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Hawke’s Bay International Taekwon-Do Federation (HBITF) was started unofficially in 2006 where Benjamin started his work at 16 with the special needs students at Havelock North High School. When he left in 2008 he continued to teach the special needs unit and open his club up in 2009. Before opening the club up he represented New Zealand at the Junior World Championships in 2006 in Bulgaria. Although he was unsuccessful in achieving a medal, a lot of experience was gained and brought back to use to improve for the next time.

In 2009 he had the opportunity to compete in the Senior World Championships in Russia. This time he defeated the Irish competitor in his sparring division. Although once again he didn’t achieve medal success he still made it into the top 16. The division he was in had a total of 32 competitors. A rather large division for a first time in the senior world championships.

At this stage after the senior world championships Benjamin continued to train hard and build both the HBITF and his project with the special needs Taekwon-Do. Between 2009 and 2011, he managed to spread Taekwon-Do to more and more schools and special needs connections in the Hawkes Bay. He then began to see a bigger picture for his project Special Needs Taekwon-Do. He wanted to see special needs Taekwon-Do go global. His next goal was to bring a special needs demonstration team to Korea where the next world championships would be in 2011.

Benjamin successfully helped to raise the money needed for him and his special needs student to go to Korea in 2011. It wouldnt have happened without his parents support who raised a significant amount towards the trip (self funded). The AMP Peoples Choice awarded Johann with $10,000.00 towards the trip which was a big help. The whole team was awarded with medals to mark the significant goals achieved with attending and putting on the demonstration in front of more than 5000 people. Benjamin competed at the world champs in sparring and patterns. The experience was the main thing in this whole trip. Although he didn’t get anywhere it wasn’t about the winning. It was about the self development and determination moving forwards.

Between 2011 and 2013 Benjamin continued to keep growing Taekwon-Do in Hawkes Bay. Goals to follow and dreams to look forward to one day. He has been successful in winning Gold, Silver and bronze at international championships in the UK and Australia for sparring and patterns. His main drive has always been about self development and how he can make a difference in the lives of people.

Benjamin wrote a first in the world book called “Special Needs Taekwon-Do” which has spread to more than 30 countries. Many instructors are inspired by the special needs Taekwon-Do work he has been doing. In April 2013 he had an excellent opportunity to give a demonstration to the NZ Prime Minister Rt. Hon John Key. At the 2013 ITF World Championships, Benjamin received the Outstanding Instructors award given by the ITF for the Special Needs Taekwon-Do progress.

Benjamin continues to build HBITF and the Special Needs Taekwon-Do strong each day, week by week and month by month. His most significant achievement was going to Canada in April (2015) where he tested for his 4th degree Black Belt. He successfully achieved his 4th degree and his International Instructor certificate. His greatest inspiration, the Founders Son, ITF President, Choi Jung Hwa, was there and watched him perform his patterns for his grading. Benjamin then had the excellent opportunity on the following day to give a presentation in front of more than 216 black belts from 14 countries about special needs Taekwon-Do. His goal was for ITF to form Special Needs Taekwon-Do in many countries and one day there could be a division for the special needs at the world championships.

Benjamin has achieved on of his goals for the first in ITF Taekwon-Do History to have a special needs division at the upcoming ITF World Championships in Brighton, England in July 2016. President Choi Jung Hwa announced this shortly after the presentation he gave.

“It was a great feeling coming back knowing I had finally made progress with my goals for Special Needs Taekwon-Do and that it was the start to an extremely brighter future.”

Benjamin teaches close to 24 classes a week 5 days a week. It is a full time job for him. “As long as I continue to make a difference in the Hawke’s Bay communities lives, I will continue to work harder for HBITF and the Special Needs Taekwon-Do.”

Benjamin competed for New Zealand at the ITF World Championships in England gaining a Silver Medal for Power Breaking. On top of such a positive result, he trained up a team of special needs who both performed a heart wrenching demonstration who won a further amount of medal placing in the very first division which saw 4 countries attending with special needs competitors. He trained a girl from Irongate School, Rahera Heke, who brought back a Gold medal from the under 11s sparring female open color belt division during the world championships.