Grand Master Robert J Howard

Grand Master Robert Howard
9th Degree Black Belt
President RITA
President of the
National Governing Body
for the ITF in Ireland

Welcome to the Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association web site. The RITA was Established in 1972 to spread Taekwon-Do throughout Ireland. We are the National Governing Body for the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in Ireland.

Contained within our site is all the latest news from Ireland and the ITF, Information for beginners, all relevant member forms to download and helpful reference material for Instructors and Students.

If you require further Information contact the National Secretary or visit your local Taekwon-Do School.

Important Events

Masters, Instructors and Black Belts are kindly asked to update their contact information by returning this form to the National Secretary.

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Upcoming Events

May 30

ITF International Technical Seminar

Don’t miss your chance to avail of 15 hours of instruction from one of Ireland’s most Senior Taekwon-Do Masters, with over 40 years experience.

Senior Master Francis Barrett VIII Degree will conduct an official ITF International Technical Seminar for black Belts on Saturday May 30th, Sunday 31st May and Monday June 1st 2015 in The Commons Express Inn, New Mallow Road, Blackpool, Cork.

Closing date for applications is Thursday 22 May

Download Information Flyer
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For more information contact:
RITA National Secretary
32 Alderwood Avenue
Springfield, Tallaght
Dublin 24, Ireland

Tel/Fax: +353 (0)1 4510462. Email:

May 30 Tigers & Dragons Instructors’ Course

This course is designed as an introduction to the RITA's Childrens development Programme also known as the Taekwon-Do Tigers and Dragons programme. It is aimed at instructors, black belts who want to teach, and adult colour belts who want to assist in the teaching of, the Tigers and Dragons classes in their school. The approved Tigers (6-8 years) and Dragons (9-11 years) programme is an alternative syllabus for young children with the aim of long term development of their flexibility, strength and Taekwon-Do techniques. This syllabus has proved very popular in the RITA schools which have adopted it and there has been a significant increase in the membership of these schools as a direct result. [Please note this new syllabus is an alternative syllabus for RITA schools who wish to avail of it. It is up to the Senior Instructor in each school whether they wish to teach the traditional syllabus or the recognised Tigers & Dragons syllabus to younger members]

The RITA's National Beginner's Month is this September so why not come along on the 14th and see if the syllabus can benefit your school!

Qualification: Black belt participants will receive a RITA Tigers & Dragons Instructor qualification (D Class Certificate) which will qualify them to teach the Tiger and Dragons syllabus. Adult colour belts will receive a RITA Tigers & Dragons Assistant qualification which will qualify them to assist a black belt instructor in the teaching of the Tiger and Dragons syllabus.

Course Content

  • New developments and overview of Tigers and Dragons syllabus
  • Outline of the aims, skills, learning activities, goals, assessments, grading system of both the tigers' and dragons' programme.
  • Explanation of the 3 year cycle in both programmes
  • Practical advice for teaching 6-8 year olds and 9 to 11 year olds
  • Practice teaching the two syllabi
  • Games and teaching exercises for young children
  • Motivating young children
  • Organising demos, fun challenges and gradings for Tigers and Dragons
  • Useful equipment for teaching children (sources of equipment)

All participants will receive a Pack setting out the full syllabus in detail, including easy-to-follow Class Plans, teaching plans, assessments, advertising material and everything you need to get the Tigers & Dragons Programme up and running in your school.

Open to: RITA instructors, adult black belts and adult Colour Belts (6th Kup+)

Download Information Flyer
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Recent News
Bronze Medal at the Euros

Congratulations to Mr Leon McSherry who won bronze at the European Championships in Italy. After his Bronze medal in 2014 he was seeded into the quarter-finals where he faced Sweden. In an impressive display which included the technically difficult Juche as a designated pattern he beat the Swede 5-0. Mr. McSherry then faced Greece in the Semi but just lost out in a very tight match.

The morning session at day one of the euros saw our three juniors in action in their pattern divisions. Caoimhe Keogh had a win against Spain but narrowly lost to England in the quarters of the II dan division. Hannah Eade beat Bulgaria then lost out to Russia by a point on the judges scorecards in the I Dan division. Shane Grehan had a tough start to his first Euros by losing out to the Czech in the I Dan section. The afternoon session saw the adults competing in patterns where Mr Patrick Choi lost out in the quarter finals of the II Dan patterns to the Czech after beating Latvia and Mr Martin Mahoney lost out to Wales in the III Dan section. It was the first time the patterns scores were displayed on the ring screens which showed how close international competition is.

On day two of the euros there was heartbreak for Shane Grehan in the sparring, after being awarded a win against Bulgaria in a tough fight which went 3 rounds it was then declared a draw following a protest by the Bulgarians for an incorrect warning. There was then a further 6 minutes of golden point sparring where both fighters thought they had it until the Bulgarian finally got two judges decisions to end it. Hannah Eade also had a battle with a Bulgarian in her first bout but after leading during round 1 she narrowly lost out in the end in a spar that could have gone either way. Later Caoimhe Keogh and Mr Mahoney lost tough bouts against Greece and England respectively that gave them valuable ring experience for the future.

The Juniors of Shane, Hannah and Caoimhe at their first black belt Euros showed they belong on the international stage and the future of the RITA National Team looks bright.

With ITF England's successful bid for the 2017 Euros in Liverpool it will be an exciting opportunity for us to send a large team. We hope that some of the colour belt squad will be able to travel with the Black Belt Squad to the Euros in Thessaloniki, Greece next year to compete in the Child section (10-13 years) as red belts then move in to the Junior (14-15, 16-17) division as black belts for 2017. Competing at this level requires a lot of dedication but the RITA coaches will offer all the support and training possible plus watch out for special training sessions with International coaches/competitors. Remember the Euros has Child, Junior, Adult and Veteran divisions so age is no barrier to compete. We will be looking at all the members who show potential at squad training and competitions so make sure you attend!

We would like to thank The Audi Centre ( for their kind sponsorship donation.

Irish Squad travel to the European Championships

We would like to wish the Irish Squad the best of luck at the EITF European Championships. The team head off on Monday to compete against Europe's best at the Championships in Andria, Italy. The squad will be accompanied by the National Coach Master Stephen Doyle and by the EITF selected Umpires Master Robert Howard, Master Floyd Keane and Mr. Donal O'Doherty.

Representing Ireland will be:
Mr. Leon McSherry (GM Howards Taekwon-Do​)
Mr. Martin Mahoney Galway Taekwon-Do School​
Mr. Patrick Choi Carrick-on-Suir Taekwon-Do School​)
Ms. Caoimhe Keogh (Galway Taekwon-Do School)
Ms. Hannah Eade (Carrick-on-Suir Taekwon-Do School)
Mr. Shane Grehan (Carrick-on-Suir Taekwon-Do School)

We would like to thank The Audi Centre ( for their kind sponsorship donation.

RITA 2015 Female Training

Master Valerie Keane VII Degree conducted the annual Female Training, hosted by Ms Therese McGrath (Instructor Tuam...

Posted by Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association on Sunday, 26 April 2015
New Umpires all set for ITF-Ireland Cup

Congratulations to all the black belts who passed the recent RITA National Umpire course. The course was hosted by Dublin North East Taekwon-Do School in Donneycarney, and conducted by Master Robert Howard and Master Mark O’Donnell of the RITA’s Umpire Committee.

The course covered all aspects of judging national Taekwon-Do competitions; patterns, sparring, power and special technique. The day balanced presentations, interactive scoring, discussion, and practical experience, and saw all the umpires converge to a common consensus in scoring patterns and sparring. The relaxed atmosphere was evident in the open discussions and opinions from experienced and novice umpires alike.

The newly qualified umpires are now ready to put their new skills to use at the upcoming ITF-Ireland Cup on the 11th April. The tournament will be an extra special day as we will be celebrating Taekwon-Do 60th birthday.


Name School National Umpire level Certificate Number
Tim Collins Galway A 15-UA-01
Martin Mahoney Galway A 15-UA-02
Nathan Fox Stillorgan C 15-UC-01
Chris Gaffney Dublin North East C 15-UC-02
Fergal Hennigan Stillorgan C 15-UC-03
Aidan Kelly St Marks C 15-UC-04
Caoimhe Keogh Galway C 15-UC-05
Dara Keogh Galway C 15-UC-06
Laura Keogh Galway C 15-UC-07
Niamh Keogh Galway C 15-UC-08
John Malone GM Howard’s C 15-UC-09
Brian Murray Blessington C 15-UC-10
Paul Murphy Dublin North East C 15-UC-11
Pat Walsh Dublin North East C 15-UC-12
Colour Belt Development Squad Success at English Open

Students from St. Marks got to meet Grandmaster Howard and Senior Master Phelan after the black belt class.

Congratulations to the members of the RITA’s Colour Belt Development Squad who performed so well at last weekend’s UKTA’s English Open Championships in Guildford. The 13 students from Carrick-on-Suir, Grandmaster Howard’s Taekwon-Do School, Kilmacow and Stillorgan gave some great performances and brought home a total of 22 medals. The medals were across all three events; patterns, sparring and special technique.

All the students did themselves and their coach (Mr Adam Fox) proud and moved their performance up a level on the day. ‘They all listened to their instructions and often had to did deep to win. The sections were big, and it was great that they got 3 or 4 rounds of experience before reaching the medals’ said Mr Fox.
‘It is great that many of them are still only 11 and 12 years old and that they are prepared to work hard and make sacrifices to improve’ he added.
Three members of Ireland’s national black belt squad were also in action on the weekend and picked up 2 silvers and a bronze in patterns and sparring. The competition will help prepare them for the up coming European Championships in Italy.
But as we know Taekwon-Do is more than about winning medals. It is about self-improvement and moral development. This is best summed up by what Mr Fox said to the squad at the end of the successful day. ‘What made me happy today was that the umpires and officials complimented you on your courtesy, respect and politeness. Your hard work, training and desire to be better were evident in your performances today. The medals were a bonus’
Mr Fox would like to thank all the parents who helped him by supporting and encouraging their children during the trip and over the months of preparation. He would also like to thank the tournament organiser Mr David Norris and the UKTA members for their hospitality and warm welcome over the weekend, and for hosting a tournament of the highest standard. Finally thanks to Master Howard and the National Team black belts who shared their experience and coaching skills with the squad members on the day


Abbie O’Neill (Carrick-on-Suir)
Bronze Patterns
Andrew Loo (Carrick-on-Suir) Bronze Sparring, Bronze Special Technique
Ciara Melay (Kilmacow) Bronze Sparring
Darragh Power (Carrick-on-Suir) Gold Sparring
Emmet O’Rourke (Grandmaster Howard’s) Gold Sparring, Bronze Special Technique
Eoin McLoughlin (Grandmaster Howard’s) Gold Special Technique, Silver Sparring
Finn Howard (Grandmaster Howard’s) Gold Special Technique, Silver Sparring
Grzegorz Jacak  (Carrick-on-Suir) Gold Patterns
Jason Zaidan (Stillorgan) Gold Patterns, Gold, Sparring, Silver Special Technique
Joyce Yu (Grandmaster Howard’s) Bronze Sparring
Max Cleary (Grandmaster Howard’s) Gold Sparring, Bronze Patterns
Sofia Hu (Grandmaster Howard’s) Gold Sparring, Silver Special Technique
Trivo Tijanic (Carrick-on-Suir) Gold Sparring, Silver Special Technique

Black Belt

Leon McSherry (Grandmaster Howard’s)
Silver Patterns
Martin Mahoney (Galway) Silver Sparring
Patrick Choi (Carrick-on-Suir) Bronze Patterns
Black Belt class in St. Marks

Students from St. Marks got to meet Grandmaster Howard and Senior Master Phelan after the black belt class.

St. Marks Taekwon-Do School were host to Ireland's two most Senior Instructors last weekend when Grandmaster Robert Howard, 9th Degree Black belt, and Senior Master Anthony Phelan, 8th Degree Black belt, conducted a class for the RITA Black Belts. Those attending came from Cork, Galway, Wexford, Tipperary, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin. After Mr. Martin Murphy, 6th Degree Black belt, had warmed everyone up Grandmaster Howard went through some kicking drills designed to loosen up the hips and legs. Then all the black belt patterns were covered from 1st to 6th Degree. The final part of the session covered the different aspects of sparring which included 3 Step, 2 Step, 1 Step, Semi free, free sparring and finally tournament sparring combinations.

At the end of the class some of the younger members of St. Marks were allowed to watch on in awe at the high kicks on show and they got to meet Grandmaster Howard and Senior Master Phelan which caused some excitement!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the class and it was an honour to be taught by Instructors with over 40 years experience.

World Championships Information

European Championships Squad Selected
New classes in Oranmore, Galway

Black Belt Certificates

RITA President Grandmaster Robert Howard 9th Degree presented two Carrick-on-Suir members with their ITF Dan Certs at the AGM. Mr Patrick Choi was presented with his 2nd Degree Black Belt Cert and Mr Eanna Hardesty received his 1st Degree Certificate. Congratulations to both!

Mr Patrick Choi  
Mr Eanna Hardesty  
2014 Irish Open

Congratulations to all the participants of the 2014 Irish Open. The two day celebration of Taekwon-Do saw competitors from all the RITA Schools (including our friends from the INTA and Irish ITF Academy) battle it out for the title of National Champion. The RITA Masters Council would like to congratulate Mr Richard Barber, Ms Linda Kenrick and the Tournament Committee on hosting a great event and all the Umpires for making sure it ran smoothly. Below you will find photos of all the winners and action shots from both days thanks to Mr Gerard Byrne. We hope to see everyone at the 2015 ITF Ireland Cup which will be hosted by St. Marks Taekwon-Do School on 11th April.




Historic agreement between ITF and WTF signed

The ITF and WTF have signed a historic argeement which is great news for our international competitors. As NGB for the ITF in Ireland we can now look forward to exciting developments including the chance of Olympic qualifying for our members and participation at WTF international competitions. With our WTF friends now being able to take part in ITF World and European events there will be even greater competition for places so start training harder! To read a copy of the agreement click HERE

Dear all ITF NGBs,
Dear friends and colleagues,

I herewith send to your address the whole integral part of Protocol of Accord in its original version bilaterally signed by WTF President and ITF President and vice-versa, in Nanjing, China on 21st August 2014 under the presence of Dr. Thomas Bach, IOC President.
Words and expressions are lacking to interpret the historical significance of this monumental achievement. As first step taken, many tasks are ahead urging all of us to be more dynamic in our commitment, incarnation of 5 tenets of Taekwon-Do.

With best regards, I remain
Sincerely yours

Professor. Kim Sung Hwan
ITF Secretary General (EB Member)
Draugasse 3
1210 Vienna, Austria
Mobile:+43 699 112 243 33
Tel:        +43 1 292 84 67
Fax:       +43 1 292 55 09

RITA YouTube Channel

RITA YouTube

Check out our YouTube channel for all the recent media appearances for the 40th Anniversary plus some vintage films from the last 40 years! Also in the playlists section you can view some International Tournaments. Videos are regularly added.

RITA 40th Anniversary featured in the National Media

The 3rd and 4th of May was a busy time for the RITA as we were featured on RTE, TV3, Today FM, 98 FM plus the Irish Times and Irish Daily Mail newspapers!

First off was the feature in the Irish Daily Mail about the Three Generations of the Howard family. Click here to view a scan on our facebook page.

Next was Grand Master Howard, Senior Master Phelan and Master Howard on Dermot & Dave, Dublin’s 98FM doing a live interview & tile breaking. Click here to view the video

Friday started with an appearance on TV3's Ireland AM with First Grand Master Rhee breaking a brick live. Click here to view it on the TV3 website. There are also a couple of photos on our Facebook page

Then it was on to RTE to record a piece for the 6.1 News news. Click here to view the video on our YouTube page.

It was a quick photshoot for the Irish Times then it was off to Today FM for an interview with Matt Cooper for the Last Word. Click here to view that video.

The RITA would like to thank the Senior members who gave up their time to help out.


RITA Celebrating 40 Years

The RITA Would like to thank Mr. Gerard Byrne for designing our 40th Anniversary logo. His hard work is very much appreciated. We would like all our Schools to use it in promotional material so if you require a high resolution copy for print please contact Mr Doyle.

Also as part of the 40th Anniversary we will be uploading Photos and Videos from the last 40 years with some special ones to come soon. In the meantime have a look at the video from our 25th Anniversary back in 1997 and see if you recognise some young faces! Apologese for the quality as its from a very well used VHS.

Check out the Youtube and Facebook pages for more

Grand Master Robert J Howard

RITA President promoted to Grandmaster

Senior Master Robert J. Howard, was promoted to Taekwon-Do Grandmaster, 9th degree black belt, at the 17th ITF World Championships in Pyongyang, North Korea. 

Grandmaster Howard received his new rank (Sasung, Korean for Grandmaster) from the president of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), Professor Chang Ung, at the 17th World Championships. The RITA’s president has just returned from the North Korean capital city and his family and students throughout Ireland are already celebrating the fantastic news. He is the first European to be promoted by the Professor Chang Ung and the ITF and, according to the ITF’s website (, makes him the 8th worldwide. Also promoted in North Korea to the coveted rank of Grandmaster was Senior Master Phap Lu (Canada), SM Hwang (ITF and Czech technical director), SM Kim (Technical director to Bulgaria).

On his promotion Grandmaster Howard said "I'm so honoured to be promoted to Grandmaster by the ITF. When I started in Taekwon-Do back in the sixties I never thought I’d be still training today, and still with my original instructor First Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha. Perseverance is one of General Choi’s five tenets and I’ve always tried to live by them.’


Click here for more news


Want to learn Taekwon-Do?
To find your nearest school click here.
For more information on Taekwon-Do click here .
If you wish to contact the RITA you can do so by sending an e-mail to The National Secretary Master Valerie Keane VII Degree at
ITF Newsletters

bulletITF Newsletter - First Quarter 2015

RITA Committees
All RITA members are encouraged to get involved in the Comittees by either submitting ideas or by joining them. Click here to view full contact details for all of the Committees.
Upcoming Events 2015


Click here to see full year

Squad Training
ITF Ireland Team

Final World Championships selection will take place on 16th and 23rd May in Carlow Taekwon-Do School. It is open to Red belts and above but only black belts up to 4th Degree 18-39 years will be considered for selection. €250 deposit must be paid by those selected on the 23rd May.

For more information please contact the National Coach Master Doyle. Email

Colour Belt Squad

RITA Colour Belt squad Development

With the European Taekwon-Do Championships 2017 being in Liverpool we are looking for the next stars of Irish Taekwon-Do to represent your country at the highest level. The colour belt squad is specifically designed to spot potential talent and give young competitors invaluable experience before they move up to black belt. There are places up for grabs for the 2016 Euros for 10-13 red belts so make sure you attend and catch the coaches attention!

This training is open to all RITA colour belts, male and female, junior and senior including veterans. For more information please contact Mr Adam Fox Coach on 0864172569 (

TKD Supplies

TKD Supplies

RITA Instructors and Students can now view the TKD Supplies stock online. Click here to see our latest prices and stock.

In Memoriam

Gen Choi Hong Hi
Founder of Taekwon-Do
1918 - 2002
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© copyright 2015 Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association. All information correct at time of publication