22 June 2007
This weekend saw a local martial artist receive his 6th dan black belt, quite an accomplishment for any martial artist, but considering that for 21 out of his 40 years of martial arts training he has been diagnosed with MS it is an even greater achievement.
Bob Banham (Chief Master) was awarded his 6th dan, making him the highest ranking master in Europe in a Korean martial art called Han Mu Do after a weekends seminar led by itís founder and Bobís teacher Dr He-young Kimm. Han Mu Do is a relatively new martial art founded in 1987 by Dr Kimm. After many years of training in various martial arts including, Yudo (Judo), Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do and Kuk Sool it was suggested to Dr Kimm by his instructors that with his vast knowledge of martial arts he should put together his own system and thus Han Mu Do was created. It was bought to this country in 1992 by Bob Banham and has since spread throughout Europe with schools in Holland, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
Mr Banham looked stunned as the current European Director of Han Mu Do, Master Frans van Boxtel, announced to the seminar attendees the awarding of Chief Master Banhamís grade and how he and the other masters from Europe had written to Dr Kimm recommending that this grade should be awarded. Mr Banham received his grade to a standing ovation and more than a few lumpy throats! Dr Kimm said that this is a very special appointment and that because of Chief Master Banhamís dedication to teaching and training despite his MS that he had more than achieved this grade, however he still insisted that Chief Master Banham show some techniques and with the help of Yahya Edwards Chief Master Banham demonstrated the application of wrist locking techniques from a kneeling position.
The seminar also saw his wife Nikki Banham achieve her 5th dan, making her the first female Han Mu Do master in Europe. Lesley Bray, Heather Suckling, Nick Claxton and Rod Connor all achieved their 2nd dan and Seth Thomas and Adam Fields both achieved their 1st dan. At 14 years old Adam is now one of the youngest to achieve this grade. His instructor (and father) Adrian Fields, 4th dan, looked on proudly as his son was awarded his black belt.

Chiefmaster Banham receiving 6th dan from Grandmaster Kimm

Dr Kimm, Master Nikki Banham, Chiefmaster Bob Banham,
Master Henry Chaplin, Master Instructor Harm Verkujilen,
Master Frans van Boxtel.