169 ITF Black Belt Instructors from NZ, Australia, Malaysia and even 1 from Finland made it to Auckland for the 115th IIC where they were put through their paces both physically and mentally by Grand Master Hector Marano (from Argentina), Grand Master Ung Kim Lan (from Vietnam but based in Germany) and Master Paul McPhail (from Auckland NZ.).
It had an extensive program starting Friday afternoon all together with some interesting and varied warm up and kicking techniques with Master McPhail, followed by Patterns with Grand Master Marano from Chon-Ji through to Hwa-Rang. GM Marano is like a walking TKD Encyclopaedia, his grasp and attention to detail is quite astounding. After this whilst the 5th Dans and above got GM Marano to themselves for their Patterns, GM Lan took the rest of us through some sparring drills until all too soon the 1st afternoon was over and it was time to go and rest up for the following full day.
Saturday morning after a quick warm-up which included some cool partner activities GM Lan took all of us for Self-defence. He says “there are no rules in self-defence…if you have to fight, you fight…If I lose I’m dead. If I do, I do with all my power.” And promptly showed and then had us practicing, many different ways of defending ourselves from different positions and at different distances.
Then GM Marano took us all from Choong-Moo through to Gae-Baek. We separated so that 2nd Dans and above could go through Eui-Am to Juche with GM Lan while Master McPhail took the 1st Dans through some very active revision. After Lunch 3rd Dans and above got to do 3rd Dan Patterns with Master McPhail whilst GM Lan did some revision, then we were back together for some combination sparring techniques with GM Lan. Unbeknown to us at the time, GM Marano was grading some of the Malaysian Instructors and before too long the rest of us were afforded a break whilst Master Peter Barbour from Australia and Master James Rimmer from NZ were being Graded – a closed Session, for 8th Dan.
That night there was a Banquet dinner arranged which I was informed was relaxed but still formal, those who attended dressed well and there was the pleasant surprise of Mr Norman Ng who is a pioneer of TKD in NZ, there too.
Sunday morning after Photo’s and the announcement that Malaysia now has a new 4th, 3rd and 2nd Dan and that both Australia and NZ have a new 8th Dan, we split so 3rd Dans and below could do some revision with Master McPhail whilst 4th Dans and above went through Yon-Gae to Moon-Moo and even Ko-Dang Tul with GM Lan. Then after a quick break it was all back together for Step Sparring with Master McPhail. Master McPhail had us do some really interesting combinations and had us thinking and doing Step Sparring many different ways. It was a creatively informative Session.
Then whilst 6th Dan’s and above had some time with GM Marano, it was GM Lan’s turn for Sparring drills which were energetic and fun with one looking suspiciously like a version of “TKD tickle” to me.
With time going by just too fast it was back together for gifts to be given to our visiting Grandmasters, and Masters, the hand out of Certificates and with thanks to Master Mahesh Bhana and Mrs Natasha Iotua who organised this very enjoyable and memorable event before GM Marano officially closed what really was an awesome weekend.
Mrs Sonya Robinson – 4th Dan, Warrior Taekwon-Do.