Hi! My name is Gordon White, I run the Blue Wave Taekwondo branch in Burlington Vermont. If you are interested in The Blue Wave Taekwondo Schools, please visit our Web site: The Blue Wave Taekwondo Association

Monday, July 30, 2007

Home Safe and Sound

It was a long flight getting home, but we made it, and our luggage did too!

I have a lot of pictures and video to put up on the blog, but right now I need to catch up on my life that has been on hold for a couple of weeks.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading and commenting! I will start posting on a regular basis again next week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Course is Complete!

Sorry for missing my "posting window" last night!

We have completed the course! I have more to post but need to find time to do it. We went out to eat with about 30 Chung Do Kwan people last night after the course and got home late.

More to come!!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 8

The course continues to have to have great content:

  • Taekwondo Teaching Methods - Chun Taek Son
  • Taekwondo Demonstration Theory - Kyu Hyung Lee
  • Dan Poomsae Koryo - ShipJin - Ik Pil Kang

I really enjoyed the Teaching methods lecture, it was very academic, and drew on common well known theories to prove its points.

It feels like there are fewer changes to the Black Belt forms then in the TaeGueks. We went from Koryo through Ship Jin. There were some further questions on the TaeGuek forms and (luckily) some additional explanation - in some situations the hands come up into guarding position during kicking techniques. For example, in Taeguek 2, on the second wing, after the low block, the hands do not come up during the kick because the following punch comes from the hip. However in Taeguek 3, the hands come up during the first front kick, as the hand is extended for proper reaction force for the double punch. Its hard to explain with our a demonstration.

Group shot outside the Kukkiwon with Grandmaster Lee

Morning Poomsae Practice at the Kukkiwon

Grandmaster Hyung Kyu Lee giving the Theory of Demonstration lecture. He is very famous as he created the Taekwondo demonstration for the 1988 Olympics. He is from Chung Do Kwan background, and one of Grandmaster Lee's juniors.
The last day of the course is tomorrow. We will cover more Dan Poomsae, and Sparring tomorrow, as well as having closing ceremonies and the final exam.
Today is my Birthday - 38 years old, my 3rd birthday celebration in Korea. People were asking for some American style food, so I suggested a Chicken Wings! No one objected, we had a good time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 7

(Pictures at the bottom of post)

Day 2 of the instructors course was excellent. We spent most of the day in the lecture hall. Lectures today were:

  • Fundamentals of Club Management - Dr. Jung Yoon Seo
  • Regulation for rank Promotion - Maser Byuung Sung Kim, Kukkiwon International Division
  • Taekwondo History - Dr. Ung Yong Ha
  • Competition Rules - Master Sang Hun Lee

The lectures were very good, I especially liked the History lecture which was done by a Non-Taekwondo practitioner. I think this was especially important because he was able to give a very non biased opinion about the History of Taekwondo and its origins.

While I enjoyed the open discussion of the Competition Rules, it was very much a question answer period, and not a real lecture. Many people wished for more of a formal presentation on rules, but I think the feeling is that a a referee course is where you are suppose to get that.

We finished the day with 90 Minutes of Poomsae, going first through TaeGuek 8, and then working back down again from 7 - 1. It felt great to work out after such a long day in the classroom. Taeguek 8 has no real changes in it.

We found out that the course will end on Friday night instead of Saturday. They plan to extend the time table on Friday night until about 7:00pm to give us the exam rather then having us come in on Saturday for it.

After training today we went out to dinner, and of course grabbed some ice cream, headed back to the hotel and did some video interviews. It got rather...silly...I think we will need a bloopers tape!

Mr. Kline (as expected) has quickly become the center of attention. He was asked to do a TV interview, (2 out of 129 people), he also lines up in the middle front line, and there fore required to yell a command (Jeoshop) to get everyone line up quickly. In addition, on 2 different occasions he has pleaded that leniency be given to some people who were late, and he dished out a mere 10 push ups to them. All the attention is stressing him out a bit, but the rest of us are proud to be part of the "Kline Kontingency".

BIG Thank you to Master Panizzo for bringing her camera today and insisting on taking some photos:

(click on them to see a bigger version)

Some more Classroom shots from this morning.

Master Gale had the fish for lunch, most of us declined it.

Action shots! Working on Poomsae on the floor, Michigan on the left and Blue Wave on the right. (yes, its humid)

2 of the 6 women participating came from our Crew, Mrs. Heathman (left) Master Panizzo (right)

Group shots, one after Training, one at Dinner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 6

First Day of Training at the Kukkiwon Today! Here are a couple of shots of us in the class room.

We started out with a lecture from Dr. Oh, the head master of the Academic Training for the Kukkiwon. He basically told us to: Be respectful, Try Hard, and don't be late. Afterwards we went outside for a group picture with President Um, (president of the Kukkiwon).

We had a good lecture from Grandmaster Byung Un Kim, on the basic structure of Taekwondo organization, The WTF (handles the sport of Taekwondo) and Kukkiwon handles the Martial Art of Taekwondo. He identified several unique aspects of each and discussed how they relate to a Taekwondo teacher. The afternoon covered basic techniques, (taught by Grandmaster Jung Kwan Lee, and Master Hyng Jun Noh) we also covered Taeguek 1 - 7. There were several things pointed out that were different then how we are doing them now, but they are mostly small differences. I have a bunch of notes on the day that I am too tired to post right now. I hope to get some more/better pictures tomorrow but its tough to do during training.

A few things to sum up:

Good Stuff:

  • Very International! there are tons of different countries here, 129 Participants total
  • The instructors are great
  • The lecture today was really interesting.
  • The weather has been a little humid, but it could be a lot worse

Other Stuff

  • Some times questions are asked in Korean and never translated
  • We are lined up by student number, I happen to be in the way back, which makes its hard to see and hear sometimes....but I am getting better at working around that.
  • Its a bit crowded, I think ths class is bigger then they expected.
  • Some people continue to show up late, which turns into a group lecture from Dr. Oh about respect and following the rules. Hopefully we won't have to deal with that anymore.

After the day ended we went out to eat with Grandmaster Lee. We headed back to the hotel had some ice cream and did some chatting about the day. Everyone is ready to turn in and get a good nights sleep!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 5

We had a little bit of a slower day today - which was good! Everyone is feeling the effects of the past few marathon days we have had of walking and hiking around the sites.

I meant to post a picture from our pizza party at Bucks house yesterday - here it is:

Pizza Party - Thanks Buck and Kaite!

We went to the Kukkiwon today to register for the course. It was exciting to get our badges and Instructor Course Books.

A Picture of our Manual, and the course banner in front of the Kukkiwon Gate

Today is Grandmaster Lee's Birthday! We went out to eat dinner to celebrate. We had SamGapSal, a pork dish cooked on the table skillet. This is one of my favorite Korean disshes.


Grandmaster Lee doesnt look to happy in the picture, but he is! We had a good time.

I have not included a picture of our hotel yet, so here it is, the SamJang Hotel

The other thing we did today (Kline, Emerson, Danforth and I) was go to a bathhouse. We hit the hot (and cold) tubs, which felt great. Mr. Williams and Mrs. Heathman went to Namdamun market, it was experience, but they didnt buy much.

We start the course tomorrow, at 8:30 am, the day ends at 6:00pm. On the schedule is a 30 minute warm up in the morning, followed by a lecture until Lunch. The afternoon will cover basics and Poomsae. I will let you know how it goes!

By the way - thanks to everyone in the group for taking all the pictures on the blog! I have only brought a Video Camera, so everyone else is taking the still photos. Just wanted to give some credit so Mr. Danforth stops whining.

Thanks for the pictures Mr. Danforth!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 4

Today we hit the ground running! After breakfast we worked out for about an hour going over Poomsae. It felt good to kick and move, as much walking as we have been doing, we have not had a chance to do much Taekwondo.

Afterwards we headed for Namsan tower. This is a communications tower that was built in the mid 1970's, on top of a mountain. It was opened to the public several years later and is a true landmark of Seoul.

Namsan Tower

We took a hiking trail to get to the base of the tower. It was about a 4k hike and was full of steps. Today was the best weather we have seen since we got here, and while it was still hot and humid, we enjoyed the hike.

Mr. Williams leading the way up to Namsan Tower

Master Gale said this was our Rock Band Pose, he of course is the lead

...oh yea, more stairs,

but the view was worth the hike

Some of us hiked back down the shorter side of the mountain, while others took the cable car down, then we took a cab to Yonsei University. It had been 10 years since I last saw this part of town and it had changed so much. Gigantic building have gone up, and there is still tons of construction going on. For anyone that doesn't know, I lived at the International House dorm at Yonsei for a year from 1991 - 1992, I went back for a visit in 1997, but had not seen it since.

My dorm from the year I lived in Korea

After spending some time checking out the area surrounding the dorm, I wanted to take everyone to Bongwansa, a working Buddhist Temple that was (as I remembered it) a short walk from the dormitory. Unfortunately things have changed so much we got a little lost and took quite a "tour" of the area before finding Bongwansa. The Temple was under heavy construction when I left in 1992, and (Like everything around it) has really change.

Not to be confused with the Palaces we visited, this is a modern Buddhist Temple, the building are not ancient, or are meant to portray history in the way the Palace gardens are. This temple is more liken to a modern day church, with history that runs back to 889. About 50 monks live at the Temple.

Here are some photos of the Bangwansa Temple.

Once we were done here, we headed back to the hotel, showered up and changed. We headed over to War Memorial Museum for a little while, and looked over old war planes, tanks and helicopters. We met Grandmaster Lee and his Grandson here and headed over to Steven (Buck) Rogers house who lives on YongSam Army base with his wife and children. Buck is a Blue Wave black belt, he is a Doctor for the Special Forces and the only Eye Surgeon on the base. It was nice to spend some time with him catching up, and of course the pizza and beer didn't hurt!

Another amazing day! We register for the Kukkiwon course tomorrow. I have really enjoyed doing all the tourist type stuff, but am ready to begin the course.

Catch up again tomorrow!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 3

We had another great day today. It continues to be hot and humid, and constantly on the verge of a thunder storm, but we had some good luck and weather didn't prohibit us from doing anything out side.

First thing this morning we did some more Taekwondo equipment shopping, now I know that we have gone to the equipment stores everyday, but between the 8 of us there was a lot of comparison shopping to do! ;-)

After the shopping we went to Gyeonghuigung Palace, the Kukkiwon Demonstration team puts on a Taekwondo demonstration here twice a week. The demo was really great, I have some video to post of it when I get home.

We met up with Amanda here! It was really cool to meet in person, we also got to meet "good man" and her Sabumnin was in the Demonstration we watched. If you don't know what i am talking about, be sure to visit her Blog: Amanda Takes on Korea.

Most of us on this trip are avid readers of Amandas blog, is was fun to meet in person

Grandmaster Lee met up with us at the demo, afterwards we went out to eat at a Korean-Chinese restaurant. We had Mandoo (dumplings) and fried rice, and for dessert - of coure we hit starbucks!

After saying good bye to Amanda and Good Man we headed to Gyung Bok Kung Palace. This is probably the largest palace/park in Korea, and its quite beautiful. They are doing quite a bit of construction to the park right now, and have been for a while. It has really been improved since I was here in 1999.

This is from Gyeonghuigung Palace, where the demo was

The Bradford Blue Wave gang at Gyung bok Kung

Kings Throne (Gyung bok Kung)

GM Lee and I in a garden (Gyung bok Kung)

Another Shot of Gyung bok Palace

Russ Gale, Tanya Panizzo and I at Gyung Bok, we have really enjoyed having these guys with us. They fit right in with the "blue wave banter" we are so well known for. Some of you Blue Waver's known them from the 99 Korea trip, Master Gale has attended summer camp in the past as well. (10 years ago now wow!) You can visit there Taekwondo School site HERE: Milan Taekwondo.

On the way home we went on an adventure and walked home from a different subway stop, it ended up being quite a hike! We are going to all sleep well tonight!

More to come! Tomorrow we will likely hit Namsan tower, and we are meeting up with Buck Rogers, a long time Blue Wave black belt. He is a Dr. with the military, and he and his family are currently stationed here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Korea Trip - Day 2

We headed off to Ittaewon today. Ittaewon is a shopping area famous in Korea, its near the Army Base and is full of touristy type stuff - much of the items in ittaewon are of the fake Rolex variety, but they have some fun things too. Over the last 20 years, I have been to Korea several times, and every time Ittaewon changes, there are many more name brand retail stores now, and less independent vendors. Also not 1, but 2 Starbucks!

Getting some Calligraphy in Ittaewon

Hanging at Starbucks

After shopping we caught up with Grandmaster Lee back at the Kukkiwon, where he had just finished as an examer for a rank testing. We walked for about 15 minutes to the Chung Do Kwan Headquarters office where we met with Grandmaster Hae Man Park.

Group Picture with Grandmaster Lee and Grandmaster Hae Man Park (both seated) at Chung Do Kwan Headquarters. Also pictured a Grandmaster Ihm, another Chung do Kwan instructor.

For the non-Blue Wavers that read the blog - Chung Do Kwan is the family Lineage of Taekwondo that we belong too. Chung Do Kwan literally means "Gym of the Blue Wave" and is one of the original Kwans of Martial arts in Korea.

We went out to eat for Lunch after the meeting. Mr. Kline was very happy as we went to a the "Tofu House" restaurant.

Mr. Kline in front of the "Tofu House" (Vegetarian of the group)

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped back in the Taekwondo equipment stores near the Kukkiwon, (yes, again and it won't be the last time), then we continued to the hotel to regroup. We made a trip to visit Gyongbokkung Palace, unfortunately it was closed when we got there, so we could only see the out side, we will go back tomorrow to see it again. One the way back a quick stop at Tangdaemun Stadium for some Frozen Yogurt and Fruit.

The Outside of GyungBok Palace, more pictures of this tomorrow!

Everyone is back at the hotel headed to bed, it was a fun day but I think the adrenaline is wearing off the Jet Lag is really starting to show! I hope to meet up with Amanda tomorrow, her Sa bum Nim is in a demonstration we will attend at 2:00 PM (unless it rains).
More news tomorrow!