So where did the L.T.S.I. come from in the early days?
The roots initially come from the TAGB who we were members of from 1986 to 1992 – in 1992, the senior instructor Mr. A. Manning (who taught the L.T.S.I. founder Mr. Snow) decided to join the B.U.T.F. under the guidance of Master R.M.K Choy, then 7th Dan. It was here that our senior coach formed his skills in line with the B.U.T.F. standards.
Sadly, in 2001, after a three day seminar under the guidance of the Taekwon-do founder General Choi Hong Hi, things came to light that made our coach and his members decide to take another path in their T.K.D. careers without the B.U.T.F. This was a big decision for us and extremely hard, as we left behind many friends, including severing a very big tie between Mr. Snow and his coach.
So, when you left B.U.T.F., what happened? Unfortunately, things took a bad turn, as many groups in the U.K. refused to house a 4th Dan and his clubs due to politics. This lead to bad decisions being made by backing the wrong groups who we would now rather forget about. We faced many unworkable rules being placed on us, normally after periods of six months, then the rules would change so we would leave. This happened four times, so we quickly gained a reputation of disloyal practitioners.
When did things settle? In 2004, after three years of stress and aggravation, we finally made a choice to affiliate to UK-ITF and re-brand and expand our group to the Lions Tae Kwon Do Schools Independent (L.T.S.I.). Things worked well here but, again, as rules changed, so did our opinion of the group.
Also in this year, we created the ‘South East Tae Kwon Do Opens’ which, over the years, has grown to the biggest event in the South East. In 2005, we would also create the ‘L.T.S.I. Invitationals’ which ran until 2012 – it was then changed to the L.T.S.I. English Opens due to its’ popularity.
In 2009, tensions grew and false claims were made against Mr. Snow and a number of other coaches – the UK-ITF had Mr. Snow and his group suspended which, in our opinion, was unfair and unwarranted.
It has to be noted that we had expanded to 500+ and ten schools, but a few coaches had left us as they thought the grass was greener by going direct with UK ITF. We personally do not hold grudges against them, as life is full of choices.
We then aligned ourselves as affiliates to another U.K. group but, after a very bad situation in 2011 of unfair practices by their senior Master, we left them and decided to stay outside of any UK group, as all those we had backed so far had harmed us over the years.
What happened from 2011? We have regained a strong membership of 250+ members and our championships attract 400+ competitors every time. We host and attend a seminar a year and have produced countless National, European and World medalist to date.
It is our goal to expand and push the L.T.S.I. by opening schools across the U.K., but we understand it will take time to grow and get bigger.
What are the major steps L.T.S.I. has taken to date:
- 2001 Mr. Snow gains 4th Dan under the B.U.T.F. and after 10 years with them becomes independent.
- 2004 L.T.S.I. created
- 2004 First ever ‘South East Opens’ run (2013 saw the 10th South East Opens run)
- 2005 First ever ‘L.T.S.I. Invitationals’ run (2012 saw this event change name to English Opens)
- 2005 Mr. Snow promoted by I.T.F. council to 5th Dan after a grueling exam
- 2006 First ever open seminar is run by L.T.S.I.
- 2009 World Medalist produced by L.T.S.I.
- 2010 Mr. Smith (Mr. Snows longest serving student / instructor) gains 4th Dan
- 2010 European Medalist produced by L.T.S.I.
- 2010 Mr. Snow promoted to 6th Dan by I.T.F. council member
- 2012 Mr. Snow awarded a ‘World TKD Federation’ citation for a magazine he run for two years
- 2013 Mr. Smith (Mr. Snows longest serving student / instructor) gains 5th Dan
- 2013 Mr. Snow helps the U.I.T.F. to stage a world championships in the U.K.
- 2013 L.T.S.I. produces 9 bronze medalists and 4 silver medalists in the world championships
- 2014 Both Instructors are given awards for dedication to TaeKwon-Do (Mr. Smith a 10 year coaching award and Mr. Snow a 20 year coaching award)
- 2016 Mr. Snow is awarded International Masters Degree in TaeKwonDo by I.T.F. Union
With just three active schools current in the L.T.S.I. and a healthy membership that continues to reap success everywhere we go, it proves bigger is not always better.