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Master Dalton in Ethiopia
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ITF Expansion Committee Chairman Master Don Dalton recently travelled to Ethiopia in order to conduct a three day training workshop for the Ethiopian Taekwon-Do Association. Master Dalton was assisted by Mr. Ambrose Murphy (Pulse Taekwon-Do) who is a former ITF World (Malaysia) and European (Russia) world champion. He was also assisted by Ms. Patricia Dalton (5th Dan) and Mr. Sean Keane (3rd Dan). The group were welcomed by Mr. Kiros Meskel (6th Dan) at Addis Ababa Airport who was accompanied by numerous Ethiopian instructors. Mr. Kiros is the President of the ETA and one of the pioneers of the ITF in Ethiopia. It was a typically warm African welcome and the Irish delegation was duly impressed by the large ITF banners on show and presentation of bouquet of flowers to all. An immediate bond was struck by both groups and this initial good feeling only increased throughout the trip.

It was an early rise the next day for the ten hour training session. Upon entering the large Dojang the Irish group was struck by the massive group of Ethiopian black belts attending the event (close to 200). There were also a smaller number of red belts and black stripes in attendance. Master Dalton Duly proceeded to cover ITF Tul from Chon Ji to Choong Moo. This was also included as part of the National Umpire and Referee Course which would be completed the following day. He was assisted by his compatriots throughout. As he progressed he gave the lower grade students the opportunity to train in smaller groups with Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Dalton and Mr. Keane. At one point the Ethiopian National Television Station came to report on the event and duly interviewed Mr. Kiros and Master Dalton.

The next day was eagerly anticipated by all as Master Dalton moved to the sparring arena. A present was first made to Mr. Kiros by Supersonic Sports Ireland of 10 full sets of sparring equipment which were to be used in the upcoming tournament on Sunday. Master Dalton duly proceeded to delve into effective sparring techniques needed to succeed in ITF tournaments. He discussed the various systems/styles on show in different countries and examined different ways of succeeding against them. Master Dalton also acknowledged the help that Ireland received from Master Maidana (Argentina) over the years. According to him Master Maidana opened a new world for us and this invariably helped our country to succeed in ITF events over the last decade. The standard on show by the Ethiopian black belts was indeed stunning and they easily adapted the new techniques and ideas being presented to them. At 1pm the emphasis again changed as the group moved to a different Dojang within the campus in order to complete the Referee/Umpire Course. The entire training was videoed for later study.
Sunday morning began with a black belt test for various degree levels. The panel was headed by Master Dalton and he was aided by Mr. Kiros, Mr. Murphy and Mrs. Dalton. The overall level was very high and the Ethiopian participants delighted the panel with some amazing performances in special technique and self defence.  Also testing was Mr. Sean Keane who was duly promoted to 4th Degree. After the test the large contingent again entered the main campus for the tournament. The first part of the competition was dedicated to ITF demonstrations. Various clubs and regions delighted the massive crowd in attendance as they vied for gold medal success. Next came some patterns and sparring sections which culminated in a special bout between Mr. Keane and one of the top Ethiopian competitors. With darkness falling rapidly the experienced Irishman won a tightly contested bout.

The next day was scheduled to be a free one but Master Dalton asked Mr. Kiros to organise another session for instructors in order to cover Black Belt tul. After a number of phone calls, over 40 instructors turned up for the impromptu session which aptly demonstrated their desire for more and more training. At the end Mr. Kiros presented Master Dalton, Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Dalton and Mr. Keane with some beautiful traditional Ethiopian clothes. He also presented Master Daltons and Mrs. Daltons two children with traditional dress. Mr. Kiros said that he felt like he had made a new family and felt that he and Master Dalton were now brothers. The Irish instructors sincerely thanked Mr. Kiros and all of the Ethiopian Taekwon-Do Association for the wonderful cultural experiences, the magnificent food and amazing hospitality given to them during the trip. It was with heavy hearts that the groups parted on the Wednesday.

Written by: ITF Expansion Committee - 11th January 2010
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Article Feedback:

Kay King (England ITF) : 12th January 2010, 11:48

Very good article Sir
James Faulkner (Taekwon-Do Alliance Ireland INO) : 11th January 2010, 22:16

An excellent account of the trip and very encouraging to see so many students willing to train, its also wonderful to see fellow Irish Taekwon-Do Instructors help in developing Ethiopian Taekwon-Do Association .
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