"It was about the end of 2004 or early 2005. I had been working on the renewal of Chinatown for a few years in a couple of different jobs. I spent a lot of time with Christine, who was - and still is - a key figure in everything. We would often sit and talk things through over tea. Over one cup of tea I was lamenting that Gareth and I had been unable to find a suitable place in the West End to practice our martial arts training together. 'Why don't you use the Community Centre?' Christine offered. And that was it.
Pretty soon we were clearing away the tables after the old people's lunch club (which lasted all afternoon!), sweeping down the concrete floors, and spending the evening training. After a while, we put a hand written notice on the door: 'Black Belt Training. Free.' A few people came, and many weren't black belts but just interested. Things really took off when we started to teach the Community Centre staff. Joe Hung was first, and then some others including Susanna Fung. Susanna led the youth project, and one day someone asked if we would teach the youngsters from the project. Word got round then, and people would come by word of mouth. Xin Leng asked if he could bring a friend who wasn't Chinese, and that was how we met Jon.
In 2008 I left my job in London, but continued to teach in Chinatown. By then the Chinatown classes had gone from what we called 'freestyle martial arts' (they would call it MMA now)to a traditional TaeKwonDo class. Helen and Drew had been martial artists for a long time by then, and at that time Gareth, Drew, Helen and I started to teach TaeKwonDo near where we lived in the Cotswolds and Worcestershire. A lot of those original classes are still running.
In 2010 we added Ensodo. I would teach Ensodo students Tai Chi, and Joe Aspey, who is an Ensodo Instructor now, suggested we start public classes for the Tai Chi. So that began in 2013. By then I was pursuing my own swords training, and we added Mugai Ryu in 2015 and then SAMA Kickboxing, which Drew had developed, soon after. Now we have hundreds of students and dozens of Instructors, and people know us all over the world. All down to that cup of tea."
That quote is from Neil R. Hall, one of our Co-Founders. The Chinatown referred to is London Chinatown, which is at the heart of London's West End. Gareth is his son, Gareth R. Hall, our other Co-Founder, and Christine is Mrs Christine Yau, OBE, who is now our patron. Jon is Jon Alagoa, our London Director, Helen is Helen Hall (married to Neil) and Drew is Drew N. Hall, another son. They are both directors now too. LCTKD is the biggest and longest established martial arts school in London Chinatown, and on each of 10 different counts is amongst the top 5% of martial arts schools in the country.
When we began, we didn't have a name. It didn't seem we needed one. When we moved to formal TaeKwonDo classes in Chinatown, and put up a notice, we called it London Chinatown Tae Kwon Do. As that was a bit of a mouthful, people always said LCTKD. The name, and the logo, stuck, even after we had been teaching lots of things in lots of places. We like it. It reminds us of where we come from.