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Christmas Greetings from Grand Master O

Posted on: 03.12.13
Posted by: Andrew Pitchford


 





Artwork by Mr Alan Batson...



Christmas Greetings from GMO



Hello all instructors, black belts, students, and parents.  Firstly I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Prosperous New Year for 2014. This year has seen enormous success and leap forward in every way for our association, so I would like to highlight a few particular moments from this past year....



The year started out with the continuation of our squad’s (England & Scotland) regular training programs with what can only be described as amazing turn outs and enthusiasm never seen before in our association. This has been undoubtedly down to the excellent tuition given by our national squad coaches and administration that have lifted our standards to a new high.   Their enthusiasm and undying approach to positive change within the association has been second to none, and is probably the envy of many associations out there.  With regular attendance of over 100 squad members in England and 50 in Scotland who could argue this not a success. These numbers would not at all be possible without the commitment and sacrifice of our junior member’s parents who have travelled great distances to squad training and competitions throughout the UK?  My warmest thanks go out to you all for your devotion and commitment especially in these times of hardship. You are fantastic parents and are a large part of what we are today.  The new arrangement a couple of years ago of putting our national championships, umpire courses, and squad training all under one roof and to be controlled by the national coaches was a smart idea.  Known as the “New Tournament Board” it has allowed more funding for events outside our association. Revamped our national championships to become outstanding annual events with fresh ideas aimed at spectator’s enjoyment, and also umpiring courses at shop floor level to allow all squad members to familiarise themselves with the rules of competition.  Well done the Tournament Board.



Since leaving the ITF I have endeavoured to find affiliation with international bodies to suit our needs as an association. In the past we have been members of the GTF (Founder Member) and ITF and found these bodies to be to uncompromising and controlled much of our activities and also bought “uncertainty” to our membership. I am pleased to say that at this time in our history we are now part of both the Unified International Taekwon-do Federation (U-ITF) and Taekwon-do International (TI) This will make certain that our national squads enjoy an abundance of International Championships at European and World level in the future without the constraint of national section. Both of these international organisations are unique in their structure allowing autonomy to member groups, and are positively a modern approach to the future of Taekwon-do. Both international bodies are also headed by indisputable original pioneering 9th Degree Grand Masters of Taekwon-do, and our association can now benefit from having access to International Instructor Courses, International Seminars and International Degree Certification at more sensible rates.  The association now has a vibrant future for all our membership and up and coming black belts.



With our new found affiliations we first hosted along with the UKGT association a series of seminars in March inviting Grand Master Hwang Kwang Sung (K-9-1) President of the U-ITF and pioneering legend of Taekwon-do to our shores. Although the weather was terrible with roads blocked with snow drifts a record number of black belts managed to attend, 520 in all. It was an incredible few days and a lot of up to date technical knowledge was learnt.  GM Hwang is very approachable and many students had their photographs taken with him and autographs signed.



Continuing on into July and August of this year we attended not one but “Two World Championships” and the first being the Taekwon-do International World Championships in Coventry. We knew we were up against it as the TI’s are renounced for their sparring abilities worldwide, and without doubt there were some fantastic bouts to be seen.  On top of that the event was probably the largest ever staged worldwide with an astonishing 3,500 competitors competing over the weekend.  The hosts the TAGB did a fantastic job by completing all divisions allocated each day, and the championships run like clockwork. Thank you TAGB organizing committee for an unforgettable and wonderful event.  We managed to register 101 squad members into the championships and did well considering the high level of competition over the weekend. “Special guest” at the event was Grand Master C K Choi again very approachable as a Grand Master who had time to speak and have photographs taken with all competitors no matter what rank they were.



Our next World Championships hosted by U-ITF was originally booked for South Korea in August. Unfortunately friction between North & South Korea at the time prevented the event, and it was eventually cancelled. The U-ITF quickly assembled a committee of Senior Masters to reorganize the event to be hosted in the UK. This was a big task to undertake but within three months the event was ready to go, a great achievement considering the timescale.  These championships were also well attended with 27 counties entering. Because the championship was now hosted in the UK we managed to enter more squad members, a total of 42 in all. Over the two world championships we accumulated 47 world titles (including 6 gold places) a “fantastic” first result on our new international adventure.



I must mention and congratulate our new black belt students who attended this year’s national and international promotional tests.  The tests still well attended are now at skill levels of an all time high. This is due I feel to the zeal to improve one’s technique now running throughout our association since affiliating internationally, and to our hard working new senior team who are all modest, approachable, and respected highly for their technical ability by our membership. I applaud you all.



Considering the long recession we are still experiencing our association has managed to stay constant throughout with steady growth over the last couple of years.  Nothing outstanding, but at least we are still increasing our membership.  Some club instructors’ have even experienced their best year so far “a good sign for the future”.   On saying this I must congratulate our representation north of the border the XS team.  They have worked so very hard to increase their numbers, putting on many demonstrations, special family events, and have opened many more successful clubs as a team. They also hosted the Scottish Championships which was resounding success.  With over 400 GTUK competitors this year in attendance, and a superb after party, it was by far the best to date.



I will finish off by again thanking all our instructors, black belts, students, and parents for your support and commitments given this year and the belief and trust you find in the association.



There is no I’ in team, we have all worked together this year, and should be very proud of our achievements....



"Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much" 



A Merry Christmas to you all GMO.... 



 


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