Glasgow’s RAM Taekwon-Do crowned winners of UKTA Scottish Championships

A martial arts team from Glasgow has been crowned champions at a top tournament.

With 97 points, 47 medals and first place overall, RAM Taekwon-Do crushed the competition at this year’s United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association (UKTA) Scottish Championships.

The city-based team, formerly called Merrylee, was led to victory by Master John Reilly, seventh Dan.

The Championships took place at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility on May 28 and marked the team’s first competitive comeback since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Champion Reilly, who has been a coach as well as Scotland international champions and coach the national team for almost three decades, told the Glasgow Times: “When lockdown hit we lost quite a few members.

“While we immediately conducted our training online, we know this isn’t for everyone and there have been many members who have kind of drifted during this time.

“We probably lost about 30% of our members.”

Glasgow Times:

As lockdown began to ease, Master Reilly said the club was being “bombarded with people wanting to start”.

When life finally returned to some degree of normalcy, the team was able to return to the dojang, interact with each other, and finally compete again.

Glasgow Times:

At the May championships, RAM was just one of 25 schools competing, and the team ranged from seven to 52 years old.

The team’s 25 new and old participants competed in a series of individual competitions, taking home a significant amount of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Glasgow Times:

In winning first place with 36 points and 47 medals from just 25 members, the team came to do exactly what it wanted – win.

Master Reilly said: “It was a key goal of ours not just to go in and perform well but from a personal perspective as an instructor my goal was for the boys to win the championships which I was absolutely delighted they did. ”

Though the team has won the championship many times before, Master Reilly said it felt different this time.

He added: “After all these years, you’ve got the victory.

“That coupled with the fact that so many of the guys were new and it was their first, gave this part a really special feel and element. And for the guys who have been with me for many years, it’s been absolutely fantastic that they’ve had a break and come back strong.”

Glasgow Times:

Malky White was one of many competitors to win gold at this year’s UKTA Scottish Championships.

The Southside native, 31, said he’s always had an interest in Taekwon-Do and picked it up for weight loss.

He began his journey in the sport in 2011 with Master Reilly at Merrylee and has stayed with him ever since.

He told the Glasgow Times: “I found a flyer for the club at my local bar and it happened to belong to a great teacher. I feel very happy and fortunate.”

Mr White’s competitive comeback at the Scottish Championships brought him a bang.

In addition to gold in third and fourth degree patterns, he also took gold in heavyweight sparring.

His impressive accomplishments added six points to RAM Taekwon-Do’s overall tally.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “This was the first tournament that I competed in there with my daughter.

“My wife was also competing for the first time since our daughter was born, which brought a new feel to the usual competition day.”

Mr White said it was “amazing” to see so many beginners take to the mats and take home some medals.

His next goal is to be selected for the European Championships in Italy next year.

He added: “I’ll be able to do my fifth dan in a couple of years, so I’ll be preparing for that too.

“The good thing about martial arts is that you have to keep growing and evolving. Master Reilly is always keeping us on our toes to ensure we never fall behind and keep growing as martial artists and people.”

Glasgow Times:

Rebecca Reilly thrived at the UKTA Scottish Championships.

Champion Reilly’s 16-year-old daughter started the sport when she was just four years old.

She said, “I got into Taekwon-Do through my parents.

“My father is a seventh dan master and the school teacher and my mother is a fifth dan so I could never avoid addressing that. You could say I was kind of born into Taekwon-Do.

“My two younger brothers train too, which makes it very special for me as it’s become a family sport, something we can all do together and bond.”

The teenager began training at her father’s former school, Merrylee, and when it became RAM in 2018, Rebecca became part of the extended family, along with many others.

She said, “I couldn’t ask for better people to train with.”

Glasgow Times:

Competing at this year’s Scottish Championships certainly brought her A-game.

She competed in three competitions—pattern, sparring, and special technique—and won big in each.

She said: “I was delighted to win gold in all three events that I have competed in.

Those impressive victories meant Rebecca earned nine points for the team.

She said: “I really enjoyed attending these events. I love the adrenaline rush I get when I compete.

“Towards the end of each event, when the category gets smaller and only medalists compete, the nerves are higher. But I’m so excited and determined to do my best and when they finally announced I’d won the gold I was so relieved and happy.

“It’s the best feeling when you win a competition and it gives you the satisfaction that all your hard work has paid off.”

The teenager heads to the London Open this month and has two more national competitions later in the year.

She added: “So far this year I’ve been overall champion at the English and Scottish Championships so my aim is to continue that trend in the next few.

“I’m also hoping to take part in the European Championships in Italy next April if I’m chosen to represent Scotland.”

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