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 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Galway Taekwon-Do School by RITA Instructors, Master Robert Howard & Master Mark O'Donnell. To celebrate our birthday, we're having a special anniversary party on Saturday 19th October in the Harbour Hotel, Galway from 8.00pm. Ticket price is 15 Euro and includes buffet dinner and DJ till late (event is over 18's). We'd love to see as many of our current and previous members as possible attending – even if you haven't trained for a long time, come along and meet up with everybody for a great night! Tickets are available at class (contact Laura Cunningham), through any of our members, or email instructor@galwaytkd.com. To keep up to date with the event, check out the facebook event page.

Beginner Classes - Autumn 2013

New Beginner Classes - Sept 2013

We're still accepting new members to our beginner classes. Class for Teenagers & Adults is held in the Renmore Centre at 7.00pm every Monday, and the Juniors Tigers & Dragons classes are on every Wednesday from 7.00 – 8.00pm. Our Athenry Classes take place in District Fitness every Thursday afternoon from 3.30-4.30pm (6-8 year olds) and 4.30-5.30pm (9-12 year olds). New members are welcome, so if you're interested in taking up Taekwon-Do, call or text 087 7970646 (teen/adult classes) – 086 3048057 (juniors classes) or email instructor@galwaytkd.com. You can download our information leaflet here.

New 'Tigers Class' in Athenry

A new 'Tigers' Taekwon-Do class for 6-8 year olds has started 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 the facebook page for this class.

November Colour Belt Grading

Congratulations to all our members who were promoted at the recent Colour Belt grading held in Galway with Examiners Master Howard & Master O'Donnell. Thanks as always to the Black Belt members for their assistance on the day.

Colour Belt Grading

Congratulations to all our members who were promoted at the recent grading hosted by the Tuam School. Congratulations also to Ms McGrath on her first group of students from Tuam taking their first grading. Well done to Robert Onofrei who received the juniors grading award and to Barry Healy who received the seniors award. Thanks also to the Black Belt members for their assistance on the day.

Tigers & Dragons Results:

Promoted to 7st Kup Natasha Johnson
Ryan O’Toole
Promoted to 8th Kup Oisin O'Keeffe
Promoted to 9th Kup Maya Foley
Eric Onofrei
Promoted to Blue Tag Cillian Ward
Promoted to Red Tag Liam Johnson
Ronan O'Keeffe
Robert Onofrei
Patrick Walsh
Promoted to Black Tag Padraic Graham
Eoghan Keeler
Rachel Kinane
Nathan McCormack

Main Class Results:

Promoted to 1st Kup Damien Vaughan
Promoted to 4th Kup Barry Healy
Promoted to 5th Kup Andrew Johnson
Devin Johnson
Aaron McCormack
Promoted to 6th Kup Carla Fernandes
Promoted to 7th Kup Rose Connolly
Karine Connolly
Alison Connolly
Ciara Connolly
Mia Johnson
Jakub Kolodziej
Alexandru Onofrei
AnneMarie Reilly
Matthew Sheridan
Ronan O’Loughlin
Promoted to 8th Kup Michael Connolly
Julien Parpet
Ailbhe Hession
Padraic Hession
Colm O’Kane
Genevieve Hession
Larisa Onofrei
Jason Thorne.

New School in Tuam

We are delighted to announce that a new Taekwon-Do School will be opened in Tuam shortly by Ms Therese McGrath 1st Degree. Classes will be held in Total Fitness Solutions gym, Airglooney Business Park, Ballygaddy Rd, Tuam, available initially 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 would like to congratulate Ms McGrath and wish her every success with the new school!

RITA Black Belt Class

Senior Master Phelan 8th Degree will be conducting the next RITA Black Belt class. It is hosted by St Marks Taekwon-Do School on Sunday 11th March. Applications need to be returned to the National Secretary by Monday 5th March along with the €20 fee. Click here to download form.

Class Cancellation

Please note that there will be no classes in Galway on Monday 19th March as the Renmore Centre will be closed for the Bank Holiday.

Colour Belt Grading

The next colour belt grading will be held in Tuam on Sunday 25th March from 10.30am to 1.00p.m. The grading is being held in Tuam to celebrate the opening of the new Tuam Taekwon-Do School, and the venue is Total Fitness Solutions gym, Airglooney Business Park, Ballygaddy Rd, Tuam. More details, directions to venue etc will be posted on our Facebook page. If you wish to take the grading, you must ask permission and submit your grading application by Wednesday 14th March (Monday 12th March for beginners). Beginner students, please ensure that you fill out and return a Grading Card with 2 passport photos. All members planning on taking the grading are encouraged to make use of the additional class on Friday nights in Scoil Einde from 7-9pm to prepare.

ITF Ireland Cup

The 2012 ITF Ireland Cup will take place in Mayfield Sports Complex, Old Youghal Rd, Mayfield, Cork on Saturday 31st March. The event is open to colour belts (9th Kup and higher) and black belts with junior, adult and veteran divisions. Full information is available on www.rita-itf.org and all Galway members are encouraged to take part in what promises to be a great event. Entry forms are available at class (or click here to download), and must be returned with entry fees by Wednesday 14th March – no late forms will be accepted.

Welsh Open Success

Congratulations to Damien Vaughan who represented our school as part of the Irish Colour Belt Team that competed at the Welsh Open in Cardiff. Damien brought home a Gold and Silver medal, and the Irish Team as a whole won a total of 23 medals, finishing in 4th Place overall out of a total of 59 schools entered. Great results!

Grading Results

Well done to our members who were successful at the recent Colour Belt Grading.

Promoted to 6th KupJames Arrigan
Promoted to 8th KupJack Niland
Promoted to 9th KupRodrigo Bueno
Karine Connolly
Alison Connolly
Rose Connolly
Ciara Connolly
Mia Johnson
Jakub Kolodziej
Alexandru Onofrei
AnneMarie Reilly
Lisa Rhatigan
Matthew Sheridan

The next area grading is scheduled to be held in Galway on Saturday 10th December.

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

Good Luck!

Congratulations and good luck to our two members of the Galway Taekwon-Do School who are currently preparing to represent Ireland at international tournaments abroad in September. Mr. Krzysztof Misiewicz will travel to Pyongyang, North Korea, to take part in the 17th ITF Black Belt World Championships, while Damien Vaughan has been selected for the Irish Colour Belt Team (A Squad) to compete at the Welsh Open Championships in Cardiff. The very best of luck from all of us! To read article in Connacht Sentinel click here

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

National Black Belt Seminar

St Marks Taekwon-Do School will be the venue for the National ITF Black Belt Seminar Conducted by Senior Master Phelan 8th Degree ITF Master. The seminar will take place on Sunday 11th September 2011 from 10.00am - 4.00pm with a cost of €60.00 per person. Application forms & fees to be returned to the National Secretary on or before the closing date Monday 5th September 2011. Cheques/PO payable to the RITA please. Download form here.

ITF International Course

Master O'Donnell VII and Mr Collins II attended the recent 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 earlier this year.

Good Luck Mr Mahoney

Mr Martin Mahoney III Degree has recently left Galway for New Zealand to take up a new job. We would like to thank Mr Mahoney for his dedication & hard work on behalf of the Galway TKD School over the years. We are all sorry to see him go but wish him all the very best in his new career.


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!

Female Training & Self Defence Class

Dear Senior Masters, Masters, & Instructors,
Galway Taekwon-Do School are proud to invite all your female student members to the RITA annual female training. This year the female training will be hosted by Galway Taekwon-Do School in the Renmore community centre on Saturday April 9th. The day will run from 11am to 5pm with an hour lunch in between. Please insure all students bring a packed lunch, as facilitates are minimal.

Click here to download the application form

To follow on from this training, on Sunday April 10th in the Days Hotel, Galway Ms Valerie Keane 6th degree from St. Marks Taekwon-Do School will be teaching a ladies self defense class to female members of the public and female Taekwon-do students that would like to take part. This event will run from 12.00 – 17.00 and a female garda from Millstreet Garda Station will also be there to speak about the awareness of safety at night. This event is FREE to all, there will be donation buckets at the venue for anyone who would like to support The Galway Women's Shelter.

We hope this will be a fun weekend to learn about Taekwon-Do and your safety whilst out and about.

Please pass this on to all female members. Please download the poster for the self defense class and, if you can, please put it up in your dojang.

Thanking you.
Yours sincerely,
Ms. Therese McGrath
Organiser of the event.

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.

Irish Open Championships

Congratulations to all our members who took part in the recent Irish Open Championships. With 270 competitors attending, and some very big sections, everyone from Galway put in a great performance, and represented our school very well on the day. Well Done!

Our school was represented by:

Mr Martin Mahoney Gold in Sparring and Silver in Patterns
Mr Tim Collins,
Mr Conor McCormack
Bronze in Sparring and Gold in Patterns
Ms Therese McGrath Silver in Sparring
Rafal Aksamit Silver in Patterns
Micheal Joyce,
Damien Vaughan
Gold in Patterns and Silver in Sparring
Cristian Deliv,
Catherine Higgins
Bronze in Patterns and Bronze in Sparring
Devin Johnson,
Darragh Bailey
Gold in Patterns
Natasha Johnson Gold in Patterns

Well Done to all!

To see pictures from the tournament, visit http://www.rita-itf.org/news-280111.htm

Grading Results

Congratulations to our members who were promoted at the recent grading. Well done also to the members from Athlone who were promoted.

Galway Results as follows:

Promoted toMember
3rd KupRafal Aksamit
4th KupPj Flaherty
Micheal Joyce
5th KupDamien Vaughan
7th KupDarragh Bailey
8th KupDeana Walsh

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.