Hong Kong I.I.C. Updated
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It was our great pleasure to attend the most recent International Instructors Course which was hosted by Master David Lau in Hong Kong on October 15 - 17th 2010.

When we completed the first leg of the trip from Dublin to London we met up with Imperial Ireland's President, Master Nicholls who was accompanied by Master Hogan and we travelled with them on the lengthy twelve hour flight. Upon arrival in Hong Kong we were greeted at the airport by members of the Hong Kong Original Taekwon Do Council and then also met with Grand Master Choi who then travelled by coach with us to our hotel.

With a packed weekend in store, Thursday evening was the only spare time we would have so we took a trip to the main shopping area in downtown Hong Kong called Tsim Sha Tsui, where we sampled some of the local dishes and the truly amazing range of goods on sale there.

In preparation for Friday evenings training and registration we ran through all of our patterns in the hotel sports centre and prepared some questions for the Masters who would be in attendance later. The venue was Tong Kwok Wah Secondary School and it was within walking distance so we strolled over with Mr Harizanov and three of his students from Bulgaria, they were all due to test at the event together with Mr Alan Stewart from Australia.

The I.I.C. was opened by Grand Master Choi thanking the organisers for the invitation to teach there and the opening training session was conducted by Master's Hogan and Kruk. The masters took turns to increase the severity of the warm up, but with temperatures of about twenty degrees it was very easy to see everyone sweating heavily after only a few minutes. Master Hogan took the class through many sparring combinations on the kick shields, working through each one for several minutes before moving on to the next level. After a short interval for water, and to allow Grand Master Choi, Master Nicholls, Master Sng, Master Poon and Master Lau to take those who were testing to another hall, Master Kruk resumed with Self Defence techniques for kids. Because the opening night was open to all from white belt to black belt, young and old, this section of training went down brilliantly. Then after a really good warm down there were photo opportunities for all the different groups in attendance.

After a quick shower and change of clothes we were taken to a Chinese restaurant for dinner with Grand Master Choi and all of the other Masters and Instructors from Hong Kong. Tired but very satisfied by the events of the first day we retired back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Day two started about 10 am when were again addressed by Grand Master Choi regarding the current developments in the I.T.F. He spoke about how successful the recent World Championships had been for I.T.F. Taekwon Do, how the coverage of the events had taken precidence over World Cup news on the Korean television news broadcasts which would have been unheard of a few years ago. He spoke at length regarding I.T.F. as being the orthodox Taekwon Do and of how it is slowely returning to its Korean roots with the Taekwon Do centre which will bring the I.T.F. and W.T.F. under one roof and it is due to open in Korea in 20013/14. Grand Master Choi also said that we must continue to train hard to perfect our techniques because we perform a martial art and that whilst " sport sparring" will always have a part to play in Taekwon Do it is Tul which are the heart of our art and that this must never change. He gave a brief meaning of the word "Tul", telling us how it roughly translates to mean mould and finishing off his speech by re-iterating that Tul are the mould by which Taekwon Do is made.

After another interesting warm up by Master Hogan, Grand Master Choi and Master Nicholls took over the instruction of the seminar. Drilling on the correct execution of techniques and ensuring that power was being generated and delivered regardless of the size of the exponent through correct use of body mass and natural hip rotation.

After the lunch break Master Kruk''s presentation on "One Step and Model Sparring" was really well done and we then worked for about an hour on these types of technical sparring. Just before the end of the session Grand Master Choi spoke about how some instructors call themselves coaches, however, he said that true instructors are teachers of Taekwon Do not just helpers to improve one skill or facet of fitness. He said that theTaekwon Do Instructor was a much deeper responsibility because it is a role that has to deal with the moral teaching and wisdom of the students.

Saturday night saw the entire group go to another restaurant for endless courses of food and we were delighted to be the proud winners of a Taekwon Do manual written in Chinese and also a $200 sports voucher.

Sunday morning''s session began with the official photograph and this was followed by an really fun warm up by Master Kruk, followed with many hours of patterns work. We worked from Chong Ji up to Won Hyo but the instruction was intense and the main theme was that while there must also be an element of beauty, power must prevail. The afternoon session started back with the entire group going through the basic kicking techniques of Front Snap and Side Piercing, the emphasis was once again on correct execution of the techniques and also on full power. Master Kruk once again hosted another presentation which was about three Step Sparring, once again it was both informative and entertaining.

Grand Master Choi wrapped things up with a very moving speech regarding the term we use of "Grand Master". He said that for him to use this term does not sit well and that when one reads the Chinese characters for grand it actually translates as "Saint", however, he said that to say that really demeans the word Saint. He also said that he was very happy that his father General Choi has bestowed the rank of VIII Degree on him but that was he was only human and as a result he too has failings. There can be no Grand Masters in martial arts and it is shameful for a true martial artist to make such a claim.

Sunday night was party night, another opportunity to have some fun, take photographs and a final chance to relax with some new Taekwon Do friends after some hard days on the training hall floor. The final act for this I.I.C. was the presentation of the certificates of participation.

The knowledge we have gained here will be put into action at the academy in the coming weeks so that when our students progress to the next level they will be performing the true Taekwon Do as set out by President Choi here. This was the most extraordinary and surreal event that we have had the opportunity to attend. To spend so much time in the company of President Choi and all of the Masters who attended and taught us made this such a special trip. Many thanks go to our Hong Kong hosts who made sure that nothing was left to chance and we were looked after like royalty. We have been invited to return and it was our great pleasure to offer members of the Hong Kong Original Taekwon Do Council to come to train with us if the opportunity ever presents itself.

Written by: Mick Flaherty - 21st October 2010
[Comments: 5]

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Article Feedback:

Kay King : 28th October 2010, 13:57

Sounded like another great I.I.C !
No golf this year for anyone ? =)
Michael Carr : 22nd October 2010, 17:10

The 12 hour flight sounded worthwhile!!
: 22nd October 2010, 14:20

Great article Mr Flaherty, would love to see some pictures --- thanks for slide show.
Christopher Devine : 22nd October 2010, 12:38

Sounds like an excellent experience. Great article.
Mark Skyrme ( UK ITF) : 21st October 2010, 17:10

Thanks for the insight. Totally agree with the coach statement.

"A Coach uses the tools you have to beat an opponent at that specific time, and instructor gives you those tools"
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