Master John Bates started taekwon-do with his wife and children in order to learn some basic self-defence skills. After extensive research into the systems of martial arts and what was available in Brisbane, they identified that ITF Taekwon-Do was the best martial arts system for them. As a result of this, they joined Bai Rui Taekwon-Do, on 19 July 1994. After three years of extensive training, Master Bates was promoted to his 1st dan black belt and opened the Graceville club on October 14, 1997. Graceville has developed into a very strong club and draws students from Chelmer, Corinda, Graceville, Indooroopilly, Oxley, Sherwood and Tennyson.
The Graceville students range from beginners to 3rd dan black belts, are aged from four to sixty and include a number of local families. The students have participated in a number of international, national, state and regional events including tournaments, camps, seminars and courses. The students also enjoy interacting with other clubs and have access to a large network of seniors.
Master Bates has attended numerous classes, camps, seminars and courses conducted by Senior Master Charles Birch (founder of the Bai Rui School) including Black Belt and Senior Black Belt classes, Instructor courses and Master seminars. He has also trained under many other senior ITF Taekwon-Do practitioners since 1994 including General Choi Hong Hi - the founder of the art, Senior Grand Master Charles E Sereff and several other Grand Masters of the art multiple times.
As an instructor, Master Bates is first aid qualified, a blue card holder and has a background in work, health and safety and risk management. He is an experienced examiner, referee and judge and has conducted numerous seminars for other students as a 7th dan master instructor. These qualifications ensure that the Graceville students receive high quality instruction in the traditional art of taekwon-do.