Born - 1958 ; Location - London, England ; Profession - Taekwondo Master
Ewan Briscoe was a notable figure on the national and international competitive Taekwondo scene for many years.
Having taken up the sport as an 11 year old, he started to enter competitions and by the end of his career had been UK champion 9 times (1984-88) and European Championship winning team member once (1987). He had been 3 times a member of the European Championship team. He had won the Combat Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award 3 times (1997-99) and been Taekwondo Federation Man of the Year (1990). A not insignificant list of achievements.
He had started and given up both Judo and Boxing classes before being signed up by his father for a year's worth of Taekwondo classes. His father had what Ewan describes as an "old-fashioned" attitude, telling his instructor "If he misses a class, beat him. If he turns up but doesn't work hard, beat him again". We're not sure how seriously this is meant, but whatever the case, Ewan certainly had an appetite for hard work as the achievements mentioned above testify. And working hard and never giving up is an attitude that he instills in the pupils who attend his Panther Taekwondo Academy. He tells them "A black belt is a white belt who never gives up".
During the latter stages of his competitive career Ewan decided to "give something back" and this was behind the decision to open the Panther Taekwondo academy, which he did in 1987. Watching the enthusiasm that Ewan inspires in all his students, it is apparent that they respond to the commitment he puts into his teaching. All the students seem to appreciate that they get something special from Ewan and respond in kind, committing themselves in return to the training.
His "giving back" doesn't end there, though. He has been awarded the Metropolitan Police Commendation Award for his work in the community with young children and he is also very proud that the attitude that the students develop as part of the training for this martial art, far from producing aggressive attitudes, does exactly the opposite. He says that the feedback he gets from the schools they attend is that they are more likely to be sheriffs and peacemakers rather than bullies. His own experience while working in security bears this out, having discovered that his confidence in his abilities gave him the assurance to handle situations calmly without the need to show off, unlike some of his colleagues who could aggravate rather than calm situations as a result of an inclination to test out their own abilities. "Better to have a weapon and not need it, than need it and not have it" Ewan says.
Amongst all of this teaching, Ewan still holds his own conditioning to be an extremely important part of his life and he puts in the appropriate amount of time and effort to ensuring that he does stay in shape, practising his "patterns" (set moves) and doing exercises and running to keep in shape, additionally he still studies under his own Master. And he works hard himself in the classes he teaches, something which also inspires the students. He is not in a hurry to give up Taekwondo, which is why he makes sure he is in the best shape to carry on. As for how old one can continue in Taekwondo, he says that he was at a tournament recently at which a 78-year-old was taking part in the patterns tournament, performing as well as a 20-year-old. Experience was more than adequate compensation for the passing years.
As mentioned before, Ewan is determined to continue himself in teaching and in training which is the reason he works at his fitness. And if he needed any further motivation, the enthusiasm and excitement of the students, he says, particularly the young ones, give him plenty of incentive. He won't be giving up.