Voices from our Attendees

Attending the MasterClass Seminar conducted by Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa has opened up a totally new concept of Taekwon-Do to us, where the martial art is not just about physical strength but also on spiritual and mental health being. I was held in awe over GM Choi’s down-to-earth character and willingness to impart his TKD knowledge, irregardless of him being the top man in ITF. I truly learned a great deal during the seminar.

– Mr. Jeremy Tan

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It was indeed a pleasure and honour to train under Grand Master Choi during the seminar.
It is one thing to read about correct techniques from text books but another to learn it from the Grand Master himself!! I had a great time at the seminar and thanks for making it happen in Singapore!!

– Mr. Teo Choo Siong

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“More than an experience” might not be strong enough a phrase to describe the 1st Singapore Master Class Seminar. Despite it not being my first attendance in a Seminar conducted by Grandmaster, it was still an entirely new experience. It was truly an honour and privilege to be directly under the guidance of Grandmaster, especially when I had the opportunity to demonstrate. Coupled with the guidance was the conduciveness of the training environment and the compliments of the hotel, the Seminar was much more than just a success. I am sure that I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the day.

Thank you Sir Daniel for bringing Grandmaster to our humble country.

– Mr. Derrick Yong

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“To participate in the Grandmaster Seminar was a unique highlight of my humble Taekwon-Do career. The seminar gave me great insight into unexplored dimensions and new elements of our techniques. I had imagined a martial arts grandmaster to be a formal and removed leader. Contrary to this, Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa came across as being very approachable. Someone, who is willing to share his wealth of wisdom from all areas of life, not only from the martial arts arena. He impressed me with his friendliness and openness in social surroundings and his precision and speed when demonstrating Taekwon-Do in the Dobok. – A true master we can all look up to, in every aspect !

Many thanks to Sir Daniel Sng and all supporters of this event for giving us such a memorable experience !”

– Mr. Martin Goerg

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It is a great honour to have met the Grandmaster in Singapore for the very first time. This seminar conducted by Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa and the Secretary General Master Trevor Nicholls has been an enriching experience for me.

I’ve learnt many new things from the seminar such as the kihaps to be done at certain movements of the patterns, how to do proper sine wave as well as to do a proper punch and kick. It is something so simple yet hard to execute. Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa concentrated a lot on how to generate power using our bodies which I found useful as you’ll need it in patterns.

Also,to have dinner with the Grand Master and hearing him sing to his hearts content was an eye-opening exprience for me. He is someone of a much higher rank than all of us here at Island Taekwon-Do centre and seeing him singing so happily with Mr Steve Slater was indeed a great surprise.

Lastly, this seminar would not have been possible without everyone’s hard work and late nights. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this seminar in one way or another.

Taekwon,

– Ms. Maria Sng

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Dear Sir,

I just wanted to express my appreciation for the Master class Seminar and dinner. I had a great time and learnt a great deal.

After playing the guitar at dinner, I began to think that there is a lot in common between being a musician and Taekwon-Do. The Grandmaster and Master Nicholls talked about individuality. We are all different sizes and shapes and therefore our movements will vary to some extent within the boundary of what is correct. It’s the same in music. There are rules we must follow whatever style of music we play, but within those rules there is freedom for individual expression. For music you have to learn the rules, develop the technique and practice. But when you perform, you try to forget all that and just let it come out from within you.

The Grandmaster emphasized power in Taekwon-Do. I think it applies to playing music as well. The best performances are emotionally powerful. They should mean something. Music should affect the listener whether it’s to give them goosebumps, or make them happy or sad.

For music, like Taekwon-Do, practice is important. Passion, talent and theoretical understanding are important, but you cannot express these properly unless you develop coordination, motor skills and technique and constantly practice until movements become instinctive. When I play, I don’t think about theory, I don’t think about the notes or finger movements, I just try to let the music come out. Hopefully one day, with enough practice I will be able to do something similar in Taekwon-Do.

If you have the opportunity perhaps you could pass my thanks onto Grandmaster Choi. I hope that I will have an opportunity in the future to attend more seminars and perhaps even sing together again as well!

Thank you again Sir

– Mr. Steve Slater

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Dear Sir,

I wanted to send you and Island Taekwon Do Centre a short email and I hope that if the opportunity presents itself you will find the time to read to your class when I am not there sometime soon…

Sir, the hospitality that you have show to me since my joining Island Taekwon-Do has been wonderful and has reinforced my beliefs that being part of the Taekwon Do culture provided me with further happiness and prosperity in my life. This hospitality respect and culture is not only displayed by you though it is throughout all of your students and senior Black Belts too. I have only trained a very small amount of times but I have learnt a lot from the culture that you have built which no doubt has taken you years of hard workmanship and dedication to get it to the current level.

I am proud to have met yourself and your students who have a huge amount of talent but also a huge amount of generosity to those with lower levels of skill like myself to those themselves.

Although I am leaving Singapore in January next year I will do my best to attend some trainings so that I may learn more from yourself and your members and I trust that this will be only the start of a long lasting relationship. I would very much like to again be fit and ready to attend a Black Belt Grading under your Club Flag one day soon as well.

I again thank you for including me in this weekends seminar and for giving me the opportunity to mix and be close to so many wonderful people and of course Grand Master Choi which was truly an honour and a memory that I will hold onto for a very very long time.

I will tell many people about your clubs success and the wonderful leadership skills that your students posses!

I travel the world and mix with many successful leaders in huge worldwide organisations and I will now compare those with your very own organisation….

Sincerely,

– Mr. Tony Chisholm

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Dear Sir,

With much respect, I would like to share some of my thoughts after attending the Masterclass Seminar in Sinapore, conducted by Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa on 25th October 2007.

The Grandmaster stressed that, “Patterns are the heart of ITF.” More importantly, he emphasized that, “If you know something through and through, then you know everything.” My interpretation of these quotes is that a student of Taekwon-Do should strive, first and foremost, to attain a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals. Only then can we progress to higher levels of proficiency in the martial art.

Under the close instruction of Master Trevor Nicholls, we were privileged to learn the finer points in performing the tuls. (patterns) For example, Master Trevor Nicholls remarked that when we are performing our patterns, we have to “feel” it coming from within us. All movements follow the natural motions of our body. Each technique has to be applied with speed, utilizing the sine wave motion to generate more power as we execute each step.

Throughout the training session, Grandmaster Choi related stories that were insightful and inspiring. He urged all the students and seniors present to be open to criticism from others. It is only through constant self-correction that one can improve.

Grandmaster Choi remarked that the Taekwon-Do “is not magic, nor trickery.” The martial art techniques have their basis in scientific principles, with the aim of cultivating physical fitness and mental resilience through training. There is no perfect performing of patterns, as all us are unique in physique. However, one can fine-tune our patterns through diligent practice. In his words, “One million and one times is still better than one million times.”

To conclude, allow me to express my personal view that with consistent and proper training, near-perfection can be achieved in the precise and accurate execution of Taekwon-Do patterns.

That is when the real magic of ITF truly shines.

Yours in Taekwon-Do,

– Mr. Tang Wee Cheow, Kenneth

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My attendance of the Master Class Seminar by Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa was a very fruitful one, especially after I had taken a long break from Taekwon-Do.

Not surprisingly, Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa and Secretary General Master Trevor Nicholls gave their all in the one day seminar to teach us whatever they could in the short time frame.

The Grand Master had taught us a great deal with regards to the basic techniques and the patterns, giving me a much more in depth understanding of Taekwon-Do.

He had also expressed concern that the Moral Culture of Taekwon-Do is overlooked by some of its practitioners.

I would like to thank Mr. Daniel Sng for organizing this Masterclass Seminar, and the Grand Master and his assistants for their time and dedication in the seminar.

I’m looking forward to attending another seminar by the Grand Master.

Taekwon

– Mr. Beow Qi Zhao

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1st Masterclass Seminar in Singapore with Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa

1st Masterclass Seminar in Singapore with Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa

The ITF President, Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa arrived on Thursday morning, 25th October 2007 in Singapore to host a master class seminar at the invitation of the International Taekwon-Do Federation Singapore (ITFS) and Island Taekwon-Do Centre. He was welcomed by Mr. Daniel Sng. In the afternoon the President attended the ITFS HQ Dojang (Island Taekwon-Do Centre) where he gave interviews to Safra Radio, a Chinese newspaper – Zaobao, and two magazines- Men’s Health and Shape. Grandmaster Choi then enjoyed an excellent seafood dinner. Practitioners from Malaysia and USA as well as those in Singapore were to attend the seminar and on the Friday the President met a number of the foreign guests over lunch at Metropole Herbal Restaurant, a well known Chinese Herbal restaurant. In the afternoon there were more interviews, this time with the major local newspaper the Straits Times. The Grandmaster was accompanied by Mr. Daniel Sng, Master Trevor Nicholls and Master Thomas Zuza. After the interviews there was a black belt grading session. Mr Jonathan Sun tested successfully for his 4th Degree Black Belt and Mr Chin Lai Khak was awarded his 5th degree Black Belt.

On Saturday the seminar started in the Grand Ballroom of the Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore. More than 50 practitioners attended. At 9am the event was opened by a traditional Chinese Lion dance then the ITFS President Mr. Daniel Sng welcomed the Grandmaster. This was followed by a speech from Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa. After a warm up, Master Trevor Nicholls began by leading the participants through the fundamental movements. The Grandmaster emphasised many points to ensure everybody understood the reason for each movement. In particular he stressed the use of the body’s natural movement and rhythm, the application of the sine wave and the importance of power. As the seminar proceeded, we learnt further refinements in each pattern including the times when movements should be connected within a single sine wave and breath and times when each movement should be distinct.

During the seminar, the President reintroduced the use of kihaps at certain points during the performance of each Tul. This was in the original requirements but over the years has been omitted. The President wanted to ensure that this requirement was adhered to as we moved forward.

As the day progressed, the Grandmaster emphasised speed and the correct application of body mass to achieve greater power. Blocks were to be delivered as powerfully as strikes. A kick needs to have the body mass behind it to be effective. Practitioners were also reminded on correct technique, for example controlling the height of a front kick so ensure maximum is delivered through an opponent and not deflected upwards. The Grandmaster reminded us that showy technique was not necessarily correct and this was illustrated as he pointed out the right way to deliver a back kick. Another important point that was constantly emphasised throughout the seminar was to use the body’s natural movement to deliver the most effective techniques. We should not be trying to put an unnatural movement into a technique, rather we should emphasise those natural movements and use those to help us deliver the technique with power.

Ultimately we should be striving to express Taekwon-Do from within us, always recognising that we are all different sizes and shapes and that no two practitioners will perform movements identically.

The Seminar concluded at 4:30pm and there was an opportunity for attendees to meet Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa, Master Trevor Nicholls and Master Thomas Zuza for autographs and photographs.

At 7:30pm, the seminar participants and their families attended dinner at the Singapore Island Country Club. During dinner the guest were entertained by a local cultural dance troupe that put on a display of Chinese, Malay and Indian dances. Several Singapore Taekwon-Do practitioners then demonstrated their multiple musical talents by performing variously on keyboard, guitar and vocals. One unexpected highlight was Grandmaster Choi coming onto stage to join in an impromptu version of Elvis’ “I want you, I need you and I love you” Finally all participants were presented with their ITF Training Certificates and dinner was concluded at 10:30pm.

The next day at 7am, Mr. Daniel Sng and several students accompanied Grandmaster Choi to Changi International Airport and bade him farewell.

On behalf of all members of the ITFS, I would like to thank Mr. Daniel Sng, the Organising Committee, the Master of Ceremonies and all the entertainers, without which this event would not have been possible. Thanks, of course, go to all those who attended and made the event a great success and especial thanks to President Choi, Master Trevor Nicholls and Master Thomas Zuza for coming to Singapore to share their vast knowledge with us.

Written by Mr. Steve Slater, 1st Degree Blackbelt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2007

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