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Our Story

Australia's First Black Belt

Walsh Martial Arts Australia was founded in 1967 by Senior Grandmaster Terence Walsh in Sydney, Australia. He was the first Australian trained and graded to Black Belt in Korea.

Senior Grandmaster began his study of martial arts in 1955 with Judo. In 1966, Grandmaster Walsh was granted a full scholarship by the South Korean Government to live in Korea and study martial arts full-time under its finest exponents.

Training six hours a day, six days a week, Senior Grandmaster progressed rapidly and gained a unique insight into the martial arts. His cultural immersion involved a new language, food, lifestyle and customs. Grandmaster Walsh’s technical skill was forged during hundreds of public, full-contact matches to consolidate his learnings and steel his resolve. He is the only Australian ever trained in this manner.

Grandmaster Walsh returned to Australia to open the first Tae Kwon Do school in Sydney.

Over the coming decades, all five of the Grandmaster’s children would achieve Black Belt rankings. Three are masters in their own right and one is a grandmaster.

Senior Grandmaster Terence Walsh retired in June 2021. His legacy of 66 years' service to the martial arts in Australasia is unlikely to be surpassed. In announcing his retirement, Grandmaster Terence Walsh appointed his eldest son, Grandmaster Rodney Lee Walsh 8th Dan, to assume all day to day responsibilities as WMAA’s master instructor and chief examiner. 

Senior Grandmaster Terence Walsh continues to advise on training programs and technical matters. 

Grandmaster Walsh in 2020

Grandmaster Walsh in Korea, 1967


Grandmaster Rodney Lee Walsh

Grandmaster Rodney Lee Walsh 8th Dan Black Belt is the first successor to Grandmaster Terence Walsh. He is the eldest son of Grandmaster Terence Walsh and has trained continuously in the Korean martial arts since 1975.

Attaining black belt in the 1980s, Rodney Lee Walsh was one of Australia's youngest promoted to that level and taught his first martial arts class in 1987 as its youngest instructor. He designed the first after-school program in Australia and has taught the martial arts continuously since 1987. Over four decades, Grandmaster Walsh has trained hundreds of Australians to black belt level; scores of instructors; and (most proudly) ten senior instructors to master level. 

Considered by international authorities to be Australia's most knowledgable martial artist, Rodney Lee Walsh earned his reputation as the nation's most dynamic instructor on the dojang floor. Training alongside his students and instructors week-in and week-out, decade-upon-decade, he practices what he teaches and role models the WMAA core values of persistence, resilience, respect and virtue.     

Grandmaster Walsh is a lawyer by training and father of four, all of whom have studied martial arts. He is based in Canberra, Australia.