School News



On Sunday November 6th, students from our Taekwon-Do School attended Grandmaster Howard’s celebration class in St Mark’s, Tallaght. It was the first Grandmaster class to the R.I.T.A by a European Grandmaster. The R.I.T.A Master's Council were also present for the historic occasion that saw the coming together of approximately 100 colour belts and black belts from around the country.

After members caught up with their fellow students and instructors, Master O'Donnell (Galway) began the class with a thorough warm up.

Once all members were prepared for the 2 hour class, Grandmaster Howard, 9th degree entered the dojang to a very warm welcome. The class got underway with fundamental techniques shortly before all members were taken through their patterns.

The class was then split by grade with the Senior Masters and Masters taking the students in groups to focus on various elements including focus pads, stretching, technical analysis and 2 step / 1 step sparring.

As the class drew to a close, students and instructors were given the opportunity to have photographs taken with Grandmaster Howard.

Reflecting on the unprecedented occasion, Grandmaster Howard said "This is a historical day and one never to be repeated again".
A very special thank you to our Grandmaster for an excellent class. Thanks also to Ms. Keane for hosting.




Grandmaster Howard, Master Howard, Mr McSherry and Mr Fox, from Grandmaster Howard’s Dojang, attended an RITA Sparring Workshop last weekend, as part of the roll out of the updated sparring syllabus.  The workshop was over seen by Grandmaster Howard and conducted  the Masters’ Council and the RITA’s Technical Committee and covered 3 step, 2 step, semi-free, free, 1 step, self-defence, knife defence, two on  one, and foot sparring.

The updated syllabus in more in line Gen Choi’s sparring guidelines and follows a clear and logical development path from 10th kup to 4th degree black belt. The improvements were met with approval from all present and many of the instructors said that they thought that it would be very appealing to the students. The news syllabus will apply to all colour belt gradings in Cabra from January 2012.

Cabra’s instructors also attended the RITA Examiner’ course was held that  afternoon. The course was lead by Senior Master Phelan and 15 examiners from across the country discussed quality assurance and standards in the association. What to mark at a grading, and how to mark on a grading form, were also presented and discussed. Overall the day was another step forward in improving the standards in the association and in Grandmaster Howard’s Dojang.




Alex Nowak

Photo: Mr Adam Fox (coach), Alex Nowak, Grandmaster Howard

Cabra Taekwon-Do School’s Alex Nowak represented Ireland at the Welsh Open and took home 3 medals in the process. Alex who is a student of Grandmaster Howard won gold in sparring, gold in special technique and a bronze in the patterns event. The young martial artist is a member of the Irish Colourbelt team and also trains under Grandmaster Howard's Irish Colourbelt team assistant coach Mr Adam Fox said ‘Alex did fantastically well. The colourbelt team is all about development, but when you take home 3 medals it’s a nice bonus’.

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.

Grandmaster Howard received his new rank (Sasung, Korean for Grandmaster) from the president of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), Professor Chang Ung, at the 17th World Championships. The RITA’s president has just returned from the North Korean capital city and his family and students throughout Ireland are already celebrating the fantastic news. He is the first European to be promoted by the Professor Chang Ung and the ITF and, according to the ITF’s website (, makes him the 8th worldwide. Also promoted in North Korea to the coveted rank of Grandmaster was Senior Master Phap Lu (Canada), SM Hwang (ITF and Czech technical director), SM Kim (Technical director to Bulgaria).

On his promotion Grandmaster Howard said "I'm so honoured to be promoted to Grandmaster by the ITF. When I started in Taekwon-Do back in the sixties I never thought I’d be still training today, and still with my original instructor First Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha. Perseverance is one of General Choi’s five tenets and I’ve always tried to live by them.

Grand Master Howard is the highest ranking Taekwon-Do practitioner in Ireland. He is renowned for his loyalty to both his instructor, First Grandmaster Rhee Hi Ha, and the founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi. He is a true martial artist and teaches Taekwon-Do in the spirit in which Gen Choi intended.

He started his martial arts training in 1966 and was one of the first Irish men to achieve the rank of black belt in 1971, (the other two were Mr Liam Dandy (now Master) and Mr Frank Mathews). He was one of the driving forces in the promotion of Taekwon-Do in Ireland. Through his instructor, First Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha, he has a direct lineage to the founder of Taekwon-Do, Gen Choi Hong Hi.  Indeed many of today’s students of Taekwon-Do in Ireland can trace their roots back to Gen Choi Hong Hi, via GM Rhee and GM Howard.  In 1995 he became the first Irish man to be promoted to Master (7th Degree).

Over his years of teaching Taekwon-Do, Grandmaster Howard has trained thousands of students and produced hundreds of black belts (including Master and Senior Masters).  He has trained many international competitors and World Champions.

Since the early 70s he has been travelling the world training in Taekwon-Do and umpiring in European and World Championships.  He is very well respected both in Ireland and internationally and has many Taekwon-Do friends around the world.

In 1994 he retired from umpiring internationally but as the president of the association he continues to represent Ireland at European and World congresses.

In 1995 he was promoted to 7th degree, making him the first Irish man (and third European) to achieve the title of Sahyung (Korean for Master).

Grand Master Howard still trains and teaches. He travels throughout Ireland, giving seminars and classes and continues to be an inspiration to his students. He is also the senior examiner at the RITA black belt gradings. GM Howard teaches at the Cabra Parkside community centre, Dublin 7 ( The promotion will make the RITA’s 40th anniversary in 2012 even more special. Photo by Mark Nixon (


Senior Master Howard's Dojang is starting an introductory Taekwon-Do course for teenagers commencing on the 20th September for a period of 8 weeks. The cost of the course is €40 and is open to both boys and girls. We hope to see you there. You can contact me with any enquiries at the number below.

Master Robert Howard 087 698 7624