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ITF Workshops and Intercontinental Cup
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The work of the ITF in Africa continued in March with a series of workshops and competitions hosted by Mr. Mohammed Mahadi, IV, (President of ITF-Ghana/Superstar Taekwon Do). The events included a series of workshops instructed by Master Ted Wolf, Master Ray Gayle and Mr. Don Dalton. They were assisted by members of the European team (Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon (IUTF), Mr. David Pixton (PUMA), Mr. Richard Belle (MWTA) Mr. Sean Keane (IUTF), Mr Kevin Guy (MWTA)) who travelled for the Intercontinental Cup, as well as Ms. Lucy Wolf and Ms. Patricia Dalton.

The first group to arrive was from Master Wolf Taekwon Do Academies and they were quickly followed by Master Gayle and Mr. Pixton. The first workshop was conducted by Master Wolf, who was assisted by Ms. Wolf, Mr. Pixton, Mr. Belle and Mr. Guy. This session focussed on sparring techniques, including kicking drills, footwork and various combination punching techniques. It was finished with many rounds of sparring where by the European contingent had the opportunity to spar in the sweltering heat with their African friends. Meanwhile Master Gayle worked intensely with Mr. Mohammed Mahadi on tul, thus insuring the maximum benefit from the Masters knowledge for the 40 participants in attendance. The session was ended with a donation of equipment to ITF Ghana from Master Wolf and Master Gayle. Later that evening the European group travelled to see the special children’s class conducted by Mr. Mohammed Mahadi. This plan was scuppered however when Master Gayle again took the opportunity to spend more time teaching the ITF Ghana President while to the delight of the children, their class was instructed by Ms. Wolf, Mr. Pixton and Mr. Guy.

The next day saw the arrival of Mr. Don Dalton, Mrs. Patricia Dalton and Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon from Ireland (the IUTF). Mr. Sean Keane was later to follow on the Tuesday flight. The following day included another workshop. The first section of this was focused on Chon Ji, Dan Gun and Do San. This was taught by Master Gayle who was assisted by Mr. Dalton. Meanwhile Master Wolf instructed Mr. Mohammed Mahadi again insuring maximum benefit for the ITF Ghana President. Mr. Dalton then taught a section on ITF sparring, which included jumping punches, lead leg kicking and multiple kicking. These workshops were attended by a large contingent from Nigeria and Togo who had travelled for the training and competitions.

The Intercontinental Cup was held on Wednesday in the stifling Accra heat. The African team included two competitors two from Togo two from Ghana and one from Nigeria. The atmosphere was electric as the partisan crowd cheered on their African heroes. The European team found the hot conditions difficult to adapt to but their overall experience helped them to etch out a hard earned victory over their African Taekwon Do brothers. Team Europe Coach Mr. Don Dalton noted the great improvement in the African’s overall adoption to the ITF way of sparring “you must consider that these competitors have changed from WTF and have made huge strides within a short time. The future looks very bright for the ITF in Africa with such dedicated members.” Mr. Mohammed Mahadi (Team Africa Coach) congratulated the European team and said that he eagerly looked foreword to a rematch next year.

This was followed by another team sparring African Challenge Cup which again featured ITF Team Europe as well as Nigeria, Togo and Ghana. Ghana first beat Togo while ITF Team Europe beat Nigeria. The 3rd and 4th place play off was won by Nigeria and ITF Team Europe went on to defeat Ghana in the Final. The day featured some inter school bouts for Ghanaian children while the senior African international competitors had the opportunity to compete in a Tul competition. The day was closed by a presentation of some gifts from the IUTF to Mr. Mohammed Mahadi and his sponsors in appreciation of their fantastic hospitality and tireless work for the ITF. Mrs. Dalton then presented $9,000 worth of new sparring equipment to the representatives of Ghana, Nigeria and Togo which was evenly given out between the three countries.

Sadly the special day also saw the departure of Master Wolf and his group who had worked so tirelessly during the previous week. According to Master Wolf: “It was a pleasure working with all the people from the UK and Ireland, namely Master Gayle, Mr and Mrs Dalton, Miss Lucy Wolf, Mr Shane Fitzgibbon, Mr Sean Keane, Mr David Pixton, Mr Kevin Guy and Mr Richard Belle. Everybody worked really hard as a group and from my point of view it was a very uplifting experience and was well worthwhile. It was a pleasure meeting Mr Mohammed Mahadi and all of the Instructors and students from Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.”

Master Gayle and Mr. Pixton stayed a further two days while the Irish contingent remained for a further five days. During this time Mr. Dalton, Mr. Fitzgibbon, Mrs. Dalton and Mr. Keane continued with a further series of workshops until the Monday evening. Everyone was sad as they bid farewell to their new found friends and particularly to ITF President, Mr. Mohammed Mahadi, who was truly an amazing host in the African tradition. The European team had an unforgettable experience, working closely together as it should be, savouring the African hospitality and culture and sharing their love of Taekwon Do with their new African family. Master Gayle noted that he looks forward to his third visit next February when the European contingent will again return to Ghana in order to rekindle old friendships again. Mr. Mohammed Mahadi would like to thank his sponsors for their great help throughout the week. They are SYRIATEX, MENSELL, GLISS, ULTIMATE SUPPIES, SILVER STAR AUTO, JAPAN MOTORS, UNITED STEEL COMPANY AND CHIK’N’LICK’N.

Written by: Shane Fitzgibbon - 17th May 2007

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