Master Derek Sumner
Master Derek Sumner , 6th Dan
Training Since: 1984
Date of Birth: 3rd March 1960
First Instructor: Master Adrian St Cyrien
1997 Pan American Cup
Gold Medalist in Chicago 1998 Washington Invitational
GB Team Gold National Poomsae Champion 2008
Building a Superb Friendly and Loyal Club
Current National Poomsae Chairman
Personal AmbitionsTo continue to learn , to train champions and be world wide respected instructor in WTF TKD
HistoryTae Kwon Do, My beginning...
Through my days at school, which I loved, I had short man syndrome, this is an illness that will never leave you when you are at a height disadvantage, basically the suffering individual is mischievous, gobby, and a non conformist. I played football and was ok but too short, at this I turned to my first hobby, women! Luckily this has stayed with me for a very long time, unfortunately it has also been the cause of many problems as I was quite good at it. Ice Hockey then became a big part of my life but once again I was too short, and finally my mouth opened once too often and at the ice rink in richmond, i got the biggest kicking of my life, and had broken bits of my face and ribs that I didn't know existed! It was right here I decided I needed something to change my appearance and if I wasn't gonna grow upwards at least I could grow in size.
I had the fortune to meet Mr Keith Fairhead (Hagar The Horrible) 25 stone British Power lifting champion and he quickly became my first idol, I was seven stone and he could blow up car tyres with his mouth, he would often drink pints of Bacardi and then walk out of the pub with a 5 piece band and their instruments under his arms! That's what i wanted and he coached me to county and British standards, I still hold all county power lifting records, I could squat 175kg, dead lift 180kg and bench press 97kg. Keith was an awesome competitor and their was never a dull moment and steadily my weight increased to nine stone which I still maintain now. I still lift weights twice a week but not so heavy as my joints have begun to crumble and when Keith retired from competition i felt it was time to move on. It was then that I met up with Adrian St Cyrien, a then 3rd dan in something which took me two years to spell. Taekwondo as i eventually realised. I went to watch his class, it was hard, painful but a big challenge and i best of all I wasn't too short. I took to it like a duck in the desert, but i loved it, so many people are naturals to this martial art but i wasn't one of them, i grafted out every single lesson, and god was it hard, and still is. I missed hardly any lessons, if he ever said to me good (which i can count on one hand) i went home feeling like Bruce Lee. There were always goals to go for, grading, competitions, courses. I never dodged a fight, and had a battle every time, I didn't win that many but always gave the bloke a challenge and I never got knocked out, except by Master Adrian and Master Jeff, I caught him with a back kick, a rare moment for him (and a dumb move for me) his reaction was spontaneous, I travelled back from London feeling like s!!!! but was strangely feeling quite proud after being knocked out by the best. After many years being probably one of the loyalist students ever, it was time to move and spread my wings, Many years on i am proud to be the head of a club of champions and dedicated students now over 350, the success has been due to the dedication loyalty and support of my students and instructors who i remain eternally grateful
\On a final note, I've got to add the most important people for our club: Master Max Cully has educated us and given us direction, he is our adopted instructor, his kindness and faith in us will never be forgotten. He has nurtured us to a national standard, sits our grading and is there for us. Master Nial Grange, I'm sure I've met him in another life, his knowledge and passion for what he believes in cannot be bought, he talks from the heart and, like it or not, you know were you are with him. He also has inspired me, and my students, and has made us welcome both to his club and talented family. Finally Master Behrooz, short man syndrome he's got double bubble, but this talented Iranian has given me and LivingWell an insight not just into TaeKwonDo but in a culture as well, a rare chance for me to look down at someone is quite an experience, but with his energy , charisma and humour this man can make 7ft giants look up to him. His students are disciplined and focussed fighters willing to share their talent with a select few, we are privileged to be some of those few. These three instructors in particular, and I might add we have met some outstanding people in the last two years, but Max, Nial, Behrooz, have given myself and my students help, knowledge and unconditional support , They know we believe in the same things; growth, freedom for our students and the love of what we do. Last but not least one of the proudest moments of my career was the visit of Grand Master Kang shin Chil who gave the ultimate comment "This club teaches Real TKD " the masters master must be Korean and in fact there is no master of the master Del it is a combination of many ,masters and mentors that have crossed my path and have given me their wisdom and guidance , Thank you GM Kang and Family.