I'm a Ruby on Rails developer and a Taekwondo master instructor, so this blog is a weird mix of posts on those two topics...


Martial arts beginners: I could never do that...

I've been a Taekwondo instructor for nearly 25 years now, so while my own start in martial arts was a lifetime ago, the experiences are fresh because I've seen the same thing on so many people's faces over those years.

Generally I would say that beginners to martial arts classes come in three types:

  1. I've never done martial arts before, I want to, but I don't think I can do what you guys do.

  2. I've never done martial arts before, I want to and think I'll be really good, so let's get started.

  3. I've done some martial arts before, I want to try Taekwondo and can't wait to get started.

By far most people fall in to the first category

Taekwondo Promotion (Grading) Tests

I've been doing Taekwondo since 1986 and over the years I watched gradings done in different ways, by different teachers. Some I agreed with, some I didn't. In the end I came back to how my first instructor Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon did promotion tests and I found that it is the way I feel most comfortable. It's easy to write this off as just copying the first example, but I feel that I have reasons for doing things that way and can therefore justify why I do it that way.


When I first started as a child training once per week, gradings were approximately every 5-6 months. This equated to approximately 20-25 lessons. Later when I was a

My Setup ala UsesThis.com

What's this all about? I'm a big fan of The Setup on UsesThis.com and while I'm not famous enough to warrant my own article on there, I thought I'd actually like to document my own current setup/tools/etc so in the future I can compare how things have changed. What hardware do you use? In general I use a Mid-2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel i5 processor (the fastest available at the…

Using ActiveRestClient to Access an API

While contracting at Which? Ltd, I wrote a Ruby Gem to allow Ruby Developers to easily interact with REST-based services. Sure, there are other libraries out there to do this, but I've felt for a while there was nothing that was as easy as ActiveRecord. ActiveResource was a nice idea, but it's really a pain to work with unless you're communicating with another Rails server using standard RESTful routes. After a few months of discussion with…

25 Tips for Intermediate Git Users

I’ve been using git for about 18 months now and thought I knew it pretty well. Then we had Scott Chacon from GitHub over to do some training at LVS, a supplier/developer of betting/gaming software (where contracted until 2013) and I learnt a ton in the first day. As someone who’s always felt fairly comfortable in Git, I thought sharing some of the nuggets I learnt with the community might help someone…

Interview with Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon 8th Dan Taekwondo

EXPLANATION: Aside from my day-time role as a Ruby on Rails Developer, I'm also a master-rank in Taekwondo and post occassionally about Taekwondo. I recently had the time to ask Grandmaster Pan Sim Woon, 8th Dan in Taekwondo, some questions about his views in Taekwondo, poomsae and his upcoming web site. Andy Jeffries: Good afternoon Grandmaster Pan, thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. Let’s start off at the beginning; when and…