Sean Cromwell first brought Haidong Gumdo to Whakatane in July 2016. Then known as Tumatauenga Sword, training’s were held in the Whakatane Football Clubhouse. However, due to Sean’s passion and leadership the club quickly outgrew this space. At the beginning of 2017, we then moved our training to the Ohope Hall where we have been ever since.
In late 2018, Cromwell handed the leadership of the club over to 1st Dan Black Belt: Danyel Degenhardt. Degenhardt first’s move, as Head Instructor, was to re-brand the club Whakatane Haidong Gumdo. The club then raised over $10,000 in order to fund four member’s to attend World Mulimpia 2019. All four members narrowly missed qualifying for the medal rounds.
2020 was shaping up to be a massive year for the club, with New Zealand set to host the Oceania Mulimpia. However, before that could happen, the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe, dashing any plans for the club.
After nearly two years of struggling to train amongst Lockdowns, the club had a moment of brilliance as Degenhardt achieved his 3rd Dan Black Belt, in March 2022, the undoubted highlight of year.
2023 is going to be an enormous year for Whakatane Haidong Gumdo. The club will be trying to send as many people as possible to the Haidong Gumdo World Championships (World’s 23), in South Korea. Dates yet to be announced.