Frank Murphy 7th Degree  

Frank Murphy from Past to Present

Master Frank Murphy's Biography - Author, Martial Arts Consultant and Taekwondo InstructorAuthor, Blogger, Speaker and former Taekwondo international, Frank Murphy has enjoyed a colourful and varied career since he began training in 1974. As a fighter and coach for numerous Taekwondo teams in both Ireland and the UK, he is one of the privileged few to have been promoted to Black Belt by the founder of Taekwondo General Choi in Dublin, in 1977.

While these exploits earned him coverage in English, Irish and American Martial Arts magazines, his real gift has been a sharp wit and flair for public speaking. 

During a career spanning over 45 years, he has won eleven national titles ( seven of which were consecutive wins at breaking from 1980 to 1986) and three international Taekwondo titles, opened one of the first full time martial arts centres in the UK in 1996, chaired the British GTI Taekwondo Association. He is a former columnist for the following magazines: Martial Arts Illustrated, Black Belt UK, and Martial Arts Success.

Twist-KickHe produced a series of Traditional ITF Styled Taekwondo Colourbelt Pattern Videos in 1996, and in 2000 became one of the first Europeans to graduate from the American Council of Martial Arts Instructors Training Course in Florida. He was a speaker at most of the major martial art business seminars in the UK from 2001 to 2005, and was invited as guest speaker to the World Martial Arts Industry Association Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2003. He was voted Taekwon-Do Instructor of the year by MAI in 2004, and received a lifetime achievement award for over thirty years of training, for his many contributions from the UK & US Martial Arts Industry Association, presented by David Lowe of Bytomic, at the College of Martial Arts in Birmingham, 2005.

His trademark dynamic teaching style has gained testimonies from martial art instructors worldwide and as a Black Belt grading Examiner he has promoted countless students to Black Belt. 

Master Frank Murphy's Biography - Author, Martial Arts Consultant and Taekwondo InstructorIn 2006 he moved back to his native Cork in Ireland and developed a kickboxing fitness system called Kaizendo, with his wife Catarina, who has a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Loughborough University. This was a project, aimed mainly for adults interested in fitness and Boxing and was approved by Kickboxing Ireland.   

Frank Murphy Tai Chi

 

 

Frank Murphy now lives in his native Cork, Ireland and works as a Tai Chi instructor qualified under the Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi institute, as well as a professional Taekwon-Do instructor.

Acknowledgments and Current Reflections 

I owe a debt of gratitude to my instructor,Master Aiden Walsh, who still inspires me to train every day, simple. To Grand Master Ted Hopwood who ensures I am true to myself. To ABA Boxing coach, Wing Chun and Tai Chi Instructor Shabir Akhtar, whose won every major Taekwon-Do sparring title during his career. He above all else, has me still addicted to training today. I am grateful to my many peers and mentors over the years; Norman Creedon, Bryan & Dermot Walsh, Jim Sullivan, Michael “Haulie” Fitzgerald and his brother Richard ,John Canty, Cyril McSweeney, Alan Dalton, Pat MacCarthy, Niall ‘O Keeffe, Francis Barrett, Willie Busteed, Mark “Sparkey” Fitzgerald, David Devins and  Mark Lee.

My greatest competitive win was when I represented Ireland, on the Irish team in Chaco , Argentina in August 1981, in the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Taekwon-Do Championships. Life long friends were made with my fellow team mates, who are now Masters and the captain then, being non other than Grand Master Brendan O Toole. The others were Gerry Martin, Francis Barrett, Tommy Barry and our coach master Aidan Walsh and our manager was one of the Irish pioneer founders Grand Master Robert Howard.

Master Hee Ill Cho made a massive impact, whom I was lucky to have had shared training time and long car journeys when I lived in England. Also in the UK and the in the US my main influences, mentors and training partners, were Lyn Evans, Bob Elliott, Bhupinder Sahota, Teh Hock Ann, the fantastic Steve Sharkey, Steve Breakwell, Jane Halling, Dave Bonthuys, Kevin Summers, David Lowe, Matt Fiddes, Leigh Childs, Doug Lockwood, Kim Stones, Clive Harrison, Tony Sewell, Francis Plunkett, Bob Sykes, John Swift, Tom Callos, Fred Mertens, Nuala Perrin, Linda Arksey and Dr. Paul Lam. The list can go on but of course all instructors and students I came across made their own individual impact. The first student that I promoted to Black Belt in the UK was David Martin. He has since traveled  the world studying from many masters and is now one of the top instructors under George Dillman.

ITA LogoLiving in the UK brought highs and lows. I had a very successful Academy and some top class students in who fought against the odds in tournaments such as the Clash of the Titans. Dave Sheppard, Paul Haworth, Ian Lewis, Jonathan Day, Dave Harper and had also some great instructors, Jagdeep Sagoo, Pip Bassett, Leigh Haworth, Sean Wright and Andrew Wan.

Dave Sheppard was probably the best student among many that emerged from the Gravesend Academy. Jon Mills who was like a brother and Tommy Sinnot (RIP) were great guys. these lads kept my academy running which allowed me to take journeys for months at a time exploring the UK Martial Arts landscape.  I was just like a spoiled child in a sweet shop and with all the cash and time I needed to learn as many martial arts possible. These were probably the most productive and intensely valuable learning experiences of my life. The UK martial arts scene was buzzing, and I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, learning and absorbing from guys who I had idolized as a beginner back in Cork. Grateful and fortunate to have shared long car journeys with GM Hee Ill Cho when I was Chairman of the GIT, and if this wasn’t enough, being a columnist for Martial Arts Magazine, allowed daily access to the man most widely respected in the UK. MAI editor, and superb martial artist, the fighters fighter himself, Bob Sykes. His intensity and adherence to every type of combat discipline, at this time was insatiable. One Day GM Master Cho, next day Geoff Thompson who blew me away with his twist on practicality These surreal experiences moulded my love for all things to do with the martial arts and my experience led me to truly believe that it is never the style that matters , but the practitioner that really counts.

Lured by all these delicious distractions, I strayed from ITF Taekwon-Do and immersed in every combat discipline but the traditional martial arts.  While I learned a lot and was getting to grips with how each style, in particular Boxing, was beginning to have a lasting impression on me, burn-out slowly became a reality towards the end of  2005. The many trips to the USA, the relentless travelling up and down the M1, the intensity of running the Academy and all culminating in a visit from the VAT inspection man, ended this chapter in my life. This was a profound low in my life and put paid to any dazzling career ambitions I might have had harboured especially in the UK.  So I returned to Ireland.

A few years later my youngest daughter Maria was being bullied at school, so I took her to a Taekwon-Do club in Mallow. I was surprised to meet an old student of mine Mark Buckley, who had recently been promoted to Master Mark Buckley who was the instructor of Mallow Taekwondo club. I remember him as a very small boy with long black hair, who used to hitch a ride on the back of Mark Richards motorbike to get to my classes in Mayfield.  He had a pair of big brown boxing gloves bigger than himself and possessed an unhealthy love of sparring. Ask anyone in Cork about that club in Mayfield, in the late seventies and early eighties and then you might come someway to understanding both our careers. It would be classed locally as a mental club, on Cork’s northside.

Meeting him again was a surreal experience as, after 40 years he, of all my past students, would be the one to help re-focus my training. It was the summer of 2014. I was teaching some Tai Chi courses and doing a few music gigs ( you guessed, mostly blues !) odd jobbing as a carpenter and just barely getting by.  Ireland was slowly pulling out of recession and this mirrored my life then. My right hip made it difficult to walk let alone kick, but this impediment did not stop Mark from urging me to get back into teaching once more. He said a hip operation would sort out my hip and what a shame to “jack it all in ” after such a varied career in the martial arts. I was far from convinced as I took my place with the other parents at the back of his training hall, waiting for Maria to finish her white belt beginner class. He persisted in trying to get me back into training, and always asked me to stay and watch the seniors , but the white and yellow belts were impressive enough for me at that stage.

Then, right out of the blue, another surreal happening.  One of the biggest martial arts franchises owners in the UK , if not the world, called me up wondering if I was still teaching and would I be interested in doing a few seminars for his schools. To say I was embarrassed when Matt Fiddes called is an understatement. After all my years of training I had nothing to show for it only, a gammy limp, an ageing frame, but worse of all, a total non existent belief in myself. Matt Fiddes by contrast had achieved success that few dare to dream. If anyone detracted against him in his early days, then I was guilty. He has since proved that hard work ethic was the way he would outlast his many detractors. I had failed him a few grading promotions in the past and now, here he was keeping my protestations at bay, while reminding me of the real Frank Murphy who had inspired him to train hard, keep his head down and work relentlessly. I have since met and trained with most of his top black belts, in particular Master David Finch, whose professionalism has made a very timely impact on my life these past few years.

My martial arts career would have been over in the summer of 2014, unless Matt Fiddes and Mark Buckley had not intervened, at a time when I was in a very dark place. Anything that has happened after 2014 is indeed a glorious bonus that the universe has gifted me. Don’t know how long more I will manage it but the martial arts will always be apart of my life. Today at nearly 64 years old I feel blessed to be still teaching and grateful my career has spanned two generations, both equally positive. I am limited certainly physically, in some areas, but my belief is back and this is probably the most important gift the the martial arts has given me and its this belief that I am passionate in getting across in every student.  I still manage the odd trip, for a seminar to the UK , still active in my community with teaching Tai Chi in care homes for the elderly, I run two Taekwon-Do schools with my wife Catarina and a very special guest Instructor, current World and European Sparring champion Mr. Thomas Fogarty , who hails from the Mask Buckley stable no less and just about manage to play the odd gig with the lads in the band.

Family life, balance and friendships, are important to me, the lads in the band and the music of the blues keep me grounded, the MF organisation are an extended family and after 16 years living in the UK many still remain friends, the Irish Taekwon-Do Association  a diligent group of seriously hard working Taekwon-Do fanatics, who have put years of toil and sweat into making the ITA the force it is today.

One lesson in all of this is, I tell my students that “You are the company you keep” and to be among such a talented, educated, experienced and results driven tribes is both scary and an honour.  I am excited about my future and grateful that a new chapter opens, many new friends yet to meet, and new exciting opportunities for myself and my students….this journey continues….

In life, very few make it alone, regardless of which tribe we belong to, so  perhaps we will soon cross paths,  meet-up on our journey to share training time and friendship together. 

 

MASTER FRANK MURPHY 7TH Degree CAREER TIMELINE.

1974 – Started ITF style Tae Kwon-Do after attending an Exhibition by Master Rhee Ki Ha who first brought Tae Kwon-do to the Republic of Ireland and the U.K. Began training with Master Aiden Walshe from Dublin.

1977 – Promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt by founder of Tae Kwon-do General Choi Hong Hi.

1979 – Opened his first Tae Kwon-Do club in Mayfield, Cork City, Ireland.

1980 – 1st Place Breaking – RITA Irish National Championships.

1981 – 1st Place Breaking & 2nd Place Patterns – RITA National Championships

1981 – Member of the Irish National Team who competed in the 3rd World Tae Kwon Do  (ITF) championships in  Argentina. 1st Place at Team Patterns, 2nd Place at Team Breaking and 3rd Place at Team Sparring. Individual Bronze Medalist at Patterns.

1982 – 1st Place Breaking and 1st Place Patterns -RITA National Champs.

1982- Awarded the Taekwondo sportsperson of the year from the Cork Indoor Sports Association, for achievements and organising Taekwon-Do events in Cork city.

1983 – 1st Place Breaking and 1st Place Sparring – Irish National Championships

1984 – 1st Place Breaking – Irish National Championships

1985 – 1st Place Breaking, 2nd Place Patterns, 3rd Place Sparring – Irish National Championships.

1985- Organized the first Karate. V. Tae Kwon Do tournament in Cork with Sensai Timmy Harte.

1986 – 1st Place Breaking – Irish National Championships

1987 – Promoted to 5th Dan by Master Hee Il Cho.

1988 – Conducted first seminar in the U.K. Holmfirth Sports Centre, Huddersfield.

1989 – Drafted colour belt grading syllabus for the All Ireland Tae Kwon-Do Association

1991 – Moved base to the UK, joined the Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain.

1992 – Opened the first clubs in the U.K. Crawley, Watford & Gravesend.

1993 – With the help of four other instructors, founded the Global Tae Kwon-Do International U.K.

1994 – Appeared on Sky Sports representing the G.T.I. Conducted first Instructors courses for the GTI .

1995 – Represented the G.T.I. in Germany at the 30 Years Tae Kwon Do celebration in Cologne.  Trained with Grandmaster Kwon Jae Hwa one of the founders of the ITF.

1995 – Produced the 1st edition of the grading syllabus book for the G.T.I.

1996 – Appeared on the front covers of Combat, Martial Arts Illustrated and Fighter magazines promoting the G.T.I. Established over 3,500 students in the U.K. as well as Northern Ireland.

1996 – Produced the 2nd edition of the grading syllabus book for the G.T.I.

1996 – Opened up full time Martial Arts Academy in Gravesend Kent. Promoted to Sixth degree Black Belt by Master Ted Hopwood 8th Degree.

1997 – Voted Tae Kwon-Do Instructor of the year by Martial Arts Illustrated

1997 – Held the first G.T.I. Summer camp in the Scilly Isles

1997- Published the in-house magazine ‘The Grapevine’ for the G.T.I.  One of the first UK schools to join the EFC. Attended two  EFC conferences in New York  and two the UK.

1998 – Hosted one of the first seminars with an up and coming martial arts star

Geoff Thomson in Gravesend in Kent. Resigned from the G.T.I.

1999 – Became completely independent as ‘Family Martial Arts Black Belt Schools’     First  UK  school to join NAPMA.

1999 – Produced a 3 set series of Traditional Tae Kwon Do instructional videos.

2000 – Became a regular columnist with “Frank Murphy’s Master Class” in Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine.

2000 – Graduated from the, ACMA, American Certified Martial Arts Instructors Course, which was supported by the Cooper Institute, DallasTexas.

2000 – Hosted one of the first NAPMA courses in the UK. Began teaching the new system Kaizendo.

2001–   Family Martial Arts receive “Best School” award for their service to the local community in Gravesend, Kent, UK.

2002-Became a columnist for martial arts industry association (MAIA) magazine, MA Success.

2003–   Appeared as guest speaker at the MAIA world martial arts conference in Las Vegas Nevada.

2003- Master of ceremonies for the British College of martial arts, Forest of Arden Hotel, Birmingham. Received a lifetime achievement award from MAIA sponsored by Bytomic Distribution.

2004-Voted Instructor of the Year by Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine.

2007- Relocated to Ireland, began first Kaizendo classes in Mallow, Cork.

2008- Hosted a Taekwondo Training weekend at Mallow sports centre for grades of 3rd degree Black Belt and above.

2010. Received longevity award from the Lord Mayor of Cork, on behalf of the Cork Indoor Sports Awards Association for over twenty eight years of Taekwondo involvement, since first winning this award in 1982.

2011- Promoted to Instructor under the Dr. Paul Lam system of Tai Chi, specialising in teaching Sun Style Tai Chi for Arthritis Sufferers particularly in HSE Day care centres for the elderly..This was a journey milestone as I had been keen on Tai Chi practise since becoming a Taekwon-Do black belt. This was my first formal Tai Chi qualification.

2011- Promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt in  Taekwon-Do by one of the original pioneers of TaekwonDo now promoted to Grand Master Ted Hopwood 9th Dan.

2011- Graduated the first 22 Kaizendo students to Black Belt in Mallow, Cork.

2011- Launched a new website www.frankmurphysmasterclass.com

2012 – Kaizendo gains recognition by Kickboxing Ireland and the Irish Martial Arts Commission.

2012 – Release of  book ‘Boxing Basics for Martial Arts’.

2013 – Regular contributor to ‘Totally Taekwondo’ on-line magazine.

2014 – Joined the ITA (Irish Taekwondo Association) and opened up the clubs together with my wife Catarina Murphy 3rd Dan in Ardfinnan, County Tipperary and Mitchelstown, County Cork.

2014 – Was one of the organizers and promoters of the hugely successful Cork 40 Years Reunion of Taekwon-Do.

2015 – Passed Level One of the Irish Martial Arts Commission Exam, Specific for Taekwon-Do.

2016 – Attended the July ITA Summer Camp with Master Jerzy Jedut VIII Dan

2016 – Attended the IIC (International Instructor’s course)  with the ITF in Paris, France.

2017  – Sadly attended my last full ITA Summer camp in Limerick as my body no longer could take three days (3 sessions per day) of intense Taekwondo training sessions in a row.

2017 – Attended the IIC with the ITF in Manchester UK

2018 – Became consultant and grading examiner for the Matt Fiddes group  in the UK.

2018 – Attended the IIC in May 2018 with the ITF in Dublin.

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