Michael Taylor(24) from Quest Taekwondo - Leeds was successfully promoted to 1st Kup Red/Black belt and now looks forwards to preparing to take his Black Belt examination with British Taekwondo in 2013.
Michael's achievement is notable due to the fact that he is profoundly deaf and has severe short term memory loss.
Deafness effects balance and co-ordination as well as the expected communication challenges. Short term memory loss has implications on all aspects of training especially learning Poomsae and set techniques.
Michael's success to date demonstrates the spirit seen recently in London at the Paralympics and shows what can be achieved through determination and hard work. No dispensation was requested for Michael and though the examiner was informed of his condition Michael took exactly the same test as any other candidate would have done at that grade.
Quest Leeds instructor Karl Mann said "Michael is an excellent role mode to us all, he does additional training to complement his usual class training where we can work together to overcome any problems associated with his condition. To be honest in class other than making sure my instructions are clear and coherent, no special treatment is given to Michael".
Quest Taekwondo Chief Instructor - Mike McKenzie said "Michael did well on the grading test and performed to a good standard which I would expect from a person without any medical condition. Over the Summer I saw many Paralympic athletes training and competing at the Games and my perspective has changed somewhat. Paralympians and people who overcome disabilities and medical conditions deserve to be recognised for their achievements in their chosen sport. As a member of British Taekwondo's National Black Belt examination panel I look forward to seeing Michael going for his Black Belt, hopefully next year."