By Rosie Foley
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Cardiff University Tae Kwon-Do Club. To mark this celebration, the club will be holding a dinner where previous committee and members will be invited to come along and celebrate the club’s glorious 20-year history.
We sat down with current President of CUTKD, Dávid Varga who spoke to us about the club’s history and current progress.
CUTKD is the only club in Cardiff University to have the same head coach from its establishment till the present day. Dean Matthews first created the club 20 years ago and has led it ever since. Dean himself, is a 7th Dan.
He competed for 35 years and has won 500 medals, multiple EU, US, UK open champion titles and has been the overall champion in over 50 different competitions.
Not only the head coach for the University team, he is the lead for the national team. During his 20-year career with CUTKD, Dean has won Coach of the Year at Cardiff’s AU Ball, but this year, current club President Dávid Varga said that it is their aim is that he gets recognised and is awarded this again at the end of the year.
Dávid firmly stated that ‘no tae kwon-do club in the country can produce as many medals and results as we can’. CUTKD has retained the title of British University Champions by thrashing universities like UCL, who they beat ‘overwhelmingly’. The club are ranked first in the league tables with wins in every single open apart from the English Open. Last year they could not physically get to the open due to the snow and so they missed their chance to gain that title, but they will be striving towards it this year.
The club competes nationally and internationally. They have got a very strong team this year. However, Dávid is ‘worried’ about the fresher intake as for CUTKD to stay as an affiliated club in the AU they must have a certain number of members. However, most of the new members that have signed up have had previous experience in tae kwon-do, therefore adding to the strengths of the club.
This dominant winning is encouraged by Head coach Dean as Dávid said that ‘Dean loves to win’. tae kwon-do has been included in Varsity for the past 9 years, and Cardiff have won on each occasion. There is a big rivalry between Cardiff and Swansea, with it even running up into the coaches. Last years performance by Swansea, was ‘underwhelming’ for Dávid and the club.
Within CUTKD there are some Welsh representatives. The Welsh squad submitted four competitors to the Veteran and Junior World Championships and all brought medals home, with the power team winning overall. The men’s Junior team came home with a bronze medal from the European championships in Patterns.
The clubs next competition is the UK Open on November 11th, and Dean and the club will be training hard to bring home the titles,
If you’re interested in giving Tae kwon-do ago, throughout October there are free taster session on Monday’s, 7:30-9:00pm and a Give it a Go session on Thursday’s, 7:30-9:00pm at Talybont Sport’s hall.