Chiefmaster Bob Banham (6th dan Hanmudo, 4th dan Taekwondo)

 

“Bob Banham was born on April 10, 1953 in Oxford, England. At the age of one, Bob and his parents moved to Norfolk. At age fourteen, Bob started down the martial arts road when he joined the local Judo club. His first instructor was Mr. Jimmy Wegg, 1st kyu. It was here that Bob was first introduced to Karate. One of the Judo club's members, Mr. Richard Cox, also held a black belt in Kyokushinkai. Mr. Cox agreed to teach the youngsters Karate after the evenings Judo lessons had ended.

Bob Banham

 
    Bob soon realised that Karate was what he wanted to learn most and when the opportunity arose, he began training in it full time. A short time later, a Korean instructor, Mr. Kwon Young-Woo who held a 3rd Dan Black Belt in the World Taekwondo Federation, began teaching Taekwondo in nearby Norwich. After watching one of Mr. Kwon’s demonstrations, both Bob and Mr. Cox began training in Taekwondo.

   In 1972, Mr. Kwon, now a 6th Dan returned to Korea leaving Mr. Cox, who had been awarded his 4th Dan, and Bob, who had been awarded his 2nd Dan, in charge of the school. Later Richard Cox began focusing his efforts towards full contact competition while Bob continued teaching and studying traditional Taekwondo for the next twenty years.

Master Kwon - 1972

Richard Cox

 
    During this time, Bob began researching other styles and instructors and subsequently graded to 3rd and 4th Dan in WTF Taekwondo. He also pursued studies in shiatsu, acupuncture and herbal medicine and began a career in natural healing which he found to be totally compatible with his martial arts training. After spending seven years working at the largest acupuncture clinic in Norwich, Bob decided to go abroad for the purpose of studying martial arts and traditional healing systems. Bob spent six months training and studying in Thailand, The Philippines and Australia. After returning to Norwich, he re-established his Taekwondo school and married Nicola Millings, one of his students. (Nikki is now 5th dan Hanmudo, 3rd dan Taekwondo and in June 2007 became the 1st female European Hanmudo master.)
 
Nikki Banham

Then, in 1992 an advertisement for Han Mu Do in Taekwondo Times re-ignited the spark that had started way back in 1967. Bob called the headquarters and was informed that he would be very welcome to attend a seminar to be held shortly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Bob says that taking up that invitation was the single most important thing that had happened to him in his then thirty years of studying the martial arts. Meeting Grandmaster Kimm was a breath of fresh air and Bob knew he had at last found the teacher that he had  so long been searching for.
Dr Kimm He-Young
Grandmaster Kimm asked Bob to represent him and The World Hanmudo Association in Europe and made a promise to come to England twice a year for the next 5 years. Bob in turn, agreed to attend 2 seminars a year in Baton Rouge for the same time. At one of the seminars in Norwich, Bob and Grandmaster Kimm met a Dutch Taekwondo and Hapkido black belt named Frans van Boxtel. Mr. van Boxtel is now 5th Dan Hanmudo and is currently European director for WHA, taking over from Bob Banham in 1996.
 
Subsequently, martial artists from all over Europe have attended seminars with Grandmaster Kimm in England and Holland and the European Hanmudo family has spread to Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Bob had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986 and as his condition began to progress, he travelled over 20 times to the headquarters school in Baton Rouge as well as South Korea and Japan and twice to India. (See Trips & Visits at www.chilsong.com)

He graded to 1st dan and on up to 5th dan while promoting Hanmudo and Chilsong Martial Arts. Then in 2007, Dr Kimm awarded Bob 6th dan, making him  the highest ranked Hanmudo blackbelt in Europe and 7th highest ranked Hanmudo blackbelt in the world.

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