Choi Kwang Do – A family affair for the Butterworths


In August 2005 Choi Kwang Do came to Winchester when the Butterworths, who had been training with Mr Bicknell in Master Brophy’s Surrey schools, helped Mr Bicknell open the first Hampshire CKD class at Weeke Primary School – where three of the children were already studying at school.


Our CKD story goes back much further though… to the start of 2001, when John was working in Woking and took out family membership at a local gym. One of the activities they offered to children was an introduction to Martial Arts. The two boys, Chester and Alec, decided to take a look and were inspired by what Master Brophy showed them and soon were begging to have a look at the regular CKD class in Woking as well.  One of the things that impressed us there was the enthusiasm and mix of boys and girls, ladies and men, all training together in a safe environment.  As parents we were pleased to offer their children the chance to learn a Martial Art without having to fear for bruises and broken bones thanks to the safe training methods and avoidance of free sparring that can be found in some other Martial Arts. Before long they had persuaded first John to join in, and then ladies of the family all followed on in due course.


They say “Ladies first”, but not this time…


The Butterworth boys make it to First Dan

Back row L to R: Alec, John, Chester

Front row: Sabunhim Bicknell

So three down – three to go. Come on you ladies…



Alec was first in the family to get to Black Belt, in June 2006 - which he achieved before the age of twelve. Chester and John followed on in September 2006.


Getting to first Dan was the result of over four years training – we did have a break for a year and a half owing to the move from the Woking school before the Winchester school could be opened. Which goes to show that CKD is flexible and can move with you to a new school throughout the UK, and indeed the world; And if there isn’t one there already you can start one yourself if you’re a qualified Chief Instructor, and if not you can find a Chief Instructor and help him or her start one!


If you’re wondering why Alec got his Black Belt before Chester when they started out on Choi together, the reason is that Chester fell out of a tree and missed a grading. Chester has made a habit of overcoming physical difficulties – and his achievement is all the more special as he suffered badly from Perthes as a younger child. Having undergone operations and spending time with both legs in plaster it is great to see him so active.


Of course there have been times when one or more of us struggled and felt like giving up. But as parents, we are really delighted that through perseverance and mutual support the children have all set and reached significant goals through Choi. We think that’s a great lessons for life.


Alec did have some learning challenges as a younger boy, and two of the best things the medical profession advised us to pursue were sport and music. We are sure that Choi has helped Alec enormously with reading and learning (after all you learn complicated movements and even Korean in Choi!) and helped create a confident respectful young lad. Sometimes he still stammers, but he has enough confidence not to let it bother him and will always participate and contribute fully.



Above: Ella – the youngest of the Butterworths – started Choi when she was just 5 years old.


Both boys and Grier have also been awarded membership of the leadership programme (the coveted red dobok) which is the first step to becoming an instructor.  Having the opportunity to develop teamwork and leadership skills at an early age is something we think will stand them in good stead for life. In fact, both boys would like to progress to assistant instructor. 

Our elder daughter, Grier – shown right – proudly wearing the red top of a leadership student – an award for behaviour and contribution to class.


And so we end where this article began, with Master Brophy, on the day that Julie and John completed their Assistant Instructor training with him in 2006.




So, if you’re looking for a family friendly Martial Art – one that helps equip you for life’s challenges, let us commend Choi Kwang Do to you.


John & Julie Butterworth