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
ITF Ireland Cup

Dear Grandmasters, Masters and Instructors,
I hope this email finds you in good health and high spirits. On behalf of the R.I.T.A. Tournament Committee, I am delighted to extend our warm invitation to the ITF Ireland Cup 2024. This event will take place at Little Island Sport Complex, R623, Wallingstown, Little Island, Co. Cork, Ireland, on May 11th, 2024, starting at 9 am.
In our continued effort to enhance the registration process and streamline our operations, we have made an important change this year. We kindly request that all Instructors complete tournament entries exclusively through the Kihapp website. The deadline for registration is set for Thursday, 2nd May 2024.
To access the registration portal, please click on the following link:

In addition, we have provided resources to assist you with your registration:
ITF Ireland Cup 2024 General Information Pack: This comprehensive document contains essential details about the tournament, schedules, rules, and other pertinent information.
We encourage you to review the Info Pack to ensure you have all the information you need for a successful registration.

If you have any questions or require further assistance regarding the registration process or any other aspect of the tournament, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via We are here to support you and provide the information you need to make this event a memorable and successful experience for all.
We look forward to your participation in the ITF Ireland Cup 2024 and the opportunity to witness the exceptional skills and sportsmanship that define our Taekwon-Do community.

Warm regards,
Nina Socev
RITA Tournament Committee

Ant-Doping Code

In 2009, the International Taekwon-Do Federation accepted the World Anti-Doping Code and newly enacted the ITF Anti-Doping Rules in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The Anti-Doping Rules were adopted and implemented in conformance with ITF's responsibilities under the World Anti-Doping Code, and it is with ITF's continuing efforts to eradicate doping in the ITF Taekwon-Do activities.

The Anti-Doping programs seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport.

This intrinsic value is often referred to as the "Spirit of Sport"; it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true. The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind

This spirit of sport is totally to comply with Taekwon-Do Tenets of ITF.

As the NGB for the ITF in Ireland the RITA is firmly determined to its commitment to clean sport with the core values of the Taekwon-Do by implementing the ITF’s anti-doping program. We ask that all our competitors (international and national) familiarise themselves with the anti-doping guidelines on the WADA website and take the time to look at the e-learning resources at as there will be random testing at the Irish Open. For more information contact the RITA Anti-doping Officer Master Stephen Doyle 

Recent News
National Secretary

Dear Grandmasters, Masters and Instructors,

We are delighted to announce that Ms Patrice Conaty has formally accepted the role of National Secretary of the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association.
She will officially start on the 1st of January 2024 and will be contactable on the official NS email address (

The Board of Directors would like to welcome Ms Conaty to the team and we look forward to working with her and supporting her in the role.

Thank you again to Master Valerie Keane for her long service in this role and to Mr Keith Murray who is acting as NS until the end of the year.

International Instructor Course
Master Valerie Keane is stepping down from the role of National Secetary role

Master Valerie Keane with ITF President

It is with deep sadness but also with warm wishes that we have to inform our members that Master Valerie Keane will be stepping down from her role of National Secretary from the 13th October.

Master Keane's decision to retire after dedicating over four decades of her life to our association leaves us both proud of her accomplishments and sad to see her go.

Throughout Master Keane's remarkable tenure, she has displayed unwavering loyalty, dedication, and exceptional work ethic. Her commitment to the role and fellow Taekwon-Do colleagues has had a profound impact on the success of our association. Her contributions have not only shaped the growth of our association but have also inspired and influenced many of our students and instructors.

Master Keane's extensive knowledge, experience, and the wisdom she shared during her time in the role as National Secretary have been invaluable. She has helped to guide the RITA through many tough times and defended it against many outside attacks. Without her the RITA may just be a single school in Green Street!

The Board of Directors, instructors and the membership would like to express our deepest gratitude for her hard work, loyalty, strength and organisational skills which she brought to every AGM, Black belt grading, seminar and Taekwon-Do event. Master Keane's achievements and the indelible mark you have left on our association will always be remembered.

We are happy that as senior instructor to St Mark’s her presence in the association will continue and we look forward to seeing Master Keane at future RITA events.

Speaking about her time as National Secretary Master Keane said "Reflecting back over my 40 plus years as NS appointed to this role by FGM Rhee as a Red Belt and the big one a "Female" with very few females involved with Taekwon-Do at that time. It was a fantastic journey for me to work alongside my Taekwon-Do Family for all those years, something I will always treasure, and thank you all for your patience and understanding."

We all thank you for your Indomitable Spirit and your absence will undoubtedly create a void that is impossible to fill.

ITF Promotions

We would like to congratulate Grand Master Robert G Howard and Master Donal O'Doherty on their promotions by the ITF. GM Howard has followed his Father, RITA President Grand Master Robert J Howard, in achieving the highest rank in Taekwon-Do of 9th Degree Black Belt.

Master O'Doherty from Watergrasshill, Cork was promoted to 8th Degree Black Belt. Both work very hard for the association and their promotions are well deserved.

New Board Members for the RITA

Meet the new RITA Board of Directors. It is envisaged that all board members (Directors) will have a collective responsibility for all board decisions. However individual directors will take on the responsibility of championing a particular area or themes within the RITA and help the committees achieve their goals set in the associations strategy plan.

The Board of Directors are:
Grand Master Anthony Phelan (IX) Director of Finance
Grand Master Francis Barrett (IX) Director of Martial Art
Grand Master Robert Howard (IX) Chairperson
Master John Jacob (VIII) Director of Compliance
Master Stephen Doyle (VIII) Director of Communications
Mr Martin Mahoney (V) Director of Sport
Ms Kathleen Flanagan (III) Director of Growth & Development
Keith Murray - Company Secretary

New Board Members for the RITA

The RITA elected two new directors to its Board of Directors at its recent AGM. The association would like to welcome Mr Martin Mahoney and Ms Kathleen Flanagan on board, and we look forward to working with them both, as we move the association forward. We would like to thank Grandmaster Robert Howard, Master Mark O'Donnell and Master Valerie Keane for their years of service to the RITA as they step down from the board.
The Board of Directors are Grandmaster Anthony Phelan (IX), Grandmaster Francis Barrett (IX), Master Robert Howard (VIII), Master John Jacob (VIII), Master Stephen Doyle (VIII), Mr Martin Mahoney (V), and Ms Kathleen Flanagan (III).

Annual General Meeting

The RITA held its annual general meeting at the Lucan Spa Hotel on the 17th June 2023.
It was an important meeting as the association needed to vote to change its constitution to allow us to expand the membership and skill set of the Board of Directors. 
There was a lot of positive work presented by our strategic groups and it was great to see their plans starting to have an effect on the RITA. The reports also showed that the association's membership has bounced back to (and exceeded) its pre-Covid levels.

National Instructor Course
Welcome to the RITA

The RITA would like wish Ms Kathleen Flanagan 3rd Degree Black Belt a warm welcome to the Association!
Ms Flanagan is an experienced Instructor and Umpire with schools in Mallow and Aghabullogue in Cork. Both schools are inclusive and adapted to include all children including children with additional needs. Ms Flanagan is extremely qualified in children’s health and development as she is also the manager of a Preschool.
We are honoured to have such a quality Instructor to strengthen our Association especially in our 50th Anniversary year!

Black Belt Exam

ITF 9th Degree GM Phelan, & GM Barrett examiners at the recent RITA National Black Belt grading in the Lucan Spa Hotel, Dublin, assisted by ITF 8th Degree Master O’Donnell senior Instructor to Galway School, Master Floyd Keane senior Instructor to Stillorgan & Blessington Schools, Master Valerie Keane senior Instructor to St Mark’s & Naas, alongside Black Belts from Tuam & St. Mark’s helping out at the grading. Finally all the students grading on the day.
Huge Congrats with a massive “THANKS” to all involved.

RITA Celebrates 50 Years

The 27th May marks a huge milestone in the history of the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We hope that everyone can join us over the coming months at our events so we can celebrate the introduction of Taekwon-Do into Ireland by Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha and the founding of the RITA in 1972

Reeling in the years 1972
National Umpire Course
Bronze medal success for Ireland at the Euros


Hanley Energy article

Our sponsor Hanley Energy have a fantastic article on their website about their relationship with the RITA. You can read it on the link below.

Irish Squad to compete at the European Championships

Everyone in the RITA would like to wish the Irish Squad the best of luck at the EITF Taekwon-Do European Championships taking place in Porec, Croatia from 25th March to 2nd April. Competing for Ireland are Cillian Howard, Emily Harold, Finn Howard, Max Cleary, Corey O’Reilly and Dáire Howard with Master Robert Howard as National Coach. Master John Jacob, Master Floyd Keane and Mr Tim Collins were selected by the EITF to be Umpires at the competition.

We want to thank our sponsor Hanley Energy for their fantastic help.

Go n-éirí leat! ????

Black Belt Grading

Black belt promotions Congratulations to the RITA students who were successful in their recent black belt grading. Many of the students were due to grade last March but it was postponed due to the COVID restrictions. In order to avoid the possibility of another disappointment for the students this September the Masters Council decided to decentralise the national examination. This meant that the students were graded in their own county by their local ITF Master examiner.

RITA Black Belt grading results
Promoted to 6th Degree
Mr Leon McSherry (GM Howard’s Dojang)

Promoted to 5th Degree
Mr Martin Mahoney (Galway)
Mr Tim Collins (Galway)

Promoted to 4th Degree
Mr Patrick Feaheny (Stillorgan)

Promoted to 3rd Degree
Ms Marina O’Donnell (Galway)
Mr Finn Howard (GM Howard’s Dojang)

Promoted to 2nd Degree
Cathal Ó’Faoláin (Stillorgan)

Promoted to 1st Degree
Ms Maebh Keogh (Galway)
Mr Robert Doyle (Stillorgan)
Ms Pamela Byrne (Stillorgan)
Mr Keith Lambkin (Stillorgan)
Harry Leonard (Stillorgan)
Sean Ó’Connor (Stillorgan)
Paul Ryan (IBM)
Pascal Maher (IBM)
Evan Jordan (Maynooth).

RITA Steps Up at Slovenian Open

The RITA’s junior black belt squad took another step forward in its continuous development by performing to its current level at the Slovenian Open. The small group of four junior black belts coached by Master Robert Howard (8th degree) travelled to the scenic town of Zrece in eastern Slovenia to compete against athletes from 12 countries, including; Czech Republic, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, and hosts Slovenia. The tournament is a recognised EITF A class event and it was a good test of the Irish squad to see where they currently stand against their European peers. The Irish competitors performed well and took home 2 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze in both patterns and sparring. It was a time to meet old friends and make new ones and the Irish competitors would like to thank Master Emin Durakovic and the members of the Slovenian ITF for their warm hospitality. The squad are currently preparing for the 2020 European Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. The RITA would like to thank Hanley Energy for its continued support.

PHOTO: Back row L-R: Finn Howard, Carla Kelly, Adam Hu, Emmet O’Rourke

Front row: L-R: Master Emin Durokovic (ITF Slovenia), Master Robert Howard, Mr Stefan Cresnar (ITF Slovenia),

New Master promotions at the ITF World Championships
2019 ITF World Championships
Team Ireland at the European Taekwon-Do Championships, Rimini, April 2019

Team Ireland brought 11 competitors, 2 coaches and 2 international umpires to the European Taekwon-Do Championships in Rimini this month. The team which consisted of 8 juniors and 3 seniors were drawn from Taekwon-Do schools in Dublin, Tipperary and Galway. This was a relatively small squad compared to the European power houses of Russia (147 competitors), Ukraine (127) and Greece (125). However the team performed well and there was a clear improvement in Team Ireland’s standard. The incremental improvements were noticeable in both the patterns event and the sparring event.

Most of the team Ireland’s competitors got through at least one round in both patterns and sparring. The highlights were Mr Leon McSherry (Dublin) taking silver in the male 5th degree patterns event and Mr Alex Byrne (Dublin) winning a bronze in the junior male black belt  -69kg sparring event. These performances gave Ireland a final ranking 17th out of 30 countries.

The team bonded well together and supported each other every day and the support from the parents made the coaches jobs easier and everyone was assigned jobs and monitored the rings and the timetable over events. This allowed the coaches to concentrate on preparing the competitors for their next match.

The improvements in the sparring event was as a result of the coaches bringing in former European and World Champion, Mr Konstantin Yurikov from Russia, as a consultant to our sparring development programme.
The next immediate goal is to prepare the team for the World Championships in Bulgaria in August 2019. The next phase of the development over the next 12 months is to continue the  incremental improvement of the whole team and to target ‘A class’ tournaments to test the team’s improvements. The 2020 European Championships will be held in Prague, Czech Republic.

The coaches and team Ireland would like to thanks Hanley Energy for their support this year, without which this development and success would not be possible.


April 11th 2019 is the 64th anniversary day of the naming of “Taekwon-Do” by Gen. Choi Hong Hi.

Celebrating this day, we are all in missing for Gen. Choi Hong Hi, our father and teacher and our hearts are in a full determination to implement and complete his last words and remain loyal to his valuable legacy to the end.

On this meaningful day, there is a historical Joint Performance of ITF Taekwon-Do demonstration team and WT Taekwon-Do demonstration team in Lausanne, Switzerland in the invitation of IOC with a great interest and expectation from the Taekwon-Do brothers and sisters around the word.

Dear all Taekwon-Do Practitioners,

Let us take a big step with unanimous hearts to make Gen. Choi Hong Hi’s wishes come true.

Now the 21st ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships are near approaching to be held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, between 24th-30th Aug. 2019.

Let’s demonstrate our unit and might to the world once again through this event.

On behalf of all TKD practitioners, ITF HQ would like to express sincere thanks to Mrs. Choi Chun Hi and her family members.

ITF HQ would like also to express a warm congratulation and gratitude to the ITF Pioneers and Grand Masters, who have made a great contribution to the ITF development.


Gold for Ireland at the Euros
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!
European Championships


Congratulations to the Irish Team who came back from the EITF European Championships in Liverpool with 1 Silver and 4 Bronze medals! With over 800 competitors from 32 countries competiting it was a great achievment. The Team was made up of 12 Black Belts and 5 Red Belts accompnied by National Coach Master Doyle, Development Coaches Mr Fox and Mr Tobin plus Umpires Master Barrett, Master Howard, Master Jacob and Master Keane. For many it was their first experience of high class European competition and some had moved into new divisions so it was an excellent opportuntity to test their skills.

Our first medal came in the 5th Dan patterns division with Mr Leon McSherry from Grandmaster Hoowards Dojang getting into the final for the second year in a row. He beat competitors from Russia and Greenland to set up a great final against France. It was the final that everyone had hoped for as both had the best technique in the division with the Frenchman edging out Mr McSherry on the judges scorecards to take Gold.

Next came 3 Bronzes in quick succession with Abbie O'Neill, Trivo Tijanic and Andrew Loo all from Carrick-on-Suir picking up medals in their Sparring sections. The final medal came on the last day with Mr John Egan from Old Bawn winning Bronze in the veteran sparring division after wins over Spain and England he just lost out to Scotland in the Semi final.

There were some great perfomances with many making it to quarter finals and just missing out on medals. With a very young team the future looks bright! Well done to everyone on their hard work and dedication.

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.

Success for Ireland at the European Championships

The recent EITF European Championships, which were hosted in the Greek city of Thessaloniki from 11th to 18th April, were the largest ever with over 700 competitors from 31 Countries competing.  The RITA sent a Squad of 11 competitors accompanied by National Coach Master Stephen Doyle, Colour Belt Development Coach Ms Audrey Condon and Umpires Senior Master Robert Howard and Master Floyd Keane.
The squad consisted of 6 Black Belts and 5 Red Belts that competed in Adult, Junior and Child divisions. For most it was their first experience of a high level International event and it was great preparation for the 2017 Euros in Liverpool, which is what they are training for. The event was held in a 9,000 seat stadium and it was a big step up from what most were used to.
Day 1 of the competition was not until the Thursday so the Squad had two days to acclimatise and prepare after arriving late on the Monday night.  But once the competition began there was no rest for our coaches as we had competitors nearly in every ring at the same time. Luckily our more experienced senior competitors Mr Leon McSherry and Mr Martin Mahoney were there to help.
In the Pattern divisions the quality of the RITA training was evident with nearly all the squad winning at least one round. There was a great performance by Ms Caoimhe Keogh from Galway who after wins over Spain and Slovenia narrowly lost out 3-2 in the 2nd Dan Junior Female Patterns Semi-Final against Ukraine. Her Bronze medal was a great reward for her dedication to training, as she had to defer her Leaving Cert French Oral exam to compete.  Mr Leon McSherry finally achieved his lifelong ambition of getting to a European Patterns Final. He has lost out in the last three Europeans at the semi-final stage but this time he reached the Final of the 5th Dan Male Patterns where he faced Sweden. In a dominant display he won with a 5-0 victory to claim the coveted Gold Medal!
The level of competition was extremely high in the Sparring divisions with Russia and Ukraine dominating most sections. The Squads recent seminars with Mr Konstantin Yurikov paid off as none of them looked out of place in the ring against high level International opponents.  Alex Byrne picked up our third medal with a Bronze in the -50kg Male Child Sparring division.  After a comfortable win over Romania he faced a much taller Russian in the semi-final. The Russians reach proved too much for Alex over the two rounds. It was a great achievement in his first Europeans to win a Medal.
The Coaches would like to congratulate all the competitors for their dedication and hard work. They represented Ireland with pride and were a pleasure to coach. We hope that everyone uses the experience gained to take the next step in their International career.

Although we have just returned from the 2016 European Championships the preparations for 2017 are underway. We must build on our success and continue our training throughout the Summer. Those who competed are expected to attend the next Open Squad Training Session on Sunday 15th May in Tymon Bawn Community Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24, so everyone can learn from their experiences. We are looking for competitors who are enthusiastic to learn and have the dedication to commit to high-level training so we can send an even bigger Squad to Liverpool 2017.

Videos from the Europeans can be found here

Photos are available on our Facebook page

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If you wish to contact the RITA you can do so by sending an e-mail to The National Secretary 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 Policies
Our members can view the RITA Policies for the Association here
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.
Squad Training
ITF Ireland Team

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 Black Belt Squad

Senior & Veteran Coach Master Stephen Doyle

Junior Black Belt Squad

Junior & Child Coach Master Robert Howard

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.

Order form Word document
Order form PDF

In Memoriam

Gen Choi Hong Hi
Founder of Taekwon-Do
1918 - 2002
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