From 29th April to 1st May Mr Jaroslaw Suska and Miss Ilona Dziala carried out a whistlestop tour of Ireland conducting inspirational seminars on technical kicking, pattern and sparring. 220 participants in Dublin, Shannon and Cork were able to enjoy the spectacle of Mr Suska performing his favourite kicking routines and conditioning exercises and respond to him challenging them to do the same.
The tour began in Rivervalley Taekwon-Do Club in Dublin. Hosted by Mr Stephen Cooley there were two classes, one short 90 minute class as a taster for the younger and less experienced students followed by almost three hours of training for the more experienced students. Mr Suska paid a lot of attention to the position of the body through all stages of the kicks, the rotation of the standing foot and the importance of consistent practice. Everyone finished with doboks dripping with sweat but with broad smiles at a job well done.
On Saturday morning Mr Suska, Ms Dziala and Mr Byrne crossed the country East to West where eager young students would be waiting for the first session. Similar to Dublin there was a 90 minute taster for the younger and less experienced students. This time however the senior students had the benefit of two 2 hour training sessions with a short 30 minute lunch break in between. The first session concentrated on the development of functional flexibility and strength in the hips needed to control the explosive kicks of ITF Taekwon-Do. Mr Suska combined solo exercises with partner work, kickshields and resistance training to enhance the kicking potential of all present. The second session gave some time to the upper body and ways to train the hands in sparring. In particular Mr Suska looked at the transition from kicking to punching both in attack in in defence.
By the end of the second session in a warm dojang in Shannon some of those training were beginning to feel cramp in the calf muscles. All finished the session however and took the opportunity to rest and rehydrate. A small group of senior grades remained on for a third session, dedicating 90 minutes to a review of 2nd and 3rd dan pattern. There were some small clarifications sought from Mr Suska relating to the competitive performance of pattern and adapting to the recent modifications in Umpiring seen at the World Championships in New Zealand.
Our guests were then brought to dinner in Bunratty, next to the historical castle, where there was time to relax and discuss many things from the world of Taekwon-Do but also work, teaching and life in Poland and Ireland.
On Sunday the car was loaded up once more for the final set of seminars in the Cork International Airport hotel. There was a small but very enthusiastic group of juniors waiting and ready for Mr Suska as he arrived. Some of them were of Polish extraction (as in Shannon and Dublin) and were excited at the possibility to train with an instructor from Poland and to hear Taekwon-Do explained in that language. The senior sessions in Cork followed the same design as those in Shannon with 50 students pushing themselves through each exercise, leaving nothing in the reserves. The sparring class was especially enjoyed as a number of the local instructors joined in the class and tested themselves against each other and their students in a spirit of conviviality.
As the seminars closed all that was left was to return to Dublin completing a 1100 Km round trip of the country. Heavy legs and sore muscles were the order of the day but those just a reminder of the good work done over the weekend.
We would like to extend our thanks to Mr Suska and Ms Dziala for their hard work and very much look forward to seeing them at competitions, seminars, camps and courses in the future.
Posted by Stephen Ryan