Grand Master Michael Daher arrived in Australia when he was fourteen years of age. A hard young man from a hard life, he became interested in practising martial arts for the sake of self-protection. He enrolled in a Tae Kwon-Do school in Surry Hills in late 1972 under Master Young Ku Yun.
Michael was modestly active in training for the first five months of his career, but as his technique grew his talent began to emerge as something special. The harder Michael trained the more extraordinary his talent revealed itself to be. In the latter half of 1973 something in Michael clicked. His interest in self-defence turned into a passion for the Art that burned so intensely that his obsession translated into five hours of training, seven days a week! Michael was so committed that some of the people closest to him literally thought he should be. There was an occasion in 1974 where Michael obtained two broken toes during his black belt grading and was unable to walk, that still didn’t stop him from training on the floor in 40-degree heat using his hands only. At this time his family threatened to have him taken for psychiatric evaluation! This is when they discovered his passion and obsession with TaekWon-Do. His social life was nonexistent, and aside from working, sleeping and eating, Tae Kwon-Do was his life. This intense regimen lasted for many years.
Michael rapidly rose through the grades. He was awarded an unheard-of double promotion from red-tip (3rd Kup) to black-tip (1st Kup). His extraordinary dedication also made him one of the four colour belts to perform in a demonstration for the founder of Tae Kwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi during his visit to Australia in 1974. Michael attained his black belt in 1975 and has maintained his commitment to technical perfection to this day. He travelled the world in attendance of General Choi’s seminars to sharpen his technique. Over the years he has gleaned first-hand knowledge from the General’s revelations and added his own insights to their meaning.
One thing that Michael discovered during his ascendancy was that he was gifted with another extraordinary skill – a special talent for imparting his knowledge to others. He naturally gravitated towards teaching and began his instructing career in 1978. In 1985 he coached his first international squad for the Asia Pacific Championships held in New Zealand, bringing home a silver medal.
He has since established himself as Australia’s most successful ITF coach bring home an unprecedented number of medals including Gold in Rimini, Italy in 2001. Incidentally, Michael also coached the Australian team at the XIII Championships held in Poland in 2003.
In 1988 Michael started his own club which he called “Il Shim International Tae Kwon Do Academy”. His organization has grown rapidly and in less than ten years became one of Australia’s biggest clubs. With 54 affiliated schools in Australia. Under the guise of ITF Australia, Grand Master Michael has hosted scores of amateur tournaments earning his organization the reputation of being fair and efficient, opening its doors to all who would compete under the agreed rules. For many years now Grand Master Daher has been openly regarded as the greatest authority on General Choi’s technique in Australia by General Choi himself. Qualifying accolades come thick and fast with a quick perusal of his career history which follows in the resumé overleaf. Fed up with the politics and petty power plays hampering the growth of his beloved Tae Kwon-Do, Michael resigned from ITF in 1995 to become an independent practitioner and instructor of the art and is the only person in the History of ITF to have his resignation rejected by the founder and grand architect of the art General Choi Hong Hi.
Michael’s skill as an instructor was officially recognized with his prestigious induction into Blitz Magazine’s “Martial Arts Hall of Fame” and award the “1996 Australian Tae Kwon-Do instructor of the year”. He has made numerous television appearances and featured regularly in Australia’s top martial arts magazines in his tireless promotion of the Tae Kwon-Do technique. Michael travels incessantly conducting technical and instruction seminars Internationally and is recognized as the Prime practitioner of his art in the Indo Pacific region and Oceana.
Since the death of General Choi, Grand Master Daher has stepped into the light of his own primacy in the Art, being at the forefront of its Technical development and its promotion. Recent developments in his international stature combined with growing international affiliations to his own teachings (from the middle east right through the Asia-Pacific region) are a testament to the ever-expanding radiation of his formidable reputation.
Grand Master Daher faced his biggest challenge yet in 2018, hosting the 7th ITF World Cup in Australia. This was considered by the ITF to have been one of the best ITF Events ever held, with over 1000 competitors from 36 countries. Upon completion of the World Cup Grand Master Daher has begun a new challenge assisting with the promotion of the Asian Region. Grand Master Daher’s next point of focus is to develop the Gulf Region which consists of 22 Arabic speaking countries, where our ITF is very weak or nonexistent. Grand Master Daher is the only member of the Internal Board of Directors who have come from the region and who can speak the language and understand the culture, this is something that he is very passionate about.
In the world today, there are few Masters of his rank who have the capacity to exhibit Grand Master Daher’s athleticism and powerful technique. Not one to rest on his laurels, Grand Master Daher is still developing his moves in the ever-expanding search for perfection. He still attacks the floor with a devotional zeal and that can still shame cocky martial artists half his age.
It’s a long way to the top, and Grand Master Michael Daher knows what it takes to get there. His life has been dedicated to perfection and his future will be history.
- Perfection in body and mind can only be the result of exceptional talent that is tempered by an exceptional commitment to maximizing potential. This can only be achieved through discipline.
Goals and Aspirations
- To create world-class athletes that remain aware of the complete benefits of martial arts training. I firmly believe that success in the sporting arena is assured when the holistic quality of this art remains intact. These holistic qualities are the focus of the Five Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do. The Five Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do are: Etiquette, Modesty, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit.
- I believe these tenets concisely summarize the qualities we would expect from a fitting ambassador for the Australian people. The truth of these tenets is the reason I have dedicated my life to Tae Kwon-Do.
- To unite Tae Kwon-Do in Australia for the benefit of Australians and the ultimate destruction of the politics that have hindered the unified development of this great Martial art.
- To teach the Art of Tae Kwon-do to all who will benefit from the self-esteem and confidence it promotes, particularly those who may be socially, physically, or mentally impaired.
- To maintain the improvement of my own technique, abilities and fitness as far into the future as possible for my Self, and as a testimony to the benefits of Tae Kwon-Do
- The provision, health and welfare of my family. Martial arts and personal fitness. The power of healing through
meditation. Human physiology and its outer limits.