St Marks Taekwon-Do School
Senior Instructor

Master Valerie Keane
7th Degree Black Belt.
International Instructor
International Umpire "A"

Assistant Instructors
Ms Deborah Manning 5th Degree
Mr John Paul Nestor 4th Degree
Mr Martin Roe 3rd Degree
St. Marks Community School, Cookstown Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Class Times
Monday 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Thursday: 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Sunday: 11.00am - 1.00pm

Master Valerie Keane 7th Degree; Tel (01) 4510462 or


St Marks News


International Gen. Choi Memorial Cup Ottawa Canada

Congrats to Master Keane and her students from St.Mark's & Naas Taekwon-Do Schools on their impressive medal haul at the General Choi Memorial Cup. They had a long trip to Ottawa in Canada but it was well worthwhile with Seven Gold medals and Four Bronze from the eight students competing. It was a fantastic event and everyone got to meet Grand Master Leong Wei Meng and Grand Master Lu who congratulated each on their performances.

Left - Right Peter Downey age 14yrs Gold in Patterns & Sparring, Kelsey Dunne 13yrs, Musashi Sweeney 9yrs Gold In Patterns & Sparring, Eoin Downey 10yrs, Michael Sweeney 11yrs Gold in Patterns & Sparring, Cara Ronan Byrne 12yrs Gold in Patterns & Bronze in Sparring, Lee Costello 17yrs (Naas Student) Bronze in Patterns & Sparring, Mark Sweeney Bronze in Sparring.

Some photos from the event can be found on Facebook


March Grading success for St. Mark's & Naas


St. Marks’s promotions:
Dmytro Kosynskyy 8th Kup
Dominika Orawska 7th Kup
Eoin Downey 7th Kup
Peter Downey 4th Kup
Sinead Mackey 1st Kup

Naas Promotions:
Aaron Fitspatrick 7th Kup
James Gallagher 6th Kup
Emma Flynn 6th Kup
Jack Farrell 5th Kup
Senan Ryan 5th Kup
Ian Fallon 3rd Kup
Lee Costello 1st Kup
Peter Gillen 1st Kup

St.Mark's Taekwon -Do School recent ITF Promotions

Another honor for St.Mark's students to have the pleasure of Grandmaster Howard & Senior Master Phelan who presented two of our students with their ITF Certificates that were promoted at the recent Black Belt Grading.
Congrats to Ms. Deborah Manning promoted to 5th Degree & Mr. Martin Roe to 3rd Degree with a special recognition for all his hard work and dedication to Taekwon- Do over the years. Keep up the great work Mr. Roe!

Once upon a time way back in the rocking 80's Collette Manning mother of 3 very young daughters took a big step forward in joining General Choi's Taekwon -Do in St.Mark's. After successfully achieving their Yellow Belts for different reasons all went about their own separate ways, with the exception of Deborah aged 9yrs who loves the challenge's of life! Over the coming years she took on the Best of the Best at ITF World & European Championships as a Junior Black Belt Team member & as an Individual Competitor, never returning empty handed, either with Gold, Silver, Bronze! At such a very young age a great inspiration to all females indeed.

After semi- retiring from the Big scene she continued to support St.Mark's at the International Martial Arts Games held in Pyongyang, General Choi's 1st Memorial Cup held in Ottawa a few yrs later held in Toronto, not to forget one of our most memorable trips to Grenada (West Indies) where she once again did us all so proud.

The semi-retirement has become more close now to Retirement from Competing at International level, however, it was an amazing sight to see her as Umpire at the ITF World Championships in St.Peterborough another level for Ms. Manning with so many more goals for her to achieve further down the road.

With more than a helping, willing hand in all the activities in both St.Mark's & Naas Schools, her selfless time & energy given in the promoting & spreading of General Choi's Taekwon- Do throughout. With the biggest reward to herself is to see the students strive and become better people while learning Taekwon -Do.
To be continued!!

Congrats & truly deserved Ms. Manning on your ITF 5th Degree Promotion


St. Marks Team Challenge

In a change to its normal format, St. Marks Taekwon-Do School’s Annual Team Challenge took to the road this year and descended upon the scouts centre in Mount Melleray, Co. Waterford.  The location is no stranger to the RITA as it has served as the summer camp venue for many years.  St. Marks in celebration of their 30th anniversary this year treated all RITA competitors to the event which was attended by schools around the country. 

The tournament known for its fun factor lived up to its reputation once again.  Teams donned make-up, wigs, props and even some creative dancing as part of their team formations.  With something for everyone, members of all ages competed in the patterns, team sparring, self-defence routines and special technique competitions with plenty of entertainment and good humour along the way.  Special guest on the day was RITA President, Grandmaster Howard 9th degree along with the RITA Senior Masters and Masters.  In a rare moment Grandmaster Howard and the Senior Masters and Masters were invited to umpire the finals of each section.  This is seldom witnessed and was a treat for all present to show how umpiring should be done. 

At the end of the day the medal presentation took place with all members leaving with something to show for their efforts.  Master Keane was presented with a beautiful engraved piece to mark this chapter in St. Mark’s history.  With plenty of smiling faces the curtain fell on yet another successful St. Mark’s Team Challenge.


St. Marks Grading

Recently we had a very successful grading in St. Mark’s, well done to all the students on they’re promoting and a big well done to Craig on receiving the Grading Award, from all your brothers and sister in Taekwon-Do

St. Marks Legacy Trip

For many years now St. Mark’s have been on tour, travelling the globe from Cork to Nth Korea, Wexford to the West Indies, numerous parts of Europe, Russia, Malaysia, the list is endless.  Having hit most continents so many of us students have seen amazing sites including some of the wonders of the world. From feeling the splash of Niagara Falls to climbing the Great wall of China. Participating in European and world Championships, or going as supporters & achieve some experience as to what they are like, to the friendly atmosphere of monumental events such as General Choi’s Memorial Cup in Ottawa & Toronto or the International Martial Arts Games, various Open Championships, seeing our Taekwon-Do Brothers and Sisters around the world and being part of St. Mark’s Legacy. The excitement of every trip, travelling as a big family young and old, no matter where we have visited we have been in awe, not only with Taekwon-Do but with the people we have met, and  the phenomenal experiences embedded in our hearts. Meeting & Greeting Grandmasters, Masters, students and volunteers; all living the Taekwon-Do culture and welcoming us with open arms. The biggest buzz for us is learning each culture, doing as the locals do and socialising amongst new friends. Every single trip has its own unique stories, memories and laughs. Places are remembered by these stories and experiences which we treasure and share. We have all had so many “firsts”, first time away from home, first time to be out of Ireland, first time to eat something new, first time in a club, first time to compete abroad, first time to umpire at an international event, first time in a casino, again the list is endless.

To think this is all because of the love and belief in our Instructor. The pan ultimate experience in the legacy was this summer in Estonia when some of us had yet another first. First time to observe the ITF Congress and more importantly our first time to watch as our Instructor went up on the stage to be presented with the Certificate for 7th Degree ITF Master. To be part of something so amazing, to see such a lifetime of dedication and love of Taekwon-Do be rewarded is so inspiring.

 As St. Mark’s begins to celebrate its 30th year on such a high we can’t wait to see where the Legacy will continue to bring us and what new stories and memories will come into our hearts through Taekwon-Do and our Instructor Master Valerie Keane 7th Degree.

Ms Deborah Manning, 4th Degree

Master Keane First Grading

It was a momentous night that Master Keane held the first grading since being promoted. It was a very successful grading with all students being promoted. A big congratulations to the students that passsd the exam from all your brothers and sisters in Taekwon-Do. With a special well done to Kelsey Dunne on winning the grading award for her hard work and perseverence in her determination to grow in Taekwon-Do and follow the tenets we are all ver proud.

Danielle Ryan to 8th Kup yellow belt
Craig Mc Govern to 8th Kup yellow belt.
Kelsey Dunne to 3rd Kup red tag
Musashi Sweeney to 2nd Kup red belt
Mark Sweeney to 2nd Kup red belt
Sinead Mackie to 2nd Kup red belt.

Master Keane

After almost 35 years of dedication, loyalty and love of General Choi's Taekwon-Do, National Secretary to the R.I.T.A. St. Mark's & Naas Taekwon-Do brothers and sisters would like to whole-heartedly congratulate our Instructor Ms. Keane on her promotion to 7th Degree Master. We are all so proud and ecstatic with the news, it is a lifetime achievement and the ultimate inspiration to see our Instructor being promoted. A well-deserved promotion. Having given so much time, energy and love of the art to so many of us, we cannot express how much joy it brings to see our Instructor become a Master.

Not only is Master Keane the first female Master in Ireland but in Europe, this is an unbelievable accomplishment that inspires all of her students. As a long-term student of Grandmaster Howard, since his promotion to Grandmaster in 2011 it is another momentous moment in the R.I.T.A. and in Master Keane's Legacy on the 30th Anniversary of St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School, being the first student to achieve 7th Degree Master from our new Grandmaster.



Fun Day

On Sunday 24th of June St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school held a Fun Day at its dojang in Springfield.  The event saw both Naas and St. Mark’s compete against each other in various events.  The day began with fundamental movements for the new beginners who were given license to display all of their techniques and their stretching abilities.  Eoin Downey came out as winner of the section.  This was followed by the 9th kup patterns which was won with an excellent performance by Karen Sweeney.  Yellow and green belts combined to form a large group where the pattern of the student’s was assigned.  Kim Rena came out on top in the event among stiff opposition.  Blue belts and red belts also combined which saw Michael Sweeney take the prize.  A new section was added which involved all students displaying their front leg swings.  With all students taking part there were many candidates for best leg swing but ultimately the judges announced Luke Doyle from Naas as the winner.

Once finished the students were treated to some sweets and goodies to recharge their batteries.  Once fuelled up all students took part in a “Balance Battle”.  This involved 2 students against each holding a combat stick while standing on a kick bag.  The objective was to make your opponent lose their balance and step off the kick bag.  This was great fun for all students involved.

Finally the day finished off with an obstacle course with the fastest time winning a trophy.  Students jumped over horses, crawled their way through tunnels and broke boards in a bid to become the fastest person around the course.  A fun event for the on-looking parents to cheers on.

At the end of the afternoon trophies were present by Ms. Keane and the other assistant instructors for reward the students for their efforts.  Every student went away with a trophy and a smiling face.  The St. Mark’s and Naas assistant instructors were presented with a fantastic keepsake, a framed photo with Grandmaster Howard and the RITA Senior Masters at St. Mark’s recent seminar celebrating the 40th anniversary of the RITA.

Results on the day:

10th kup *new* members:
1st – Dmitry Kosynsky
2nd – Evan Farrell
3rd – Syed Mekki

10th kup Fundamentals:
1st – Eoin Downey
2nd – Dylan Carville
3rd – Luke / Ken Sweeney / Daniel Nelson

9th Kup Patterns
1st – Karen Sweeney
2nd – Craig McGovern
3rd – Dannielle Ryan / Megan Nolan

Yellow and Green Belt Patterns:
1st – Kim Rena
2nd – Joseph Busante
3rd – Peter Downey / Jed Rena

Blue and Red Belt Patterns:
1st – Michael Sweeney
2nd – Cara Ronan
3rd – Mark Sweeney

Leg Swings Display:
Luke (Naas)

Obstacle Course:
Young Juniors:  Jed Rena
Over 12s: Joseph Busante
Over 15s: Senan (Naas) and Karina.

For more photos visit the St Marks & Naas Facebook page

St. Mark’s Grading

Its not often that you see such an array of colour when students get promoted. It’s fantastic. Well done to all those students recently promoted. Karina OrewsluA special congratulations to Karina who also acheived the grading award for her perseverance and her performance.

  • Karina Orewslue Promoted to 9th Kup
  • Dominike Orewslue Promoted to 9th Kup
  • Peter Downey Promoted to 6th Kup
  • Joseph Raul Busante Promoted to 5th Kup
  • Cara Byrne Promoted to 2nd Kup
  • Alyssa Valencia Promoted to 2nd Kup
  • Michael Sweeney Promoted to 1st Kup

A big well done from all your Brothers and Sisters in Taekwon-Do.






St. Mark’s Taekwon- Do School RITA 40th Anniversary Celebration Patterns & Power Seminar

Same spot 30 years on St. Mark’s introduced General Choi’s Taekwon-Do to Tallaght.  With great pleasure and honour we hosted our 16th Annual Patterns & Power Seminar on the 40thBirthday of the RITA (27th May 2012)

St .Mark’s Taekwon-Do School being the 1st of the R.I.T.A. Schools to Celebrate the 40th with welcoming 40th Birthday Greeting Banners at the entrance as the students were greeted, especially the children they tried in vain to get hold of the many balloons to have some fun!

Our Taekwon -Do family got stuck in preparing the Dojang with lots of colour and glitz for this historic day.  Grandmaster Howard, Senior Master Phelan and Senior Master Barrett were greeted on arrival with a Happy 40th Birthday by all St. Mark’s Black Belts, on one of the rare days that we have beautiful sunshine, the day was set up for a wonderful party atmosphere while conducting the Patterns, with explanations, corrections & indeed answering the many questions from the students. All students interacted very well with Grandmaster Howard & the Senior Masters.

Ms.Keane felt very proud on St. Mark’s 30th Anniversary year to see her five Senior Black Belts line up at the top of the class, needless to say we don’t see this very often, as with visiting Masters & Senior Black Belts normally taking up the front line! To witness this on such a great occasion was a perfect way to mark the milestone in our Taekwon-Do history.

Before breaking for lunch the students from St. Mark’s Taekwon – Do School presented Grandmaster Howard with a surprise Birthday Cake (complete with 40th Anniversary logo & candles) as everyone sang Happy Birthday to our Grandmaster, conducting his 1st Seminar since his promotion to Grandmaster, one Student remarked, you only get to have one 40th Birthday so on this occasion the School went the extra mile. All students joined in to enjoy some Birthday Cake, plus the children were treated to some of their favourite goodies.

The afternoon was as exciting as ever, great to watch Grandmaster Howard, Senior Master Phelan & Senior Master Barrett, holding the timber for the children to break with their chosen technique, to see the expression on their over enthusiastic faces was priceless! All adults tried out many different Breaks, some of which they had never dared to take on before, with the helping hand of our Grandmaster & Snr Masters they achieved their goal and have now overcome the dread & fear!

At the end of the day Grandmaster Howard & Senior Master Phelan presented the students with their Participation Certificate we then all had some good balloon fun!  

A truly Beautiful Day in many respects for such an occasion in R.I.T.A history St. Mark’s Taekwon - Do Brothers & Sisters have included yet another great Celebration to add to their Legacy!

Click here to view some more photos on our Facebook page

Tallaght Schools in St. Patricks Day action

St. Marks & Old Bawn Taekwon-Do schools joined forces again this year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  The St. Patrick’s Day Parade event, now in its new stadium format welcomed people from around the Tallaght area to come along and view members of the local groups/schools/bands and organisations in all their glory.  The event was staged in Shamrock Rovers Tallaght stadium where over 1,000 members of the public came along to spectate.

Both St. Marks and Old Bawn students had been training very hard together for a number of weeks leading up to the event to perfect the demonstration.  With just a short time slot allocated, all students needed to know exactly where they were to be at any point in time so there was no margin for error.  Students were placed in the home team’s dressing room in advance of taking to the pitch which served as excellent build up to the excitement.  Shortly afterwards the signal was given to take to the pitch where upon they received massive applause.  All students then began the demonstration with fundamental movements followed quickly by patterns, sparring and finishing off with breaking.  Once finished the students got to enjoy the rest of what the parade had to offer with the event finishing off with a fireworks display.  An excellent day was had by all.  Well done to all members involved.

Ms Keane with Naas

Ms Keane Honoured by ITF Order

Ms Keane with St Marks

Sunday 18th September St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School were honoured to have our first visit of Grandmaster Robert J. Howard 9th Degree. Ms. Keane was excited to tell all of her students of our President, her Instructor’s promotion. It was a great opportunity for us to congratulate our Instructor Ms. Keane on her fantastic award which also travelled all the way back from Pyongyang. Ms. Keane was recognised and remembered by the President of the ITF Professor Dr. Chang Ung and Awarded for her Outstanding Contributions to the International Taekwon-Do Federation, and Honoured by the ITF Order. Such a phenomenal acheivenment of a lifetime of work. All of us her students wholeheartedly congratulate Ms. Keane and are so proud of our Instructor on such a High Honour to add to the Legacy.

Fantastic Weekend Away

Students from St. Mark’s and Naas Taekwon-Do Schools travelled down to meet up with their Taekwon-Do brothers and sisters from Carrick-on-Suir and Fethard Taekwon-Do Schools. It was an action packed weekend full of fun and everyone getting to know each other better. The beautiful weather held for us all to enjoy ourdoor training in the magestic setting of the mountains, through obstacle courses and it even held out for the 2 hour hike and the camp fire late into the night.Not to forget all the indoor fun too from training to fun and games and of course the family atmosphere of all helping out to cook and clean and sitting around together having the craic. A huge thank you to both Ms. Keane and Mr. Tobin for making such a great family gathering possible.

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

Patterns & Power Seminar

The class started in the morning with a warm-up led, in turn, by Mr Nestor, Ms Manning and Mr McSherry. Mr Nestor started and told the class that it would be like "Britain's Got Talent" - if we didn't like what he was doing we could "buzz" him out. No sooner had he uttered the words, of course, when a "buuuzzz" erupted from the line-up.

After the warm-up, Senior Master Howard and Senior Master Phelan entered and began the class. This started with fundamental movements and continued on through Saju Jirugi and Saju Makgi, with particular emphasis on generating a correct sine wave. The class then progressed on to performing patterns Chon-Ji to Kwang-Gae, in turn, with the Senior Masters giving advice, making corrections, and answering any of the members' questions.

On returning from lunch, Senior Master Phelan taught the colour belt members in one half of the dojang, while Senior Master Howard continued to work through the patterns of all the black belt members present.

Later, the class reunited for the power section of the seminar. The Senior Masters gave members the freedom to choose which techniques they wanted to attempt for destruction. Some members chose to practice the techniques required for their next grading, while others used the opportunity to try techniques with which they'd never broken before.

The Senior Masters were assisted by the black belt members while teaching the colour belt members, and later, the colour belt members helped the black belt members by holding breaking material when the black belts practiced their destruction.

The power section finished with many of the black belt members being encouraged by their seniors to perform impressive, and sometimes spectacular, demonstration-style power techniques. These included breaking with various parts of the hand, such as Umji Joomuk (Thumb-knuckle Fist) or performing various flying kicks, including jumping over other members, flying through human hoops, and performing tandem breaks with another member.

As usual, we ran out of time when everyone was still having fun and the class was ended and broke up with everyone having learnt a lot and had a lot of fun.

Thanks to Senior Master Howard and Senior Master Phelan for conducting an enjoyable seminar, and thanks to Ms Keane and St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School for organising and hosting the event.

Mr. Tim Collins 2nd Degree. Galway

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St Marks Grading

Recently St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School held a grading in its school in Springfield.  The grading was attended by students from beginner level up to 5th kup.  St. Mark’s Senior Instructor, Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree was the examiner for the day.  Ms. Keane put the new recruits through a series of tests from the basics of Taekwon-Do through to some basic terminology.  For the more senior students, sparring and destruction were included in the examination.  The morning proved extremely successful with the following students being promoted:

Musashi Sweeney – 4th kup
Layla Aydin – 4th kup
Dylan Grogan – 7th kup
Alicia Miclos – 7th kup
Adam Lyon – 9th kup
Jophert Depakakibo - 9th kup
Kim Annedrei Rena - 9th kup
Joshua Joaquin - 9th kup

Whilst all students performed very well Ms. Keane awarded Musashi Sweeney (pictured centre) with the “Most Progressed Student” award having developed extremely well since his last grading.  Ms. Keane congratulated all of the students on their success and told them to keep up the good work.

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Highslide JSThe now annual Christmas Demonstration was held on the last night of training. It is a great evening when all the student get to invite their families and show off oll they have learned and impress their families. It always has a great turn out and all the students enjoy showing all the aspects of Taekwon-Do from the little turtles showing how they play and even count in Korean as they high kick to the older students demonstrating their patterns, semi-free sparring and sparring them of course the power of the techniques in thier destruction. Ms. Keane also takes this opportunity to thank all of the Parents for their continued support.

Highslide JSWith so many students and families present it was the perfect opportunity to Present the Student of the Year Award. This award is presented to the student that is always showing the Tenents of Taekwon-Do, always ready to help out, first to help with our Fundraising and eager to help in any way. Awards are not always about the best performer physically but Taekwon-Do is about growing in many ways. This year the Award was presented to Tanya De La Vega, all of the Taekwon-Do Family would like to congradulate her on this fantastic achievement. We all look forward to a great family get together next year, maybe we will get a little more practice for our demo if the snow holds. Happy New Year to all of our Brothers and Sisters in Taekwon-Do.

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St Marks Junior Black Belts

St. Mark's Black Belts brave the bitter cold Sunday morning and took to the Snow to present their new Junior Black Belts Aidan Kelly & Alexei Kudryashov with their ITF certificates. We are so proud to welcome our new Black Belt Children to St.Mark's Taekwon-Do family!

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St Marks Grading

On Sunday 14th of November St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School held a grading in its school in Springfield.  The grading focused mainly on junior grades and adult beginners.  The examiner for the day was Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree.  Ms. Keane thoroughly went through the required syllabus and was pleased with the successful achievement for all students attending.

Promotions include:

Danielle De La Vega  - 5th kup
Chloe O'Reilly McCarthy – 6th kup
Patrick Worth – 7th kup
Alicia Miklos – 8th kup
Rachel Byrne – 9th kup
Stephen Byrne – 9th kup

Patrick Worth (pictured centre) received the award for "Most Progressed Student" having developed extremely well since his last grading.

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St Marks Team Tournament

On Sunday October 17th, St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school held its annual Team Challenge.  The popular event was well supported with many schools entering teams this year.  With the new additions of a “Little Giants” (under 8s) and veterans section, this year’s competition had something for everyone.  The day started out with team patterns which was followed by team sparring.  The black belts of St. Mark’s then performed a demonstration for the special guests on the day, 8th degree Senior Master Robert Howard & 8th degree Senior Master Anthony Phelan. 

Highslide JSThe afternoon saw the return of the ever popular obstacle course which was one of the largest sections of the tournament.  The spectators who turned out played a pivotal role in egging the students on which made for an energetic fun atmosphere.  The self-defence section promised to be an entertaining feature and it did not disappoint.  Many junior & senior students joined forces to display their attack / defence scenarios, many including humour in their routines much to the appreciation of the watching crowd.  The day ended with the special technique with the awards presentation closing out the day. 

Highslide JSEvery student left smiling as this year all students who did not make the winner’s podium received a participation medal.  Host of the event, Ms. Keane, 6th deg made a special presentation to Master Jacob 7th deg who was the chief umpire for the event.  A fun filled day for the R.I.T.A. students and umpires!!  St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school would like to especially thank Mr. Keane 6th deg for overseeing proceedings on the day and many thanks to both students and umpires who supported the event.

Tallaght Demonstration

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On Saturday 9th of October three schools from the R.I.T.A. performed an unprecedented demonstration at the Tallaght Stadium.  Students from Firhouse, Old Bawn and St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do schools had been training & preparing for the last month to perform a half-time demonstration at an Airtricity League of Ireland fixture between Shamrock Rovers & Sporting Fingal.  With 50 members participating in front of 4,500 vocal fans the atmosphere was nothing short of electric.  With the teams leaving the pitch at half-time all students marched onto the pitch to get into position.  Starting off with fundamental movements the students performed Chon-Ji Tul in unison closely followed by free sparring.

The Shamrock Rovers mascot “Hooperman” joined in the demo and did his best to keep up with the synchronised students.  With the home fans egging the students on, the senior members carried out a self defence routine and finished off with destruction and some aerial breaks.  All 50 members marched off to rapturous applause from a roaring crowd.  Although home team Shamrock Rover lost the game 1-2, it did not detract from the enjoyment the students experienced and a day they will not forget any time soon.  Many thanks and congratulations are due for the effort of all students & instructors who participated.  Special thanks to Ms. Keane for supplying St. Mark’s venue for practice and overseeing the choreography of the event.

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New St Marks Black Belts

Highslide JSSt. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school has two new junior black belts after both Aidan Kelly & Alexei Kudryashav both recently achieved their 1st degree black belts.  The grading held in the Lucan Spa Hotel on Saturday 25th of September was a difficult task for the two Tallaght members.  With months of extra training carried out in preparation, both performed very well on the day in front of a panel of R.I.T.A senior masters.  Reflecting on the day their instructor Ms. Keane 6th deg. said she was very proud of her two new first degrees.  (Both students pictured centre with instructor Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree.)

Club Development Information Seminar

Highslide JSOn Saturday 28th of August instructors from St. Mark's and Firhouse Taekwon-Do schools attended a "Club Development Information Seminar" in the new Aviva Stadium. The seminar included speeches from the Minister for Children, Barry Andrews TD, Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth and the Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, John Treacy. The seminar covered: 

  • Influencing local sport
  • Garda vetting
  • Committee structures
  • Fundraising
With a tour of the new stadium included an excellent and informative day was had by all.  Pictured with the members in attendance are the Local Sports Partnership co-ordinator, Thos McDermott and CEO of the Irish Sports Council & Olypmic silver medalist, John Treacy.
Preliminary Black Belt Grading

Highslide JSOn August 23rd, St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school played host to a preliminary black belt grading.  The students ranging from 1st kup up to 3rd degree attended from a variety of schools including Senior Master Howard’s Dojang, St. Mark’s, Stillorgan & Blessington Taekwon-Do schools.  All members graded under RITA Vice President, Senior Master Anthony Phelan, 8th degree in a bid to proceed to the forthcoming black belt grading next month.  We wish all members the very best of luck.

St Marks Grading

Highslide JSRecently St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School’s newest members took their first grading.  The grading was overseen by examiner and senior instructor Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree.  Ms. Keane examined both the beginners & colour belt students on the fundamental movements, terminology of Taekwon-Do and some destruction for the more senior grades.  The evening proved extremely successful with all students being promoted.  Special congratulations to Lucas Moraes who won the award for “Most Progressed Student”.  Ms. Keane congratulated all of the students on their success and told them to continue training hard.

Promotions included:

Michael Sweeney: 2nd kup
Cara Ronan: 4th kup
Kelsie Dunne: 4th kup
Alyssa Valencia: 5th kup
Tanya De La Vega: 5th kup
Lucas Moraes: 8th kup
Dylan Grogan: 9th kup
Januel Lojo: 9th kup
Jan Fiel Zetazate: 9th kup

St Marks Grading

Highslide JSAt a recent grading in St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School we had double Celebrations on the day with two Brothers, Michael Sweeney 3rd Kup all decked out in First Communion gear and Musashi Sweeney successfully achieving his 6ht Kup (Green Belt) and presented with  the Grading Award. Congratulations to the newly promoted students!

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Full promotions listing was as follows:

Lucas Moraes – Yellow tag
Chloe O’Reilly McCarthy – Green tag
Amanda Nolan – Green belt
Danielle De La Vega - Green belt
Layla Aydin – Green belt
Musashi Sweeney – Green belt
Tanya De La Vega - Green belt
Alyssa Valencia - Green belt
Denis Aydin – Green belt

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Naas Grading

Highslide JSGreat Success from our small grading held recent in Naas Taekwon-Do School where Jeanne Kenyon successfully achieved her 8th Kup Yellow Belt. Aidan Kelly and Alexie Kudryashov where put through all the basic fundamentals aswell as the there difficult red belt syllaus. They then had to go through the destruction of all of the techniques which they both accomplished with great determination. They are one step closer to their goal of Black Belt as they successfully gained their 1st Kup Black Tag. Well done to all three students.

RITA National Black Belt Class

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On Sunday, March 7th St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school hosted the first RITA black belt class of 2010.  The class attended by members from Dublin, Wexford, Galway, Limerick, Carrick on Suir & Cork was taken by RITA President Senior Master Robert Howard 8th degree & Senior Master Anthony Phelan 8th degree.  Senior Master Howard covered a range from the Taekwon-Do syllabus from fundamental movements through to the complexities of the black belt patterns.  

Black belts were then given the opportunity to interact with their peers through some pad work and then finishing up with free sparring.  The class provided an excellent opportunity for members to come together and interact.  Many thanks to the RITA Senior Masters for their instruction on the day and special thanks to Ms. Valerie Keane, 6th degree for hosting the event.

St Marks Student of the Year
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Congratulations to St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school student Matthew Kearns who recently received the Senior Student of the Year award.  Matthew, a popular member amongst the other students has just returned from a break in training due to exams. 

With his dedication & support over the years, Matthew was a qualified candidate for the award.  One of the long standing members in St. Marks, Matthew is now back training hard & is on course to be the next senior black belt in St. Marks Taekwon-Do School.

St Marks Grading
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Recently St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School held a grading.  The exam was attended by students from yellow belt up to red belt with both junior and senior students aiming for promotion.  The examiner for the day was Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree.  The day proved extremely successful with all students being successfully promoted to their next belt.  Whilst all students performed very well Ms. Keane awarded Alyssa Valencia with the “Most Progressed Student” award having developed extremely well since her last grading.  Ms. Keane congratulated all of the students on their success and told them to continue practicing. 

Highslide JSRed belt Aidan Kelly was presented by Ms. Keane with the “Student of the Year” award.  A popular student in St. Mark’s, Aidan has displayed all the attributes of a worthy recipient of the award throughout the year in his Taekwon-Do training, attitude and also in his commitment to St. Mark’s fundraising.  A deserved winner indeed.

Self Defence & Sparring Seminar

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Sunday the 22nd Nov marked the day of the annual Self-Defence and Sparring seminar hosted by Naas Taekwon-Do School and conducted by Senior Master Barrett 8th degree and Mr Floyd Keane 6th degree.  The event began around 10:30 with all the participants greeting other members and introducing themselves to new faces. Senior Master Barrett VIII, who was conducting the self-defence part of the course, was welcomed in warm and relaxed atmosphere and shortly after he delivered a short introductory talk on the importance and relevance of this side of Taekwon-Do to daily life, everybody lined up with a partner and all were fast engaged in releasing their wrists out of a firm grip of their partners. The first techniques introduced dealt with handling a wrist-grabbing attack from front and behind while standing, and having been shown a variety of self-defence methods in great detail (on more than eager black belts), all members should now be familiar with the trinity of R(elease), B(reak) and A(ttack).  Moreover, everybody could appreciate the effectiveness of the techniques by observing the brave black belts whimpering and grimacing under the strikes of Senior Master Barrett VIII, on whom he demonstrated and explained the elements of the defence.  All members, encouraged by Ms Keane VI, to mix and change around, practised zealously with partners of different weight and grade and a few moments later, everybody had an opportunity to practise techniques of safe rolling-over and landing once swept off one’s feet. In the final part of the event, members worked their thumbs out practising thumbs-in and thumbs-out ways of strangling and also learned how to free oneself from a strangling attack. Senior Master Barrett VIII supervised the exercise at all times and was happy to answer any questions. All members took active part in learning the basic techniques of self-defence and despite the occasional bruises the event was highly informative and more than enjoyable.

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In the afternoon we had a sparring seminar conducted by Mr Keane 6 deg. We started with some footwork learning how to be quick and light on our feet, denying our opponent the opportunity of landing a blow against us. Progressing  on to some kicks and hand techniques Mr Keane showed us how to use our newly learned skills to take down a guard and surprise our opponent with an attack. We then watched some members sparring taking note when they scored a point against each other. The most valuable lesson of the day concerned how important it is to have a target before striking rather than wasting valuable energy kicking or punching hoping to connect. Time now to put this all together in some free sparing. It was great to have the opportunity to spar new faces from all parts of the country not just our own familiar partners. All grades mixed well after Mr Keane assured us, Colour belts, that the Black belts would not hurt us. As always the hours passed like minutes and we rounded off a very enjoyable day with some jump kicks. We all headed home much wiser and so grateful to Mr Keane not only for sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with us but also for making it such fun.
Many thanks to Ms Keane VI for hosting the event, and to Senior Master Barrett VIII and Mr Keane VI for taking the time to conduct the seminar as well as to all members who, keeping in mind the tenets of Taekwon-Do, made this a very practical and entertaining day.

Magdalena Michalewska Naas Taekwon-Do School and Deirdre Corrigan Enniscorthy Taekwon-Do School.


St Marks Team Challenge 2009

Last weekend St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do school hosted its annual Team challenge tournament.  The event supported by Naas, AIB, Stillorgan, Blessington and Master Howard’s Dojang was an action packed, fun filled occasion from start to finish.  The day started off with junior team patterns with some well choreographed formations (and not to mention some well chosen team names) by the younger members.  This was followed by senior team patterns with some very close competition along with some interesting accessories to boot, providing great entertainment for the on looking spectators.

After lunch team sparring got underway with all schools going head to head with some excellent displays of Taekwon-Do.  Following sparring, the St. Marks senior black belts performed a demonstration including team pattern, self defence and destruction including some impressive tile breaks by Mr. McGuinness III & Mr. Roe II.

The competition resumed with the return of the very popular obstacle course event.  As an addition to this years challenge the section was opened up to seniors and proved highly entertaining and enjoyable.  Special technique followed for the juniors with the event finale being the team self-defence routine.  No school left disappointed as all schools managed to feature in the medals (results to follow).

The day closed with the awards ceremony headed by the senior umpire of the day, Mr. John Jacob 6th degree.  A long time friend to St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School, Mr Jacob was perfect for the role on the day, revelling in the fun & entertainment while also adding his own sense of humour.  St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School would like to thank Mr. Jacob for his time on the day and wish him every success in his quest to becoming the next R.I.T.A. master.  In recognition of the occasion Ms. Keane made a presentation to Mr. Jacob of some beautiful glassware.

Many thanks to 6th degree, Ms. Valerie Keane for hosting the event, to all of the umpires who gave up their time on the day and particular thanks to special guest Senior Master Howard 8th degree.  The support of the aforementioned made this easily St. Mark’s best ever Team Challenge.


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From Russia with love

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From Russia with love. Ms. Keane 6th Degree  Senior instructor to St. Mark's and Naas Taekwon-Do School and Ms Deborah Manning 4th Degree. Golden girls off to Russia for the World Championships to keep the female flag flying high.

Patterns & Power Seminar

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There was a fantastic turn-out for the Patterns & Power Seminar hosted by St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School on Sunday May 24th. 

An annual feature in the R.I.T.A calendar it really is an essential Seminar for every dedicated Taekwon-Do student in Ireland to attend.  This year’s seminar saw students ranging in grade from IV Deg Black Belts right through to 10th Kup beginners.

Highslide JSTaking part in this year’s seminar were Senior Master Robert Howard, Senior Master Anthony Phelan and Senior Masters Francis Barrett all VIII degrees.  These Senior Masters dedicated their entire day to focus on each pattern for every single grade who attended.  This made for a patterns seminar that was very challenging both mentally and physically with the rewards far outweighing the effort.  Time and focus was spent patiently and clearly explaining the theories of Sine-wave, breathing and power through each move of every pattern. 

The power section of the Seminar was even more rewarding with the Senior Masters on hand offering encouragement and tuition on every breaking technique.  All students were given a display of various breaks along with a full explanation of the technique and the breaking Tool.  The atmosphere of the power seminar was very open and relaxed with both Black Belts and Senior Masters leaving themselves entirely open to any and all questions that students had on power.  The result was the opportunity to benefit from the vast experience of these Senior Masters and to enjoy some of the highest quality of instruction as well as some simply astonishing examples of power.

Highslide JSAs 1st Kups attending the Seminar my Husband and I arrived with a lot of questions in mind.  We are both, like many other 1st Kups looking at that elusive Black Belt and wondering what type of instructor will I be. At last year’s seminar Senior Master Phelan stated that as 1st Kups we owe it to our Schools to be the best students we can be, to know as much as we can and to guide and instruct our Juniors by setting a proper example- in short we are the future of Taekwon-Do.  These were strong words that we carried with us from the Seminar last year. 

Highslide JSThis year’s seminar saw us as 1st Kups take most of our instruction from Senior Master Howard.  Under his guidance and supervision through the entire day we were guided through our patterns, with various moves, turns and reactions explained to us.  At various times Senior Master Howard simply stated “it’s common sense really”.  His various instructions were so clear and so simple that just about every question we had on the day was answered without the need to even ask a question.  From his instructions and guidance we learned that we already knew the answers to our questions and now need to learn to trust in our abilities and trust that what we’ve learned we can pass on to others.  In short when we really understand Taekwon Do it is common sense and can be passed on through very simple and clear instruction.

Highslide JSOn behalf of all who attended we would like to take the time to thank St. Mark’s Taekwon Do School for the all of the time and hard work they put into this Seminar and all the other Seminars and Competitions they host during the year.  Their hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by us.

We would also like to thank the Senior Masters for all of their time and instruction given to us all.  I am sure that every single student who attended came away from this seminar with a greater understanding and appreciation of Taekwon Do and at least one piece of broken timber as a personal trophy.

Joan Wiseman & Brian Kenny 1st Kup
Boyne Valley Tae Kwon School, Drogheda

St Marks and Naas win at Caribbean Open
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Members of St. Marks recently traveled to Grenada to take part in the Caribbean Open. They also got a chance to Train with Grandmaster Park before the championships. There was a good medal haul as Naas students Patrick Sheridan 7th kup won gold in patterns and Kevin Redmond 3rd kup, got Silver in Patterns. St Marks members Mark Sweeney 5th kup won gold in patterns and Ms deborah Manning 4th Degree won gold in Sparring and silver in patterns. Everyone had such a fantastic time and a lifetime of memories, there are so many highlights from the trip, from eating and training with the Masters and Grandmaster's to the intimate family atmosphere laid back Caribbean style of the tournament. We would like to thank all our fellow brothers and sisters in Taekwon-do for their help &  support and especially thank our Instructor Ms. Keane 6th Degree without whom none of it would be possible.

Pictured is Ms. Keane, Ms Manning, Patrick Sheridan, Mark Sweeney & Kevin Redmond with Master Mitchell, Master Small & Grandmaster Park before a training session.

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St Marks Grading

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St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School held its final grading of 2008 on Sunday last, December 14th.  The exam consisted of students grading for the first time right up to students holding the rank of red belt.  The grading was also attended by students from Naas & AIB Taekwon-Do Schools.  The examiner for the day was Ms. Valerie Keane 6th degree.  Ms. Keane, put the students through a variety of tests ranging from the practical aspect (Patterns, Sparring & Destruction) to the theory aspect of terminology.  The day proved extremely successful with all students being successfully promoted to their next grade.  Whilst all students performed very well Ms. Keane singled out three students in particular who had progressed significantly since either joining or their last grading.  Michael Sweeney, Cara Byrne & Paul Czupryn, all of St. Mark’s came in for special recognition from the examiner.  Six year old Michael Sweeney (pictured centre) who was promoted from 6th kup to 5th kup and who only began training a year ago was presented with the award for “Most Progressed Student” by Ms. Keane.  Ms. Keane congratulated all of the students on their success and told them to keep up the good work. 

To round off a nervous but celebratory afternoon, assistant instructor John Paul Nestor was officially presented with 4th degree black belt certification.  The St. Mark’s black belt was presented with the certificate by R.I.T.A. Senior Master Anthony Phelan 8th degree.

Ms Keane inducted in to International Black Belt Hall of Fame

U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Its half four in the morning and once again I'm heading off on another Taekwon-Do adventure but this one is different. Not the usual World Championship or Referee Seminar. I'm going to America to support my Instructor Ms. Keane who has been nominated as an Inductee into the U.S.A. Black Belt Hall of Fame. What makes this even more special is the fact the she is recognised for her dedication to the art she loves by an outside body on the other side of the Ocean. When I heard of this recognition I had already arranged to go to Uzbekistan as part of St. Mark's 25th celebrations but even though finances were tight I just had to go the extra mile, (if you pardon the pun), and be there.

As this was not a Taekwon-Do event we did not know to expect so it was with open minds that Ms. Keane, Ms. Manning, Mr. Roe, Collette Manning and myself arrived at the Holiday Inn beside Pittsburgh airport. The welcome we received was beyond our expectations and from the minute we arrived to our departure we were treated with the utmost in courtesy and respect.The only way I can describe the awards night itself would be to call it the Martial Arts Oscars. The event started in the afternoon and continued till later that evening and every single Inductee was an Icon in their own Martial Art and style. I was amazed by the professionalism of the event and felt overwhelmed with pride for Ms. Keane who is now a recognised member of this International Martial Arts Elite.

Needless to say as usual the craic was ninety and we had great fun in our Dobok's attending all the various informal Seminars under many World Masters from all the different disciplines who thrilled us with their skills and technique. A special thanks on that note must go to Dr. John Ward Kenpo Master who treated us like his own Brothers and Sisters and his lovely wife Pat mammied  us throughout. I came away with an  immense pride in Martial Arts and a realization that we all belong  to this International Family. I also feel sad that T.V. and newspapers can never capture this true essence of Martial Arts.

Walter Mc Guinness  3rd Degree,
Instructor AIB Taekwon-Do School. 

International Instructors Course, Dublin

ITF Senior Master Howard,President RITA/ITF Ireland Professor John Ward,( President Kenpo Ireland) Ms. Valerie Keane RITA /ITF Ireland National Secretary &ITF Senior Master Phelan, Vice President RITA/ITF Ireland

ITF Senior Master Howard, President RITA/ITF Ireland, Mr Martin Roe, Professor John Ward, (President Kenpo Ireland) Ms.Valerie Keane, RITA/ITF Ireland National Secretary Mr. Floyd Keane & ITF Senior Master Phelan, Vice President RITA/ITF Ireland

ITF Senior Master Howard, President RITA/ITF Ireland, Ms. Deborah Manning, Professor John Ward (President Kenpo Ireland) Ms. Valerie Keane RITA/ITF Ireland National Secretary, Mr. Floyd Keane, Mr.John Paul Nestor, & ITF Senior Master Phelan, Vice President RITA/ITF Ireland

Group taken at the ITF International Instructors Course on Sunday 19th October


St Marks at the World Championships

Members of St Marks Taekwon-Do School

Students from St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School travelled to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to attend an ITF International Seminar conducted by Senior Master Hwang 8th Deg and to cheer on Ms. Condon on her great achievement while representing Ireland.

Ms. Valerie Keane 6th Degree attended the ITF Umpire course conducted by Grand Master Leong Wai Meng and successfully achieved an ITF Umpire Passport. A fantastic learning experience was had by all!

Ms Valerie Keane promoted to 6th Degree

Master Howard presents Ms Keane with 6th Degree Black belt certOver 30 years may seem a lifetime to some people, and to be in any organisation for this long is practically unheard of, but that’s how long Ms. Valerie Keane 6th Degree Senior Instructor to St. Mark’s and Naas Taekwon-Do School has been learning, living, teaching and passing on General Choi’s Art of Taekwon-Do

All of her children in Taekwon-Do are so proud and excited to see Ms. Keane not only presented with her 6th Degree Certificate by her Instructor Senior Master Robert Howard 8th Degree in her own School St. Mark’s which has been bustling with students for 26 years but also to hear that Ms. Keane has been nominated by Master John Ward to go into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Pittsburg in November.

For Ms. Keane and all her achievements to be supported and recognised as a true Martial Artist Globally is a phenomenal achievement, which all of her children in Taekwon-Do truly love and would like to full heartedly Congratulate their Instructor. 

Deborah Manning, 3rd degree

Masters Pattern & Power Seminar report

Students from Boyne Valley Taekwon Do School participated in the recent Senior Masters Seminar on Patterns and Power hosted by St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School in Tallaght. This was our second year taking part in the Seminar all agreed that it was thoroughly worth the trip. Everyone who attended found it a very educational and fun experience leaving with some valuable insights into the various patterns and different techniques.

The patterns section of the day offered a rare opportunity to question the Senior Masters and gain from the wealth of their knowledge and experience. It is not very often that we get to perform our pattern in front of Senior Master without the pressure of a grading or competition. While the prospect of doing your pattern in front of a Master can be daunting, it is still a great opportunity to have errors fixed and moves explained by Senior Masters who really are experts.

The power section of the day was especially rewarding with everybody getting to break at least once. Senior Master Phelan took his time with each student in his group talking about each technique chosen, everyone’s measure up and their final technique. As a Red Belt I was very impressed with the standard of other Red Belt students as well as the standard of the Green & Blue Belts coming up the ranks. I personally found it a very positive experience to opt for a technique that is still a bit outside my comfort zone and that I could not guarantee would break for me. I could have chosen to break with something that I know works for me but I was there to learn and it’s much better to benefit from the experience of a Senior Master like Senior Master Phelan when he was prepared to spend the time. Senior Master Phelan went through my measure up and I’m glad to say that I did break. Everyone learned a lot about different techniques and everybody’s confidence with power really improved from this. Senior Master Phelan was a tough but patient and very rewarding teacher.

Standing in line at the seminar it became clear how far I have progressed in Taekwon -Do even since the last seminar. That elusive Black Belt was now only one row away from me. During the patterns section, Senior Master Phelan pointed to the Red Belt section of the students and said ‘these Red Belts and Black Tags are the Black Belts and Instructors of the future. You will look to them to teach you your patterns and to answer your questions. Their experiences will make you better students and better Black Belts. They are our future’. Profound words but very apt.

St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School, as always are very welcoming and accommodating to us all and really added to our student’s thoroughly enjoyable experience. Boyne Valley Taekwon- Do School would like to thank the Senior Masters for the time and attention they gave us and St. Mark’s School for their warm welcome and for making the day such a relaxed and friendly experience. We are all looking forward to the next Patterns & Power Seminar and to seeing you all again.

Joan Wiseman 1st Kup Boyne Valley Taekwon-Do School

Child Protection Course

Congratulations to the students from St.Mark's who successfully won 30 medals at the Connacht Open in Galway. Shannon O' Grady won the overall Junior award with 2 gold medals.

Child Protection Course

Instructors from St.Mark's, Naas, Stillorgan, AIB & Blessington Taekwon-Do Schools attended a Code of Ethics & Awareness Course presented with their Certificates by Jerome Howe from the Irish Sports Council!.

"A" Student Success

Mark Sweeney and his son Michael age 5 yrs members of St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School were recently promoted to 9th Kup. Both Father & Son train together with assistant Instructor in St.Mark's Mr. Martin Roe 1st Degree and they have never missed a class, since joining in November last. Their performance at the grading was very good, however, Michael was stunning and won an award for achieving an "A" level for his 9th Kup grading, first time for such an award to be given by Ms. Valerie Keane ITF International Examiner. When a 5 year old could say the 5 tenets of Taekwon-Do perfectly with his techniques as good, no other level could be granted. Long may their success continue!

Honourary Taekwon-Do Black Belt for Pat Rabbitte T.D.

Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D. was presented with an honourary 3rd Degree Black Belt by the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association on Saturday night last.

The presentation took place at a special event held in the Lucan Spa Hotel to mark the 25th anniversary of St Mark’s Taekwon-Do School. Mr Rabbitte was presented with his 3rd Degree Black Belt and International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) certificate by the President of the RITA, Senior Master Robert Howard 8th Degree. He was also awarded the title of “Honourary President of St Mark’s Taekwon-Do School” by the school’s instructor, Ms Valerie Keane 5th Degree.

The attendees were also treated to spectacular demonstration of the Korean martial art by the Black Belt demonstration team.

Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D

Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D Honourary President of St Marks & 3rd Degree Black Belt

Demonstration Team

Demonstration Team from St Marks, Stillorgan and Naas Taekwon-Do Schools.

Pat Rabbitte

Senior Master Howard presenting Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D with his 3rd Degree Certificate from the ITF.


Senior Master Robert Howard, Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D and Ms Valerie Keane

St Marks

St Marks Senior Black Belts. Mr John Paul Nestor 3rd Degree, Mr Floyd Keane 6th Degree, Ms Valerie Keane 5th Degree and Mr Walter McGuinness 3rd Degree.

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Ms Valerie Keane and Mr Pat Rabbitte T.D.

St. Mark’s Taekwon-Do School 25th Anniversary

25 years is a long time, where to begin! St. Marks’s Taekwon-Do School was established in 1982 by Ms. Valerie Keane with the help of the community of Springfield, Tallaght, and the backing of many sponsors throughout the community. Since then it has been a whirlwind of success on numerous levels. I don’t think anyone in the local area doesn’t know someone who has trained in St. Mark’s.

We have claimed the Tallaght St. Patrick’s Day Parade Martial Arts Award too many times to remember, rain hale or snow we were there as was all the on-looking supporters. In 2006 we won the overall Trophy in the Parade, for the best participants!  

Ms. Keane herself has had so many successful memories over the years, becoming Coach to the 1st ever Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association (RITA) National Junior Black Belt Team, who successfully took home a record 16, medals from the Europeans in Spain 1993. Ranking Ireland 4th in the World a record yet to be beaten. Mr. Floyd Keane who is Ms. Keane’s son and one of the reasons St. Mark’s was established, took the position as the RITA National Coach with yet again too many successes to remember until his resignation from the post in 2005.

As a Taekwon-Do family we have travelled the globe to spectacular events, such as the 1st General Choi Memorial Cup held in Ottawa, Canada in 2003, male and female of all ages the atmosphere and reception we got was outstanding.

The sporting side of Taekwon-Do is our Tournaments the successes of which are far too many to recall both at National and International events, St. Mark’s students love to support the Taekwon-Do family worldwide and making new friends, so we all learn and pass our experience on to future students. One that stands out is, two students from St. Mark’s who travelled to Malaysia for the 1st ITF Veterans World Championships, one of the first of its kind and both taking home trophies, such an achievement for them & St. Mark’s.

Outside of the sporting fun St. Mark’s has had the honour of so many visitors to our Dojang. The Ultimate of which was our Founder General Choi Hong Hi in 1992, on our 10th Anniversary when we hosted a Cheese and Wine reception to introduce General Choi to so many students from all over the country and to some very special dignitaries who were invited to the reception. To actually meet the man responsible for Taekwon-Do all over the world is I think the highlight for all the Instructors & students in St. Marks! 

Our pioneer founder in Ireland GrandMaster Rhee Ki Ha many years ago was the Examiner to all RITA grading’s and it was an honour to have Grand Master Rhee grade St. Mark’s students at the time. GM Rhee still visits Ireland to conduct International Seminars last year we had the honour of hosting an International Seminar Conducted by him. Grand Master Leon Wai Ming a high ranking Grand Master in the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) also visited St. Mark’s whilst over in Ireland conducting an International Seminar, he also paid a visit to Ms. Keane’s house and was so natural and at ease hopped up on the exercise bike as he was talking, leaving us looking in amazement. We also had the pleasure of doing some sight seeing, listening to the stories and philosophies was so humbling and fantastic I will never forget it.

The RITA hosted the European Championships in 2005 held in the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght, once again for the 1st time in the history of the RITA we had a female Team competing, Ms. Keane as National Coach proudly took her Team of females to winning Silver in the Patterns & Bronze in the Power!

Master Mitchell from Grenada (West Indies) attended as Umpire and we invited him to St. Marks to conduct a class, on the very night 11th April’05 when Taekwon-Do was celebrating 50 years of ITF Taekwon-Do world wide!

We also have the pleasure of our very own RITA Senior Masters, Senior Master Howard, Senior Master Phelan & Senior Master Barrett visiting our Dojang every year as we host the RITA National Patterns /Power Seminar the only one of its kind in the Association.
St. Mark’s also introduced a Team Challenge again the only one of its kind bringing together adults and children of all grades to share in the family fun. It is always a fantastic event, some of its main supporters and competitors to this event are Ms. Keane’s Taekwon-Do grand children, students which are instructed by Black Belt Instructors from St. Mark’s helping more people learn the Art and pass on to live in a better more peaceful world.

Throughout the years we all have different special memories, for some it is the their first training session, for others it’s a special win in a tournament or fulfilling a goal, all the different laughs from T.V. appearances and demonstrations throughout the years, to all our travelling stories, from the Bus to the country packed with laughter at 5.00am in the morning on our days outing, to the far parts of the world like Grenada, (West Indies) Canada, Russia, Malaysia. 

The Ultimate for some was going to our Dear Fathers homeland, Pyongyang in North Korea where TaeKwon-Do was born, to witness the International Martial Arts Games, which was always a dream of General Choi’s to see all martial arts together is such a phenomenal irreplaceable memory.

The Taekwon-Do Palace, the people the Opening Ceremony, seeing the Irish marble Clock on display in the memorial room, given to Our Father while visiting  St. Marks’s on our 10th Anniversary. Of course we just had to keep St. Mark’s on the map and place a photo of us in the Palace, taken at General Choi’s grave side this is on display for future students to see in the coming years!
Some of us even got to compete in the Taekwon-Do Palace you can only imagine the feeling inside, while watching Ms. Keane judging the patterns I’d say topped the inner feeling she felt to the time she got to judge the Finals in the patterns section in the World Championships in Greece 2004 when the Czech Republic V  DPR Korea both Teams rated the best in the World. To see General Choi’s final resting place and to pay our respects to our Taekwon-Do Father is a speechless experience.

The last 25 years, so full of fantastic times, experiences and unforgettable memories for all of us without the support of all to try and keep our family atmosphere nothing survives. Togetherness, support and motivation has proven to keep our Taekwon-Do family in St. Mark’s strong and we can only follow General Choi and his beliefs and grow.

By Deborah Manning 3rd Degree
St. Mark’s Student

Senior Masters Seminar


St. Mark's Annual Patterns and Power Breaking Seminar 2007.

Seventy students from all over Ireland landed through the doors of St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School to train with our two Senior Masters. Senior Master Robert Howard 8th Degree and Senior Master Anthony Phelan 8th degree. From four year old to over forty from white belt to 7th degree Master filled the hall with excitement and eagerness to learn. Our huge Taekwon-Do family together again smiling and having fun as families do when they get together. The buzz was electric, we went through lots of fundamental moves learning and trying to perfect each one. Its exciting how timeless Taekwon-Do is always something new to learn.Everyone felt the excitement from the younger students seeing them breaking for the first time. The Masters took the time to go through each pattern in depth with us taking time to correct and answer any questions making sure no matter where you live in the country we are all doing the same General Choi's Taekwon-Do.

The second part of the seminar is where everyone gets to try an break something that either they are unable to do or have never tried again the Senior Masters going to each person and spending the time till we got it right. The day was so much fun and excitement I hope we have enough room in the Hall next year and I know we all learned something and have something to take away and practice thanks to the time and energy given by the Masters. It was great to see St. Mark's so full of new and familiar faces on it's 25th Anniversary it certainly indicates in another 25years there will be smiling faces eager to learn the Art we love so much.

4 Generations of Taekwon-Do


St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School are proud to announce the promotion of one of its long term Black Belt members Mr. Walter Mc Guinness to 3rd Degree.

Mr. McGuinness opened his very own RITA Taekwon-Do School in March 1995 based in Templeogue College, and to date has 3 Black Belt students. On the date he was promoted to 3rd Degree his own student Mr. Jason Ford achieved his 1st Degree Black Belt, a brother of Mr.Graham Ford Assistant Instructor alongside Mr. Colin Jennings to AIB Taekwon-Do School.

The photo shows 4 generations of General Choi's ITF Taekwon-Do students, from left to right Mr. Colin Jennings 1st Degree, Ms. Valerie Keane 5th Degree, Master Robert Howard 8th Degree Senior ITF Master, Mr.Walter MC Guinness 3rd Degree & Mr. Graham Ford 1st Degree.

St Marks win St Patricks Day Parade award

Ms Keane with Charlie O'Connor TDSt Mark's Taekwon-Do School students braved the weather and its elements and proudly marched in the Tallaght St.Patrick's Day Parade with the support from Naas, Stillorgan & Blessington students. As we marched along the way we were greeted and cheered by the onlookers, taking time to demonstrate some of our Taekwon-Do skills, both from the Junior& Senior students. As we approached the reviewing stand that holds some of the VIP'S from Tallaght and local Government representatives, St. Mark's Black Belts performed A Team Pattern, followed by some sparring, Finally the Black Belts demonstrated some spectacular Mid Air Kicks and powerful Breaks, bearing in mind the horrible weather conditions

After the Parade there was a reception in the Plaza Hotel with the Organising Committee to thank everybody for participating and presenting the awards.

St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School was presented with the "Overall Sports Award" by Mr.Charlie O'Connor TD that we accepted with great pride on the Eve of our "Silver Anniversary" in October '07

Black Belt Class, St Marks 11th March

Black Belt Class

Sunday Morning in St. Mark's Taekwon-Do School was bustling with people. There was all the new members that had just started, all the 10th Kups and 9th Kups that are not long training and Black Belts from all over the country trafficking through the doors. It was the morning of the Black Belt class being hosted by St. Mark's. With the amount of people there the atmosphere and excitement was electric. The hall was buzzing as it was split up so all could start their warm up after all the administration, eyes wide with wonder and interest. As always things fell into place and training was underway

The Black Belt class was being conducted by the two Senior Masters in the R.I.T.A. Senior Master Howard 8th Degree and Senior Master Phelan 8th Degree. I love the excitement of being taught by the Senior Masters to be given such time and patience and correction is such an honour. They have so much experience and wisdom I just get amazed. No matter how excited I felt the faces of the new members and the little warriors now training I will never forget. To actually see the Masters they hear and read about in the handbook, you could see the astonishment, they were so delighted when they got to come into the class to watch for a few minutes, and to think we got to train for two whole hours.

It was a very successful morning I learned lots both from the Senior Masters and the students and I'm sure everyone else there felt the Taekwon-Do Family atmosphere, learned and really enjoyed.

Deborah Manning, 3rd Degree Black Belt

David Freeman

David Freeman receives "Sports Person" award

On his great International achievement David Freeman member of St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School was nominated as "Sports Person" of the week on the 12th October '06 by the editor of "The Echo Newspaper", on the 5th October was Kenneth Egan 6th time National Champion in Boxing, 19th Oct was Darragh Stapleton St. Patrick's Football (GAA) and the 26th Oct saw Brian Mc Lonegan, Round Towers Hurling Club, each winning the weekly title.

At the end of the month all the weekly winners were then judged on their achievements, David came up trumps! by taking the overall "Sports Person" for the month of October.

David will be presented with his award and photos taken at "Belgard Motors" sponsors of the event. Great achievement for David well and truly deserved, and fantastic to see Taekwon-Do is getting its recognition also!

David continues on for the title of "Sports Person" of the Year, tough challenges are against him, some of the main names that he is up against! Colin Moran (Dublin, Football) Graham Gartland (Drogheda Utd), Gareth Mac Hale (World Rally Driver) and Paul Barron (Motor Cycle Racing)

Many Congratulations to David and fingers crossed for his next award as "Sports Person" of the Year 2006

As part of St.Mark's Taekwon-Do School's 25 year celebrations in 2007, 22 members traveled to Sofia for experience and to support the ITF World Championships.The next venture is 5 members are attending the 2nd International Martial Arts Games in Pyongyang North Korea from 22nd -29th August '06.

It was General Choi's dream to see all Martial Arts get together at one big International event. The 1st IMAG took place in 2004 unfortunately General Choi was not there to see his dream come true, after years of hard work getting all styles of Martial Arts to compete at the International Games. To support the IMAG, Ms.Deborah Manning 3rd Deg. Mr.Walter Mc Guinness 2nd Deg. & Mr.Martin Roe 1st Deg are all competing in the ITF Patterns section, accompanying them as Coach/Official is their Instructor Ms. Valerie Keane 5th Deg and 5th Kup member Ray McDonnell as supporter.

During the trip of a lifetime, the students will get the opportunity to visit General Choi's Taekwon-Do Palace, and while there to take in some of his legacy, and pay their respects at his graveside.

From me since I was Eight!
By Ms Deborah Manning 2nd Degree

For me, it all started for me 16years ago when my mother introduced my two sisters and I into self- defence. Little did I know that it had actually started years before with a young woman visiting her cousins Robert and Henry in Carlow. They informed her about a martial art called TaeKwon-Do; so she decided to go down to have a look at them training. That was all it took and Ms. Keane as we know her now was totally hooked. By the time she was a yellow belt, she was receiving her first trophy in Sean McDermott Street for her pattern in a tournament. It was extremely lucky that Ms. Keane walked into the right place and met Master Howard, the President of the Republic of Ireland TaeKwon-Do Association; being taught directly from the top man in the country must have been amazing.

Ms. Keane went on to open a school of her own in St. Marks in Tallaght, as she wanted to introduce the art of Taekwon-Do to her two sons. It wasn’t easy to get something up and running in the area, but with the help of people such as the principal of St. Marks Community school Frank Murray and a committee of local women the first premises were acquired. The hall in St. Marks community school, demanded 10 weeks rent in advance, putting the pressure on for success. Ms. Keane was a red belt at the time of the school opening, but was assisted by a number of Black belts who taught my family and I when we started. Mr Gerard McClennand and Mr. Pat Hogarty each taught and greatly assisted to get St. Marks up and running. As did Master Phelan, recently promoted to 8th Degree Senior Master, who still takes classes and seminars today to pass on everything he has learned.

The enthusiasm of all of these people is what motivated me to stay in Taekwon-Do as each member of my family left one by one, but it was Ms Keane who I admired most and aspired to become just like. While still a red belt, she was asked to take on the task of being the National Secretary to the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association, (R.I.T.A.) by Grand Master Rhee, an honour that couldn’t have been bestowed on a better person.

It was 1982 when Ms. Keane established St. Marks Taekwon-Do school. Twenty years have passed and I’ve got to know her quite a bit in the last decade. I’ve been pushed and motivated; educated, disciplined and challenged. I was five years training with her when the day came I got my Black belt; Ms Keane was a 2nd degree by then. She had previously given up her own advancement up the grades, staying on her 1st degree for eight years to build up St. Marks and to teach all of her student the tenants of TaeKwon-Do passed down to her from her TaeKwon-Do father Master Robert Howard 8th Degree.

By then Ms Keane had also achieved some more fantastic goals. She had become not only the first female to coach an Irish team, but the first person in Ireland to coach a Junior team, something which a lot of people would love to see again. The first juniors to compete away were Carl Smith and Ms. Keane’s own son Floyd Keane to Austria, whilst I myself made the team for the junior trip to Italy. It was amazing to see the standard of all these other countries. We had been pushed to the point of hating our coach to improve our standard and it paid off. We all came home with not just medals but with the hunger for competition and to become better.

To date, Ms. Keane has also been the only coach ever to bring back 16 medals from one event, ranking our country fourth in the tournament at the time. She was also the manager for the senior team’s trip to Malaysia, which enabled her to learn more about the competitions from a different point of view.

It was about 13 years ago when she started to take children all around the world to different competitions to see all that’s out there, and is still doing it to this day .I myself have been to about nine different countries, all of which were amazing. I would never have seen any of theses places if it wasn’t for Ms. Keane. This year I got to go on one of the most memorable trips of all. A group of 19 students travelled to Ottawa, Canada this October to the first ever General Choi Memorial Cup. General Choi the founder of TaeKwon-Do, passed away last year. Everyone who attended the tournament in Canada is ecstatic that we got to be part of the very first memorial cup in the 20th year of St. Marks.

All in all, we have in Ireland a woman worthy of representing the women of the world. For the first time, we have a 5th degree female Black belt in the Republic of Ireland. As I’ve already pointed out, this is but one of Ms. Keane’s accomplishments. Not only has she managed to establish one of the oldest and strongest TaeKwon Do schools in the country, but also to take on becoming the senior instructor to a second school in Naas almost 10 years ago. Both schools are thriving with not just children but adults, male and female, even whole families together.

To add to the bag of achievements, this year Ireland sent a team over the 13th Senior World ITF championships in Greece, where there was 75 countries, 850 competitors and almost 100 umpires. Of course it was the R.I.T.A that had the honour of saying it was our 5th degree female that stood alone amongst all these men to umpire, representing women everywhere. Ms. Keane also achieved a personal goal whilst in Greece, outshinning even our own team when she was one of six judges selected to umpire our founding countries team, Korea, and there old rivals the Czech Republic in the Finals.

Seeing the true art of TaeKwon Do in the pattern’s section at it’s best was amazing to watch as a spectator; I can only imagine the ecstacy it felt to be judging. Out of almost 100 umpires it was outstanding to see the only female up there and it was with great the pride I could say not only is Ms. Keane from Ireland but that she is my instructor. She was further honoured in Greece when she was asked to become a member of the first ever female committee in TaeKwon Do to help with the progression and promotion of TaeKwon Do, towards our goal of making I.T.F. TaeKwon Do an official Olympic martial art.

I am but one black belt reared in TaeKwon Do by Ms. Keane-I say reared because this art is a family in which we grow and thrive to follow our Father in TaeKwon Do Master Howard. He has taught Ms. Keane for about 25years now and I’m sure he must be proud that she passes on the tenants of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit with as much diligence and pride as he taught her. As Master Howard is our TaeKwon Do Father in Ireland Ms. Keane to me is my TaeKwon Do mother and has supported me in all I do in and outside of TaeKwon Do. In all walks of life as Master Phelan and Master Howard have done for Ms. Keane and a lot of their students.

Last but by no means least on Ms. Keane’s list of achievements; Ms. Keane has found the time to rear her two sons-one, a very successful businessman, and 2nd degree black belt, and the other, also very successful in business a 5th degree and still a member of St. Marks. He is also coach to the Senior National team, taking after his mother.

It is with great pride and awe that I would like to congratulate Ms. Keane on her promotion to 5th degree and indeed on all her achievements to date. I’m sure I speak for all of her students, certainly for myself when I say, “May there be many more successes and I hope I can become half as good as my TaeKwon Do mother”.

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In Memoriam

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

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