Our History


About Tigers Taekwondo.

The history of many Martial Arts Schools is often very much the story of the journey of its most senior ranks, and Tigers Taekwondo is no different. Mr Tim Huggins is now a sixth Dan (master rank) in Taekwondo, but as with every student, Sabomnim Tim started somewhere as a beginner. Tim began his training journey in Judo in 1980 under Mr Peter Tan, founder of the Phnom Doun Penh Martial Arts club and a skilled Sensei in Judo and Sabomnim in Taekwondo. Mr Tan had also trained in Bokator (the Cambodian style of kickboxing similar to Thai kickboxing) and Shotokan Karate as a younger man in Cambodia, so Tim’s development was strongly influenced by an appreciation for a wide range of martial arts styles. Sabomnim Tim travelled to Korea in 1990 to grade for his black belt, and was issued a Korean Taekwondo Association first Dan certificate in that year. Tim has also worked full time in the martial arts industry in retail martial arts supplies, as a publisher/editor of a niche industry magazine called Impact Martial Arts Magazine, and as a fulltime Taekwondo and Self Defence in Schools instructor.
In 1992 Sabomnim Tim began training Taekwondo under the guidance of Mr Rod Black, founder of Black Taekwondo and a skilled sports fighting instructor and champion. Sabomnim Tim gained much of his sports fighting skills and experience in the rich training environment of one of Melbourne’s top fighting clubs of the time.
Macleod YMCA was the home of one of the very first Ju-jitsu schools in Melbourne, and also has a long established Karate school. Black Taekwondo started a branch at the YMCA in 1992, initially under Mr Rod Black, and in 1994 Sabomnim Tim Huggins took over instructing at the branch.
When Sabomnim Tim became a 4th Dan in 1999 he founded the school name of Banyule Tigers Dojang. In 2000 he became a fully independent instructor and along with Mr Peter Vandelaarschot formed Tigers Taekwondo, incorporating Banyule Tigers Dojang and Casey Tigers Dojang. Mr Vandelaarschot later ceased instructing, and in 2005 Mr Huggins formed a sister club at the Kinglake West Hall; Mountain Tigers Dojang.
Ruth Brown and Jessica Rankin were our Dojang’s first two black belts, grading in 1999. Five more students achieved first Dan in 2000, and in 2001 another five students undertook Dan gradings. Since those earliest generations we have seen more than 120 Tigers Dojangs students complete black belt examinations.
These early generations of students have made an enormous contribution to our Dojang by setting a high standard for the students who have since followed along the path to black belt.
Alex Jeffkins and Madeline Thorpe were the first two Tigers Taekwondo students to reach 4th Dan after many years of training, the first Head Instructor rank in Taekwondo. Gary Thorpe (4th Dan) has also made an enormous contribution to the club over the years both in administration and his teaching roles. Thanks to the example of our senior ranks, Tigers Dojangs have a continuing culture of consistent good effort and attitude in training.
Tigers Dojangs have a core team of experienced instructors and a number of assistant instructors (All our Dojang’s probationary Black Belts are required to contribute teaching assistance). All our instructors must undergo certified first aid training and many have other Taekwondo and sports qualifications. Many of our Dojang’s students and instructors are current state and/or national champions, and some have represented Australia in international competition.
Our philosophy towards teaching includes imparting a broad range of skills and attitudes. We focus on all aspects of Taekwondo including the sports style that appears in the Olympics, self-defence, as well as traditional Taekwondo actions. We also offer non-traditional Taekwondo actions to broaden our self-defence knowledge to make it more appropriate and effective for today’s streets and situations our students might find themselves in, these actions include boxing and weaponry work. We also place great importance of the correct use of these actions, emphasising violence is to be used as a last resort and we teach other methods of dealing with conflict including negotiation, safe compliance and verbal skills. Our club imparts discipline, patience and commitment as well as the skills to lead and work well in a group.
Taekwondo is appropriate for all ages with specialised classes for under 12 year olds and over 12 year olds, and Tigers has an inclusive friendly atmosphere for older adults, as well as mixed classes for all ages. Classes may also be separated into belt levels so teaching can be appropriate for the experience level of the students. Contact sparring is not compulsory and is taught in separate classes for those who want to take part in the full contact side of the sport, as well as dedicated self defence and traditional forms classes.
Tigers Taekwondo prides itself on having an open and friendly family environment, and encourages families to train together where possible. Sabomnim Tim’s family all train; Linda has trained martial arts for more than 30 years and is a 3rd Dan black belt, their daughter Alex is a junior Black belt champion and son Aaron is currently a junior Green belt.