2 Masters, 2 Days, 5 Components – Athlone Training weekend a great success.
20 Taekwon-Do students from 6 schools travelled to Athlone for the weekend to train hard under the guidance of two ITF masters. The students from; Athlone, Blessignton, Cork, Galway, Kilmacow, Limerick, and Old Bawn, trained, sweated, learned and laughed as Master Robert Howard and Master Mark O’Donnell drove them through the weekend’s training.
It was a great opportunity for students ranging from 10th kup to 6th degree black belt to train together and cover all the five components of Taekwon-Do. The goal of the weekend was for students to develop an understanding of how the five components; fundamental movements, patterns, conditioning, sparring and self-defence, are all linked together and that if they leave out one component then they are not doing Taekwon-Do. If they spend all their time doing patterns and omit self-defence, or concentrate on sparring too much at the expense of power breaking (conditioning) then their Taekwon-Do is incomplete. ‘The students got a chance to see all the aspects of Taekwon-Do. It was great, especially for the lower grades who often can’t see the point of doing 3 and 2 step sparring’ said Conor Dunne assistant instructor at Athlone Taekwon-Do School.
This wasn’t a technical seminar, but the two masters pointed out common mistakes which students make and gave valuable tips on how to maximise the power in their blocks, kicks, strikes. In the fundamental movements the students were taught how to use their whole body to defend themselves, everything from their fingertips to their toes.
Master Howard (Instructor at Master Howard’s Dojang) explained the need to for students to train hard both in the dojang and at home to develop your body. He quoted General Choi’s definition of Taekwon-Do, ‘It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defence; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training’ and stressed the intensive physical and mental training part of the definition.
Master O’Donnell added to the discussion and said ‘If you want to just come along twice a week and do Taekwon-Do as a hobby, that’s fine, but don’t expect to become a black belt.’ He went on to say ‘You need to train 3 or 4 times per week, to supplement your dojang classes. If you are just coming to the dojang twice a week and not training or even thinking about Taekwon-Do at home then you are just wasting your time.’
The final component of the weekend was self-defence. The masters pointed out that there are no secrets in self-defence. Whether it is a release from grab of defending against a knife, it is just the practical application of all the other four components of Taekwon-Do. It is not as artistic or beautiful as a pattern or as exciting to watch a good spar. It is rough, ready and effective. There are obviously points like moving your body out of the way of the blade and moving in to grab the wrist, but these should have already been learned through fundamental movements, patterns and sparring.
The weekend ended with the masters thanking the students for training so hard and for their desire to learn and understand. There were requests to make it an annual event and Galway was mentioned as next year’s venue.