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South Africa Master Class
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Taekwon-Do South Africa, headed by Norman and Denis Magua, recently hosted Master Trevor Nicholls for a very successful training seminar. This was a historic event for Taekwon-Do South Africa as it is the first Master that has been brought to the country since Taekwon-Do South Africa’s inception.

Master Nicholls and two of his students/assistants (Mr. and Mrs. Richards) arrived at the O.R. Thambo International Airport (Johannesburg) at 6:45am on Friday 6 November where they were greeted by Norman and Denis Magua.

They were driven to Denis’ Dojang in Kensington for a quick viewing and a light breakfast a short walk from there. The Master and his students were then whisked off to their lodge where they had a chance to unpack and unwind for a couple of hours.


There wasn’t much time to relax though. 1pm was the time set by Master Nicholls for Norman to grade. The Master and Mr. and. Mrs. Richards arrived at Norman’s Dojang in Cresta to find Norman already warmed up and ready to go. This was also the first opportunity for Master Nicholls to meet Mr. Jose Lopes (who heads things up in Mozambique) who had made a special trip to Johannesburg to attend the seminar. Master Nicholls then jumped straight into the grading. Norman was given a challenging grading and was asked to perform various patterns and movements all the while receiving commentary from the Master. It was then onto set sparring and sparring which Denis was asked to assist with. Once completed, it was onto performing various breaks and then, of course, a theory test. The result of the grading was to be given the following day at the seminar, but the anticipation proved to be too much. Master Nicholls gave the result – a successful promotion to 5th degree.


After a brief chat it was off to a late lunch at Mama Thembo’s for a bit of an African taste and feel. The Master and his students were then taken back to their lodge to relax before dinner. Dinner was at Norman’s house – a braai (barbeque) – a typical South African past time where they also sampled some South African food, like Biltong & Boerewors . It was then off to bed to prepare for the following days seminar.

The day began with red belts and above nervously waiting for Master Nicholls to arrive at the Ferndale Recreation Centre. Nobody knew what to expect for the day ahead. The Master and his students arrived at around 8:15am to find the senior belts already lined up waiting to greet them. After bowing in, Master Nicholls gave a brief talk and immediately put all minds at ease. He spoke of some of his background, teaching style and what he expected of us as Taekwon-Do students.

It was then straight into it. A few patterns to assess what we were doing in terms of movement, then analysis and corrections, and then repetition of movements and patterns with renewed emphasis on power and vigor expected in performance. All the while Master Nicholls was calling out and encouraging - creating a fire in the students and instructors to perform harder and better.

At 10am a short coffee break was taken while the junior belt students began to arrive. Once again, all students were lined up and Master Nicholls was bowed in and introduced to everybody. Denis was then asked to take a brief warm up and stretch. It was then Master Nicholls floor once more. With brief explanations and demonstrations by the Master and various students called up by him, various points were taken in a new light. It was then floor work - performing movements up and down in the lines with focus and power. The Master and Mr. and Mrs. Richards walking up and down the lines all the while pushing and encouraging.

1pm called for a lunch break. Already there was not a single dry dobok left!

After a brief lunch it was back into the swing of things. A light warm up and back into performance mode, the students giving it there all once again. Even though many already had stiff and aching muscles, Master Nicholls teaching style and humor motivated all to carry on as though they were as fresh as when the day had started. Various kicking drills and exercises were introduced in the afternoon session, as well as some Taekwon-Do stories which the students always love to hear, especially from someone who has had a first hand account of many of them.

The seminar came to an end around 4pm. Once again, the doboks drenched. After photos and some chatting it was back off to the lodge for the Master to get ready for the evening dinner with the senior students and instructors.

The dinner was held at Ghirradelis Restaurant at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. It was well attended by the senior belts. A very heartfelt speech was given by Norman Magua, in which Master Nicholls was asked to officially accept Norman and Denis as his students. Master Nicholls then said a few words and accepted this role as Instructor. He was then presented with a few tokens to remember South Africa by.

The following day it was time to unwind a little. The Master and his students were keen to get in a bit of sight seeing. It was an early morning drive taking them about 2 hours out of Johannesburg to the Pilansberg National Game Reserve. It was the first time for our guests to see truly wild animals in their natural habitat having to fend entirely for themselves. On the game drive various animals were come across, including: impala, klipspringer, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, hippo and elephant. After leaving the game park it was off for a short visit to the Sun City resort and casino where the idea was flung around about hosting an international tournament one day. After lunch by one of the hotels pools it was back to Johannesburg for a relaxing evening.

The following day after packing the Master and his students arrived at Norman’s Dojang in Cresta once again. Norman, Denis, Mr. and Mrs. Richards were treated to a 2 hour class by Master Nicholls. It included some bag work followed by some 3rd, 4th and 5th degree patterns as well as explanation of many hand and foot techniques along the way. It was then off to Rosebank for a light lunch and some curio shopping at the African Craft Market before heading to the airport.

Once the bags were checked in it was time for a farewell drink and goodbyes. We hope the Master and his students will remember their first trip to South Africa for many years to come and we look forward to seeing them here many more times in the future.

Written by: Denis Magua - 20th November 2009
[Comments: 1]

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Article Feedback:

Mark Skyrme ( UK ITF) : 26th March 2010, 11:28

Great Article
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