On Saturday 14th May, Mr Lear celebrated 20 years since he returned from Malaysia and started Vision Taekwon-Do in Crowborough. The evening took place at 5 Ashes Village Hall where it was transformed into a party venue with a licensed bar, DJ, Photo booth, Roulette Table and Black Jack Table, an impressive 3 tier cake for everyone to share, there was also a 20ft Disco Dome outside that the kids played in for the majority of the evening. There was also a barbecue and Hog Roast available for everyone all night serving delicious food for all.
Over 150 people came along to celebrate 20 years of Vision TKD in England with students past and present there taking time to reminisce over how training with Vision had influenced their lives. There was a slide show on a big screen presenting old photos and articles from the last two decades of all the successes of Vision Taekwon-Do from the Crowborough, Uckfield and Redhill schools.
There were some old photos of current instructors Mr Tim Dunn (Tonbridge Instructor) and Mr Luke Thompson (Tunbridge Wells Instructor) as colour belts as well as photos of some original students who don’t train any longer.
In the last 20 years Vision TKD has grown from a class of 30 people in Crowborough to now just under 1000 students from 15 clubs across the south of England through Kent, East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Devon.
In 1996 Mr Lear returned from living in Malaysia where he was training with Master Tan in Kuala Lumpur, he had a Vision to instill a level of standard and quality in the Taekwon-Do he was teaching compared to what he had witnessed in the past. He also wanted to instill a feeling of family with everyone who took part, so the students felt like they belonged to something very special and wanted to be a part of it. The togetherness that has been created throughout Vision TKD over the last 20 years has helped to create a reputation of high standards and strength in unity rarely seen in the Martial Arts.
During the evening some awards were presented including a surprise award that was given to Mr Lear by Mr Edmunds on behalf of his students thanking him for what he has achieved over the years. Also, his wife Ellie presented him with a gift and read out a special and personal message from one if his old students Felix Kelly who had been training with him since the age of 7years old later and as a black belt becoming one of the most successful fighters in the world with the tiles of European Cup, World Cup and European Champion all in adult -63Kgs sparring.
Awards were handed firstly to those people that Mr Lear felt gratitude towards for what they have done over the last 20 years, these awards went to:
- Katinka Blauw
- Jim Bull
- Nicholas Edmunds
- Matt Winter
- Jack Smith
- Stephanie Bourne
- Calvin Kong
Then were the awards for Inspiration, these are people who are inspiring the next generation of students through what they have achieved over the last 20 years:
- Daniel Lobley
- Joshua Wadey
- Timothy Lobley
- Thomas Davies
- Steven Arroyo
- James Emblin
- Philip Stas
Then the next awards were handed to those who were original members from the first day in May 1996 when Mr Lear returned.
- John Cooper
- Sam Tillyer
- Felix Kelly
- Andrew Woodman
- Tom Bullock
- Matt Gibb
- Darren Miller
Finally the last special awards were for loyalty over the years, these awards for for 3 people who are still training in Taekwon-Do today throughout the 20 years of Vision TKD, these went to:
- Stephen Bourne
- Luke Thompson
- Tim Dunn
It was an outstanding evening were everyone had an amazing time looking back on old memories and getting together to celebrate what has been an incredible journey over 20 years. Vision Has accomplished so much and more importantly it has truly influenced thousands of people who remember the great times they had training in Taekwon-Do.
A week later Mr Lear visited Malaysia for the wedding of Lyonel Tan (Master Tan’s son) and during his visit Mr Lear presented Master Tan with an award for having inspired him all those years ago to return to England to create something special that would change his and others lives forever. You can read about the story of Vision on the tab above. You can see all the photos from the evening here.