dan oliver grandmaster

I first started in Wado Ryu karate when I was 25 years and living in Perth, Australia. I had previously done some boxing at a club in Leamington Spa. When I got back from Australia in 1970 I watched a taekwondo demonstration by GM Ki Ha Rhee. I was really impressed seeing people break bricks, wood and do flying kicks. . GM Rhee was forming a new club in Leamington so I decided to join.

My instructor was Bob Howe who was the first black belt to be promoted by GM Rhee in the UKTA. Technically he was very good at patterns, sparring and breaking which is why he was GM Rhee right hand man. Bob had the greatest influence on me and the way I trained. Training in the 1970’s was much harder and a lot more brutal with just bare knuckles, feet and shins when sparring as there was no safety equipment available. I would regularly get back home after training covered in bruises and on occasions suffered cracked and broken ribs.

In spite of this I was enjoying every minute of my taekwondo training and graduated to black belt in 1974. The grading exam consisted of patterns and sparring but also destruction including breaking a brick, smashing tiles and breaking 3 inches of pine with both right and left legs.

I competed in lots of tournaments and in 1976 I won the British championships and also became a British internationsl champion. The highest level I competed in was the ITF European championships in Holland where our team won bronze. They included Bob Howe, Mick Fanthorpe, Vince Cooper, Bob Sergiew, Ron Sergiew and David Helstrip.

I went on to become British team coach and whilst with the UKTA the team became world and European champions of the ITF. In my time with the UKTA my three clubs Warwick, Solihull and Nuneaton were the most successful in competition winning the British championships 3 years running and being 5 times black belt team champions.