Laurence Hand, VI Dan

International Instructor

I began my Taekwon-Do journey in November 1982 at the tender age of 16, on the very first day that Taekwon-do was brought to Reading. As the first physical activity for which I had ever shown any aptitude, the classes made a strong impression on me and I was determined to continue, even as the friends I started with fell by the wayside. As I continued to develop my physical skills, I came to understand the other benefits of Taekwon-do, such as building self confidence, leadership and coaching skills and, of course, self defence. In 1986, I was one of the first Reading students achieve Black Belt under the father of UK Taekwon-do, Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha. From there, I became a nationally qualified instructor and taught in Newbury from 1987 to 1992 and at Reading University from 1993 to 2001. During this time, I taught many students of all ages, several achieving black belt level before moving on from their University studies. We also competed in many national level tournaments, winning a number of medals. In 1993 I was lucky enough to promote to the 4th Dan by the founder of Taekwon-do, General Choi Hong Hi, when I travelled to the Netherlands for an international course. In 2001, as a 5th Dan, there was a pause in my journey due to personal circumstances and I returned to the fold in 2012 and joined Thames Valley Taekwon-do School under Master Andrew Whiteley, 8th Dan, where I currently train, teach and umpire. In 2019 I was promoted to 6th Dan by Grandmaster John Williamson.