Tuesday, 10th July 2007. Markets were pounding with the cable rising to new 26-year heights. Pre New York opening, I left the office for Island Taekwon-Do Centre in high spirits too. Mr. Ron M. Glaves from Fort Nelson Taekwon-Do Hapkido was visiting us and conducting a training session that night.
Since I started learning taekwon-do with my 4-year old son, Russell, about 2 months ago, that was the first time we were training with a visitor from overseas. Mr Glaves is a third degree blackbelt in both martial arts and is based in Fort Nelson B.C. Canada.
The class commenced promptly started at 7pm. After some warming up and stretching exercises, Mr. Glaves went on to get us to practice a series of combination punches and blocks, carefully explaining the the purpose of each of the techniques and their possible variations. The theme of the night’s training is self-defence. We learned that even if you are a very experienced martial arts practitioner, the best way of getting out of a situation is to talk your way out. We had breakout sessions into smaller groups to have a one-on-one practice with our seniors.
This marked my maiden training with an overseas instructor. Very insightful! I learnt the difference in taekwon-do that is practised in his country. For example, cordialities include greeting with both hands by their side, their basic guarding block is higher, fist just below the jaw line while ours is at chest level. But, the key takeaway of the training session is ultimately the self-defence techniques we have learned!
Before the class ended, while everyone was busy setting up the chairs for the photo-taking session, my son suddenly ran infront of Mr. Glaves, performing a guarding block and a front snap kick on him. Before I could react to the situation, Mr. Glaves actually played along with him and pretended to fall down on the mat. Everyone was delighted to see the ‘soft’ side of him. We later found out that he started his 2 daughters on taekwon-do when they were only two! And at the age of 16 now, they are already National champions for the past five years.
Although my initial intention for starting Russell with taekwon-do is just to strengthen his body and exhuast this hyperactive kid’s energy, I realised that taekwon-do is also about character-building as it cultivates the mind, including shaping one’s mentality and spiritual values.
I want to thank Island Taekwon-Do Centre for giving me the opportunity to boarden my understanding of this field of martial arts and I look forward to Mr. Glaves next visit to Singapore!
Written by Carnation Chai, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2007