When David Condie first launched Tae Kwon Do classes in Carluke 20 years ago, he had no idea how successful they would be.
Having just returned from watching Morocco thrash Scotland 3-0 in the World Cup qualifier in France in 1998, the then mechanic wanted to branch out.
He had mastered Tae Kwon Do himself, having enjoyed the martial art for six years, and wanted to share his knowledge.
But he had no idea at that time it would become a full time job.
Flash forward 20 years and David now has the only Tae Kwon Do Academy in Scotland, based at Castlehill Industrial Estate in Carluke.
Scotia TKD outgrew Carluke Leisure Centre and David had to sell his own home in 2004 to raise the £40,000 he required for the premises.
It’s a decision the 44-year-old has never regretted though – particularly as, back then, he had no dependants.
Now happily settled in Bathgate with his partner Kara and their children Bonnie (8) and Preston (5), he knows he made the right decision to focus all his attention on the academy.
He said: “I wanted to run elite classes for more advanced students, as well as all the regular classes, so I needed new premises.
“It was a big leap of faith because I had to sell my house and use the profits from that to open the academy.
“But it was the right decision, even though I’ve had a few lows as well as highs since!”
After winning the World Tae Kwon Do Sparring Championship in Canada in 2002, David decided to focus on his student’s achievements rather than his own when he opened the Castlehill premises.
It was difficult at first to take a back seat but, again, David has no regrets.
And it’s little wonder as his students have gone on to have major successes, which he has enjoyed every bit as much as his own.
He explained: “I trained two Olympic team members – Lyle Walker and India Isles – and hundreds of Scottish and British champions, as well as four world champions. And they all started out here in Carluke.
“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see my students going on to do so well for themselves.
“They train harder than most professional football players and deserve every bit of their success.”
While focusing more on his students and the academy, David has also thrown himself into promoting Tae Kwon Do as a sport as he is keen for it to receive more recognition.
He’s a founding board member of Sport Scotland’s Tae Kwon Do division and the vice chair of the International Tae Kwon Do Federation in Scotland.
And he is also working with South Lanarkshire Disability Sports to try to ensure all sports are more inclusive locally.
But the 600 or so students who are regular Scotia TKD academy members remain David’s top priority.
So it was particularly touching for him on Thursday, August 9, when an extra-special celebration was hosted at Scotia TKD.
David’s family, friends and students – both past and present – clubbed together to throw a surprise 20th anniversary birthday bash.
And his mum Helen was on hand to present him with a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
“It was a really lovely surprise,” said David, “and I genuinely knew nothing about it. They’d managed to keep it a secret and even got my mum through from Bathgate on the quiet!
“My dad David (snr) and sister Angela weren’t able to attend but they’ve all been a big support to me over the years so it was nice to have mum there.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their best wishes on the 20th anniversary – I’m just looking forward to the 50th bash now!”
David might have a few years to wait for that golden milestone but he’s not resting on his laurels.
He’s still looking at ways to improve the academy.
And there may even be another Condie or two in the wings to take up his world champion mantle in the not too distant future...
He added: “Kara and I met while doing Tae Kwon Do training in Falkirk – we both love the sport.
“So it’s not that much of a surprise that Bonnie and Preston are already following in our footsteps.
“We’ve never forced them to do it. I think they just like spending time with their dad but, you never know!”
Youngsters aged three and upwards are welcome to join Scotia TKD.
To find out more, visit scotiatkd.net, follow the academy on Facebook or call 01555 751721.