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Master Class at East Coast Taekwon Do
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East Coast Taekwon Do Club was delighted to welcome two very senior ranking ITF representatives to Newtown Mount Kennedy, Wicklow, Ireland on 28 October last

1. Master Robert Wheatley, VIII Dan, President of US-ITF and Chairman of the ITF Promotions and Disciplinary Committee 2. Master Trevor Nicholls, VIII Dan, President of ITA UK and Secretary General of ITF

The day began with 20 students grading under both Masters and assisted by Mr. Chris McCabe, IV Dan, East Coast TKD. There were 10 people testing for I Dan and 7 for II Dan. Mr. Mick Whelan and his son Mr James Whelan were both seeking promotion to IV Dan and Mr. Robert Borja joined the test from Germany for his V Dan. The test included Patterns, One step and Free Sparring, Ho Sin Sul, Power Breaking and a Theory paper. Following an intense and exhausting program, Master Wheatley announced that all students were successful and duly promoted to their new rank. Well done to everyone who tested!

East Coast Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Grading Front row (from left): Ms. Jeni Field, II Dan, Mr. Adrian Yeats II Dan, Master Nichols, IIX Dan, Master Wheatley, IIX Dan, Mr. Frederic Bablon, V Dan, Mr. Chris McCabe, IV Dan, Ms. Rachel McDonnell, II Dan

After a short break for lunch, Master Wheatley and Master Nicholls hosted a four-hour Seminar which was attended by over seventy students of varying ranks from different clubs. East Coast TKD was also honoured to have in attendance the ranking ITF member in France, Mr. Frederic Bablon, V Dan, his wife Sophie, III Dan and son, Brice, II Dan. Also present were AIATA members Mr. Vincent Hogan, III Dan and Henry ONeill, V Dan and their students.

Mr. Bablon warmed the group out and Master Wheatley took us through some of the technical aspects of the many kicks in Taekwon Do, explaining their purpose and demonstrating their execution. He emphasized the importance of Instructors being competent to pass this information correctly onto their students, which makes the learning process better and more consistent for all concerned. The students then had the chance to practice each one and perfect their technique. Even the Black Belts were surprised at how many variations there were! Master Wheatley then took the group through numerous Dodging techniques, which were very practical and fun to do. The participants were then split into two smaller groups, where Master Wheatley and Master Nicholls focused in more detail on specific technical aspects such as hip-twist, breath-control, timing and power breaking.

At the end of the physical part of the Seminar, Master Wheatley addressed the group and highlighted the need for students to embrace the Do or art of Taekwon Do. It is simply not possible to master Taekwon Do by selecting particular aspects and excluding others. This was not the vision General Choi had and the ITF will work hard to promote his original intentions. Master Nicholls echoed Master Wheatleys words and further added that all Taekwon Do practitioners should adopt the attitude of how can I help make my fellow student better at Taekwon Do? He gave the example of the strong sharing ethos he experienced on his training sessions in Africa and how we should all embrace the tenant of modesty in particular.

On behalf of East Coast TKD, Mr. McCabe and Mr. Whelan thanked both Masters for their time and support to Taekwon Do in Ireland by sharing their immense knowledge with us.

The students from the grading earlier in the day enjoyed a celebration dinner that evening with Master Wheatley, Master Nicholls and senior ranking members of East Coast TKD and their guests. Those who were not totally tired out after the days exertions (or maybe just fitter?), rounded off the evening with a traditional Irish Sing-song into the small hours. Names are with the author to protect the innocent!

Master Wheatley Interview

Written by: Mr. Adrian Yeats, II Dan - 27th November 2006

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