I have just returned from 8 days of training in Korea including the annual Chungdokwan Summer Camp. The training started in Goseong in the Seorak area. This is a popular resort area on the East Coast of Korea with beaches and mountains. This year's summer camp was attended by Chungdokwan members from the UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, USA, Australia, New Zealand and the Congo.
Day 1: After arriving in Incheon Airport, we travelled into Seoul to meet up with the other teams. Everyone then headed out by coach to Goseong and to check into the hotel and to meet together for dinner.
Day 2: We started with a trip out to hike up the Seorak mountain (1,708m). This was a beautiful and challenging hike, a chance to definitely work together to reach the peak. We then returned to our hotel for lunch followed by training. The afternoon training included working on basics and sparring. We also had a lecture from GM Lee Kyu Hyung, former President of the Kukkiwon, on Taekwondo spirit. In the evening we had a welcome dinner for all attendees, where the country teams were introduced and we had addresses from GM Park Hae Man and GM Shin Byeong Hyun.
Day 3: The day started with a lecture by GM Xu Zhe on Chungdokwan history. The morning training focused on poomsae training with emphasis on improving basic movements and use of the core to generate speed and power.
Then it was onto self defence against punches. The high dan grades then moved onto work on higher poomsae covering Taebaek to Ilyeo. The afternoon was competition time, first team competition by country and then individual. As a team we missed out on a medal but I was really pleased with our performance of Taebaek given limited time to practice. The individual competition was by single elimination and I was delighted to win both my matches to take gold in the 7th dan division. In the evening there was a formal dinner and a meeting of the high dans (eating and drinking together is an important part of Korean culture). Following the dinner, we then headed to a Karaoke bar for several hours of singing!
Day 3: For the high dan grades, the day started with special training continuing work on the top 4 poomsae, Jitae to Ilyeo. Then there was afternoon tour of the DMZ and the spectacular Kunbongsa Buddhist Temple. This temple was established in 520 A.D. and at its peak had over 3,000 rooms but was badly damaged by a fire in 1878 and then completely destroyed during the Korean war and is now being gradually rebuild. We then headed back to Seoul to continue the training.
Day 5: We headed to the Kukkiwon, the HQ for Taekwondo, spending a couple of hours training and with the opportunity for photos. The afternoon was rest time and a chance to shop in the Taekwondo shops around the Kukkiwon. In the evening we headed out to GM Shin's dojang for training, starting with football, then basics, poomsae, paddle work including lots of advanced jumping techniques. Then another dinner for everyone together back near the hotel.
Day 6: Time to change hotel to the more central Insadong area and then exploring the area. In the evening it was back to GM Shin's for more training and I had the privilege to be able to sit as a panel member for a grading at his school.
Day 7: During the day we just relaxed with an opportunity for shopping and sightseeing. In the evening it was back to GM Shin's for the final evening of training with further work on poomsae with focus on the dan grade poomsae and more challenging paddle work. The end of a brilliant week of training covering all aspects of Taekwondo.
Day 8: The day started again with sightseeing with some of the UK attendees heading to the palaces and museum, a few of us heading out to a more in depth tour of the DMZ. Then the final evening of dinners and packing.
Day 9: Time for the journey back home and to start planning for 2019!
The Chungdokwan Summer Camp has become a regular event and so if you are interested in attending in 2019 and want to be kept in touch with details as the planning take place please talk to one of the instructors.
Master Gerry Reilly