A senior student in the old club, Dave Robb, became Saracen Martial Arts first Black Belt for Ian and Ray. Unfortunately Ray, who worked in the RAF, was promoted and posted to Germany. This handed the sole running of the club to Ian with able assistance from Dave Robb to continue the gradual expansion of Tae kwon do in the area.
The growth of the club accelerated following Black belt promotions in the mid 1990's of Instructor's Chris Hemstock, Darrel Jones, Steve Drake and Chris Hansford. New clubs were opened in Hingham, Swaffham, Norwich, Great Hockham, Brandon and Methwold.
Today Ian Soame 5th Dan and Dave Robb 5th Dan are joined by Chris Hemstock 4th Dan, Darrel Jones 3rd Dan, Lynne Robb 3rd Dan , David Land 3rd Dan, Michelle Rogers 3rd Dan and Brian Hunter 2nd Dan. Continuing the 'SMA Way' started by Ian and Ray back in 1988.
Saracen Martial Arts - the name
Many people have queried the name 'Saracen' over the years. To help understand the reasoning behind the name, you need to know a little about the state of Tae kwon do in Norfolk in the mid 80's (plus a little bit of English history) :-
Tae kwon do was definitely taught as a 'hard' style, with a large element of contact, painful forced stretching and ancient warm up techniques. Many students were forced to stop training due not to accidents but to inadequate and inappropriate stretching and warm ups. This was the 'way it has always been done' and not for question.
During the Great Crusade, our Christian fighters called the Saracens (who were defending their holy land) the 'unbelievers'. This was because they did not believe in Christianity and had their own God. The Saracens did believe in a god but not the same one- and because of this we English considered them unbelievers. No one questioned their fighting ability though
At Saracen Martial Arts we did not believe that things always had to be done a certain way - Insurance for all should be encouraged, warm ups should reflect the most modern scientific ideas and that a Tae kwon do club should interact with other martial arts styles. We were the 'unbelievers' in the then current world of Tae kwon do and hence Saracen was adopted for the name of our association.
Of course recent history has proven us correct with most martial arts styles now being forced to modernise or risk the possibility of legal proceedings.
Tae kwon do is being taught with traditional respect and discipline, and with no weakening of techniques - they must still work. Just that members are all protected by quality insurance, Instructors undergo quality coaching qualifications and complacency is outlawed !
The ever expanding Saracen martial Arts, now offers services such as Self Defence Courses, for individuals to corporate groups. Defence against weapons. Individual Coaching for Tae Kwon Do. Advanced Black Belt Courses. Sparring Courses. Full Contact Power Development Courses. Fitness Courses. And even First Aid Courses.
Saracen Martial Arts are also about to start their own online service for clothing and equipment called 'SMART'. Watch this space for further details.