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ITF Dutch Seminar with Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa
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From Thursday October 4th till Monday October 8th 2007 the Dutch Taekwon-do Federation (DTF) was host to the ITF President, Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa. The President was invited to The Netherlands to conduct a 3-day seminar. Taekwon-do practitioners from The Netherlands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Norway, Ireland, England, Germany and even Canada and other countries all traveled to Krommenie to participate in this seminar. 

President Choi arrived on Thursday afternoon. After checking in the hotel, he was toured around the capital Amsterdam for some sight seeing and enjoyed diner at an excellent Chinese restaurant. The next day he toured the Amsterdam canals and visited a traditional Dutch windmill. He was impressed with ingenuity of the people from that time.
Friday evening Master Rai started with a very intensive and diverse training session. After paying our respect to the Founder of Taekwon-do, General Choi Hong Hi, everybody recited the student oath. Master Rai explained in detail the procedure at the beginning of each class and the etiquette involved. Things like not saying anything when bowing to a picture, because a picture is not able to respond. Master Rai also explained why President Choi does not like to be called Grandmaster (Sasung). During the greeting procedure at the beginning of the seminar we bow to The President. His assistants still call him Master Choi. The reason President Choi is not comfortable with the title is that for him there is only one Grandmaster Choi, his late father. Another reason is that Sasung can also be interpreted as Saint. The President questioned how anyone, still living, can ever be a saint.  

Master Rai is well known for his strength and stamina, which weve all got to experience that Friday. After the warming up we started of with some fundamental movements and Chon-Ji and finished with sparring techniques. A very good start of the seminar

Saturday 10:00 President Choi, under accompaniment of Master Rai and his assistant,  was welcome with a warm applause. After introducing all the countries present, he started by explaining the purpose of the seminar. The main goal was further refinement of the techniques and fundamental movement like the sine wave. President Choi is, like no other, familiar with the purpose of each technique in the patterns. He has first hand experienced how the tuls were meant in their purest form. He was there when his father, The Founder of Taekwon-do, made-up the techniques, wrote the encyclopedia, meetings were held and finally when the patterns were taught at seminars. Many of the current discussions about the purposes and the methods of techniques arose when General Choi felt obliged to consent to these changes because of something he might have (accidentally) said at one of his many seminars or because as a human he sometimes wanted to be accommodating towards others.     
During this day President Choi shared his vast knowledge of all the fundamental movements. There was a lot of attention to the technical aspects and the purpose of each movement. There were a lot of opportunities to ask questions, which were answered in great detail by President Choi. New during this seminar, actually something old that has been neglected in the last couple of years, were the kiaps after certain movements in the tuls. This makes the tuls even more dynamic.

At the end of the day it was time for the grading. Mr. Flaherty tested for his 5th dan. Besides the President, the examination board existed of Master Parm Rai, Master Sanders and Mr. Dalton. On behalf of the DTF I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Flaherty on the successful completion of his grading.

In the evening was there was an informal barbeque, where everybody got the chance to share thoughts with the presidents about Taekwon-do today.

Sunday was open to black belts only. After a short, but powerful, warming up, full of stretching and strength exercises, we started with the patterns. We started with Kwang-Gae, Po-Eun and Gae-Baek. After the break there was another short but intensive warming up and than we continued with Joong-Gun, Toi-Gye, Hwa-Rang, Chung-Mu and Eui-Am. President Choi concluded the seminar with an impressive and memorable speech about the current situation of Taekwon-do in the World. Especially about the developments in the Western world, where people do not always understand the true meaning of Do. Perhaps this is because the western languages do not have a proper translation for this word. Many people practice Taekwon, but do not always act according to Do. He explained that there is Do in everything you do. In Korea there even is a Do of drinking, called Ju Do. Ju is this case can be interpreted as drinking/water/liquid. For somebody, who is aware of the true meaning of Do and the tenets of Taekwon-do, it is inconceivable to see that there is so much envy and sometimes even hatred between people who are all share the same interests, hobby or sport.

It appeared that in the very same weekend Grandmaster Hey Young Kim (Han Mu Do) was also conducting a seminar in The Netherlands. President Choi wanted to show his respects to Grandmaster Kim, so a meeting was arranged on Sunday afternoon.

Finally Monday morning on the 8th of October, President Choi and his assistants were accompanied by the president of the DTF to the Amsterdam international airport and bid farewell.

On behalf of the DTF I would like to thank you everybody for attending and making the event a huge success. We have already received tremendous positive feedback from many of the participants. I especially like to thanks President Choi, Master Rai and Mr for taking the time to travel to The Netherlands and share their immense knowledge with us. 

Written by: Danny Verboom - 31st October 2007
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Michael Munyon (United States ITF) : 31st October 2007, 23:14

Enjoyed reading about the ITF happenings all around the world. It was great to read about Dr. He Young Kimm and President Choi paying mutual respect to each other.
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