Taekwondo Pledges to Defend the Weak, or Does It?

Ever stood waiting in a queue in a public place with your partner, when a few intimidating thugs barge and bully their way to the front. What’s worse is when some brave bloke takes it upon himself to make a stand, the thugs proceed to lay into him. You rage and pray other males in the queue jump in to help him, but no one moves.

You feel the adrenal rise and you prepare to launch yourself into action, but your wife stops you and begs you not to get involved, with “You know what these sort of people are like… That “You’re too old for this now”… and “Think of your reputation…the kids…the consequences”. You stand courageous but your indecision, confusion and over-riding fear keeps you rooted to the tarmac, and so you yield, because it’s way easier.

For a few terrifying moments the evening belongs to the thugs as they freely hammer the living daylights out of the brave protester and it’s quickly over. Bouncers are called, the thugs flee and the victim consoled. Gardai arrive and start to clean up the messy affair, and normal Saturday night banter continues.

Next day the incident plays on your mind. People ask what’s wrong but you pretend everything’s fine. You’re polite and kind and helpful on the outside, but at home you’re cranky with your kids and short with you’re wife. A few nights later you stand in your dobuk and you start off with the Taekwondo Oath before class.

You get to the part where it say’s… “I will put the art into use only for self defence and defence of the weak” and you feel ashamed that you sat on the fence of fear.  Ever happen to you folks?

There is always someone getting a hiding somewhere, be it physical or psychological.

Take Scottish Black Belt Andrew Taggart. He is now famous, because someone posted his worst performance on-line and gave him an unmerciful psychological hiding. And worse still were those who lavished in his downfall.

The gutter press loves bad news, and they easily sell this to the side of us where our ego dominates, because separation and isolation from each other is their goal. See how they can take one embarrassing fraction of someone’s life, post it up and let people not so different from those bullish thugs I described, kick him when he’s down.

The fact is, this clip is a total distortion of who Andrew Taggart really is.

I must applaude the young girl Neve Stewart, one of his students for defending him. As the online thugs waded him with their keyboards instead of their boots, Neve was in there. She stepped up saying how Andrew Taggart has been a key positive influence in boosting her confidence since she became one of his students. Proving far braver than myself, and those keyboard thugs, she was quick to jump in when the call came to defend him. No hesitation, not for a second, from this female Braveheart.

Andrew Taggart has grown immeasurably these past few hours more than most of us. He experienced an onslaught few of us could handle. I envy him in his position because I thought that I held the title of the worst Taekwondo exhibition ever done in public. If the on-line reporter cares to add me to the worst Taekwondo exhibition competition, I am surely a candidate for this title. My application goes like this:


Frank Murphy breaking breeze blocks

Here is a photo of Frank Murphy failing to break 5 breeze blocks in front of a capacity crowd at the Clash of The Titans in 2001. He barely broke three, the man is a joke…and calls himself a Master…


Honest to God – What a carry-on.


You would have a complete DVD Box-Set if you captured all my board breaking mishaps, from missed attempts of flying kicks, to fragments of tiles flying into the air and cutting into the pre-facebook audience, blood everywhere! Harry Hill, eat your heart out!

Master Clive Harrison stood out with his quote, “This sometimes happens and you just want to go home”. He is brave to admit it because he knows this happens to us all. We all hurt, and we all fail, have cringe moments, and we get embarrassed. Thank God the majority of us have been spared so far from the viral hammering that Andrew Taggart got today over the internet. It really was cyber-bullying on a mass scale.

We all stand in our own queue of fear at times in our life and the weight of regret and remorse dawns later. What has come out of all this is the overwhelming positive support the Fife Taekwondo Group have shown Andrew. What an example they all are to those who sit safely on the fence, and give lip service to lovely creeds, but fail to show support when one of us fails and stumbles on the way. They know Andrew Taggart is a lot more than someone who fails to break a board, their response proves it in spades.

I would ask through the medium of this blog of any black belt out there support him now, when he is down. Sure this was embarrassing, but it could happen, and probably will happen to us all some time. Has any one of you reading this blog ever failed to break a board and is willing to admit it???

Andrew Taggart we salute you Sir, so stand tall man, because we have all messed up in this life.


Frank Murphy

23 Responses to Taekwondo Pledges to Defend the Weak, or Does It?

  • Mike Putt says:

    I was one of the ones who criticised Andrew’s attempt at breaking, one of the reasons was the way the holders were holding the board, they were not behind it, but yes you are right, It was very brave of Andrew to post it on you tube, If indeed it was him, and I will publicly apologise for my criticism, and you are also correct in that we have all had attempts to break that haven’t gone to plan

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Thanks Sir, This has been an incident blown out of all proportion. Fair play you for admitting you criticized , but at least you made your view constructive. The clip has now has had a fair old going over. But, fair play,you are bang on as the lads holding it did not make his job any easier. I love your posts, great slant on things, so keep in touch. Respect..Frank

  • Brett Malone says:

    Thank you for sharing, Master Murphy.

    I failed my test for 4th due to missed board breaks. It was a complex pattern of breaks including 4 stations, and a very technical break. Done correctly, it is amazing – done poorly, and it makes you look a fool. This was in front of about 20 judges, 80 students, and 150+ spectators.

    After my test, I had a year before I could test again – so I trained hard, and practiced the board that I consistently missed, until I felt that I could do it in my sleep, and then I practiced some more.

    A year went by, and I tested again… and FAILED TO BREAK AGAIN – on an easier part of the series even! Again, it was a large testing with 200+ people watching.

    Yes, it is incredibly embarrassing – but I learned an extremely valuable lesson. I discovered that you grow magnitudes more through failure than you do through success.

    I went home, and worked harder than ever to improve my technique, and in turn my breaks, and on the 3rd time – I broke all my boards, and I am happy to say that I passed.

    I learned more from those failures than possibly any other lesson in Taekwondo – not because I failed to break the boards, but because I found the perseverance and to grow, and through that growth, succeed.

    Mr. Taggart – if you read this – don’t let this moment be your end – let it be a beginning, one that will define your ability to persevere, and will strengthen your spirit, making it indomitable.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Wow ! Thanks for bravely sharing your failures, Sir. I bet that 4th Dan means a lot to you, and your line where you say “Mr Taggart..don’t let this moment be your end, let it be a beginning….brilliant..

      As you say Mr Malone, extremely valuable lessons are learned here. What has also transpired is that a few folk who slagged him off have now, taken it upon themselves to see it differently. We all judge pre-maturely, I do. But now that we all reflect a bit we see that folk have more good than bad inside them.

      Respect Sir,

      • Brett Malone says:

        Thank you, Master Murphy – for stepping up and saying what some of us may have been thinking but did not actually voice it.

        My 4th degree does mean a lot to me – but not in the traditional sense of rank or title. It means a lot because I know what it took to get it, and because of the chance to practice a new form. :D

  • brian page says:

    Well said Master Murphy. This clip also popped up on my Facebook page. I’m glad you noted, as I did, that this lads ‘helpers’ were anything but, and were actually the cause of the failed breaks. We’ve all taken part in demo’s on foreign ground, outside the comfort of the dojang, and found out the hard way that wet grass is not helpful, shoes are a pain and there is no substitute for a breaking holder. Mr Taggert’s only mistake was not rehearsing his demo and using a proper holder. I expect the shoes didn’t help. I remember attempting to break 3×1″ boards with a front punch, and leaving only the impression of my knuckles in the soaking wet front board. Then discovering the middle board was the wrong way around !

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hello Mr Page,

      Great to hear from you again. It was a bad demo, we all know that, but so was yours and mine and a million more bad demos. We got away with ours and my wife and I fell about laughing at your knuckle imprint on the soaking front wet board. I bet there loads like that. Did you get those boards in Cork and buy them in November Ha Ha..

  • Ray Gillespie says:

    This story about Andrew reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, by Michael Jordan (aka the best basketball player in the world):

    “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Appreciate your response Sir,

      That story you mention about Michael Jordan was doing the rounds on facebook for awhile, and it fits well here, and each time I read these facts of how often he failed, it shows how hard it is to succeed.

      On a slightly different slant, but not totally not un-related. We all see these types of inspiring quotes, all the time popping up on the internet. Hey Sir, don’t get me wrong I love them all, they all help. What confuses me though, is when one minute I see people post really enlightening historic quotes, and the next these same folk rip the daylights out of a someone tripping up.

      Thanks again for taking your time to engage this topic. Every response will help Mr Taggart and the rest of us to understand the reality of being human.

  • Stephen Terry says:

    As someone who has worked for various media organisations I know all too well how easy it is to manipulate any situation – social media is a wonderful information tool but can easily distort reality as much as newspapers and TV.
    People really should think hard before posting anything – ask yourself why you are doing it – if it is to make fun or ridicule do you really want to be the guy who does that…
    I watched the clip and yes, even someone of my inexperience (Orange Belt) knew that it was a disaster – but the one thing that struck me was that he did not quit – he kept trying – I really admired him for that…

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hi Sir,
      Glad of your input.The personalities of the presenter, and sometimes the media brandname used may carry a degree of influence. Listeners and Viewers develop loyalty based on the trust of said reporter/media hence as you say minds can be so easily manipulated.
      You would be in the know, how the media lanscape is changing, and we Irish have a growing healthy obsession with it so yes man, your so right here. We do need to slow down first and think. People should think and think hard before posting anything and ask the hard questions you suggest….

  • We all go through failure at some time in our life and it is hard to take on board but getting back up and facing the disappointment is what makes us the people we are…. To Mr Taggert I can only say take on board the comments posted only if they are relevant to your future success. Work with them and prove to the critiques what you are about!!! The real failures are the so called masters who jump grades to be someone they are not….. Now that’s embarrassing because they know who they are …. Best wishes Master Summers.
    PS – Master Murphy is a true master who I personally have always looked up to and I am honoured to have worked with him in the past. I remember a big disappointment for him many years ago when he was refused his dan grade minutes before the grading started. What did he do? He brushed his disappointment aside and got on with it! Well done Frank Murphy.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hey Master Summers Sir,

      Good to hear from you. Yeah it is very hard, to get up again, after a hard knocking like this. Plus facing a load of disappointment for the next few days. But your right, It certainly makes us the people we are.Funny you recalling that refused dan grade test, at least I had the advantage of crying alone, off the public radar, and didn’t have to worry that some sneaky cameraman would exacerbate my grief.

      Hope all is well with you Sir,

  • Hi Sir, i watched the demo and my initial reaction was “god i know how you feel” then i have to admit i watched him measure up with balance and precision and thought “not bad technique, how come 1 board isn’t breaking” and several people have mentioned that his helpers were not holding the boards correctly and i have to agree that this was possibly a major factor, once the board doesn’t go after you give it a good hit (as in the punch) then adrenalin (or panic) starts to set in and this makes it even more difficult. This performance will also be a test of character for Andrew, i suggest he puts it behind him as you can’t change the past but like failing a grading can make you a stronger person if you learn from the reasons you have failed ( i have failed 2 gradings so i know what its like) then he will come through as a stronger and better person in the end. He can’t be that bad an Instructor judging by the support he has received from his students. good luck Sir.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Bang on the button Sir,

      Yes I looked at that clip a good few times and agree with all you say. You could see the mix of excitement, adrenalin and on-coming panic take steady hold. But you and I see ourselves in Andrew when we did this, and messed up years ago. Also your right as well where you say, he certainly can’t be an ordinary instructor, look at the volume overwhelming positive support he got when this went public, or did it go viral already ?

      One final point though, I must admit that although I had a good go myself at the keyboard warriors I did poke fun at folks before myself, so I cringed a bit myself when this thing started to go mad a bit.
      Andrew Taggart did a lot of people a favour last weekend, in a lot more ways than one. Respect Sir and thanks for your generous input as always.

  • stuart taggart says:

    Sir very kind words written there my son Andrew asked me to read this today.as I have said many times to him no one learns from doing right all the time we must loss miss or not be able to to advance our skills. And sir yes I have messed up many a break but also done some crackers such is life. Master Murphy sir thankyou and tae kwon from the taggarts

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hello Mr Taggart,

      My God man, have the movie crew wagons pulled up outside the house yet? The whole thing is daft. I was away for a few days with the wife and kids, and came back today and could hardly believe my little blog got 200 likes, mostly all positive and lots of Black Belts even from from as far as Canada freely admitting that they too had terrible off-days. Andrew is certainly not alone.

      The real winner is all of this is Fife Taekwondo and the solid community you guys have going for yourselves up there. This support for Andrew has been above and beyond all our expectations. while he must be wilting with the demo itself he must be inwardly chuffed he is loved and held high regard.

      A good few folks took up on his dogged determination. I had seen him compete in a sparring competition the weekend previously and he certainly can fight, no problems there. He is a credit to Mr Fisher, who drives a hard test for his Black Belts.
      This was hard for him, sure. He has since replied to myself, so he is still alive and kicking, and he will get over it. It probably will hurt for a few more weeks but the experience will be the makings of him. It will be a blessing in disguise.
      You got a good son Mr Taggart, best wishes to you and yours and thanks again for your reply.

      Frank Murphy

  • Richard Samuel says:

    I have been amazed at the reaction of people but not amazed at how fast this has spread. It is already all over the internet and all because for a less than 2 minutes someone was having a bad day. We can easily look at what went wrong in the video or say how we could have done it better but it is easy to look back on something and say these things and be amazed at how “bad” this person is without looking at what is actually happening. When I first saw this video I didn’t judge how bad Andrew Taggart had done or how badly he was hitting the boards or that he had hurt the child. I saw a martial artist that personified the tenets of what Tae Kwon Do is about.
    Courtesy – When the child was hurt he stopped his demo and made sure the child was ok.
    Perseverance – He never gave up we could hear the laughter and I am sure he could as well BUT he carried on with his demo.
    Indomitable Spirit – he could have easily given up, I am sure at some point he must have thought what is happening to me but he didn’t.
    Andrew keep your head held high and ignore those who have no idea how hard this can be at times.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hi Mr Samuel,

      Yes Sir, you managed to see what a good few of us missed, or didn’t mention beforehand. Your right,he did in fact run across to the little girl and check if she was OK, so Courtesy shown straight away. Pity that announcer did not mention this instead of the focus at this point was his cringe not the fact he ran to her aid.

      And notice, good many people mentioned his perseverance.He can show self control without getting back at those who ribbed him and indomitable spirit to get back on top of his game asap..
      Respect, Sir and thanks for your contribution.

  • Chris Reid says:

    Great article! Really really good. I am sure the Instructor will be able to relate to his students who suffer bullying and will be able to set an example of how to deal with it. I have seen 3 or 4 boards break with less effort than he used to “miss” one. Real boards, never directed frustration at his holders -although they could use a little help- and kept smiling throughout….yet he is mocked. How did this happen in an art that teaches the opposite of how many reacted? Simple. When leaders created the term, “phony TKD” they undermined the good that can be done and created an attitude where we judge each other as inferior. They ruined their art and ambitions for it when this label was created and the young man simply exposed a flaw in the heart of this art that had so much potential for good.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Mr Reid man what a response. Certain negative elements of us all are quick to surface, and yes so easy to mock, and pull someone down. Boards as you say like 3 or 4 sometimes break easier than his did, and when I was his age I would have directed frustration at the guys holding the board, do a bit of maturity.

      Your comment is an experienced one, Sir and is it not amazing how much good folks that have taken their time and energy to make such valuable comments on this demo.The longer this debate goes on the more we are indebted to Andrew Taggart
      Best Regards Sir,
      Frank Murphy

  • John Stark says:

    Thank goodness for a site that shows commonsense and understanding.
    I have good memories of Andrew Taggart as I watched him progress through the various grades along with my daughter. He was a very popular member of a highly talented and competitive group of youngsters who always looked out for and supported each other. In competition Andrew was hard as nails but good natured and caring away from it. Modest in victory and gracious in defeat. He is the perfect example to be instructing young students and keeping them off the streets, and is a great source of pride to his parents and Mr Fisher.
    There is no denying that I found the video clip very funny. But with the over the top reaction from the national press and the venomous comments posted, any amusement soon evaporated.
    No-one would have enjoyed leg pulling from his Dad Stuart and some banter from his mates more than Andrew, but sadly because of the negative reaction this has been spoilt. I wholeheartedly agree with the view of Richard Samuel. The nasty comments say more about the people posting them than Andrew.
    I was lucky I am of a generation when participating in sport you were allowed to make mistakes (often hilarious) without them appearing worldwide and I can assure you there were many!!
    So good luck Andrew, keep your spirits up and pay no attention to the negative comments we know how good you are.

    • Master Frank Murphy says:

      Hello to you Mr. Stark,

      Couldn’t agree with you more, saw him in a sparring competition and a gutsy fighter and one genuine guy. Yes You and Richard Samuel are right, it sure says a lot about them, there was no need to go way over the top. Like You could see he was only well aware himself he was struggling but he never lost his control. If anything you could see him almost see the funny side to the whole thing. The piece that went flying, was a pure accident, it could happen to a Bishop, or Hee Ill Cho, and how people took this bit out of context was deplorable.

      You and I can indeed count ourselves lucky, our generation missed our mistakes being shown around the world.That must have been tough for him. Ross Fisher assures me he is a bigger and better man from all this. It is such a crime and a pity that the keyboard warriors cannot see his work as an instructor. In fact he could use this entire to show how good a role model he is by ignoring it, and just getting on with his training, which will now be better and getting on with the Andrew Taggart we all know him to be.

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