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Since we became a part of the I.T.F. in 1999, I have taken seminars with Masters and Grand Masters, all of which have left different feelings - some a let down, some very good for my members and I. I recall seven seminars to date but, out of the seven, I have never felt as inspired as I do now about the I.T.F.

When our group decided to rejoin as an affiliate member to the Imperial England a few months ago, we made contact with Master Harry from the I.T.U.K. and a decision was taken for the two groups to support each other and work closely for the sake of improving our Tae Kwon Do. After a number of telephone calls, I asked the Master if hed like to take some seminars for us to aid the L.T.S.I. in its quest to improve its I.T.F. technique and, thankfully, he agreed.

Numbers were quite low, which was a disappointment I called Master Harry on the Friday before to inform him only twenty students had signed up and he said he was not bothered if we only had a few members going, as furthering Tae Kwon Do was his only goal, which showed how humble he really is.

Sunday 18th May 2008 was the first seminar for 2nd Kups through to 5th Degree Black Belt. We were all at the venue and the flags were being hung prior to the Masters arrival. The 10 foot projector screen was ready in case he needed assistance. We also had the Legacy DVDs, Grand Master Chois Master Class DVDs and the latest edition of the I.T.F. encyclopedia on hand, so we had all he would need (or so we thought!).

At 9.50am, I went to the front of the school and asked another instructor from the L.T.S.I., Mr. Smith 3rd Dan, if Master Harry had arrived - he said no, but as I turned round, he was standing behind me smiling! Master Harry had brought two assistants with him who were both members of the Team U.K. - ten minutes later, the Master and his assistants were in Do-Bok and the class was informed what was going to take place after the formal stuff was out the way. A very effective warm up taken by Miss Thorderdale, 3rd Dan, had us all stretched and very sweaty! I looked to the back of the class and could not believe my eyes - Master Harry was at the back of the class warming up and was he good!

Master Harry came to the front of the class and the seminar was under way. I was still wondering what type of Master he was (a talker or all action) and, within 10 minutes, I was aware he was a very active one, but very humble. Some had said he is over 60 which amazed me, as when he moves and kicks, he looks like a 30 year old. We were taken through fundamentals like never before then senior patterns were dissected to the point we all saw what made patterns effective.

Our previous organisation was one that concentrated on how techniques looked, which often meant power was lacking (i.e. if you were doing a nine shape block in sitting stance, it was all about how it looked at the end). After looking at the content of this seminar, it was a different concept - it was about usage of power, speed and mass and not about making it look 100% accurate (i.e. are the hands in a set position that the organisation deemed correct).

Master Harry asked many questions, sitting us down and explaining things in depth between sections then getting us back up and pushing us further. Limbs aching, we would be stopped as the Master would say Go back to the last move, you MUST use power. At times, we would be left for ages and have to execute the movements again and again.

At 12.15pm, Master Harry let the members get a drink as they deserved it! A presentation then took place for the newly promoted Black Belts and 2nd Degrees and the class was dismissed at 12.30pm. Master Harry then said Mr. Snow, Mr. Smith and Miss Thorderdale, time for your patterns! I was put through So-San, 5th Degree pattern, about four times then Se-Jong three times - I was exhausted, but it felt good! On to the 3rd Dan Patterns, we were taken through these again and again, clearing up things that have been forgotten over the years. Lastly was Sam Il, but I had to pull out as at this point - I was totally exhausted and my calf had seized up and was hurting loads.

At 1.25pm, we had finished and I thanked Master Harry personally. The Master said the L.T.S.I. was missing a few minor things (mainly power), nothing too bad - with time and practice, things like adding the hip movements to patterns will come but it is a continual process.

On behalf of the L.T.S.I., I thank Master Harry for his support at this seminar. This mans ability is unmatched by many, in my opinion, if you take his age and what he is capable of. His humbleness is another trait which made me glad that our group is now working closely with his.

Written by: Chris Snow - 22nd May 2008
[Comments: 2]

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Article Feedback:

Bob Borja (Taekwon-do Central) : 22nd May 2008, 19:01

Article is well written with good insights as to what happened and how the seminar was received by participants.

I am surely looking forward to my first seminar with Master Harry !
James Horobin (England ITF) : 22nd May 2008, 14:27

Master Harry is an inspiration to us all. He is proof that with hard training an exceptional level of skill can be achieved and maintained.
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