From November 6th to November 10th Master Robert N. Wheatley and Master Terry Batch traveled to West Caldwell, New Jersey (USA) to oversee a black belt grading and conduct a one day technical seminar.
On Friday November 7th Master Wheatley, Master Batch, myself, and one of my students took the day to tour Ground Zero in New York City. Both Master Wheatley and Master Batch were moved by the visit. Even though 9/11 happened 7 years ago the memory continues to live on.
Friday evening Barrie Luongo successfully graded for 1st Dan. Barrie did an excellent job. Master Wheatley said Barrie was a model student in regards to the grading. Although this was the first time that I only had 1 student grading for 1st Dan, it was a great honor having two of the US-ITF Masters sit in on the event -proving that 1 person is as important as 10 when it comes to the special day of a black belt grading.
On Saturday Master Wheatley and Master Batch led 35 participants from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, through a 5 hour seminar focused on fundamentals, patterns, sparring, and generating power. The last hour was reserved for 4th Dans and above. For me it was the first time demonstrating Tong-Il Tul along with 3 other 6th Dans -what a thrill. I have been traveling nationwide since 1996 to train under Master Wheatley. I can honestly say I would put this last seminar in the top 3 that I have attended with him. Several newcomers to the ITF here in New Jersey joined us for the first time and their synergy with our group was great.
We are planning a May return for Master Wheatley as my training partner, Frank Visaggio, will be grading for 6th Dan. We can''t wait for Master Wheatley to come back.
Nick Malefyt, VI Dan
(Photo courtesy of Mrs. Vanessa Hoffpauir)