Mr. Don Dalton VI, and Ms. Patricia Dalton IV, of the Irish United Taekwon Do Federation travelled to Nigeria in May for one week in order to conduct the first ITF Training Camp for that country. The Training Camp which was held in the University of Lagos was attended by over 100 participants from across West Africa and it also marked the 30 anniversary of Taekwon Do in Nigeria. Throughout the week the guest instructors were treated to the famous African hospitality thanks to ITF Nigeria President Mr. George Ashiru VI and his assistant Mr. Mykel Eneduwa. Mr. Ashiru is a pioneer in Taekwon Do in Nigeria and is also a member of the Nigerian Olympic Committee. He began his training in 1976 and was promoted to 6th Dan by the WTF in 1997. According to Mr. Ashiru “Mr. Dalton and I have held a long friendship since meeting in Holland some years ago. Following the election of Master Choi to the ITF Presidency Mr. Dalton contacted me with a view to joining the ITF. I was told about the new, democratic and vibrant organisation that the ITF had become under Master Choi and that the new ITF President was particularly interested in developing the ITF in Africa. Many did not believe that Mr. Dalton would travel to our country when it was announced and this will be only the first step to create a new world force in the ITF.

The training camp was held for a period of three days with each day lasting approximately seven hours. Many hours were spent on learning ITF fundamental movements, including correct use of sine wave. The first four patterns were taught in great detail as well as ITF free sparring and special technique breaking. The event also covered philosophy and moral culture. There were a total of 65 black belts training and afterwards there was a huge enthusiasm for the new techniques learned. According to Mr. Ashiru “We have now set out a plan to spread the ITF throughout Africa. The participants of this camp will be the future leaders of the ITF in Nigeria. We would like to thank Mr. Dalton and Mrs. Dalton for the expert instruction and enthusiasm which they brought. Mr. Dalton has trained many world champions and his wife is one of the most accomplished competitors ever to come out of Ireland. It was hugely significant to have such friends come to Nigeria. We have made a special bond which will last the test of time.” Overall, the visit received overwhelming support from Taekwon Do players and Government officials who visited the course.

A special meeting for West Africa was also held during the week. This meeting was attended by representatives from Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana and Burkina Faso. A strategy for the further growth of the ITF was discussed which would culminate in the holding of an International Instructor’s Course under the auspices of President Choi early next year. The ITF has announced that this course would be free to African participants. The meeting also set out new inter country ITF tournaments with the first being held in Ghana. Ireland agreed to bring a team to Lagos for a new biannual event known as the Unity Cup. Olympic Silver Medallist Mr. Peters Emmanuel Oghenejobo, a student of Mr Ashiru and leader of Delta State Taekwondo Association elected to register his Dojang with the ITF Nigeria. Mr. Oghenejobo is also a pioneer generation instructor in Nigeria and is regarded as on of the countries greatest sporting achievers. His organisation (the NTF'75) has more than 2000 members and 300 black belts. After the meeting Mr. Ikpeme presented Mr. Dalton and Mrs Dalton with a special poem which he wrote to commemorate the visit. The issue of Dan certification were also discussed as well as support with training equipment and uniforms. Mr George Ashiru requested that the European ITF members to send old doboks and equipment to his ITF Nigeria where it would be distributed throughout the region. The week also included a number of radio and newspaper interviews and a tournament was held which featured competition in sparring, patterns and special technique breaking.

Mr. Ashiru presented the guest instructors with plaques to commemorate their visit and a “Special Lifetime Achievement Award” was accepted by Mr. Dalton on behalf of President Choi. Afterwards Mr. Dalton paid tribute to his hosts “This has been a wonderful experience for us. We have learned a great deal from our friends here. I have always felt that Africa could be a significant power in the ITF. Nigeria and West Africa as a whole is not wealthy in monetary terms. However it is rich in Taekwon Do talent, it is rich in the desire of its people to excel in the art, and it is rich with quality instructors who wish to progress even further. Nigerians train harder than most Westerners and this is one critical reason why they will be a world force within a short time. I believe that leaders such as Mr. Ashiru will bring a new era to the ITF. I would like to thank ITF Nigeria for the amazing week we have had and I expect that this will be the start of a special friendship between our two great countries.”

Anybody wishing to contact ITF Nigeria can contact Mr. George Ashiru VI at:
B12, LSDPC Complex, Adeniran Ogunsanya St.,
P.O. Box 3229, Surulere. Post Code 101014,
Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: 01-8924370, 0802-3136044
Fax: 01-2830191
E-Mail: [email protected]