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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