7.30am, 20 May, there was a quiet yet anticipative murmur as all 25 of us gathered in front of the Dojang to board the bus to Johor. We had all been excited for this moment since Sir extended the invitation from Mr Chin’s Taekwon-Do group!
Upon arrival, we were welcomed into their Dojang, which was a dance studio, but had by no means any lack of equipment. Targets; kicking bags; sparring equipment and even breakable boards were neatly lined up next to the room-length mirrors, and ITF flags and banners hung proudly, regalia of their well-established organization.
We were introduced and warmly welcomed by the Johor Taekwon-Do members, before starting the class proper with warm-ups consisting of various stretching exercises and fundamental movements.
Soon, Mr Chin took us through the basic patterns up to Won-Hyo. He elaborated extensively on the application of patterns and the concepts of power, occasionally correcting the few who volunteered to demonstrate. I found one of the important lessons he emphasized very useful: to relax. Thus, he accurately gave us a comprehensive understanding of the techniques in real-life situations, which was beneficial as well as interesting.
After lunch at a nearby restaurant (the pork ribs were delicious), we were given time to relax and mingle around before we assembled for training again. After patterns, we had some free sparring and breaking sessions. We enjoyed them immensely as we learnt much from our Malaysian counterparts.
Ending off with demonstrations from our group and theirs, we rounded up a very fruitful day with photo-taking sessions. In effect, we touched on many aspects on Taekwon-Do that would not be possible without dedicating that amount of time to it.
It was definitely a worthwhile trip every single one of us enjoyed, for which we are grateful. Their friendliness and kind hospitality renewed our pride in being part of the Taekwon-Do family, and all of us are eager to be part of such experiences in the future, again.
Written by Mr. Shaun Chua, 2nd Degree Blackbelt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2007