Everyone a winner! By Mr Darren Holmes V deg

After a late night of celebration at Mr Twelvetree’s wedding (congratulations to Darren & Angela), it was an early start for a number of GTUK students heading up to Derby to compete in the 7th Annual ITF/ITUK Midlands Open, hosted by a close friend to the GTUK, Master Isaac Harry. A totalof 14 competitors along with supporting parents and friends met up with GTUK coaches Mr Darren Holmes and Mrs Kay Parker at the Moorways Sports Centre on the morning of 1st April, but it was going to be no April fool’s day for them.

The first medals started to roll in from ring 1 when the Black Belt junior girls Eleanor Hill and Sophie Akerman brought in both Silver and Bronze respectively in patterns. Not to be outdone, the Pee-Wee Black Belt boys on ring 5 soon added to that tally with Gold (Ciaran McCaughey), Silver (Caelan Jackson) and two bronze (Chris Park and Cameron Richardson) in their patterns group. Keen to get into action in the under 10 category were Dermot McCaughey and Oliver Dean and they didn’t disappoint,underpressure in a 2-pattern final (one of choice and one designated) saw Gold for Dermot and a Silver for Oliver. Another Silver came in from Bronwyn Richardsonin the Black Belt girls patterns increasing that trophy count and ending the kids patterns categories. Quietly getting on with the job on ring 2, Logan Bedingfield pulled in a Gold in his Black Belt Adult Male patterns category.

Kitted up for sparring now and a re-match from that patterns final between Oliver and Dermot now saw the tables turned in sparring with Oliver picking up Gold and Dermot taking Silver. A tough fought battle in their sparring group resulted in silver for Caelan and Bronze for Chris, adding to their existing collection of trophies. The girls battled on in their sparring categories against some excellent competition. Great coaching from Mrs Parker and performances to be proud of. Results for Ashleigh Kent (Bronze) and Eleanor Hill (Silver) Although not taking a medal placing in her category, Jenna Akerman stepped up to the challenge and gave Lianne Hatcher a run for her money in a demonstration bout. Lianne took gold for her category. Finally, a very patient 14 year old red belt Jason Samuel got opportunity late in the day to mix it with the Juniors Sparring, earning a place in the final. Unfortunately the eagerly awaited final never happened due to the other finalist withdrawing through injury sustained in a previous bout. Although Jason took the gold I know he was looking forward to the showdown, nevermind Jason,there’ll be anothertime!

Overall we scooped up 19 trophies, not a bad days work. Excellent sportsmanship, determination and skill demonstrated making the coaches very proud of you all. The additional training had certainly paid off.

A big thank you to Yvonne Hill in representing the GTUK in official’s duties.

A big thank you to Master Harry and his team for organising the event,his hospitality and his trophies nearly as big the kids. Look forward to next year!

A big thank you to parents, family and friends for supporting on the day. Your energy and spirit behind the competitors was fantastic and much appreciated. It was a long day but hopefully you all left feeling very proud of what you have helped us achieve. And finally a big thank you to our competitors, our GTUK future, just for being brilliant. You are all winners!

Trophy winners.

Dermot McCaughey – Gold (patterns) & Silver (sparring) Oliver Dean – Silver (patterns) & Gold (sparring)

Bronwyn Richardson – Silver (patterns) Caelen Jackson – Silver (patterns) & Silver (sparring)

Christopher Park – Bronze (patterns) & Bronze (sparring) Ciaran McCaughey – Gold (patterns)

Cameron Richardson – Bronze (patterns) Jason Samuel – Gold (sparring) Ashleigh Kent – Bronze (sparring)

Eleanor Hill – Silver (patterns) & Silver (sparring) Sophie Akerman – Bronze (patterns)

Jenna Akerman – special award (Demo sparring) Lianne Hatcher – Gold (sparring)

Logan Bedingfield – Gold (patterns)

The big weekend! By Robbie Wells – 1st deg – Aged 16.

So the wait was over and the hard training was about to be put to its test at the 2nd P.U.M.A World Championships on Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April at The Oasis Leisure Centre, Swindon. However it all began on the Friday night at the Jury’s Inn where the weigh in took place. The starving competitors were eager to weigh in, hoping they slotted into their desired category. For 90% of the team this was their first international competition so with the nerves bubbling inside, medals weren’t the first thing on people’s minds – in fact food was. This called for a squad meal in order to relax the competitors and unite the GTUK family, and it did just that.

Saturday arrived and the GTUK students were raring to go seeing the mass competition with students from various associations across Great Britain and other countries, this was definitely going to be tough. The competition was declared open with a demonstration from the P.U.M.A Flowering Youth showing exceptional standards and technique.

The GTUK Offical, Mr Simmons took his position and the cadet males were first up (Brandon Barnes, Liam Watkinson and Robbie Wells), and it was down to them to show the true spirit of the GTUK. It wasn’t long before the medals came rolling in with Robbie Wells kicking it off with a Silver Medal in Cadet Male 1st Degree Patterns by a close split decision. Brandon Barnes followed this up with a Silver Medal in Cadet Male Flyweight Sparring showing great skill and self-control, with Liam Watkinson showing that the hard work in training is paying off with some tough fights and close decisions.

The Cadets were finished for the day and competitors/supporters became tired but there was no time for rest as the adult males and females had their patterns to perform to perfection. There was no disappointment at all! Rachel Agustsson got the adults in the mood by achieving a Bronze Medal in Female 1st Degree Patterns and Daniela Bright also brought back a Bronze Medal in Female 2nd-3rd degree patterns. The adult males had this to follow, could they achieve more international medals? The 1st Degree Males (John Bowman, Misbah Rana and Miles Westwood) took no prisoners! They were going for the full podium and they did just that by dominating their category performing patterns with power and precision. John Bowman got the Bronze, Misbah Rana, the Silver and Miles Westwood, now the current P.U.M.A World Champion, brought home the Gold.

This brought a triumphant feeling to what was a spectacular day and was topped by receiving an encouraging phone call from Master Oldham himself. 7 medals after day one was an amazing achievement for the GTUK and this called once again for a family meal. Everyone re-fuelled their tanks – for some their fuel reserves, no names mentioned – and emotions were buzzing, which created an atmosphere that felt it couldn’t really get much better. Adults headed off to get their rest ready for what was hopefully going to be round 2 for GTUK success.

The 1st day of April was no day for ‘fooling around’; however this didn’t stop any white lies being told to spice up the GTUK atmosphere. Some of the adult males were told that the Korean Tigers were competing, which was followed by what was a rather worried face, however not destroying their inner belief and motivation. The adults were ready to add to the medals despite being up against ex and current world champions. Unfortunately there were some minor casualties and we weren’t short on blood being shed. This didn’t stop Miles Westwood reaching the quarter finals in lightweight sparring though and the fight was too close to call, the decision though went the other way to the category winner and overall competitor of the day. Many of the adults had already competed and fought with true passion and indomitable spirit in extremely large categories, full of seasoned International competitors, and our students narrowly missing out on medals. This soon came to an end; who said lightning can’t strike twice? The irrepressible Rachel Agustsson fought a hard and close battle against a Norweigan to get Silver in Female Flyweight Sparring and was points away from becoming world champion.

Last but not least it was time for the teams and both GTUK teams were all hyped up ready for the competition. The male team was made up of Will Dewey(c); Loughborough, Graham Peacock (vc); Loughborough, Ashley Corke; Knowle, John Bowman; Northampton, Miles Westwood; Loughborough, & Misbah Rana; DeMontford Uni, who managed to pick up Bronze in the team patterns. The female team made up of Daniela Bright (c); Loughborough, Jessica Barnes (vc); Gloucester, Emily Reeson; Stamford, Amy Ridgard; Knowle, Rachel Agustsson; Loughborough achieved bronze in both team patterns and sparring. Unfortunately Kimberley Condron had to withdraw before the competition due to an injury at work (wishing you a fast recovery), so the girls did well under pressure of no reserve.

So, it had been a very long and exhausting weekend with the GTUK squad showing all the tenets of TaeKwonDo, along with blood, sweat and tears. These tears however weren’t from sorrow or misery, but tears of pride from Mr Auciello during a final team talk at the end of the competition. He was simply lost for words, which was followed by a squad hug – a true TaeKwonDo family.

A total of 24 medals were achieved by the 14 squad members that competed, which is beyond success for the first international competition attended by the newly formed squad. We left the competition by bowing to the Masters as a team and receiving a special award for Master Oldham from Master Black with wording “The man who says it cannot be done, shouldn’t interrupt the man trying to do it!” Soon after the competition Mr Auciello received emails from various Masters across the world commenting about the great technical ability the GTUK students had shown, and we have also been congratulated on how we took part using the true spirit of TaeKwonDo.

A huge thank you must go out to Master Gayle for inviting us, and also congratulations on your promotion to 8th Degree, and all at PUMA including Master Ogbourne and Master Black who made us feel so welcome and looked after. Also to all the loyal friends of the GTUK, it was good to see to so many Associations from across the World with whom we share the Tenets of TaekwonDo!

A big thank you goes to Mr Gregg Simmons for being GTUK official representative.

A big thank you to all GTUK supporters along with the hard work of the GTUK Squad Secretary Mrs Jo Auciello, without you the squad would have no back bone. The support is greatly appreciated and the energy created is what fuels the squad.

A huge thank you goes to Head Coach Mr Richard Auciello, for providing crucial advice and support when it’s needed most. Last but not least, a huge thank you to all competitors, without you there is no GTUK Squad. Your hard work is paying off and you are all creating the bright future for the magnificent GTUK. You are all part of the GTUK family, be proud.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”

Robbie Wells…..

Check out our facebook page GTUKEnglandSquad for more pictures of the amazing weekend!