ITA Summer Camp Report
The Irish Taekwon-Do Association held its annual summer camp in Mount Melleray, Co. Waterford from the 13th to the 16th of July. This was the 5th year for the camp to be held at the Mount Melleray scout centre and it was attended by students of all ages and grades from clubs around the country. The participants arrived for lunch on Friday after which the group was split in to a junior class as well as a cadet and senior class; each group did 10 -two hour sessions over the weekend working on sparring, patterns, self-defence, kicking and fundamental movements. The Camp was led by a number of experienced ITA instructors including Master Kenneth Wheatley 7th Dan, Master Neil Franks 7th Dan, Mr Mark Buckley 6th Dan, Mr Pat Barry 6th Dan, Mr Niall Jones 5th Dan, Mr Stephen Ryan 5th Dan, Mr Adrian Byrne 5th Dan, Ms Anne-Marie Kinsella 5th Dan Mr Carl Smullen 4th Dan, Mr Stephen Smullen 4th Dan, Ms Laura Cullen 3rd Dan and Mr Luke Laffan 2nd Dan. Also in attendance at the camp was Master Pat O’Rourke 7th Dan, Mr Adrian O’Mahoney 6th Dan, Mr Jamie Rigney 5th Dan, Mr Hong Looi 5th Dan and Mr Paul King 1st Dan as well as many other senior & junior blackbelts.
Training began on Friday afternoon with Mr. Byrne & Mr Laffan leading the seniors & cadets through a sparring session, while Ms Cullen & Ms Kinsella led the juniors in a patterns and kicking session. Other sparring classes during the weekend were led by Mr Pat Barry, Mr Buckley, Mr Ryan, Master Franks & Mr Jones. The sparring training covered various aspects including attacking combinations, ring position, counter attacking drills and how to control the tempo of a match. The standard of sparring on display was very high right from the junior yellow belts up to senior blackbelt
Training on fundamental movements, kicking and patterns was instructed by Master Wheatley, Mr Jones, Mr Ryan & Mr Byrne, Ms Kinsella and Ms Cullen. The depth of technical knowledge within the ITA once again shone with the instructors able to provide detailed insights into patterns from Chon Ji up to Tong Il. The new competition rules were also discussed with Mr Jones explaining the system that will be introduced from January 2013. While in other classes more focused on technical kicking, Mr Ryan & Mr Byrne provided excellent progressions for developing kicking techniques as well as the required strength and flexibility.
On Sunday Ms Cullen and Ms Kinsella worked with the junior group on team patterns putting together some impressive performances of Dan Gun and Do San that were choreographed very well to include breaks and splits in a very short space of time. Impressed by the juniors, the senior grades then got in on the act with the 5th to 7th Dan’s performing their very own team pattern, Se Jong!
Self Defence training over the weekend was instructed by Mr Carl Smullen & Mr Stephen Smullen. The senior group covered defences against knife attacks, ground defence versus standing and mounted opponents as well as working on various dangerous grabs such as chokes and non-dangerous grabs including wrist grabs and shirt grabs. The junior group learned to defend against chokes and headlocks from all directions but the most important message from their self defence training was to stop a situation as early as possible, preventing the need for any physical contact.
As always the time away from training was filled with fun activities including campfires, handball tournaments, special technique flying kick competition and much more. The campers were also entertained by talented Cork student Claire Martin who performed several songs on guitar.
Overall it was a very successful & enjoyable weekend for all involved, the perfect mix of hard training, fun and relaxation. For students the camp was a place to train with some of the best instructors in the country as well as meet up with friends from other clubs and make some new ones. From an instructor viewpoint, the camp is an opportunity to exchange knowledge and different training drills and ideas and in this way help the ITA to become stronger as a group.