Master Kambiz R.Ali 6th Dan and Mr Martin Squires 1st Dan took 3 weeks out of their busy working schedule to take the long trip to South Korea at the end of July.
They spent the first week attending the International Instructor Training Course held at the Taekwondo Won Training Centre. The centre itself is dedicated to the teaching of the martial art to students wanting to learn and connect with some of the older traditions. Participants for the Instructor Course ranged from 9th Dan grades to 2nd Dan grades and from all 4 corners of the globe. Mr Squires was given special dispensation to attend the course from the organisers as a gesture of goodwill.
Instructors for the course were all Grandmasters from the governing body of Taekwondo, Kukkiwon. The schedule for the week harped back to the military training days with a nice early 6am run up the local mountain for a warm up. Breakfast in a nice bowl of tasty rice and Kimchee, a sort of cabbage with salt and garlic. Lectures and more pattern demonstration. Lunch of rice and Kimchee. More pattern practice and lectures. Evening meal of Rice and Kimchee. And a final get together to practice pattern moves. Heading to bed at 9.30 pm. Rinse and repeat for the next 7 days certainly improves a person’s stamina, techniques and creates a certain amount of anxiety when training among some of the world’s best Taekwondo practitioners. Master Kambiz R.Ali successfully attained his Level 3 International Instructors certificate.
Master K.R.Ali at Muju Taekwondowone, Aug 2015
Week 2 saw Master Kambiz R.Ali and Mr Martin Squires thrust into the realms of politics and representing the Harrogate Mayor’s office had several meetings with Jung-Gu District Council in order to promote further working relationships with Harrogate. A signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, with Master Ali as honorary representative for the Mayor of Harrogate and the Vice-Chairperson Mr Girae Ki, also took place with the aim of looking to develop marketing and business opportunities and trade and strengthening the exchange of skills and education. Jung –Gu is another district of the Korean Capital Seoul, like Dubong –Gu which now has a ‘Harrogate Road’. Jung-Gu is Seoul’s oldest district and is the current residing place for the Korean President in the ‘Blue House’. Historically the district boasts one of the five Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. There are multiple parks and Museums within the district, most notable is the Museum of Art. The district also houses Korea’s banking and financial areas as well as Seoul’s City Hall.
At Jung-Gu council hall with chairperson and councillors
Finally after a tiring 2 weeks, the World Hangmadang competition started. A total of 4500 competitors from worldwide had made the journey to compete. This competition is about techniques rather than sparring. Hence there are events for the best hand breaking or foot breaking technique.
Master Ali who achieved a Bronze medal last year, and Mr Squires both entered for the fist break competition. The first round is a selection round for the final with the top 10 out of 21 competitors getting through. Each competitor has 1 minute to stack his concrete tiles in order then has a further 20 seconds to break them. In front of a large crowd and cameras this time passes very quickly and leaves competitors little time to compose themselves. Master Ali managed to smash 10 tiles in the first round and qualified for the final round in 2nd. Mr Squires broke a respectable 7 tiles and qualified for the final in 10th place. The final saw Master Ali finish in 6th place overall after breaking 8 tiles and Mr Squires came 7th after completing a 6 tile break. Overall K R Ali taekwondo can boast having the 6th and 7th in the World at Fist Breaking in Taekwondo.
Master K.R.Ali in action at 2015 World Taekwondo Hanmadang,
Master Ali continued his competition efforts in the pattern or Poomsae event. On the qualifying round Master Ali got his footing wrong on a sidekick causing him to lose his balance slightly, and the result meant he finished 12th and just missed out in a place in the final.
“Having competed here last year, I know the rest of the players are strong and only small variations in score can have big consequences. Such close scrutiny is intense and does put enormous pressure on you. Mistakes are bound to happen” said Master Ali after, obviously disappointed.
The World Hangmadang 2015 was held in Peungtaek, a city in Korea. Master Ali and Mr Squires met with the Mayor of Peungtaek, and on behalf of the Mayor of Harrogate exchanged Mayoral seals with a view to creating closer working relationships. Master Ali also met with Mr Lee, the Hangmadang’s organiser and discussed the pitfalls of trying to set up such a large competition. Master Ali also had the opportunity to meet the President of PyeongTaek Football Association and were able to discuss opportunities regarding sporting collaborations between the two towns.
With The Mayor of Peyongteak.
With President of Kukkiwon and organiser of The World Taekwondo Hanmadang Mr Lee at Peyongteak.
Reporting back after the long trip Mr Squires commented “The whole experience is very tiring. Long days and short nights seemed to take their toll. The training at the international Centre was an experience, particularly when it had so many experienced Taekwondo Masters and Grandmasters all there to learn. Handmadang was also an experience unlike any other. It is difficult to prepare yourself for the occasion and hard to shut out the psychological pressure to perform.”
Both Master Ali and Mr Squires are considering a return trip next year.
Reporting back to The Mayor of Harrogate Cllr Nigel Simms at Harrogate Chambers , The Mayor & Mayoress of Borough of Harrogate both were very pleased with Master Kambiz R.Ali performance at hanmadang and his political achievements on behalf of the mayor of Harrogate with Jung-Gu Council and successful meeting with The Mayor of Peyongteak for further partnerships between two councils and Mayors , one good news from Jung-Gu council chairperson they accept request of opening Harrogate Road at Jung-Gu and this will be confirmed by next trip of Master Kambiz R.Ali to South Korea. Master Ali had a great meeting with president of Kukkiwon and grandmaster Park from Chungdokwon for further development and promotion of Taekwondo in Harrogate.
With Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate photo by Andy Rawson of eagle-eye-photography.