From the 7th to 10th April, Island Taekwon-Do Centre (ITC) participated in the Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championships 2017 held in Ipoh, Malaysia. The team participated in various Individual Black Belt Patterns category and did well under the guidance of Team Manager and Coach, Madam Carnation Chai.

As we were all eager for the variety of food that awaited us in Ipoh, we started the trip with lunch at Penang Culture all the way back in Singapore Airport, before the flight to Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, Ipoh. When we arrived in Ipoh, we were received by a short shower of blessing which lasted only the walking duration from the plane to the airport.

Soon after we settled down in our lovely hotel rooms, we headed out to explore the seemingly quiet town of Ipoh. Well, that wasn’t the case. In fact, we were hosted with warm smiles and great hospitality throughout our stay in Ipoh.

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (1)

We had dinner at ‘Lou Wong’ restaurant which served the famous Ipoh ‘Tauge Ayam’ (literal meaning: bean sprout chicken) before taking a digestive stroll to purchase snacks and subsequently retiring to our rooms to prepare for the long day ahead at SJK (C) Yuk Choy, the competition venue.

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (2)

When competition day came and we arrived at the hall, I was slightly thrown off guard by the massive turnout of approximately 850 passionate Taekwon-Doists, all eager and ready to compete. Although it is not an uncommon participating strength, it was first time I witnessed such a huge crowd in a competition! It was very heartening to see the martial art I love in such a flourishing state. The passion and indomitable spirit displayed by all competitors was something that could be emulated back in our Dojang.

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (4)

We were soon called to perform and we were met with strong competitors from all across Malaysia. Russell Seow (I Dan) was first to be called to compete in the Under 16 1st Degree Black Belt Individual Patterns, followed by Hubert Yong (I Dan) whom competed in the 1st Degree Black Belt Individual Patterns category and subsequently myself in the 3rd Degree Black Belt Individual Patterns Category. All of us did well in our individual categories and the experience and satisfaction gained was immeasurable. I’m sure we all had different takeaways from the experience from training until competition, but more importantly that of sportsmanship and sports excellence.

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (5)

After the competition, we treated ourselves to a sumptuous dinner at Jalan Sultan Ekram, or more famously known as ‘Tong Sui Kai, 糖水街’ (literal meaning: Dessert Street) before heading for some window shopping at Ipoh Parade Shopping Mall.

The next day, we took some time to visit Old Town Ipoh, which was host to a myriad of artwork and hipster cafes.

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (6)

We ended the long day with a “plan B”, since the traditional coffee shops that we originally intended to visit closes after noon. In fact, ‘Plan B’ is the name of the bistro situated in the middle of Old Town Ipoh which served delicious food (salted egg fries!) and, more importantly, thirst-quenching Asahi draft!

On the final day of our trip to Ipoh, we were honoured to be hosted by Mr. Khoo Bu Leong of Persatuan Taekwon-Do Negeri Perak despite his hectic schedule, post-competition. Mr Khoo kindly took us around the lesser known wonders of Ipoh, which included a river visit, cave visit, Dojang visit as well as good food from the famous Old Town Coffee Shop. They were indeed eye-opening for all of us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day. ITC would like to once again convey our heartfelt thanks to Mr Khoo and his club for the kind hospitality throughout the entire duration of the trip!

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championship 2017 @ Ipoh - Justin Gan (7)

The trip was a good mix of Taekwon-Do and recreation, which was a good time to know more about each other outside of training time. This is a hallmark of any ITC trip and I would strongly encourage members to join future trips to come! On this note, I would like to thank Madam Carnation Chai and Master Daniel Sng for making this eye-opening trip possible, as well as Hubert and Russell who make me feel younger with your company!

Justin Gan

Written by Mr. Justin Gan, 3rd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2017