Chilsong Academy was founded by Master Robert Banham (10/04/1953 -03/04/2011) 6th Dan HMD, 4th Dan TKD.
Chilsong Academy started life as a Taekwondo club “Norwich Jidokwan” in 1972 founded by Master Kwon Jong-Woo, a Tang Soo Do (Moodukwan) blackbelt. Master Kwon and his students joined the ITF and later the WTF. He returned to Korea in 1976. Bob Banham took over the club from Master Richard Cox 4th Dan in 1980. He was awarded 3rd and then 4th Dan WTF TKD by Master Ian Morrison with British Jidokwan.
In 1992 Master Bob Banham travelled to America to attend a seminar with Dr He-Young Kimm, the founder of Han Mu Do. Bob was very impressed with this new style and Grandmaster Kimm and decided that Han Mu Do was exactly what he had been looking for. Dr Kimm asked Bob to represent him and the WHA in Europe and made a promise to come to England twice a year for the next 5 years and Bob agreed to attend 2 seminars a year at the WHA headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the same time.
Norwich Jidokwan became the Norwich School of Korean Martial Arts. By 1994 Han Mu Do became the main martial art taught and in 2003 Chilsong Academy was born. We now have schools in several locations in Norfolk.
Chilsong means “seven stars” and refers to the constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear, Plough or Big Dipper). Ursa Major is of significance in Korean Buddhism, Taoism and Shamanism. Many Korean temples have a shrine to the spirit of Chilsong.
Chiefmaster Robert Banham 10/04/1953 – 03/4/2011 6th Dan HMD 4th Dan TKD
Robert Banham was born on April 10th, 1953 in Oxford, England. At the age of one Bob and his parents moved to Norfolk. When Bob was fourteen he joined the local Judo club and it was here that he was first introduced to Karate by one of the club’s members, Richard Cox who held a black belt in Kyokushinkai.
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 3rd Dan Taekwondo instructor, Master Kwon Young-Woo, began teaching in nearby Norwich. After watching one of Master Kwon’s demonstrations both Bob Banham and Richard Cox began training in Taekwondo with Master Kwon.
In 1976 Master Kwon, now a 6th Dan returned to Korea leaving Master Richard Cox, who had been awarded his 4th Dan in Taekwondo, and Bob Banham, 2nd Dan Taekwondo, in charge of the school. Eventually Master Cox began focusing more on full contact competition while Bob continued teaching and studying Taekwondo. Master Bob Banham was awarded 3rd then 4th Dan WTF Taekwondo with British Jidokwon.
During this time Master Banham pursued studies in Shiatsu, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine which he found to be totally compatible with his martial arts training. After several years working at the Darqawi Acupuncture Clinic in Norwich Bob spent 6 months training and studying Martial Arts and Traditional Healing systems in Thailand, Philippines and Australia. When he returned to Norwich Bob re-established his Taekwondo school and married Nicola Millings, one of his students in 1989.
It was at this time, after a short, but severely debilitating illness that Bob was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Determined to fight the disease with everything he had, Bob became his own patient/guinea pig. Making something positive out of such a negative situation, he was able to further his already vast knowledge and experience in natural medicine and became an expert in alternative therapies for MS.
In 1992 an article on Dr He-Young Kimm and his martial art style, Han Mu Do appeared in Taekwondo Times. Master Banham was so impressed that he called the Han Do Wan and was invited by Dr Kimm to attend a seminar in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Bob says that taking up that invitation was the most important milestone in his thirty years of studying the martial arts. He had at last found the teacher he had been searching for.
By 1994, after intensive training under Grandmaster Kimm, Bob Banham was teaching the art of Han Mu Do exclusively. He was appointed Director of Europe for the World Hanmudo Association and worked tirelessly to promote and spread Han Mu Do in Europe. There are now HMD schools in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and France. Master Banham passed on the position of European Director to Master Frans Van Boxtel in 1996 when he felt the MS was now making it difficult for him to fulfil this role.
Master Banham successfully tested for his 6th dan in Han Mu Do in front of Dojunim He-Young Kimm and a panel of Masters in 2009 at the British WHA spring seminar. As well as performing many self defence techniques from sitting on the floor Bob had extensively researched and expounded on the application of pressure point techniques used in Han Mu Do and for healing. “The Art of Balance” are six e books he wrote on the subject. During this time Bob also researched and adapted many martial arts techniques for wheelchair users and people with disabilities. He was working on a comprehensive self defence system for disabled students. Sadly Bob passed away on 3rd April 2011 leaving his wife Nikki, stepdaughter Abi and two sons, Luke and Jos.
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