Sporting family are staying in the black

Teacher Duncan Irvine and his three boys who are all now black belts
Teacher Duncan Irvine and his three boys who are all now black belts

YOU don’t want to mess with the Irvine family.

Between them they have three black belts, a red belt and dozens of awards in taekwondo.

Duncan Irvine and his sons Kristopher (27), Marc (23) and 17-year-old Conan are all experts in the Korean self defence and their Grangemouth home has a cabinet filled with trophies.

The 50-year-old runs Falkirk Taekwondo Club and the whole family have been practising the ancient art form for 18 years with St Mungo’s pupil Conan becoming the youngest black belt in the country when he was just ten years old.

Duncan and Kristopher are also black belts while student Marc is a red belt, one step away from the coveted top grading.

Duncan, an engineer at Oracle, a computer hardwear and softare company, said the sport has taken over all the family’s spare time.

As well as running the club, they all regularly compete in team and individual events nationally.

“We train six days a week and, to be honest, taekwondo probably takes up about as much time as our jobs,’’ he added.

Duncan took over the Falkirk school 10 years ago and he, Kristopher, an engineer with British Waterways, and Conan all teach classes around Falkirk, Stirling and Callendar.

The club has won countless awards and has picked up the prestigious best team trophy at the British Championships four times.

Duncan continued: “Taekwondo is a really good sport for all the family. People think it’s really violent but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Taekwondo teaches respect for others and a good moral code. Obviously students learn how to defend themselves but they are taught not to use it unnecessarily.”

“It is a great form of exercise and teaches self control and how to work as part of a team.

“We have a lot of families that come regularly and the Buchanan family train every week, with the mum, dad and two young children all very accomplished in taekwondo.

“Despite my boys all being really into taekwondo, none of them has ever been in much trouble.

“Because they know they can defend themselves if they ever have to they are confident enough not to go looking for a fight.”

Only mum Annette is not involved with the sport but she supports the family at competition and events.

“Annette has tried classes a few times but never really got in to it like the rest of us,’’ said Duncan.

“With a house full of boys it is probably for the best she doesn’t take part – at least she gets some time for herself.”

Falkirk Taekwondo Club have classes Monday to Saturday at various centres. Visit for a full list of times and locations.