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...plenty of action and entertainment ...excellent competitors ...great trophies

Taekwon-do Explosion 2005 was such a buzz!  I could barely sleep...

Better organised & control on contact than the UKITF Championships
- comments by spectators

The 31st July, 2005 saw this years 'Taekwon-do Explosion' take place. Due to its increasing popularity year after year, after initial estimates from instructors, it was decided to change the venue to one of a high capacity from previous years, which was still packed to the rafters (luckily, everyone was warned via their instructor in advance of this).

Taekwon-do Explosion events are known for its extremely fair judging, good organisation, friendly atmosphere, unique divisions and great trophies and this year was no exception as 24 schools entered students in what was to be an enthralling event.

This year's event included ITF based patterns, both points and continuous sparring, two power and seven overall divisions.

What made this event unique from not only other events, but from previous years events, were that this year, green belts had a choice of whether to enter points sparring with lower grades or choose to do continuous sparring with more senior grades, most understandably opted for the former option.

The patterns divisions are judged on overall performances, rather than certain techniques or stances having to be performed a certain way or whether or not you do sine-wave or hip twist or not. No judges judge their own schools and all judges receive free hot and cold food and drink throughout the entire day.

The Power divisions also had a unique twist thanks to the competitions sponsor
Imptec Ltd, where instead of having to break boards, students had to hit Imptec equipment which measured their power, this was then divided by their weigh, so instead of what fairly often happens (especially in hand divisions) and the biggest guy wins, the student that generated the most power per kilo won the division, allowing smaller competitors to compete on an equal footing with the big guys! Thanks to the Imptec power equipment, namely the new mega-strike (which was still at proto-type stage) younger students were able to compete in both foot and hand power events. The actual equipment used can be seen by visiting www.imptec.co.uk

There were 7 Individual Overall trophies to be won by competitors that performed well on the day and won in multiple divisions, as well as each event having a totally different kind of high quality trophy for students to take home and any really large divisions were split to make it fairer for all. Plus event entrants of 14 years and under were awarded certificates as a memento of the day, which were presented by Richard Segalov, a Senior Manager of Harrow Youth & Connexions Services, who was so impressed with the event, he promised to sponsor the event at a bigger venue next year.

The event had videos running all day to keep the spectators entertained when they needed a break, which included action from many of the clubs & senior grades at the event, compiled by the organiser himself. The video was so good, many asked where they could by it, but unfortunately it was made especially for the event. Taekwon-do Explosion 2005 had a full canteen running all day within the spectator area, plus all results were listed as soon as possible on the overhead projector to display the results to all and a full running order of events, list of entries, rules and clubs attending were posted on the walls for all to see. Finally, everyone got to take part in a raffle with the main prizes being Imptecs power equipment.

The event kicked off roughly on time with the Patterns divisions, starting with the youngsters at junior grade level & power divisions for the senior grades. Many of the patterns divisions were split as their were so many entries, but even so there were some fine performances and the title places were hotly contested.

In the 10th to 8th kup Under 10's, it was such a close call, that instead of just one third place, it was decided to give a joint third place. These were attained by Jamie McAuley (Hemel LTSI) and Dalton Sowah (London Panthers), with Lauren Jones (Hemel LTSI) taking the silver and Chloe Butler (Essex GTI) taking the gold. On ring 2 the 7th to 5th Kup Under 10's were competing as well. Lewis McCormack (Hogans) gave an impressive display to take the gold after 4 rounds of patterns, hot on his heels however was Hayley Ward (Erith TKD), Aaron Wong (Essex GTI) and Abhijay Sood (Rayners Lane TKD).

Over in ring 3, the power divisions were getting under way with the 4th to 1st kup Junior Power Foot & Hand divisions. The techniques for this level were reverse turning kick and fore fist punch. Lewis Maddison (St Albans LTSI) gave a powerful kick, but was beaten by a lighter opponent from the same school Adam Aliousalam, once they were all weighed up and the power/weight equation came into effect. In the Power Hand section, the tables were turned as despite getting a power reading, 20 points higher than the next highest, Fayaz Latifi (Rayners Lane) was to lose out to Joshua Pennington (Essex GTI) who gave a good power per weight reading. Following this division, the Adult Senior Coloured belts had a chance to wack the power pads. In the Adult Female 4th to 1st kup Foot Power division it was a very close call between So Ying Pang (RAF Uxbridge TKD), Lyndsey Sainsbury (Rayners Lane TKD) and the eventual winner Claudia Ogalde (Hogans TKD).  The Hand section proved a different story, with the 2nd lightest competitor in that division, Sonal Lakhman (Rayners Lane TKD) scoring the highest power reading leading to her winning the event.

In the Adult Male 4th to 1st kup Foot Power division, Grant Mackay (St Albans) stormed his way to victory, as many were out due to foot faulting and he gained a very high reading. In the Hand division for these guys it was a similar story to the ladies section, with Dev Patel (Rayners Lane TKD) being the lightest competitor but scoring impressively the highest power reading to take the gold.

Back in the other rings, the 10th to 5th Kup Patterns for 11 to 14 year olds were taking place. This division held a very technical and tense final between Zuhayr Chagpar (Rayners Lane) and Tommy Smith (Hogans TKD) with Tommy gaining gold, leaving Zuhayr to settle for silver. The 10th to 8th Kup Adult patterns were also under way. Karl Seal (Erith TKD) gave great performances whilst working his way to the final only to be beaten by Tony Middleton (London Panthers), who also gave great renditions of his patterns to meet him in the final. Not far behind were Dawn Barlow (Essex GTI) and Graham Martin (RAF Uxbridge) who were left to battle it out for third place.

In the 7th to 5th Kup Adult Patterns merited performances came from Grace Halden (Essex GTI), Emma Swannack (London TKD Academy), Birahim M'Bow (Acton Impact) and Reese Gainsford (St Albans) who fought hard to stop Vijay Sood (Rayners Lane) who performed brilliantly and the eventual winner Amie Williams (Hogans TKD), who met up in what must have been a very close decision for the judges of this hard final.

It was all change as the Junior grades went to the Power ring and the senior grades started their patterns. In the Foot Power section for 10th to 5th kups, under 10, Abjijay Sood, the lightest competitor gained the highest score with a good side piercing kick to win,  whilst in the 10th to 5th kups, 11 to 14 year olds, Joseph Lewis (Rayners Lane) took the gold. In the Hand Power division, for 10th to 5th kups, under 14, David Strappelli (London TKD Academy) did a powerful elbow and managed to scoop the gold.

Following the youngsters, the 10th to 5th kups Adult Females took to side kicking the pads, with Emma Swannack (London TKD Academy) claiming gold for Foot Power and claiming another for Hand Power in a closely contested event with Danielle Smith (Robin Ford TKD) with just 0.055 between them! Meanwhile in the 10th to 5th kups Adult Males, the 2nd lightest competitor in this division, Richard Atkinson (Essex GTI) gave a powerful side kick and won the gold, whilst in the 10th to 5th kups Adult Males Power Hand section, Lorenzo Strappelli (London TKD Academy) performed a fierce elbow to gain the gold.

On the patterns rings, the 4th to 1st Kup Junior Patterns were underway. This highly contested division saw spirited performances from Liam Burke (Northampton GTUK), Nathaniel Milton (Hogans TKD), Michael Hillier (St Albans LTSI) and Kieran Merchant (Robin Fords TKD) amongst others, who all tried to stop the eventual winners, Joshua Pennington (Essex GTI), Fayaz Latifi (Rayners Lane TKD) and Andrew Smith (Luton LTSI) from claiming bronze, silver and gold!

With the Adult Blue Belt Patterns underway on the opposite ring, Michael Bury (First Defence TKD) was unlucky to go out in the bronze fight offs to William Kwatia (Hogans TKD) as Sonal Lakhman (Rayners Lane TKD) and Michael Philip (Hogans TKD) fought off for gold!

The final coloured belt patterns division got under way with the Red Belt Adults all vying for the gold. Ceri Rees (RAF Uxbridge TKD) gave great performances on his way to claim the bronze position, taking out fellow semi-finalist Luke Pollard (First Defence TKD) in a close fight off. Meanwhile, Paul Fiddy (Rugby Esporta TKD) gave sharp performances before going out to silver medallist Jack Richie (Dartford TKD) who himself was beaten to the gold by Claudia Ogalde (Hogans TKD) in the final, with a great performance.

With the conclusion of the Coloured Belts Patterns, Power Foot and Power Hand divisions, they all earned a well deserved break as the black belt sections started up. First up were the Junior Black belt patterns, with Jack Cross (Hogans TKD) and David Lewis (Northampton GTUK) facing off in the finals. In the Adult black belt patterns, this large division brought some great performances. First up was the competitions organiser Stuart Anslow, who fought his way through to the semi-finals despite good performances via Mathew Bruce (St Albans LTSI) and Ben Pethick (London Panthers TKD), there he met Stuart Smith (St Albans LTSI) who also had also battled his way to the semi's. On the other side of the table, Chris Snow (St Albans LTSI) fought his way past good performances from Kay Parker (Northampton LTSI) and Vikram Gautam (Rayners Lane) where he met Gordon Slater (Essex GTI) who also made his way to the semi-final, despite a good effort by another St Albans black belt, Kieran Curpen. The semis were done and whilst Stuart Smith and Gordon Slater fought off for 3rd place, a technical and tough final was underway with Chris Snow performing 4th degree pattern Moon-Moo against Stuart Anslow performing 3rd degree pattern Yoo-Sin.

Following the Black belt patterns, the Black belt hand and foot divisions took place. Techniques for these divisions were Jumping Reverse Turning Kick and Reverse Knife Hand. In the junior section, Jack Cross (Hogans TKD) won another gold, whilst in the ladies hand division; Jenny Hong (Erith TKD) took gold with a powerful strike. In the Adult Male Black belt foot division, some superb flying kicks came out from the likes of Vikram Gutam (Rayners Lane TKD), Dave Rogers (First Defence TKD) amongst others, with the gold going to Tom Garside (Robin Ford TKD) .The Adult Black Belt Power Hand division was even more contested, with many of the entrants having to perform over and over again. Eventually the competitor had to perform a different technique (a left handed punch) and all the techniques were added together and divided by weight. Though close overall, lady luck was shining on Stuart Anslow this time, with him being over 10 kilos lighter than the others that made it through the rounds and allowed him to claim gold.

The black belt sections finished off with the black belt sparring. The Juniors and Ladies were up first, with David Lewis (Northampton GTUK) fighting the final against Jack Cross (Hogans TKD), which was a crowd pleaser. Meanwhile Grace Costello (Andersons TKD), Kay Parker (Northampton GTUK) and Jenny Hong (Erith TKD) round robined in some great fights, that showed the skills of the competitors. The eagerly awaited Adult Male Black belt divisions that took place. In the under 75 kilo section, Lionel Barnard (Brackley freestyle TKD) fought well against eventual winner Danny Welland (Brentford TKD) shrugging off some heavy hits to show some good countering skills. Tom Garside (Robin fords TKD) fought Ben Pethick (London Panthers TKD) to get to the finals, only to face hard hitter Danny Welland. A good bout ensued, with Danny claiming gold leaving Ben to settle for silver and Tom with bronze.

Meanwhile, in the over 75 kilo divisions, former association pals, Kam Bains (KBSOMA) and Garth Barnard (Brackley freestyle TKD) fought the first bout, which was close indeed. In the second bout, a controlled one-two by Vikram Gautam (Rayners Lane) caught St Albans black belt Kieran Curpen both on the jaw as he finished a reverse turning kick, accidentally knocking him out and incidentally the only major contact incident the whole day. Unfortunately, despite Kirans willingness to fight on and the spirit he showed, the 1st Aiders forced him to retire, leaving Vikram to face Kam in one semi final, as Mathew Bruce (St Albans) faced Dave Rogers (First Defence TKD) in the other semi final. This lead to a great final between Vikram and Dave, with a fine display of leg and hand techniques from both competitors, with Dave eventually having to take the silver whilst Vikram claimed a well deserved gold.

After a short break it was onto the Coloured Belt Sparring. The 10th to 5th Kup, Peewee Points Sparring was up first which saw young Frankie Smith (Hogans TKD) and Jason Dunne (London Panther TKD) fighting for the gold. Whilst Hayley Ward (Erith TKD) and Krishan Singhal (Rayners Lane) fought off from bronze. All should be commended as they are young and fought many fights to get to their respective positions, via some other tough little-un's like Jake Bains (KBSOMA), Curtis Butler (Essex GTI) and many others, all of whom were a credit to their instructors as not one tear flowed throughout from any and all of them.

In the 10th to 5th Kup Junior Low and Junior high divisions, fine performances came from the likes of Lewis McCormack (Hogans TKD), Gian Strappelli (London TKD Academy), Tommy Smith (Hogans TKD), Joseph Vernazza (Hogans TKD),  Selda Asian (London TKD Academy) and Chelsea Veares (Robin Fords TKD). It should be noted that 10th to 5th Kup Junior Low divisions had the most competitors out of any division on the day, so all did really well.

The Adult 10th to 5th Kup sparring was next. In the Adult female divisions, we saw some great bouts with Gemma Flanning (Dartford TKD) claiming bronze, whilst a close final, plus extra time followed between Emma Swannack (London TKD Academy) and Kate Barry (Rayners Lane TKD). So close it had to be settled on a 'first point to score' basis!

In the men's 10th to 5th Kup sparring, under 75kg division, Jason Eaton (Brentford TKD) fought well to claim the gold, with other hard fought bouts coming from the likes of Philip Lees (London TKD Academy), Richard Atkinson (Essex GTI), Lorenzo Strappelli (London TKD Academy) Reese Gainsford (St Albans LTSI) and Richard Simon (Rayners Lane). Whilst in the over 75kg division, Robby west (Essex GTI) gave a fine display on his way to the final, which was a very close bout with Dennis Potipako (Rayners Lane TKD) which had 1 point in it. Fellow sparrers Mark Greenwell (Northampton GTUK), Glen Appleby (Robin Fords TKD) amongst others, fought well also.

The final events of the day were about to commence, with the Senior Grade Coloured Belt sparring. In these divisions, as well as red & blue belts, green belts could have opted in, though few choose to. In fact only one green belt did & that was Zuhyar Chagpar (Rayners Lane TKD) who fought all the way to the 3rd place fight off , and gave a very spirited performance after choosing the Junior Low Senior Grade sparring as his first ever competition. But who can blame those that didn't choose the same route, as the skill in all these divisions were very high indeed. In the Junior Low Senior Grade division, Juilien Gallane (London Panthers) won bronze, whilst Jake Bains (KBSOMA) fought well and was unlucky to have to settle for silver, whilst Andrew Smith (Luton LTSI) won the gold.

The Junior High Senior Grade sparring divisions also showed some amazing skills. Peri Ibrahim (London TKD Academy) fought brilliantly to claim gold, despite hard fought attempts to scuttle this from Jenny Irving (Northampton GTUK) & Nathanial Milton (Hogans TKD).

To conclude the event, the audience were treated to some very interesting and entertaining bouts form the adult senior coloured belts. In the Adult female divisions, Stephanie McGarth ended up having to fight off for 3rd place against fellow club mate Helen Lee (both from Rugby Esporta TKD), whilst Terri Watkins (St Albans) fought well to face eventual winner Silvia Kwatia (Hogans TKD) in the final.

In the Men's Senior Coloured belt under 75kg division Michael Philips (Hogans TKD) fought a tough bout against the talented Andrew Thomas (London Panthers) in an awesome final. Other notable bouts in these divisions came from Bronze medallist Grant Mackay (St Albans), Andrew Bennett (Dartford TKD), Dev Patel (Rayners Lane TKD), John Vernazza (Hogans TKD),  Mathew Goodchild (St Albans) and Anil Nayer (London Panthers)

In the other ring, the Men's Senior Coloured belt over 75kg division took place. Again, the competitors showed amazing skills throughout. Parvez Sultan (Rayners Lane TKD) showed some fine leg work as  he fought his way up past Ceri Rees (Uxbridge TKD), Luke Pollard (First Defence TKD) and Michael Roche (London Panthers TKD) to gain a place in the final, whilst the talented Paul Fiddy (Rugby Esporta TKD) did the same on the other end of the table, passing Michael Irving (Northampton GTUK), Anthony Whittaker (JKK), and the equally talented Calvin Thomas (London Panthers) en-route to his place in the final. The final between Paul and Parvez was a great fight to watch, as with the previous fights, there were spinning kicks, jumping kicks and much fine foot work and technical kicking displays, all followed up with hand work of equal measure. The eventual outcome left Parvez Sultan to claim gold and Paul Fiddy to settle for silver.

The event finished with the presentation of a certificate to all the junior competitors, presented by Richard Segalov, a Senior Manager of Harrow Youth & Connexions Services. Master James Hogan, 7th degree presented the awards for Patterns and Sparring, whilst Mr Gordon Slater, 5th degree presented the Power awards.

Master Hogan then presented the Overall Winners awards to the following:

Hayley Ward (Erith TKD) - 10th to 1st Kups Girls Overall
Andrew Smith (Hogans TKD) - 10th to 1st Kups Boys Overall
Emma Swannack (London TKD Academy) - 10th to 1st Kups Adult Female Overall
Michael Philip (Hogans TKD) - 10th to 1st Kups Adult Male Overall
Jack Cross (Hogans TKD) - Junior Black Belt Overall
Jenny Hong (Erith TKD) - Adult Female Black Belt Overall
Stuart Anslow (Rayners Lane TKD) - Adult Male Black Belt Overall

The final part of the day was the raffle draw, with the lucky winners winning equipment from the
Imptec Power Range, including both Power & React Target Shields and Pads (which I can thoroughly recommend), plus Taekwon-do and IAOMAS VCDs.

Despite the filled venue, the day was a great success, which, though highly organised, would not have been possible without the help of the judges and instructors present, many of whom worked tirelessly throughout the day. So a BIG thank you to all those that helped to judge & referee: Mr James Hogan, VII (Hogans TKD), Mr Patrick McCarthy VI (London Panthers TKD), Mr Gordon Slater, V (Essex GTI), Mr Hay Harris, IV (Rugby Esporta TKD), Mr Chris Snow, IV (St Albans LTSI), Mr Robin Ford, IV (Robin Ford TKD), Mr Elliott Walker, III (Dartford TKD),  Mr Kam Bains, III (KBSOMA), Mr Steven Walsh III (Hogans TKD), Mr Garth Barnard, II (Brackley Freestyle TKD), Miss Jenny Hong, II (Erith TKD), Mr Matthew Hearn, II (RAF Uxbridge TKD), Mr Stuart Smith, II (Luton & Hemel LTSI), Mr Mustafa Dervis, II (London TKD Academy), Mr Daniel Welland, II (Brentford TKD), Mr Dave Rogers, II (First Defence TKD), Mrs Kay Parker, I (Northampton GTUK), Mr Vikram Gautam, I (Rayners Lane TKD), Mr Kiran Curpen, I (St Albans LTSI), Mr Mathew Bruce, I (St Albans LTSI), Mr Lionel Barnard, I (Brackley Freestyle TKD), Mr David Lewis, I (Northampton GTUK) and Miss Taman Lally, I (KBSOMA).

Plus another big thank you to the students and parents of Rayners Lane TKD for all the help before, after and at the event. In particular, Kate Barry, David Lane, Gill Nightingale, David Westmore, Anita Patel, Alan Darbin, Marla Riddell, Raj Patel, Kajal Patel, Maria Kalaria and everyone that helped set and then take back all the chairs and everything else.

Thank you to our sponsor
Imptec Ltd for great raffle prizes and allowing us to do a unique division for everyone on their prototype equipment. To find out more about them visit www.imptec.co.uk.

Finally, thank you to Mr Stuart Anslow, III (Rayners Lane TKD) who spent many late nights organising everything, to ensure it was a great day for everyone who attended. I can personally testify, that on the Friday before the event, he didn't get to bed until 3am due to setting up the hall and on the evening before the event, he got 2 hours sleep and worked throughout the following day ensuring it smooth running, plus altogether, he spent over 24 hours (probibly more) making the video for the spectators to enjoy! Plus whatever other work organising a competition involves.

Feedback has been flooding in since the event, so Ill leave you with some comments by those that were there:

"Thanks very much for a very good day.  It was very well organised, plenty of action and entertainment (the videos was a nice touch), excellent competitors (made some new friends) and great trophies.  I definitely would like to come to the next one if you'll invite me."
- Mrs Kay Parker, instructor, Northampton GTUK

"You certainly have organised a brilliant event yesterday and all my students, myself included, thoroughly enjoyed it. The venue was certainly a tight squeeze but on the other hand, I think that brought many of the parents/spectators closer together as there was certainly a lot of mingling around going on in the background when everyone was so packed in together. Well done again with such a successful event. Look forward to visiting the website with all the pics! You certainly done well on the day - should've ordered yourself a special trophy!"

- Miss Jenny Hong, instructor, Erith TKD

"Taekwon-do Explosion 2005 was such a buzz!  I could barely sleep last night because I was still on an adrenaline high even though I was completely exhausted when I got back home"

- Anthony Whittaker (competitor)

"Just wanted to say thanks for the event, it was really enjoyable and although I didn't come out with any medals, I am still glad I attended. The sparring was great!"
- Birahim M'Bow (competitor)

More photographs, results and details of the event can be found by visiting www.raynerslanetkd.com and following the links.
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