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Photos from tkd camp and examination for I.-VI. degree

Test for I.-VI. dan

Martin Svitek, 1.8.2011 – Day -2 (Friday 22/7) - I come earlier again, I was looking forward to it whole year, but now my mind is a bit confused. I am afraid if this camp will be good enough compared to last year´s which was supreme. We come (together with rest of PraguePardubiceVrané team) before lunch (we would be there earlier if I would listen to my car and put some fuel in it) to sweat through our common clothes because Martin Zámečník told us to join end of training. Free afternoon, no cell phone, no e-mails.….I cycle through forests around camp finding it very hilly, feeling that I won´t be able to kick well even at the beginning of the Camp.

Day -1 (Saturday 23/7) - we practice on GBHS school training camp, lot of kicking drills, one hour dedicated to throwing techniques. Untraditionally traditional training, even higher Dan holders have problem with this, but everyone enjoys. In the evening I practice with Zdeněk Adamojurka (IV. Dan) after a long time just to find out, tak my forearms are not as tough as I though. Next motivation to my practice.

Day 1 (Sunday 24/7) - discussion before and during training are mostly about "what parts of body do I have sore", everyone is happy that he is not the only one to suffer stiff legs. Master Hwang and Master Kim come in the evening. Master Hwang introduces his colleague this way: "I am weak, he is strong, so training will be very tough." First training is led by Master Hwang, everyone tries hard, Master Kim just watch us to see what our skills are with expression "you won´t survive one day" in his eyes. We are afraid, but looking forward to it. Martin Zámečník instructs us to warm-up and stretch half an hour before Master Kim starts his stretching and warming-up routines to increase our chances to survive.

Day 2 (Monday 25/7) - first training with Master Kim, lot of fundamental exercises, really lot of them, no pauses. He shows everything with energy that everyone has to respect. So we try to be as good...we suffer. Second part of training is dedicated to sparring drills, Master Kim surprises with fluent moves and grace in all he does. Despite of wonderful power he shows, the most important thing he emphasizes is relaxation during technique and immediately after finishing it. He is always moving, shaking his hands, trying to keep body relaxed, he evokes me tiger in the cage, like when you have to much energy and have to bind it or it will fly everywhere around (beating us :o) ). I was surprised with two more things. First was that he really knows personality of Europeans, he said many times that it´s great that we suffer and sweat a lot, because then fortunately everything we drank last night goes out. Michal Kindl mentioned me second fact, seeing both Masters walking side by side...their pace was perfectly synchronous, length of steps and rhythm. Now I understand better why it is too hard to defeat Koreans in team patterns.

Strangely dark and asocial mood of mine is blown away by sound of guitar from room of Pilsen taekwondists, master of accordion from Velešín (thanks for letting me in), fight with punching bag (with spontaneous plan of leading training for others) and taekwondo variation to soccer, which brought major tactical aspects needed to succeed: 1/ don´t run 2/ don´t combine 3/ don´t try to play it like soccer. Final score 13:6. So this is how free afternoon on Camp looks like...I write these for these that never comes and keep repeating that there is just one training and nothing to do after it.

Day 3 (Tuesday 26/7) - getting up from bed is hard task, because we had to discuss everything during our evening in pub. Both well-known (and well-practicing) Pauls came during the evening (2 Pauls - Dekker from Holand and Knighton from UK, both VI. Dan), so there are plenty of great instructors. Master Kim checked us and found out that maybe our skills are worthy harder training. We practice patterns and techniques and combination from them in such pace that some of us looks like shortly before heart attack (or after?). We kick a lot and do some sparring combinations. Kim shows everything in very motivate way...I am so motivated that I manage to kick Peter Sindler to groin...with naeryo chagi (downward/axe kick), everybody who saw it start to practice with strange hip motion trying to avoid all my kicks.
Afternoon is dedicated to one of the most important sense - taste :o) We go to Chyse castle, nearly no one wants to see it again, so we practice in castle park and taste beer that is excellent. Earl Lazansky did not lose anything from his enthusiasm for his beer, brewery and castle and calmly answer my questions that are similar to last year, but I understand a bit better, maybe I will finally understand it next year. Immediately after return to camp, there is dinner and promptly after it Korean dinner...I can´t eat anymore. We go for spontaneous training with few people. We practice self-defense...we are two, than 3...5....8, we change to tando matsogi (defense against knife attack), no one is superior, everyone practice in his way what is good experience, moves are different, strategies are different. Few patterns after that, two of us kicks bandae dollyo chagi all the way through playground, rest play Frisbee - team old-school (28-33) vs. younglings (18-25 :o) ). We are shattered in 10 minutes, our lungs are burning, cardio training as it always should be. But most important is... atmosphere is great, mood is great...we go to pub to say hello to newcomers.

Day 4 (Wednesday 27/8) - training with Paul Dekker, I (and especially my nose and rest of face) am waiting boxing match like last year, but what a surprise, we practice patterns, hold legs as kicking drill, we practice self-defense and Paul shows us some pressure points what we really enjoys and some of us taste feeling of pain again and again. In the afternoon I go for cycling trip with guys from Ostrava - score is 18km, 2 falls (both Ostravian :o) ), 1x lost in the forest, 4 beers, many hours of great discussion. Thank you, boys.

Day 5 (Thursday 28/8) - training with Master Hwang, we have many questions, Petr Sindler keeps repeating with tear in his eyes "come on, let’s train a bit". Training is not hard, but discussion is interesting, I am the youngest (talking about Dan seniority, regarding age I am second youngest :o) ), everyone has his own interesting point of view. Evening is dedicated to one nice duty - we have to eat roasted pig. We have fun, we talk, smile and make our friendship stronger with symbolic drinks (me and Floutek make it to strong and have headache whole Friday). My greatest achievement of the day is chief of Pardubice taekwondo school in Sonkal Prague jacket :o)

Day 6 (Friday 29/8) - Paul Knighton, as always, training full of action, jumping, kicking, moving, interesting clever and clear combination to sparring, sometimes so clever that few of us gets dizzy and forget which leg is left and which right. I feel that clearness of techniques is what my sparring misses. Afternoon spent again on castles, Milan Prokeš and me discusses what life landlord has to have, how more we could train being in such a position.

Day 7 (Saturday 30/8) - end of the Camp is coming and weather is saying it too. Weather forecast says "short showers"….. so it rains for 14 hours. We spent first half of training in dining room speaking about theory with Master Hwang, he explains what DO is about. I really like it. I don´t know if it is because I am getting older or I understand his special version of Czech language better after years training under him or I am just happy for chance to only sit and not to kick for a while. Probably everything together. Summary after Master´s last questions is that no one has problem with no one, so despite of number of ITF in the World we don´t care, because we respect each other. It is still raining so we practice in big connecting corridor. About 30 black belts train for one hour and train so hard, that all windows are dimmed and ground is so wet that I slip every other movement I do. Master says it is good training, because sometimes you have to fight on ice. We thank to organizers, Masters and instructors at the end of training and Master Hwang mentions that it is last training of the Camp. And I feel that it wasn´t long enough again and sadness crawl under my skin. I think that evening will be about nothing, because everyone will focus on next day´s exams ....but....we sing even after midnight with help of Milan Prokeš´s and Petr Janeček´s guitars and I am really happy, sadness disappeared.

Den D and day of the End (Sunday 31/8) - breakfast and exams. My unimportant opinion is that quality of I. Dan applicants still gets lower, no one is good in all parts of the test. My closest friends did their higher Dans exams with honor and showed good skills of high standard, what makes me happy. I am also happy that I survived self-defense and tando matsogi with Tomáš Komrska (he is not only our NGB general secretary, but also really strong and dangerous guy).

If you read through my nostalgic writing to the end, you have my respect for your perseverance, reader. It was just normal camp at normal place with exceptional people and rare experiences which will motivate me for coming year. But also I have this feeling that I left something there, lost something, and that I will find it there next year. Thank you, friends.

PS: And for these who keeps repeating, that Camp is not worthy to attend, because there is just one training...with Alan Kajzar we agreed about this (not only :o) ) - the worst thing about Camp is, that even though the only thing we neglect is sleeping and you still train, play, try, think, live through something the end you feel that you did not manage to do even half of things you wanted to.

Carpe diem.

Martin Svitek, III. Dan

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