Island Taekwon-Do Centre was invited by the Hong Kong Original Taekwon-Do Council to participate in the 8th edition of their Interschool and Asia Taekwon-Do Tournament on 16 and 17 December 2017. The team arrived on the 15th evening and was warmly welcomed by Windy Sir who drove us all the way from the west to the east of Hong Kong. Thank you, Sir!
As we were famished due to the extended flight, Windy Sir took us for supper after checking into our accommodation, Holiday Inn Express Kowloon East. We had clay pot rice “煲仔饭” and other dishes at a restaurant near Kwun Tong MTR. We retired to our rooms shortly after to prepare for the Grandmaster class the next day.
The Grandmaster Class was conducted by Grandmaster Trevor Nicholls assisted by Master David Lau, Master Poon as well as Master Daniel Sng. The first half of the day was conducted for 4th degree black belts and above only. Yuki and I joined in the second half of the session which commenced after lunch.
The first and large part of the session focused on the basic Tuls (Patterns), Chon-Ji, Dan-Gun and Do-San. Grandmaster Nicholls emphasised on the need to activate the core when executing the moves by dissecting the Tuls into their individual movements. For example, Chon-Ji consists of Walking Stance Forearm Low Block, Middle Obverse Punch and L-Stance Inner Forearm Block. After numerous practice on each single technique, we then combined them together to complete the Tul. It was a timely reminder for us that we should not forget our fundamentals as we progress onto higher belts.
The second part of the session was a self-defence sharing session by Master Daniel Sng. Sir shared a couple of locking techniques which awed the hall of Taekwon-Doists. As with each technique, the group broke down to smaller groups to learn and practice them. As we were slightly more familiar (though rusty) with the techniques, we helped to teach some of the participants the key points Sir was trying to emphasise in each move.
The last part of the session was conducted by Master Poon from Hong Kong whom went through kicking drills and left our legs jelly-like after the session. The Grandmaster class ended with a quick summary of anecdotes and a run through the patterns by Grandmaster Nicholls. At the end of the session, we took the opportunity to catch up with our counterparts from Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong.
We then proceed to have dinner at Tim Ho Wan near our hotel and soon returned to our rooms to rest (and complete our personal work) for the night in preparation for the competition the next day.
Competition day arrived and I was heartened to see the huge turnout at the venue with roughly 400 participants and over 200 parents and supporters. It was a testament of the strength of ITF Taekwon-Do in Hong Kong. The first half of the day saw the Children’s categories in patterns, team patterns, sparring and power breaking. Shaun Sir and Yuki Ma’am were helping as umpires in those categories while I took the opportunity to take some photos and observe the running of the competition (and also to catch up on some sleep).
Soon enough, my category was called and I was matched with a group of young, talented and passionate Taekwon-Doist like myself! It was a humbling experience being able to compete alongside them and learning from observing them. I certainly have a long way to go!
After my event, the line-up got more exciting with adult sparring and power breaking. We stuck around and observed the competition before ending the day with more photo taking and contact exchange with our new-found friends. After all, networking with like-minded individuals is the best part of overseas events!
We ended the day with having a simple dinner with Kenichi Nonaka Sir from Japan whom had to be at the airport early in the morning the next day. Thank you for spending your precious time in Hong Kong with us, Sir!
This trip has been an amazing one to rekindle my passion in Taekwon-Do amidst the busy university schedule, especially training up towards the competition. It was an amazing experience competing amongst contenders from other parts of Asia once again (first time in 2011), and my wish is that more contenders from ITC can join me in the years to come! Meanwhile, with the invaluable knowledge and experience, it is time for myself to impart them to the Juniors!
Written by Mr. Justin Gan, 3rd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2018