On Sunday, 17 March 2013, a small team from ITF-Japan came down to train with us during our classes. The Japanese team was led by Mr Ken-ichi Nonaka, a 5th Degree Black Belt who had previously trained with us last December. This time, he brought along 3 students, one of which was a 1st Degree Black Belt and the other two held Green and Yellow-Green belts respectively.
We expected them to come for the Black Belt training session at 1pm but to our astonishment, they were waiting outside the dojang since 8am! It was definitely a pleasant surprise. Master Sng conducted the training at 9am as usual and invited Mr Ken-ichi to take the 10.30am class to share his knowledge and Mr Ken-ichi complied without any hesitation.
The 1pm class was exactly what I had been waiting for because that was when I could have the opportunity to spar with them. I have seen ITF-Japan competing in sparring events in many ITF Championship videos where they have displayed magnificent skills. Therefore, I treasured the chance to learn as much as I could whilst they sparred. It was a huge eye opener for me as the techniques that they executed were very precise and I strive to move to their level. After the class ended, Jeremy Sir and Carnation Ma’am drove them to the hotel for their well-deserved rest.
They were back for more training on Tuesday evening, 19 March and Master Sng once again invited Mr Ken-ichi to lead the 7pm class. For the first half of the session, Mr Ken-ichi trained us on the technical aspects of the art which consisted of lots of jumping kicks, which simultaneously tested our accuracy, speed and power. It raised my heart rate, adrenaline and blood pressure to a level that I would normally experience after a marathon. I loved it. For the second half of the session, we went through self-defense techniques and there were lots of laughter going around. I could see that everyone was having fun and happiness was written all over our faces. At 8.30 pm, Master Sng led the class for more self-defense techniques followed by kicking techniques coupled with reaction training. Before we could call it a day, we played some games with our guests and it was really enjoyable. We then had a photo-taking session and exchanged gifts of appreciation.
After that, we went for supper with our guests and it was nice to see everyone tucking into the delicious meal. The evening ended with Jeremy Sir giving them a scenic drive around Singapore before sending them back to the hotel to prepare for their flight back to Japan. Overall, it was truly a great experience for me as I got to see how other ITF teams train in their own countries. Mr Ken-ichi and his team displayed their passion for Taekwon-Do through their actions and teachings and I can truly see how hard they have worked to get where they are and how they will work even harder to gain more knowledge.
I really anticipate training together with them in the future as Mr Ken-ichi’s training was tough yet satisfying. I am very grateful to him for this experience. I also would like to thank Master Sng for inviting him to train with us, and the rest of the members who supported the training! From the bottom of my heart, I wish them a safe trip back home and I hope that we will train together again soon.
Written by Mr. Adrian Loh, 1st Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2013