. In the fundamental movements the students were taught how to use their whole body to defend themselves, everything from their fingertips to their toes.

Master Howard explained the need to for students to train hard both in the dojang and at home to develop your body. He quoted General Choi's definition of Taekwon-Do, 'It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defence; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training' and stressed the intensive physics and mental training part of the definition.

Master O'Donnell added to the discussion and said 'If you want to just come along twice a week and do Taekwon-Do as a hobby, that's fine, but don't expect to become a black belt.' He went on to say 'You need to train 3 or 4 times per week, to supplement your dojang classes. If you are just coming to the dojang twice a week and not training or even thinking about TKD at home then you are just wasting your time.'

The final component of the weekend was self-defence.  The masters pointed out that there are no secrets in self-defence. Whether it is a release from grab of defending against a knife, it is just the practical application of all the other four components of Taekwon-Do. It is not as artistic or beautiful as a pattern or as exciting to watch a good spar. It is rough, ready and effective.  There are obviously points like moving your body out of the way of the blade and moving in to grab the wrist, but these should have already been learned through fundamental movements, patterns and sparring. The weekend ended with the masters thanking the students for training so hard and for their desire to learn and understand.  There were requests to make it an annual event and Galway was mentioned as next year's venue.  

More photos can be found at the Galway Taekwon-Do School Facebook page

ITF International Course

Master O'Donnell VII and Mr Collins II attended the ITF International Instructor Course conducted by Senior Master Francis Barrett VIII Degree in Dublin. The two-day course was very enjoyable and informative, and covered all 24 patterns as well as detailed practical applications of individual movements for self defence. Senior Master Barrett also presented a special ITF 'Masters' watch to his student, Master O'Donnell, to mark his promotion to 7th Degree.


ITF Ireland Cup Results

Congratulations to all our members who took part in the recent ITF Ireland Cup in Athlone. With 16 members representing our school everyone had a great day and performed really well to put the Galway TKD School in 3rd place overall at the end of the event. Overall School result was:

7 Gold
2 Silver
9 Bronze

Well done in particular to Damien Vaughan, who won Best Overall Senior, having won gold in Patterns, Sparring & Power.
Individual Results as follows:

Mr Martin MahoneySilver-Sparring
Ms Therese McGrathSilver-Sparring
Emma KirkBronze-Sparring
Rafal AksamitGold-Patterns, Bronze-Sparring
Damien VaughanGold-Patterns, Sparring & Power
Laura CunninghamBronze-Sparring, Bronze-Patterns
Andrew JohnsonGold-Patterns
Cristian DelivGold-Patterns, Bronze-Sparring
Kyle GuestBronze-Sparring
Catherine HigginsBronze-Patterns, Bronze-Sparring
Devin JohnsonBronze-Patterns
Damien VaughanGold-Patterns, Sparring & Power
Natasha JohnsonGold-Patterns

A special congratulations to the three members of the Johnson family (Andrew, Devin, and Natasha) who all took home silverware from the event.

Black Belt Promotion

Congratulations to Mr Martin Mahoney who was promoted to 3rd Degree (Samdan) at the recent RITA Black Belt Grading conducted by the Senior Masters – well done!


Master Promotion

Senior Master Paul Cutler, Master Mark O'Donnell, First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha.

Congratulations to our senior instructor, Master Mark O'Donnell on his promotion to ITF 7th Degree Master Black Belt. Master O'Donnell was promoted by First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha at a grading in Glasgow on Sunday 6th March. Everyone in the Galway Taekwon-Do School would like to say well done!

European Championships

Congratulations to the Irish Team who won 2 Gold and 5 Bronze plus the Overall veteran award for Mr Mark Pollock at the European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. The team also won 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 4 Bronze at the International Martial Arts Games. The Irish Umpires of Senior Master Barrett, Master Howard and Mr Floyd Keane worked tirelessly for 5 days and were chosen to be Chief Umpires in all their rings. Well done in particular to our three Galway members, Mr Mahoney, Mr Collins, & Mr Misiewicz on a brilliant performance – everyone is very proud of you. Full results are available on the RITA site. Our Galway members achievements are as follows:

Bronze in Veteran Self Defence - Mark Pollock, Martin Mahoney, Conor Dunne, Tim Collins
Bronze in +85kg Sparring - Krzysztof Misiewicz
Bronze in Team Sparring

Gold in Cadet Self Defence- Roisin, O'Neill, Martin Mahoney, Tim Collins
Bronze in +85kg Sparring - Krzysztof Misiewicz
Bronze in -85kg Sparring - Tim Collins
Bronze in Team Sparring

Master Howard in Irish Times

Master Robert Howard VII was interviewed by the Irish Times for a special supplement on Science in Sport.

In the interview, which appeared on the February 16th issue of the newspaper, Master Howard (who is also a Doctor of Physics) explains the theory of breaking in Taekwon-Do. To read online, click here.


Athlone TKD Website

For information on the Athlone Taekwon-Do School: Visit www.athlonetkd.com to keep up with all the latest news from the school.

News Archive

For less recent news please follow this link to the News Archive.