The Grand Masters Seminar & The Art of Kicking was held on May 22nd of 2021. It consisted of 3 different sessions (the Art of Kicking, the Color Belt Technical Seminar, and the Black Belt Technical Seminar). This was not only Taiwan’s first time hosting an international event, but also the first international online seminar endorsed by the ITF in Asia.
The highly anticipated seminar brought together over 60 participants from 22 different countries and regions, namely(in alphabetical order): Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Scotland, Sint Maarten, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Among the participants, there were 2 Grand Masters and 5 Masters. Also, the seminar was attended by the President of the ITF, Grand Master Paul Weiler, and the Chairman of the ITF Technical Committee, Grand Master Hector Marano. In addition, participants included world-class competitors/champions such as Master Lylian Doulay, Sbn. Mark Trotter, Sbn. Luciano L. Iriarte, Sbn. Ariella Figueroa, Sbn. See Kean Piew, Sbn. Anton Ng, Sbn. Cher Liang Tay, Sbn. Jenny Swain, Sbn. Nicolas Tran, Bbn. Chieko Rachel Nishimura, and many others.
The seminar began with an opening speech by President Weiler, emphasizing the importance of people coming together from around the world under the same passion towards the Art of Taekwon-Do, in spite of the Covid situation that’s been affecting everyone of us. The seminar, arranged by Sbn. Howard Hu, was a step forward in the development of the ITF in the Asia region.
During the first session of the seminar, Sbn. Howard Hu explained and demonstrated different methods of increasing flexibility, balance, and strength, which would enhance the performances on different kicking techniques (with emphasis mostly on Side Piercing Kick and Two Directional Kick). Sbn. Howard Hu broke down the technique into different levels to explain the association between power and speed. Other useful exercises were also presented (including those adapted from Master Steven Roger LeGrow and Master Vincent A. Affatigato of ITF America), which would help execute the Two Directional Kick and Twisting Kick more efficiently and effectively.
The second and third session of the seminar concentrated on the technical details of selected color belt and black belt patterns, taught by Grand Master Lan and Grand Master Laquerre (with the assistance from Grand Master Marano as well when it was requested). The Grand Masters exquisitely explained the different characteristics of each pattern, as well as the applications of the techniques within in grand details, movement by movement. It was also quite clear that the Grand Masters successfully resolved many of the problems the participants had toward the patterns. It was an eye-opening experience for many to discover a new level of understanding toward their patterns.
For many participants, it was also their very first time to interact with the Grand Masters from the ITF, to be able to ask questions and receive feedback similarly to that of a seminar in person. All the participants were also presented with a digital ”Certificate of Completion” in less than 3 hours after the seminar.
Just like what President/GM Weiler had mentioned during his opening speech, the purpose of this seminar was to provide ALL ITF members from around the world to have the possibility of furthering their knowledge in the Art of Taekwon-Do, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, political background, and/or borders of country. While it was Taiwan’s first hosting an international event, it was an amazing experience and privilege to be able to share the wonderful time with ITF families from around the world nonetheless.
Finally, deepest gratitude toward Grand Master Lan and Grand Master Laquerre, this event would not have been possible without their support and guidance.
During this hardship of the pandemic, may good health and success continue to surround all of us.
“Perfection is not a destination, but a journey.”
President of ITF Taiwan ROC