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Great chinese trip

International course with Grandmaster Park Joong-soo (IX. dan)

Martin Svitek, 16.10.2008 – This trip started incidentally and with innocence. We chat with Tomáš Kuba (instructor in Náměšť nad Oslavou dojang) walking to cold green pond at this year summer camp with Master Hwang. Tomas told me that they (Tomas, Martin Zamecnik, Michal Bor) plan to visit China to take part in GM Park Jung-soo seminar. And because of fact that summer camp always gives me motivation to next year training and my (sometimes exaggerated) idealism and positivity touch the sky above, I said that I will go too. So I started to think where to get all the money :o) It was one of my long-lasting dreams to meet this grandmaster. Maybe it was in part because of my enthusiasm that 6 family members helped me financially, even these who I did not asked. So it shows that dreams may come true and the best time is right now :-).

My dream started to fade away after problems with accommodation booking and with Chinese embassy. Just thank to Michal Bor (who had to SHOUT a lot!! :o) went everything well finally and I did not give up.

Our way to München (no cheap direct flight to Prague – Beijing) and flight itself was long and calm. Final detective quest about finding luggage (poor Michal) and each other (we tried to meet each other at meeting point, because I had different flight. Problem was, that I arrived at terminal 3 and boys to terminal 2 – quest completed ;o) was piece of cake.

But I don’t want to bore you by describing trip hour after hour and want to speak about seminar. Rest of trip was dedicated to historical sites (check photos), plenty of great food (check photos), sleep deprivation (check „faces“ on photos), party games (I still have nerve problems from last round of „Snow“ card game – it took about hour!!!) and good fun. Finding the place of seminar was easy (just about hour of roaming call, fortunately not from my cell phone).

So, what to say about seminar. It is not possible to write down the most important aspect and experience I got. I hope that my students will at least feel it in training. My point of view is that the greatest aspect of seminar was grandmaster himself, his personality. Positive, humble and open to answer any question and outside dojang wisely speak about any topic. My feelings were that all of us would love to have such a grandfather, but we wouldn’t like to make him angry ;o)

We practiced 2 trainings per day all weekend. Each training took about 2 hours. First day was dedicated to basics. How to move in taekwondo and how to generate power. I have to say that we got just to Chon-ji on Saturday and I had to find the interesting things in it. You know, basics are the most important, but not the funniest think to practice. But when I think about it now I have to admire grandmaster’s knowledge had deep understanding of human body and natural movement. It makes me think again about what is really important in techniques. I think that it is not the small differences (like if to practice two techniques in continuous motion or normal motion if it is described differently in two edition of taekwon-do Encyclopedia) in superficial look of technique, but the deeper aspect. How to move, how to generate power, how do I fell and control my body and how do I use it (clever or full of force). Unfortunately, as I said before, it is hard to describe in written word, so I hope my practice and my trainings will get bit better and I will pass some knowledge in future.

We focused on stretching (I show some stretching with Chinese guy and have to say that I did not reach such height in few last year – and it was just because the man who was watching me, not the methodic ;o) and how to move in sparring. This is what is grandmaster one of the greatest authorities of in taekwon-do. I have to mention that he showed some basic stuff with me and have to say that despite of fact that I am about 4 decades younger, grandmaster was much better in actual skills, not just knowledge. And again the most important experience and knowledge is in principles and natural moves. GM is really able to kick from nothing and then it is impossible to block it, but as he humbly said it is not about speed attributes, but about relaxation and absence of pre-motions.

We got celebration dinner after last training. It was great fun (yes, Czech people are more conditioned beer drinkers than Asians ;o).

How to summarize it? Seminar was short (4 x 2 hours), but gave me experience I came for. I wanted to meet Legend and I met him, spoke with him, practiced with him and he showed me that there is still plenty of things to learn.

Grandmaster’s physical and psychical state and qualities are great motivation for my practice and life for few more decades. And the most important hint? Relax, move naturally and you will find the way.

My 3 friends left on Monday and I stayed two more days in Beijing. I took part in two training of national instructors led by China ITF president Li Guang Song – great technician, who spoke wise and clever about didactics had philosophy of taekwon-do (check for some of his articles and photos – he is the one always breaking bricks ;o) . Thank to Anthony from Hong Kong for patient translations.

Then just 11 hours flight to München, 6 hours of homeless life on wooden seat at the airport, good (no joking!) sleep in bus to Prague and I was back home. This trip was worth of going. Grandmaster’s personality and physical abilities will last in my mind forever.

Last think I have to mention. There were 4 of us, 4 people, 4 different taekwon-do schools and everything went great. It should word this way in our big taekwon-do family.

Thank to everyone who helped me to my great dream come true

Martin Svitek

PS: Sorry for translation, but it is REALLY hard to translate your own words written in excited mood ;o)

Let's do Taekwon-Do like a Tereza Štekerová
With financial support of Prague city & Ministry o school, youth and sport


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