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International Instructors Course at Missouri
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11th - 13th July 2008.

Master Nicholls was met with a huge reception as we entered the hall in which the IIC was to be conducted. After several minutes waiting for the applause to stop the large group was divided into 3 so that tuls could be performed comfortably. It was then straight to work as colour belt patterns were performed and scrutinised by colour belts and black belts alike as they stood on the sides. Master Nicholls made it clear that no one was to feel as though they were being analysed and that it was the tuls themselves that were being focused upon.

Everyone was catered for as we came on in waves to perform various tuls ranging from 9th kup to 6th Dan. The whole room was treated to a marvellous display of Se-jong, something which we are rarely treated to. Students watched in awe as they witnessed their instructors executing a pattern heard of but seldom seen. Master Nicholls stressed the importance of not forgetting these seniors (patterns and instructors) as the day to day implications of teaching can often do.

At the end of the day’s seminar many thoughts were reaffirmed and questions answered as Master Nicholls welcomed input from students. It was nice to see such varied input from both colour belts and black belts. The day however, was not entirely over as Master Nicholls, Master Tomkins, Master Cisco and Master Arnold then conducted the special testing. I have never attended a Dan grading with an audience. At first I felt a little uncomfortable but I was soon to realise that all those being tested had the full backing of the crowd and that they were to be the actually driving force behind the grading. Well done to all those who tested, it was truly a magical experience.

The next day saw a break from the IIC as the Gateway International Tournament, an annual event held by the Phoenix group, got underway. Every black belt whether competing or not was utilised and the whole thing ran like clockwork. We were treated to a fine display of Taekwon-do and there were a few faces to look out for in the future. In this trip there was always something to do as it was quick change for the banquet. Master Nicholls congratulated the Phoenix Group on their devotion to the art and their instructors. Master Tomkins stressed the importance of supporting groups that needed a helping hand and that the group were to continue their support of a group in Peru. It was then on to the dance floor and even Master Nicholls busted a few moves.

The next day saw the completion of the IIC as the last few patterns were addressed and sine wave was scrutinised once more. Master Nicholls and Master Tomkins then sat down and talked about the ITF and how it had evolved over the years. Students were once again invited to ask the Masters questions and it was nice to hear Master Nicholls and Master Tomkins to reflect on their Taekwon-do careers.

On a finishing note I would like to thank Master Tomkins and the Phoenix group for their generous hospitality. Master Nicholls and I were made to feel like one of the family and it was an honour to be in your company for the weekend.

See Imperial''''s highlights in the Gallery

Written by: Laurie Cornwell - 23rd July 2008

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