Beer with Hwang Su-il
special guest Hwang Su-il
7.8.2010 – Next summer camp is over (unfortunately) and because it was again (for the 8time) great experience and left many never-to-forget memories in me I want to share some with you.
Normally only me and Lenka Dvořáková take part from Sonkal dojang, but this year I persuaded also Tomáš Vodička (that time 1. kup, now I. Dan ;o) to accompany me (it took me about 7 seconds saying „you may have 5 trainings with Hwang Su-il instead of 1“). My brother „happily“ (good to be older brother) brought us there, so it took just slightly more than hour to be in Sklárna (we got lost just two times – I did the driving, fortunately speed meter (tachometer) was not working so I was not sure if I am breaking laws ;o) Sklárna had great taekwondo atmosphere just when we arrived, because younger students of Ge-baek Hosinsool school practiced in the corridor corrected by black belts – we felt that we are at right place. Few days after my two very good friends Radek Kolář (III. Dan, chief of Pardubice dojang) and Tomáš Kuba (III.Dan, chief of Il kyok Námešt nad Oslavou dojang) joined us forming „TOP“ room (which is characterized by well-hidden carpet – you know boys brings lot of stuff to camps, so it is not enough space in wardrobe and great sense for fun and night talks (me and Radek really enjoyed discussion Tomáš vs. Tomáš aka sport vs. tradition). Our first moment with Hwang Su-il was kind of strange, but also warm-hearted – Mr. Hwang after 20 hours in airplane decided not to go to bed immediately, but to say hello to us in recreation room. He did not talk much (that is no surprise, because we stared at him like he was a ghost or superstar), but his smile was contagious. I knew he looks young (I met him at Swiss budoshow and seminar with Senior Master Hwang few years ago), but he looked even younger and smaller than I remembered him.
Me and Tom Vodička were looking forward to first training as small boys to Christmas. I was quite surprised that we won’t need gloves, because I was waiting for training full of small details and advices for sparring. Instead of this we started with intensive warm-up and very very intensive stretching (Paul Knighton led last night’s training with same idea, so my legs were „happy“) and then repeating fundamental exercises. You may say „He travels around the World to see us, we travel to visit one of the most advanced students of present time and we 1.grades and above do again just (ok, not only…we did all basic kicks and hand techniques, but it is still the stuff you are used to) ap chagi (front kick) and ap joomok (basic fore fist punching)…..but….he commanded and practiced with such an enthusiasm that we were infected in few seconds. Later I’ve found out that I am not able to keep pace with him even when doing apcha busigi, so I understood that my time for small details and advices for sparring will came maybe in next few years (if I keep hard training).
Fortune was on our side, so me and Tom took part in all Hwang Su-il trainings
(we were divided into groups, but somehow we were always in the right one :o) and because we arrived 2 days before camp to also take part in Ge-baek Hosinsool school camp, where not so many adults were present, we had great opportunity to spent few hours talking with him. Not only common complimentary talking, but normal friend-like time drinking beer. So to be sincere, Hwang Su-il is great motivation for me not only because of his brilliant technique, but also because his humble and friendly character. Next trainings with Mr. Hwang (when he found out what are we capable of and decided what to focus on) continued to more difficult techniques, combinations and stepping and we advanced from very very difficult stretching to very very very difficult stretching. My students will taste this, because World has changed...I enjoy stretching again after few years of "I can kick head in sparring, so I am happy and stretch just a little" attitude. Who wants to taste something of Hwang Su-il skills even in virtual world, than check his facebook page . Other foreign instructors were Paul Knighton (VI. Dan, UK) - again his skills on website here, , man with brilliant techniques and interesting ideas for training, he was able to show all complicated moves he wanted us to do and then we suffered trying to do half as good as him. Next Paul Dekker (VI. Dan, Netherlands) - I did not find virtual presentation, so I recommend you to taste his skills by boxing with him - you gonna taste some ap joomoks, it is worth of doing, his training for hand techniques in sparring was hard (partly because it was after Thursday’s "culture" evening :o) and very inspiring. It was interesting to see how problematic it is even for black belts to apply ollyo and bandal jirugi (hook and uppercut) into sparring, not only in patterns. I also have to mention Peter Regan (IV. Dan, Switzerland). Last but not least our Master Hwang Ho-yong returned earlier than was planned (just few days before camp) to surprise us and make us happy. He was always in good mood ready to move us a bit further on our path. I was remembered about what authority we have chance to train with regularly. For example Hwang Su-il politely rejected my intention to organize special training with him, because he wanted to use the chance to discuss taekwondo techniques and theory with our master.
Aside from trainings, again rich schedule was prepared - laser game (I was again made certain that I should be medic if war comes), rope center, visit of Krasov (guide took his lecture from interesting point of view - he described chronologically who and when stole what from the castle :o) and Krakovec strongholds, Chyše castle (earl Lazansky got honorary VI. Dan in beer-do, because his passion for castle and brewery was intoxicating - probably one of the reasons why we really enjoyed tasting his beer). Further interesting part of camp was "conference" with Master and instructors, talking both funny stories and serious memories and experiences. It was kind of special chance to ask people who train taekwondo for more than 100 years if counted together. Thursday culture evening (ok, let’s call it party :o) was unforgettable, it was discovered that we are not only good in kicking and such a stuff, but also that some of us can play accordion or guitar, some can dance well and everyone can eat and enjoy life for 100%. We also invited Hwang Su-il for few ( :o) ) drinks not only because of his 40th birthday on 31/7. Have to say it again...unforgettable evening.
So what did the Camp gave me? Even with the greatest instructors you won’t improve much in one week. Who saw my practice before camp, may say I am on same level after it. But something improved in my mind. For a while I have motivation to train even harder, to change my training a bit, to work on what I found to be my shortcomings. So camp gave me the possibility, which I will be better next year that I won’t stay on a same spot. And this is so also because the fact that some memories will never leave my brain. Memory of Hwang Su-il, sitting on ground with hell near to his head, smiling that he got really stiff during the flight, I will never forget his enthusiasm that made us really enjoy even practice of ap joomok jirugi and ap chagi, even though it was maybe our million time. I will always remember Paul Knighton, surprising us (in age of 40, after 32 years of training) with wonderful techniques, shining with motivation, looking to the ground brooding about what would be the best follow-up in our training and also the fact that he practiced all techniques much better than anyone of us. I will keep in mind Paul Dekker, older guy, who despite of fact he cannot kick much, was one of the most dangerous persons on the Camp (and it was honor to spar with him) and finally also hosinsool training with Peter Regan, who made wonderful atmosphere with fun and laughter on one side, but also forced people to keep hard and serious approach when practicing (which I don’t see often on taekwondo seminars and trainings). And I will never forget much more things, but I won’t tell you anything more, come with me next year and you will go through (some of) them with me ;o)
PS: Sorry for all the parenthesizes and long sentences, but I write in same way I think – complicated one :o)
PPS: Long article I know, but it left so many memories (I really felt like being with big family), that this is just a tasting.
PPPS: Thank to Martin Zamecnik for organizing, I know that without his effort camps want be better each year and so many interesting guests would not come.
Taekwon (and see ya at camp next year)
Svíťa (aka Tchorofritka aka Martin Svitek, III. Dan, assistant instructor of Sonkal Prague)
Also check another photos from camp here.