Grand Master Robert J Howard

Grand Master Robert Howard
9th Degree Black Belt
President RITA
President of the
National Governing Body
for the ITF in Ireland

Welcome to the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association web site. The RITA was Established in 1972 to spread Taekwon-Do throughout Ireland. We are the National Governing Body for the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in Ireland.

Contained within our site is all the latest news from Ireland and the ITF, Information for beginners, all relevant member forms to download and helpful reference material for Instructors and Students.

If you require further Information contact the National Secretary or visit your local Taekwon-Do School.

Upcoming Events
2018 Irish Open

Dear Grand Masters, Masters, Instructors & Competitors, 

On behalf of the R.I.T.A Tournament Committee, I would like to invite you to the RITA Irish Open 2018 to be hosted in the DCU Sports Complex, Dublin City University, Whitehall, Dublin 9 

The individual’s event will include: 

− Patterns and Sparring for all Junior, Senior and Veteran competitors 

− Special Technique will only be open for all Junior and Senior competitors

− Power will only be open for Senior and Veteran competitors. 

Please note that this is a pre-register only event. All entries should be made using the Excel entry spreadsheet and returned to (Link available on no later than Saturday 24th November 2018. Individual forms must follow and be scanned or posted to arrive no later than Friday 30th November. Postal address available by return of entry spreadsheet. Please remember that accurate information is the responsibility of the instructor, any errors cannot be amended on the day. 

If you have any questions in relation to this event, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Further details of the event and Link to the application form are available on

 It is the participants’ responsibility to have full insurance coverage for all eventualities. The organising committee will not be responsible for any injury or loss for participants before, during, and after the Tournament howsoever arising. 

We look forward to seeing you at the event. 

 RITA Tournament Committee

Information Pack
Individual Application Form for Instructors
School Application spreadsheet

Recent News
Black Belt Grading
RITA AGM and new Policies

RITA AGM and new Policies

Dear RITA Masters, Instructors, and Black belts,
by now you should have received an email from ‘RITA 1972’ inviting you to view proposed RITA policies via ‘Dropbox’. These policies will be voted on at the AGM (15th September) so it would be useful if you could read them before the meeting. Or even if you have a read to any particular policy which you may have a personal interest in that would be great.

If you have not received an email please email Master Howard ( with your name and RITA number and we will give you access.

Looking forward to hearing your views and comments of our new policies at the AGM.
Yours in Taekwon-Do
Master Howard

RITA selection for ITF World Junior & Veteran Championships
Congratulations to Grandmaster Francis Barrett IX Dan and Master John Jacob VIII Dan on their selection by the ITF as Official Umpires for the World Junior & Veteran Championships in Minsk, Belarus from 19-27th August.
Gold for Ireland at the Euros
Black Belt Grading

Congratulations to everyone who was successful at the Black Belt Grading under the RITA's three ITF Grandmasters and Masters examiner panel.

Promoted to 1st Degree:
Donagh O’Thuathail Blessington School & Michal Skupinski Maynooth School.
Promoted to 2nd Degree:
Ms Alison Connolly Galway School & Mr Emmet O’Rourke GM Howard’s School.
Promoted to 4th Degree:
Mr Patrick Malone Enniscorthy School & Mr Fergus Wilson GM Howard’s School.

To those that have to try again remember Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit are two of the Tenets of Taekwon-Do

Hard works pays off for Colur Belt Squad

The RITA’s Colour Belt Development Squad reaped the rewards of the hard work with some very fine displays at the UKTA’s English Open 2018 in Guildford.
The 15 person squad competed in patterns, sparring and special technique, over the St Patrick’s weekend. The students’ hard training produced clear improvements in both sparring and patterns and they were clearly proud to wear the tricolour on their sleeve. Taking home 10 gold, 4 silver and 6 bronze medals was an added bonus for their hard work.
The main goal of the CBS is to develop the students’ patterns and sparring skills for competitions and to prepare students for international competitions. It is drawn from all RITA schools and is coached by Ms Audrey Condon and Mr Adam Fox. CBS training is open to all RITA colour belts (yellow belt and above) and the coaches would love to see as many RITA schools taking part. Training is usually once a month. If you are interested why not ask your instructor for more details.

National Coaches Selected

Congratulations to Master Doyle who was selected by the RITA Masters Council as National Adult & Veteran Coach. Squad training will commence 21st October in St Laurence O'Toole AC, Carlow at 13.30 for the 4 Nations Championships on the 12th November, in Guildford UK. (for more information please contact Master Doyle)

Big news on the Junior Black Belt National Coach, Master Howard was appointed by the RITA Masters Council for this position, Congrats Master Howard. The first development programme will take place on Sunday 29th October in Carrick-On-Suir from 11am-2pm.

Wishing the RITA National Coaches every success in the future and looking forward to all the support from our Veterans, Adult, & Junior Black Belts.

Black Belt Grading

Congratulations to everyone who successfully passed the recent Black Belt grading. The panel of examiners were Grandmaster Robert Howard, Grandmaster Anthony Phelan, Master Valerie Keane and Master Mark O'Donnell. Before the grading everyone got a last chance at correcting their techniques during a two hour class overseen by the examiners. After a short lunch break and a final chance at some revision the exam began. Everyone was tested on all aspects of Taekwon-Do including Patterns, Sparring, Self Defence and Breaking before then having to answer questions at the table. The most senior promotion of the day was Mr. Martin Roe from St. Marks who achieved the rank of IV Dan (사단 / Sa-Dan / 4th degree) Black Belt followed by Ms. Caoimhe Keogh from Galway who was promoted to III Dan (삼단 / Sam-Dan / 3rd degree) Black Belt. Well done to everyone on their amazing performances.

Full list of promotions
Mr. Martin Roe - St. Marks - 4th Degree (사단 / Sa-Dan)
Ms. Caoimhe Keogh - Galway - 3rd Degree (삼단 / Sam-Dan)
Ms. Laura Cunningham - Galway - 2nd Dan (이단 / i Dan)
Ms. Jennifer McCormack - Dublin NE - 2nd Dan (이단 / i Dan)
Alex Byrne - Stillorgan - 2nd Dan (이단 / i Dan)
Mr. Tom Murray - Tuam - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Mr. Jonathan Coleman - Tuam - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Mr. Matthew Kearns - St. Marks - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Ms. Linda Dalton - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Andrew Loo - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Trivo Tijanic - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Wayne Gill O'Loughlin - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Darragh Power - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
Abbie O'Neil - Carrick-on-Suir - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)
David Sietko - Old Bawn - 1st Dan (일단 / il Dan)

So you've just passed your Black Belt exam and you're wondering what's next? Click here to see some suggestions on taking the next step in your Taekwon-Do journey.

New Grandmaster!
Some great news coming from the ITF World Championships in Pyongyang as the RITA has a new Grandmaster! It was announced at the ITF congress that now Grandmaster Francis Barrett was promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt. This is a fantastic achievement for our Association which is celebrating 45 years since its foundation in 1972 and brings the number of Grandmasters to three. There was also more good news for Waterford Taekwon-Do School as their Senior Instructor Master John Jacob was promoted to 8th Degree Black Belt. Both are representing Ireland as umpires at the ITF World Championships which are underway in Pyongyang, DPR Korea. A huge congratulations to both!
Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association Join Forces With Hanley Energy

Left to right; Master Valerie Keane, Grandmaster Robert Howard, Hanley Energy Co-founder & Managing Director Dennis Nordon, Grandmaster Anthony Phelan, Master Francis Barrett.

The Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association has partnered with global data center solution specialists and technology company Hanley Energy in a deal that will see the Irish owned company become main sponsors of the organisation with immediate effect.

The sponsorship deal was announced by the Masters Council at the 2016 National Taekwon-Do Open Championship which took place in Dublin recently.
Dennis Nordon, MD and co-founder of Hanley Energy said the company continues to recognise world-class potential and is delighted to be an advocate of the Republic of Ireland Taekwondo Association. 

Hanley Energy are very excited about forging strong links to a relatively young, evolving sport with exemplary ambition and a future that is, like ours, on an upward curve. Our aim with RITA will be to support at both an elite and grass-roots level, as the sport continues to grow across the country. We recognise a shared vision and ethos with RITA, we are delighted to be able to champion excellence and assist them in nurturing real international potential. We are looking forward to many exciting years ahead as sponsors.

Business and Taekwon-Do are akin in many ways, but the biggest similarity is the toll they can take on your mental resilience. If you want something sufficiently in both, you will have to work for it. Nothing is accomplished without sacrifice. Dedication, preparation and work ethic are all vital to progress.

In Hanley Energy, we try to embrace the discomforts, even when things seem impossible, learn from errors and we have built a strong team around us, where every member deserves credit for the business success. This ethos is closely reflected in two of Taekwon-Do’s core tenets, perseverance and indomitable spirit.

Grandmaster Anthony Phelan, Vice-President, Republic of Ireland Taekwondo Association, welcomed the partnership saying:

We are delighted to be able to announce Hanley Energy as the primary sponsor of the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association. We’ve had really positive initial meetings and I think it’s clear that we are very much on the same page. We’re looking forward to a strong and productive partnership.

Ireland has a New ITF Grandmaster!

Congratulations to Grandmaster Anthony Phelan on this promotion to 9th Degree. Grandmaster Phelan is Vice-President of the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association and is the second most senior Taekwon-Do practitioner in the Republic of Ireland.
GM Phelan travelled to DPR Korea for the 50th anniversary of the International Taekwon-Do Federation and was promoted by President of the ITF Prof Ri Yong Son and the ITF promotions committee. Also attending the celebrations from Ireland were Senior Grandmaster Howard, Master Valerie Keane and Mr Martin Roe.
GM Phelan is a student of FGM Rhee and has been instrumental in the development of Taekwon-Do in Ireland. He introduced the art he loves to Waterford and continues to teach Taekwon-Do in the Ballyfermot/Clondalkin area of Dublin. Over the years he has trained many students to black belt including Senior Master Francis Barrett and Senior Master Brendan O’Toole (INTA).

All the students of Taekwon-Do in Ireland send their best wishes to Grandmaster Phelan on his wonderful achievement.

RITA YouTube Channel

RITA YouTube

Check out our YouTube channel for all the recent media appearances for the 40th Anniversary plus some vintage films from the last 40 years! Also in the playlists section you can view some International Tournaments. Videos are regularly added.

RITA 40th Anniversary featured in the National Media

The 3rd and 4th of May was a busy time for the RITA as we were featured on RTE, TV3, Today FM, 98 FM plus the Irish Times and Irish Daily Mail newspapers!

First off was the feature in the Irish Daily Mail about the Three Generations of the Howard family. Click here to view a scan on our facebook page.

Next was Grand Master Howard, Senior Master Phelan and Master Howard on Dermot & Dave, Dublin’s 98FM doing a live interview & tile breaking. Click here to view the video

Friday started with an appearance on TV3's Ireland AM with First Grand Master Rhee breaking a brick live. Click here to view it on the TV3 website. There are also a couple of photos on our Facebook page

Then it was on to RTE to record a piece for the 6.1 News news. Click here to view the video on our YouTube page.

It was a quick photshoot for the Irish Times then it was off to Today FM for an interview with Matt Cooper for the Last Word. Click here to view that video.

The RITA would like to thank the Senior members who gave up their time to help out.


RITA Celebrating 40 Years

The RITA Would like to thank Mr. Gerard Byrne for designing our 40th Anniversary logo. His hard work is very much appreciated. We would like all our Schools to use it in promotional material so if you require a high resolution copy for print please contact Mr Doyle.

Also as part of the 40th Anniversary we will be uploading Photos and Videos from the last 40 years with some special ones to come soon. In the meantime have a look at the video from our 25th Anniversary back in 1997 and see if you recognise some young faces! Apologese for the quality as its from a very well used VHS.

Check out the Youtube and Facebook pages for more

Grand Master Robert J Howard

RITA President promoted to 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. 

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.’


Click here for more news


Want to learn Taekwon-Do?
To find your nearest school click here.
For more information on Taekwon-Do click here .
If you wish to contact the RITA you can do so by sending an e-mail to The National Secretary Master Valerie Keane VII Degree at
Just got your Black Belt?

So you've just passed your Black Belt exam and you're wondering what's next? Click here to see some suggestions on taking the next step in your Taekwon-Do journey.

Black Belt Dress Code 1st to 3rd Dan
Umpire Dress Code 1st to 3rd Dan

RITA Committees
All RITA members are encouraged to get involved in the Comittees by either submitting ideas or by joining them. Click here to view full contact details for all of the Committees.
Upcoming Events 2018


Click here to see full year

Squad Training
ITF Ireland Team

The next Black Belt National Squad training will be Saturday 24th November in Carlow Taekwon-Do School from 1:30-4:30pm.
This will be the start of selections for 2019 European Championships in Rimini, Italy and the World Championships in Liverpool, England. Training is open to all adult Red and Black Belts so we encourage everyone to come along to improve their fitness and tournament techniques.

This is the only opportunity in Ireland to compete at the EITF European Taekwon-do ITF Rimini 2019 and is open to all RITA registered members.

Senior Black Belt Squad

Training is open to all RITA adults. Everyone is invited to come along to try out for the National Squad and those who’ve never been before are encouraged to give it a go. We are also looking to find new talent with potential to represent Ireland at international competitions. So even if you want some extra practice, to improve fitness or just want to see what training is like you are more than welcome to attend.

Senior & Veteran Coach Master Stephen Doyle

Junior Black Belt Squad

Junior & Child Coach Master Robert Howard

Colour Belt Squad

This training is open to all RITA colour belts, male and female, junior and senior including veterans. For more information please contact Mr Adam Fox Coach on 0864172569 (

TKD Supplies

TKD Supplies

RITA Instructors and Students can now view the TKD Supplies stock online. Click here to see our latest prices and stock.

In Memoriam

Gen Choi Hong Hi
Founder of Taekwon-Do
1918 - 2002
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© copyright 2018 Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association. All information correct at time of publication