Customer Focus: United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Council (Northern Ireland)

About Leo Maguire

My introduction to Taekwon-Do started when, like so many parents, I took my son to class.  After the first few weeks the instructor suggested that I join in the class myself and that was it, I was hooked!

I enjoyed not only the training, but the comradeship of the other students. As my skill level improved and I advanced through the different belts, I started to help out at class as an assistant instructor and it was a natural progression of the process to start teaching my own students in my own classes on a part time basis.

In 2009 I was made redundant from my full time job as an engineer and I decided to turn my part time passion for Taekwon-Do into my new full time career.  With my full attention now focused on Taekwon-Do, I could devote the time needed to promote the sport across Northern Ireland.

I now run the largest group of Taekwon-Do schools in Northern Ireland. I am currently the European veteran silver medallist and Northern Ireland National ITF Coach. I have led the Northern Ireland Team to success at both National and International level with current National, European and World champions among my group; all of whom are now instructors within my business.

I believe strongly that following the teachings of the founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi, has allowed me to produce excellence students of our sport and my instructors and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to pass our knowledge on to the next generation of students.

I am honoured to be the President of the International Taekwondo Federation Northern Ireland (ITF N.I.) and President of the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Council Northern Ireland (UKTC N.I.).

About the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Council Northern Ireland (UKTC NI)

As a group, we currently teach approximately 900 students weekly over 63 classes, keeping my three full time and several part time instructors very busy.

We now host several events each year in Northern Ireland including:

  • Northern Ireland Junior Taekwon-Do Championships.
  • Instructor and Umpire Courses
  • I. National Squad Training in conjunction with sports science experts.
  • Regional Championships

UKTC NI enjoys the position of being affiliated to the true ITF organisation as recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). UKTCNI clubs follow the ITF syllabus and are closely affiliated to Senior Master Peter Harkess of our parent association the UKTC. Master Harkess is also a Member of the ITF Executive Board.

About Little Tiger Cubs

In 2010 through our association, United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Council (UKTC), we introduced Little Tiger Cubs to Northern Ireland which is a ‘Learn Through Play’ programme for children 3-5 years old  promoting fitness and confidence and building the core skills that every child needs.   This has proved successful and as a group we are focused to expand both Taekwon-Do and Little Tiger Cubs even further across Northern Ireland in the coming year.  Little Tiger Cubs has increased our student catchment and allows for a smooth transition of students from the kids classes into mainstream Taekwon-Do.  We have recently had a good level of success with exploring classes specifically for students with special needs in conjunction with local Autism groups and we are keen to see how that develops over the next few months.


In 2009 I became a full time Taekwon-Do Instructor and as my business began to expand it became apparent that the amount of time taken in class to attend to administration was impacting on the available time left to teach my students. This necessitated a new strategy for collecting fees and doing the general day to day housekeeping of running classes including student licences and insurance.  Using the NEST system has provided a better level of security as we are now almost entirely a cash free business.  Our parent association, UKTC had already seen the benefits of their close working relationship with Gerard Turvey and the NEST team and so it was not a difficult decision to bring NEST on board myself; a sound business decision which has proved one of my best as it assists with the smooth running of my business and reflects the NEST remit of helping their clients to succeed.

Their help and support on the administration side of my business has freed myself and my instructors up to devote more time to doing what we love, teaching Taekwon-Do.  Gerard’s input on the marketing side of my business is invaluable and I have been grateful for his knowledge  on many occasions. I am secure in the knowledge that I can approach the NEST team with the basis of an idea and that they will come back to me with the idea sharpened or an even better one. I can depend on NEST to produce the data analysis which allows me to identify trends within the group for everything from the locations for new classes to seasonal increases and when to expect them.  This is all available at the press of a button.

NEST is fast becoming a recognised management asset within the Martial Arts culture and deservedly so.   Gerard and Joy have become firm friends who we are always delighted to have stay in Belfast. I am on a first name basis with all the NEST staff, reflecting the family feel Gerard has promoted and the relationship I have built with them over the past years and which I hope will last many years into the future.

(Interview from August 2013 )

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