Wow what a trip! The first few days of heat, sunshine and water parks meant that none of us wanted anything to do with a competition, holiday mode had certainly set in in Villa 1! So it was reluctantly that we swapped swimming gear for team tracksuit and Dobok mid week and headed over to a conference centre for an EMTF team chat and bonding experience. This was just what we needed in fact to get us back into the Tang Soo Do mood. After a couple of hours of meditation, victory visualisation, a quick forms run through with the UK contingent and then a photo shoot (but of course I’ll sign your belt! ), it was back to the pool though this time with heads fully back into the game.
The following day, during which we were treated to three seminars with KJNs Ferraro, Ah-Po and Khalid, exceeded all our expectations. It was very surprising that almost all of the EMTF representatives at the seminars were Cornish as they were of great interest and much of what was taught was a one-off. The Gups, Dans and Masters were all separated and each took a turn with each KJN. KJN Ferraro was easily the most charismatic and worked mainly on the different uses of the hip – defensive, offensive and reactionary, the third of which I’d not hear of before but turned out to be the one used in back stance (defensive and pulled right back). KJN Ah-Ph was as intimidating as all the stories say, demanding absolute attention and proper observation of etiquette. Not someone I’d like to cross! His seminar was based around how we learn and the five steps of learning –
- Look with the intent to Learn
- Listen with the intent to Learn
- Practice Practice Practice!!
I have a horrible feeling I’ve confused the first two but it amounts to the same thing…hopefully! The content of these seminars seems so basic when written down but in their essence worked on exactly the building blocks that needed the most attention. Having a greater understanding of the uses of the hip and what to look for and how to process what your instructor tries to teach you has greatly helped my ability to improve.
The last seminar with KJN Khalid was certainly a rapid departure from the first two! He’s one of those characters who looks slightly crazy but is all the more awesome for it, with a bandana adding to the overall hippy image. His seminar was based around the stance in sparring – the “Lurve” stance as he called it, which was much shorter than the one we use with feet placed just wider than the shoulders with the front foot facing towards the opponent and the back foot at a right angle (forming an “L”). The shorter stance enabled much longer reaching kicks which was demonstrated by KJN Khalid’s son that Sunday during the Master’s sparring. After a very long day it was back to the villa for a relaxing session at the pool.
The tournament itself began at 9am with a two hour line up session with speeches and ceremonies which just never seemed to end! Twelve countries were in attendance including South Africa and Korea with over 400 competitors in total, with over 140 Masters alone! Both days of competition were incredibly long, gup grade forms were on last so I had to wait over 10 hours to compete! Luckily gups were on first with sparring so my part was over by midday. It was a fantastic experience taking part in the team competition which I’d been pretty nervous about beforehand. Sadly both UK Men’s teams got knocked out before the finals, perhaps when we’re on home turf in 2013 we may be slightly luckier. However the women’s first team went through to win the finals against the South Africans with all of us cheering them on – the EMTF raised the roof! The competition was brilliant, it felt so good to part of a worldwide community all fighting for the same thing. The banquet on the Saturday night and the after party with the Germans was just what was needed after a long couple of days. I’m still reeling from all that went on.
Hopefully we’ll be able to take a much larger contingent from Cornwall to the Worlds in 2013 as its never quite the same without our whole family. But thank you to all who made it the special trip it was, and a massive thank you to Master James and Mr Leonard for organising and coaching over the last year and taking the time to make it the incredible experience that it was.