Coleraine Taekwondo Club has kick-started an exciting new era - by bringing a little slice of Korea to west of the Bann in Coleraine.
The club - which promotes the Korean martial art - moved to a new home at Coleraine West Community Centre at the Rope Walk earlier this month.
In doing so the club hopes to go from strength to strength and is encouraging anyone from six to sixty to try out the sport.
“We have seen greater numbers coming to us over the past few years and we hope our new home can bring us even more new members,” says fourth dan black belt and instructor, William McLaughlin, who has been involved with the club for the past 19 years.
During that time William - who began the sport as a 14-year-old - has trained no less than 10 black belts. The most recent black belt was achieved by Cameron McCauley when he was just 10.
William has been involved with both the Coleraine club and UUC Taewondu Club as an instructor and even devoted his time to both when he was working in London for two years.
Under his tutelage the club is a fantastic environment for young people to learn taekwondo.
“We are very much a family-orientated club with some parents joining the children here. Our youngest member is just four and our oldest is in their forties. We welcome anyone from any background.”
Commendably the club has a pyramid structure whereby the senior grades help to coach and encourage the youngest and most inexperienced members.
It all adds up to a club which is welcoming and supportive, teaching the sport in a safe and harmonious environment.
William says: “We teach the basic tenets of taekwondu: discipline, etiquette, modesty, perseverance and self control as well as indomitable spirit, never giving up.
“There’s no particular skill set needed for taekwondo, just a willingness to come along, learn and enjoy it.”
Another great boost for the sport and the club itself came earlier this month when William won the Sports Adminstrator of the Year category at the annual Coleraine Sports Awards.
“Of course I was thrilled to win it, it was a major honour,” says a modest William. “But it was great for the club and the sport to get that sort of publicity and recognition. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
The club meets on two nights - Monday and Tuesday 7pm-8.30pm - at Coleraine West Community Centre.