From Iran to Wales – a Taekwondo Journey

An interview with Ebrahim Asskaravi of the Cardiff Taekwondo Academy.

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we’re continuing to share the stories of our members. In this feature we find out more about Master Ebrahim Asskaravi of the Cardiff Taekwondo Academy, his taekwondo journey from Iran to Wales and his top tips for finding the right taekwondo club.

Cardiff WT Taekwondo Academy was founded by Master Ebrahim Asskaravi who is a 7th Dan black belt and a British and national flyweight taekwondo champion.

Master Ebrahim Asskaravi’s martial arts journey began in South Iran back in 1982 and his thirst for knowledge and hunger for success has driven him on his taekwondo career.

Ebrahim describes how he started “I started training in taekwondo in 1982 when I was 14 years old. The style I was doing at that time was Hyeong. This term is used primarily to describe an earlier style of taekwondo and is often referred to as traditional taekwondo.”

He continued “I had been doing freestyle wrestling with my dad and three brothers, and I was a very keen wrestling player but always felt that traditional Iranian styles lacked some elements for me. I later realised that the elements missing were the kicks and punches. I had looked at karate but at the time it was far too rigid in style for me.”

“I had never heard of taekwondo until I met up with some old friends that did taekwondo and when I saw them it inspired me to find out more.”

“My first taekwondo teacher was Grand Master Mohamed Reze Shames, who at that time was a third dan in Hyeong taekwondo under the Iranian Federation. One of the main reasons I commenced with martial arts was that I was bullied at school. Learning taekwondo helped me to be more confident and determined.”

“I also credit some of my success to Master Kim, a Korean taekwondo instructor who I found a hard man to get to know, but a good teacher who was fair but firm. He would not stand any messing around and didn’t have a sense of humour.”

Speaking about his hopes for the future Ebrahim says “I still study and teach taekwondo and I have been working hard in the fields of taekwondo development, instructor training and fitness training. The reason for this is that I feel there are many people who have been let down by the systems. By this I mean they have gained their black belt but have never been shown how to instruct or manage a club successfully. So, it is very good to see that British Taekwondo is moving things forward with new courses and new ways to develop athletes, coaches, and clubs.”

“My long-term ambition is to own and run a full-time taekwondo Dojang centre. But this may have to wait until I retire from my present job.”

Starting your taekwondo journey…

With 40 years’ experience in Taekwondo Master Ebrahim Asskaravi can offer lots of advice to people looking to take up Taekwondo. He explains “The advice I would offer is think about taekwondo as a way of life and a code of conduct. Not just as a hobby. However, you must choose what suits you as you must enjoy what you choose.”

“Look carefully when selecting a martial art by looking at many schools and speaking to the instructors. You should also speak to the other students and parents to find out what they think and what they enjoy about the club.”

“You must also find out if the school is properly insured, is it recognised anywhere and is the instructor qualified to teach? You will also want to know that the school has a proper syllabus and good character.”

“One of the big questions is – ‘Does the instructor show a genuine interest in you, or just your money?’ Can the instructor help you progress in confidence, self-discipline, determination, and philosophy? Included in all of this, are the students enjoying themselves in the lesson and is there a good friendly atmosphere? if not, you probably won’t stay!”

And talking about the Cardiff Taekwondo Academy Ebrahim says “Whether you want to learn traditional martial arts, do some exercise, improve your fitness, learn self-defence, or get competitive with your kicking and punching then give taekwondo a go. All ages, genders and abilities are welcome, whether you’ve never kicked before, or have tried other martial arts, we cater for everyone.”

You can find out more about the Cardiff Taekwondo Academy on their website and by following the club on Facebook where you can see some brilliant videos of the classes in action.

Photos: submitted.

If you would like to share your taekwondo story please get in touch with Richard Gottfried, Marketing, Digital & Media Manager via marketing@britishtaekwondo.org or 07706 342156.