The 171st International Instructor’s Course was undertaken in Perth, Western Australia on December 1st – 3rd 2023. The ITF Technical Committee was represented by Grand Master Laquerre and Grand Master McPhail and it was clear all participants were eager to make the best of the opportunity to learn from the Grand Masters’ wealth of knowledge and experience.
In total, 98 members of the ITF community participated in the 171st IIC with representatives from Malaysia, Sweden, Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. Also in attendance were: Grand Master Graeme Rounthwaite of New Zealand; ANTAA President Master Peter Barbour (8th Dan) of Australia; Malaysian Taekwon-Do Federation President Master Najmi Bin Abdullah (8th Dan), Master Balachandran Sangkaranayar (8th Dan) and Master Saiful Nizam Bin Ashari of Malaysia. At the other end of the dojang stood participants as young as 11, once again demonstrating that Taekwon-Do can be experienced together no matter the age, rank or nationality.
Master Barbour opened this massive event, which marked a number of firsts for the close-knit ITF community in Perth. Not only was this the first time Western Australia had had the pleasure of hosting an IIC, but the occasion was made extra special by the promotion of Australia’s first female Master: Master Adeline Cheong. Master Cheong is a passionate advocate for women and girls in sport and leads by example through her dedication and commitment to ITF Taekwon-Do. Her promotion will hopefully inspire many more women to reach this milestone as the ITF continues to grow.
On day one, Master Cheong and fellow candidate Master Saiful Nizam Bin Ashari underwent a rigorous examination in the morning and were promoted to 7th Dan by Grand Master Laquerre and Grand Master McPhail as part of the opening ceremony.
Then the fun began as Grand Master Laquerre delivered a ‘warm-up’ that will have the participants feeling their abdominal muscles for the next few years. Grand Master McPhail then delivered a detailed session on step-sparring that helped break the ice between the local attendants and their international visitors. Then it was on to coloured belt patterns and the final session of Day 1, an intense review of the 4th degree patterns for the senior belts with Grand Master McPhail.
Day Two saw everyone back on the floor to continue learning about the technical and historical details of the coloured belt patterns. Following this, the red belts moved away to train with Master Barbour while the black belts continue to work through the Dan patterns. Later in the morning, Grand Master Laquerre ran a sparring session that made sure everyone had earned their lunch.
The afternoon ‘eased’ back in with a wonderful self-defence session, then on to 2nd and 3rd degree patterns. Once again, the evening saw the junior ranks leave and the senior ranks enjoy a dedicated pattern session with both Grand Masters to cover 5th and 6th degree patterns.
Day 3 was a full on morning of dynamic board breaking and high-energy sparring with Grand Master Laquerre, followed by a self defence session overseen by Grand Master Rounthwaite. Despite everyone feeling a little worse for wear and tired from the previous days of intensive and rigorous Taekwon-Do, the beaming smiles showed just how much this martial art has to offer as Grand Master Laquerre and Grand Master McPhail shared the depth and breadth of their knowledge with all the participants.
The 171st IIC in Perth was a testament to ITF Taekwon-Do. Grand Master Laquerre and Grand Master McPhail imparted more than their technical knowledge and experience. By sharing the small moments and stories from throughout their careers that have built their love of Taekwon-Do, Grand Master Laquerre and Grand Master McPhail connected a new generation of students to the history of ITF Taekwon-Do.
IIC Report and photography
Suzanne Moore V Dan
ANTAA Committee Member
Photography – Russell Fletcher