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The first ITF seminar for Afghanistan
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The Afghan Taekwon-Do Association (ATA) had the honor of inviting and hosting the ITF Secretary General, Master Trevor Nicholls, VIII Degree, and Master James Hogan, VII Degree to conduct the first ITF seminar and upgrading sessions in Afghanistan in April 2007.

The Masters were warmly welcomed and received by ATA Board of Directors at the Kabul international airport on Friday the 20th of April 2007 at 1100 hrs.

Though Masters were really tired of the long trip, they showed really interest in meeting ATA Board of Directors and discussing ITF issues. After a short rest, ATA Board of Directors organized a meeting with the Masters followed a city tour which lasted up to the evening.

On Saturday the 21st of April 2007 Master Nicholls opened and commenced the seminar by delivering a very encouraging speech. Also he passed the valuable message from our President HE GM Choi Jung Hwa that ITF, under his leadership, would take care of its members irrespective of who they are and wherever they are. ITF would not let them feel isolated and/or segregated from the rest of the ITF family anymore.

The morning session covered mainly the basics, sine wave and color belt Tuls. During the afternoon session, the participants were divided into two groups. Master Hogan trained the color belt Tuls to the juniors, and Master Nicholls trained black belt Tules to the seniors.

In the morning of the second day, 22nd April 2007, the participants were trained on sparring techniques and sparring drills (attack and counter attack kicks and punches) by Master Hogan. Half of the morning was dedicated for the Tuls which were trained by both Master Nicholls and Master Hogan. In the afternoon Masters conducted the grading starting with the I Degree. Total 18 Afghan ITF practitioners participated the grading out of which 16 could successfully pass.

During the two-day sessions the participants were relaxed and delighted with the friendly approaches of the Masters throughout the sessions. Both Masters gave the opportunity to the participants to ask as many questions as they could. Master Nicholls and Master Hogan have a wealth of knowledge about ITF Taekwon-Do. ATA members had the privilege to have this chance to learn from them. ATA members really look foreword to seeing them again and again in this country. The participants were consisted of color belts and black belts holder (I to IV Degree).

On Sunday, the 23rd of April 2007, ATA organized a small closing ceremony which was attended by Mr. Gholam Daud Shayeq, President of the Union of Afghanistan Youth and some other guest. On behalf of ATA Board of Directors Mr. Najmuddin Safi, ATA President, offered his sincere thanks to Master Trevor Nicholls and Master James Hogan for their tireless efforts in assisting ATA by conducting such memorial event. Mr. Safi said, Since it was the first ITF seminar and upgrading in Afghanistan, it will remain cast on the stone of the ITF history in Afghanistan. ATA is proud of being pioneer in taking this initiative. Mr. Safi added, Though ITF was introduced to Afghanistan almost 35 years ago, no one took this initiative, and this is why Afghan ITF practitioners have been segregated from the rest of the ITF family in the world.

On behalf of ITF, Master Nicholls delivered an invaluable speech. Master Nicholls said, On behalf of ITF I would like to thank ATA for inviting us to Afghanistan to be part of the first ITF seminar and upgrading in this country. We were really exited to see the improvement of ITF Taekwon-Do in Afghanistan prior to our involvement. Now that ATA joined ITF, under the leadership of GM Choi Jung Hwa, we all have the same surname we are all ITF brothers and sisters. Master Nicholls also thanked ATA for giving the title of Senior Technical Advisor of ATA to Master James Hogan. He also added. According to the ITF rules and regulations, ITF IV degree holder can conduct grading sessions for I and II degree black belts. Now this authorization has been granted to Mr. Safi. Mr. Safi will conduct the grading and ITF will issue the international certificates accordingly. I am sure the grading will be in coordination with Master Hogan. Henceforth, Master Hogan will be the focal point for Afghanistan ITF. He would be in close contact with ATA and would come down to Afghanistan in October and/or November 2007 too.

Finally in the afternoon of the 23rd of April, Master Trevor Nicholls and Master James Hogan were accompanied by ATA Board of Directors to the Kabul international airport. At 1350 hrs the ATA Board of Directors had to bid farewell to the Masters and Master had to leave Kabul for Dubai and then UK.

Big thanks to the ITF and particularly to both Masters!!!!!

Written by: Sarajuddin Safi, ATA Secretary General - 15th May 2007

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