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Hereford taekwondo star Karl celebrates Scottish Open medals
MARTIAL art expert Karl Manuschka has come out of retirement to fight his way to silver and bronze medals at the Scottish Open.
The 54-year-old taekwondo instructor from Tupsley finally bowed to student pressure and competed after a 10-year exile.
Karl used to play local football and rugby and only took up taekwondo after breaking his neck in an horrific car crash.
The oldest person that Karl fought in Scotland was 30 years his junior — and that was his squad trainer Jasper Chow from Cheltenham, who pipped him to a gold medal.
“My last competition was 10 years ago — that was before I took up teaching the sport,” said Karl, a former British and Midlands champion.
“I think I won a gold medal in the British Championships in Cornwall in around 2002.
“But my students kept asking me to compete but I kept saying ‘no’. I finally gave in.”
Karl secured a silver medal in the continuous sparring in the blackbelt heavyweight section and took bronze in the point sparring competition.
He is an instructor from the Hereford club of Global Tae Kwon-do International and hopes to achieve his Third Dan next month.
“Ten years without competing is a long time,” he said. “I was very pleased with the silver and the bronze.”
Karl says he owes his success to his mentor Fred Johnson, who inspired him to take up taekwondo, a Korean martial art and the national sport of Korea.
It combines combat techniques, self-defence, sport, exercise and Karl teaches the traditional ITF version.
“I only started doing it after I broke my neck in a car crash,” recalled Karl, who teaches the sport at Riverside School on Mondays and Thursdays.
“My car was crushed in a crash and I was out of action for 12 months after the injury.
“I’ve always been involved in sport — I used to play full-back for Hereford Rugby Club.
“I also enjoyed playing football at centre-half for Hinton,Tupsley, Greyhound and the Heart of Oak.
“I was a big drinker in those days and I was getting stressed. After one of those drinking sessions after football, I fell out with a few of the lads.
“Fred Johnson was one of the recovery drivers for the garage where I worked asked why I didn’t take up taekwondo.
“He came round my house, picked me up in his recovery van and took me to Ledbury where he ran a class.”
Karl has never looked back.
“I started fighting and I became an instructor 10 years ago,” he said.
“Fred has been brilliant — he’s my mentor. He’s now 64 and still teaches in Ledbury.”
Away from his sport, Karl enjoys walking, keeping fit and spending time with his family. He has five daughters, a son and 11 grandchildren.
He celebrated his 22nd wedding anniversary last week to wife Valerie, who works in the Charles Renton Unit at Hereford Hospital.
Karl added: “I would like to thank my students for their support and pushing me into entering the competition in Scotland but it’s more than likely going to be a one-off.”
l Three of Karl’s students also shone in Scotland with Seb Lewis winning gold and silver medals in the blackbelt middleweight section.
Cody Foster and Clare Corfield also gave fine displays, but narrowly missed out on medals.