Some among you may wonder who is the big bearded guy you often see me with at events. Well the answer to that is Mr Tim Forde VI Dan from Co Clare by way of the Bronx NYC. Tim is one of my closest friends in Taekwon-Do and our friendship goes back to the nineteen eighties when we became acquainted through tournaments and squad sessions.
Tim was a middleweight (75 kgs as it was then) and we eventually found ourselves on the Irish team together. Tim was a tough competitor in those days being very tall at the weight and having a reputation for being able to mind himself a bit. Off the mats Tim held a number of roles in the AITA(as we were then), notably as National Secretary. Indeed it was Tim who wrote the letter to General Choi requesting ITF membership for the AITA. His Ennis school was one of the largest in the country producing such notable Black Belts as Kevin Kinsella, Philip Fox, Stephen Ryan, Adrian Byrne, Jamie Rigney and Liam Tyler(RIP).
At the recent ITF World Cup Tim brought home 3 medals, one of them Gold, after a long absence from competition and I for one was not surprised. As a close friend I was very proud of him. Not as proud as I am of his work with the Dyspraxic Association however. Tim teaches his class of Dyspraxic children very successfully and with utter empathy and dedication. Indeed whenever I have a challenge in this area its to Tim that I turn.