8th Interschool and Asia Taekwon-Do Tournament

8th Interschool and Asia Taekwon-Do Tournament

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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!

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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!

Taekwon,
Justin Gan

Written by Mr. Justin Gan, 3rd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2018

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championships 2017

Martial Arts Taekwon-Do Championships 2017

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!

Taekwon,
Justin Gan

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

ANNUAL TAEKWON-DO CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

ANNUAL TAEKWON-DO CHAMPIONSHIPS 2017

The Island Taekwon-Do Centre Annual Championships 2017 was a great experience for our family, and most certainly one of the highlights of our family life!

It was held on 25th March, in the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), as part of Island Taekwon-Do Centre’s 25th Anniversary events.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (1)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

2 years ago, it was just a dream for me (who had prior experience in Taekwon-Do 27 years ago) to even think of picking it up again. Today, not only has the whole family started training… all 4 of us took part in the recent ITC Annual Championships!

We started the day early, reaching the Indoor Sports Hall in SUTD by 7.30am for the weigh-in. The hall was big with 2 rings, a stage, and colourful, tiered bucket seats. We arrived in a light and festive mood, but then we noticed that the competitors from overseas who had arrived even earlier, had already changed into their doboks and were intently warming up, which made us realise how serious they were taking the competition! This made us want to take the opportunity to compete more earnestly.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (2)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

After the officials’ briefing, we were gathered to start the opening ceremony. Master Daniel Sng, our President and Chief Instructor, gave a speech, followed by Shaun Sir, the chairperson of the Championships. They gave us words of encouragement and a broader perspective on competitions and Taekwon-Do. Master Sng also gave out souvenirs to the overseas guests. It is also the first time that ITC has invited foreign participants to the Annual Championships.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (3)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

We then took the participants’ and umpires’ oaths, followed by a short demonstration by our ITC members. The demonstration turned out to be a skit of a young child and her mother fighting away robbers. It was both entertaining and amazing to watch our young Amber beating up 3 armed robbers!

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (4)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

After the demonstration, we were gathered to take group photographs, before kicking off the competition events with the Individual Patterns categories.

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First to go was the kids and they both had to compete in the Junior Individual Patterns categories. Competition from all the foreign participants was stiff. Our eyes opened to see how their every move, even at the junior levels, were precise, powerful and graceful. Our kids grew nervous, and my son, Luke even made a mistake. But thankfully, their hard work did not go to waste as they both received bronze medals for their respective events.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (6)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (7)

Shortly after, it was my turn up against fellow ITC compatriot Thomas, and I think we both put up a good fight! We were familiar with the ITC members’ styles as we had attended the competition trainings, but we definitely learnt a lot observing the foreign practitioners.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (8)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (9)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

Next up was the Team Patterns category where my entire family participated in, in two different teams. Each team comprised of 3 members and everyone had to perform their chosen pattern together with their coordinated movements. Out of the 9 teams, my OPT group was definitely the oldest amongst the kids and teenagers!

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (10)

We were mesmerised by our creative competitors, how they executed breaks and the various choreography, we never imagined possible. It was a most nerve-wrecking time for all of us, as we sat there, waiting for our turn. I had not felt this competitive stress for a long time! We did not win anything for this event, but learnt a lot and enjoyed watching the spectacular patterns display of each team. Congratulations to the teams who won this hotly-contested event!

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (11)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

The final category was the most anticipated – Sparring! My daughter, Faith was up first in the Junior Females’ group. I was very nervous and at the same time proud, watching intensely throughout all her matches as she managed to punch and kick her way to the gold medal!

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (12)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

We were watching and enjoying really close and intense fights in the various categories. Everyone was cheering for their favourite players and enjoying themselves both inside and outside the competition rings. Once again, we witnessed with wonder how the foreign participants fought, with different and effective fighting styles. Not discounting all our ITC competitors who also put up extraordinary effort in the rings. It was great to see everyone suddenly fighting a lot harder than they do in the dojang!

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (13)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

My sparring event was the last category of the day. I had a good match against fellow ITC competitor Dr Tan, who fought the better fight.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (14)Image Source: MLFoto / Fung Man Lok

As the other Ring already completed their matches, all eyes were on the exciting finals between Mr Thomas and Dr Tan where they tied in the first 2 rounds, having go into a third round! The two men fought even harder despite their exhaustion, and put on a really tough and exciting match. Dr Tan finally emerged the winner, amidst a chorus of cheers and high praise for both competitors’ valiant fights.

Annual Championships - Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh (15)

It was a truly enriching experience to see each of our family members taking part in all the different events. As parents, we beamed with pride seeing our two little ones being able to complete, much less compete in their various categories, and I am sure the other parents and coaches of the other participants were also proud of their participants’ performances!

There were many other important lessons to be learnt from all the visiting coaches and it was also good to see the high standards from the various countries.

Personally as a Dad, I am proud to be able to lead by example to take part in and even win some medals to encourage my kids.

We are very happy with the Annual Championships experience and want to thank Master Daniel Sng and all the organisers for hosting such an exciting and wonderful event. We are looking forward to attending more ITC events in the future!

Taekwon,
Mr & Mrs Stevean Goh

Written by Mr. and Mrs. Stevean Goh, 6th Gup, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2017