Mr Martin Gorg’s Farewell Dinner

On July 18th, we gathered together in Peach Garden Chinese Restaruant in Novena to bid farewell to our friend, Mr Martin Gorg and his family. They had not been expecting a large group so we all arrived early to surprise them and greeted them with a warm round of applause on their arrival. We were glad to see that they were very pleasantly surprised.

Many students were dressed very glamorously, adding to the sense of occasion! The food was also excellent and it just kept coming and coming, one course after another! Everyone enjoyed the good food, stimulating conversation and excellent company. Master Sng presented Mr Gorg with a gift of gold statuettes on behalf of the club. Mr Gorg made a brief speech. He was touched by our show of solidarity in coming out to wish him well and he spoke of his sadness in leaving all his friends in Singapore and in the ITC. He described the great sense of family in the club that he would miss so much. He also spoke of his hopes for his future in Switzerland and concluded by inviting us all to visit him in Geneva. The evening was characterised by a pervasive sense of ambivalence. Everyone seemed to feel happy to be in each other’s company and happy for the exciting new changes that Mr Gorg had to look forward to but sad at the same time that he was leaving.

 

I thought the round Chinese tables with the rotating centres from which we ate served as particularly poignant symbols for the community atmosphere that Mr Gorg spoke about. Not for us, long tables where we are divided up by rank, which seperate juniors from seniors and stifle dialogue. Instead we show humility and friendship by sitting together at round tables, all of us facing each other, sharing our food from the centre of the table and passing it on. This is the way we encourage conversation and juniors learn from being near seniors and most importantly of all,  in this way we nurture the seed of friendship first planted in the dojang. Just as our proficiency in Tae Kwon-Do grows into a towering tree from careful cultivation by our seniors in training, so too does our friendship grow when we sit and eat together. When the sense of community, fraternity and loyalty in the club is so deep-rooted, it is easy to understand why Mr Gorg will miss it so much and why he will also be missed here. Take care Mr Gorg and come back to visit soon!

Written by Mr Eoin O’ Muimhneachain, 2nd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore.
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2009

7th GTF World Championships 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

On 3 July, Master Daniel Sng and I checked into the Mandarin Court Hotel in Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon, in anticipation of attending the 7th Global Taekwon-Do Federation’s (GTF) World Championships 2009. We were invited to witness the event by Mr Johnson Kong, the Operations Director of the tournament.

That evening, we were invited to the Opening Dinner which saw over 300 participants, Instructors, Masters and GTF Representatives come together to enjoy a buffet dinner and cultural show. The entertaining night was filled with performances by different ethnic groups in Malaysia, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Sabah dancers in colourful traditional costumes. It also served to introduce the richness of Malaysian culture to the visitors, and was definitely well received by all.

The next day heralded the Opening Ceremony in the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium. It was an eye-opener to see veteran Masters giving impressive breaking demonstrations! The VIPs then opened the event with speeches and confetti cannons.

16 countries took part in this tournament, with teams hailing from even Turkey and South Africa. There was a total of 530 participants, with Malaysia, of course, sending in the biggest team of 330 competitors.

Over the weekend and Monday, we had the privilege to watch the Colour Belts and Junior Black Belts perform their patterns and engage in sparring. There were definitely more than a few exceptional Taekwon-Doists that drew praise from the whole stadium, which only international events like this could produce.

There were also a few interesting concepts in their tournament, one of which was the Couple Pattern event, which saw a pair of male and female performing a choreographed pattern on the ring. I think the pairings did accentuate mens’ power and females’ grace, two important aspects of Patterns.

Junior Team Patterns were more flexible since the requirement was only 3 performers on the ring. I am sure that this requirement would encourage more young teams since it would be easier to practice in teams of 3 instead of the traditional 5.

Master Daniel Sng and I also had the privilege of meeting many VIPs, including the President of GTF, Hon. Grandmaster Mrs. Linda Park and her family, the Secretary General Master Chris Gantner, and many other Masters who all extended their friendliness to us, taking time off to sit and have a small chat despite their workloads.

Mr. Kong, who was also Sir’s friend, played a good host and brought us out every evening for dinner, and made sure we enjoyed our stay. Even when he was bogged down with work, he would ask his students to accompany and bring us around, which we were very grateful for.

It was a pity that due to other commitments, we could not stay on through the rest of the Championships, and we left Kuala Lumpur with a bigger insight into Taekwon-Do. I think that despite the different Federations, we practitioners should always stick to our roots and moral values that Taekwon-Do teaches us, to become better persons in life.

Many thanks to Master Sng, Mr Kong and the Organizing Committee of the 7th GTF World Championships for giving us an enriching experience with kind hospitality in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Written by Mr Shaun Chua, 3rd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore.
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2009