The Kukkiwon instructor’s course is a highly valued training for Taekwondo trainers and coaches. It is delivered in 3 parts allowing the student 1st, 2nd and 3rd class qualification, the 1st class being the highest for which you must be a 8th or 9th DAN Grand Master. It is normally delivered at the Kukkiwon headquarters in South Korea, so when we were told that is was going to be staged here in the UK and at our doorstep in Stoke Mandeville (17-22 April 2017), it immediately become a must attend event for Master Esrar and a conditional invitation to all black belts of the academy. The condition being to learn Dan poomsae up to and including sipjin for 4th DANS and above it was simply a case of revisiting and practicing what they already knew. For the rest of us it was videos at the ready and attend as many training sessions with Master Esrar as possible. Master Esrar himself also had to put the hours in as he had additional poomsae to learn up to Hansu.
Despite the exhaustion of preparing for the event we very excited at the prospect of training with the Grandmasters. We had our own Master Esrar and 4 other Grand Masters from Korea. The latter dedicated to the task of developing and training students around the world to new and higher standards. For 5 sweet days these highly knowledgeable individuals will be immersing and showering us with Taekwondo know how reserved for the elite martial artists.
Our Hadri Academy team was 8 strong, highest representation of any individual club in the UK reflecting the value we place on Taekwondo practice quality and excellence.
Monday orientation day, after a brief but detailed bio of the Kukkiwon Grandmasters taking us through the course we were given an overview of the course as it will unfold over the next few days. Learnt about history of Taekwondo, before getting down to understanding basic movements.
Basic movements are the foundation of all we do and learn in Taekwondo. We not only need to know what these movements are, we also need to encourage perhaps even insist on the mastery of basic movements before moving students onto learning basic technique.
There was a review of basic techniques where we learnt about the importance of correct footwork, punches (right way to perform them for power speed) blocking the variations and ideal way of execution.
So summing up the day, we learnt that all basic techniques are made up from basic movements and all basic movements are whole body movements and that the skill in the technique is being able to synchronise each body part to maximum impact.
Today was the day of the “do” in Taekwondo i.e. “the way of ….” a subject of many months of learning for Korean students. We were led into a stimulating debate on the merits of understanding, developing and establishing a character worthy of the art.
After lunch we spent rest of the day working with Grand Master Kim going through Poomsae 1 to 8. It was a real eye opener. The GM Kim Jong Dong went through basic movements and Poomsae in minute detail, looking at starting and finishing moves, hand positions, flow of movement, power, breathing and control. It was amazing to see them perform and to see how it should actually be performed.
It was straight on to the floor revising Poomsae from the previous day and moving on to Advance Black Belt Poomsae. For us this is where the fun really begun. As a black belt and as a Master you are always challenging yourself to make Poomsae perfect. And today we hand Grand Master Hyunnam Kwon. He was truly amazing, his poomsae was perfect and he always had a smile on his face. We spent the day going through the ins and outs of them Black Belt poomsae and no matter what grade you were there was something to learn and improve.
Started with a quick theory session on Kurugi, sparring and managing your club. We went through the basics of preparing players, looking after our athletes and also what Taekwondo has for the different age groups. The most important realisation was that Taekwondo has something for everyone and following the Kukkiwon guidelines we must ensure that we teach all elements of Taekwondo such as, Basic Movements (kibondongjak), Forms (poomsae), Sparring (kyorugi), Breaking (kyukpa), and Self-Defence (hoshinsul).
We spent the next 4-5 hour on the mat working on sparring techniques and training methods. It was a vigorous session and tough even for the fittest. Staring with a warm up and stretch out and then an hour of footwork and basic kicks. After a little break we moved on to some fitness work and further kicking to test our stamina. After a much needed break it was pad work and advance kicking techniques with partners. It was the toughest session we had done on the course and it was both mentally and physically testing.
We started with a quick session on about the Kukkiwon and its role. We also learnt about what our role was as Masters and what was expected form us. A clear message was sent out that we must always be training and learning. This is a journey and along the way we will learn and pass on our knowledge.
It was also assessment day. We were given a practical test where our techniques and Poomsae were tested by the Grand Masters. We were given a written exam on all elements of Taekwondo we had studied on the course.
At the end of the 5th day we were totally exhausted but loved every minute of it. There was a completion ceremony at the end of the day during which Master Esrar was one of the lucky few who received a Citation from the Kukkiwon for outstanding performance on Kukkiwon Instructors course. It was also a proud moment for the Academy that we now have 8 instructors who have completed their first Kukkiwon Instructor’s course.