Report by Kate Barry
Fair Judging, truly open to all styles of Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-do from any group, proper contact levels, excellent trophies, high quality competitors, unique divisions that change each event and great organisation has become synonymous with what is known as the "Taekwon-do Explosion", the yearly tournament hosted by Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy and this years event, luckily, was more of the same.
The day started at 9.30am on the 10th of June, but the actual event had been in preparation for many months and lots and lots of hard work went into it, I know as I assisted Mr Anslow in it organisation. Gaining support and sponsorship from the local Council this event was set to be a blockbuster and for those that attended it didn't disappoint. Apart from the action packed sparing, the great pattern performances and other interesting divisions, there were a few things unique about this tournament. The first of which is that we had a TV star at the event. Not just mulling around being a 'face' but actually competing in all the black belt divisions. For those who have been watching the E4 series "Skins", you may of recognised the actor that plays 'Anwar'. He is no less than Rayners Lane student dev Patel and despite his 'star' status remains very humble and trains all the time when hes not filming and he wasn't afraid to put it on the line either!
The day kicked off with Taekwon-do videos on a 20 foot projector screen as the competitors and spectators flooded the brand new Beacon centre in Rayners Lane, London, helping to set the atmosphere for the day. This was the biggest 'Explosion' to date with 190 competitors from 18 quality Taekwon-do schools around the country and it ran without a hitch through the whole day. As well as video clips, details of any changes in the event were on the screen and for the kids that competing (and paying attention) there was a treasure hunt of sorts. You see, Mr Anslow and myself, had arranged for a surprise for all the competitors that were under 14, in the form of a T-Shirt with the event logo on it to take home (free). So no young competitor went home empty handed even if they didn't win a medal. We made it a treasure hunt (of sorts) by putting clues on the projector and a face they had to find to get their T-shirts, which was fun for them and kept them busy as well. By the end of the event word had spread and all the kids had got their T-shirts as well as many adults asking to buy one, but unfortunately we only got them for the kids.
The event started with the customary Junior Pattern section. The 10th to 7th Kup Junior Patterns were up first with some great performances in the 10 to 14 year old division with a gold for Aldershot in the form of Liam Hawley, with Abigail Maunders from Rayners Lane just a point behind to gain the silver and Earls Bartons Doru Stoica coming in close to gain the bronze, all with some great performances.
In the 10 to 14 years 6th to 4th kup division, four competitors were neck and neck and a play off resulted in Clare Coley (Denham TKD) gaining gold, Amy Marsh (Earls Barton TKD) claiming silver and Matthew Trimmings adding to Aldershots good start by gaining bronze. Georgina McKewan did exceptionally well and only lost out in the play-offs, so well done to her too.
Whilst patterns were taking place in some rings, over in area 3 the PeeWees got going with the flying side kick section. This is one of the great things about Taekwon-do Explosion; Mr Anslow tries to make as many events as accessible to everyone, no matter what their age and this section was no different. The youngsters had to jump over two bamboo poles and hit a target at the end with a flying side kick - no mean feat for a division whose highest age was 8! After 4 rounds of the poles getting further and further apart, it came down to just two - Michael Pratt from Hay Harris TKD and Matthew Hills from Aldershot. Matthew made the fourth attempt whilst sadly Michael didn't so claimed the gold.
After the Peewee coloured belts, the poles were moved up and apart for the Junior Black belts to have a go at the Flying Side kick section. After everyone had attempted this, only Jake Bains (Kam Bains TKD) and David-Jon Tucker (Moulton TKD) were left, one more jump and David-Jon claimed his gold.
In the 3rd to 1st Kup Junior Patterns, Ben Slater from Essex TKD gave an exceptional performance that rocketed him to the gold medal position. More points for Aldershot followed as brother and sister Ceri and Ross Green placed silver and bronze, though even these were closely contested by fellow Essex student Chloe Butler.
In the 9 year olds and under, 10th to 7th kup Patterns both Hannah Garner and Matthew Hills added to the Aldershot points by placing gold and silver respectively. Matthew gaining his second trophy of the morning. However, it wasn't an easy win as the positions were hotly contested by Rayners Lane student, Charlotte Fox who gained the bronze.
We then saw the 9 years and under, 6th to 4th kup division. Jade Doran from Hemel LTSI did remarkably well, winning gold against some great youngsters, with Jamie Shaw (Sutton-Bonington TKD) and Curtis Butler (Essex TKD) hot on her heels.
As the Junior Kup grade patterns section finished and they went off to compete in the Flying side kick section, the Junior Black Belt patterns took place. These youngsters showed tremendous skills and set a great example for the junior colour belts to follow. Michael Hillier from St. Albans gave performed an excellent pattern to claim the gold. He was first up and set the pace for this section and fellow St. Albans student Stephen Townshend came close, but couldn't quite beat him and had to settle for the silver. George McDonnell from Western Favell TKD did excellent in this extremely exacting division to claim bronze.
The Flying Side Kick divisions for 9 to 13 year olds was split into girls and boys sections. It was the same as the peewees section except the poles were higher by 10" and further apart. In the Girls division it was a dead heat between Sophia Farrell and Simram Liddar from Kam Bains TKD with the outcome eventually going to Simran. Whilst in the Boys division, 38 youngsters battled for the gold, with the division going through 8 rounds and eventually, in round five, ended up with just two! It was between Zuhayr Chagpar from Rayners Lane and Liam Hawley from Aldershot. In round six, neither made it! Then in round 7, they both made it, so it was repeated in round 8 and again, neither made it… 3 attempts was up, so it was down to weight. Liam was the heaviest and as it is harder to carry more weight in the air the trophy went to him, though it was an edge of the seat spectacle and unfortunate that both competitors could get a medal for effort!
Following the junior patterns, students padded up for the sparring sections. And there were to be some fast and furious bouts. The referees kept contact to the proper levels that 'light continuous' sparring should have, which left the junior students to strut their funky stuff… and many of them did.
First up was the 10th to 7th Kup Peewee's. Rayners Lane's own Ayomide Odunaiya worked his way to the gold medal position after round and round of excellent fights, with Harrison Connolly (Kam Bains School of Martial Arts) narrowly lost out having come up the other side of the table. Both these junior warriors did well to get past the likes of Matthew Hills (Aldershot) and Lewis Rough (Kam Bains School of Martial Arts) who both claimed bronzes in the end. A special mention must be said of Adeoluwa Tokuta who, being one of the smallest in the division, took on one of the biggest in a very tough first round fight that saw some excellent techniques fromboth of them.
In the 10th to 7th Kup Junior Low division more tough bouts were taking place. Hannah Garrner (Aldershot) fought many a round to get to the final and beyond to gold, contested strongly by Avinash Bakshi (Rayners Lane). Ivo Lazarof from the London Panthers and Tyrone Farrell (KBSOMA) tried to stop them in the semi's but without luck, hence leaving them with bronze medals each, which were well earned.
Whilst in the Junior Mid division, Earls Barton TKD claimed both the gold and silver in the form of Guy Whitlock and Evie Taylor, fending off Liam Berry and Eduardo De Figueiredo from Rayners Lane in the semi-finals.
In the 10th to 7th Kup Junior High, Laim Hawley (Aldershot) battled Ayuran Selvathasan (Rayners Lane) to take gold, challenged on the way up by fellow Aldershot student Gowtham Jeyam and Abigail Mackenzie from Moulton TKD.
Next was the turn of the 6th to 4th Kups. In the Peewee division, Laura Cox from Northants TKD (described by her instructor as their Little Warrior) and Danielle Davies from Hemel TKD both took bronzes trying to stop the eventual winners from stealing the gold and silver. But it was not to be despite their brave efforts as Curtis Butler from Essex TKD claimed the gold in his final with Jade Doran from Hemel LTSI.
The 6th to 4th Kups Junior Low division had some great fights. Possibly one of the largest divisions at the event, so any medal was extremely tough to win. Mustafa Maxamad gave an impressive display of jumping back and jumping side kicks whilst coming up towards the final, with the likes of Matthew Rough (Kam Bains), Georgina McKewan (London Panthers) and Imogen Napier (Earls Barton) all valiantly trying to stop him, but all to no avail. Whilst Shane O'Sullivan (London Panthers) did the same on the opposite side of the table, again with some great competitors trying to stop him, none moreso that the excellent Claire Coley (Denham TKD) who in the end had to settle for a well earned bronze. The semi-final between Mustafa Maxamad and Imogen Napier would probably have been voted one of the best junior fights of the day, but it was Mustafa who was to face Shane in the final round. It was indeed another great round from two tired youngsters with the eventual outcome going to Shane, but what a great division.
In the 6th to 4th Kups Junior Mid division some more fast and furious rounds were taking place. It saw Lauren Snow (St.Albans) defeating a good fighter from Rayners Lane (Saphwat Simab) to earn her place in the Semi-finals against Adam Marsh from Earls Barton, whilst Callum Jordan (St. Albans) fought Simram Liddar (Kam Bains) in the other semi. The semi-final between Lauren and Adam went 3 round before a winner was declared. So much credit to these little battlers, who never gave up. The final was a great bout between Callum and Adam, with Callum being crowned king of this division with the gold winning with his leggy style. This final was described as 'the business' by one happy instructor!
The final 6th to 4th Kup division was the Junior High. Sam Locke from essex TKD stormed his way to win the gold medal, beating Christopher Hanafin (London panthers) in a good final bout. Bronzes were won by Scott Dear of Braintree TKD who gave an excellent account of himself, as well as Tom Marks of Moulton who also gave a fine display.
It was now the time of the higher graded juniors and the 3rd to 1st kup Junior Low Division got under way. Fast and furious bouts ensued to finally leave Tanvir Boora (Kam Bains) in the gold position, Christoph Read (Earls Barton) in silver, with Jamie McAudley (Hemel) and Bradley Chamberlain (Hay Harris) with the joint bronzes, but well earned none the less.
The 3rd to 1st kup Junior Mid was another large division which saw Julien Jallaue (London Panthers) in battle after battle to just snatch the gold from Ryan King (Aldershot) in a great final. Joshua Pennington (Essex) had some great fights eventually settling for bronze along with Ceri Green (Aldershot) who tried hard, but failed to stop Julien reaching the finals.
In the 3rd to 1st kup Junior High division, the excellent Ben Slater (Essex TKD) was to take his second gold of the event after a hard bout with Leigh Collier (Kam Bains). Saphaa Simab (Rayners Lane) and Diljit Boora (Kam Bains) were some of the resistance but were left to settle for the bronzes. Again, a great divison.
The final junior sparring divisions of the day were about to start as the Junior Black belts padded up. These youngsters are a credit ton their instructors and show not only good technique but excellent etiquette throughout the entire day. The Junior Black belts were split into a high (Over 165cm) and Low (Under 165cm) division. In the finals of the Junior Low division, Adam Aliouslah (St. Albans) had a rumble in the jungle with David-Jon Tucker (Moulton)., both displaying some fine kicking techniques, with the gold going to Adam in what was an a electrifying bout. Antonio Graziano (Earls Barton) had faced Adam in the semi's and Jake Bains (Kam Bains) had faced David, but both had to settle for bronzes, despite their hard efforts and fine displays of Taekwon-do sparring.
In the Junior Black belt high division it was to be another St.Albans gold as Stephen Townshend fought fellow student Elliott Moulster in the finals, with Stepen taking the gold. However, getting there was no easy task as they had to get past George McDonnell (Western Favell), Oliver Lord (Kam Bains) and another St Albans student, Michael Hillier who put in some excellent work against them leaving both George and Oliver with bronze positions.
At this point in the event the next surprise of the day came out. Not usually one for speeches Mr Anslow grabbed a microphone and asked for the audiences attention as he presented Mr Patrick McCarthy, 6th degree with a Samurai statue in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Taekwon-do and the arts. Mr McCarthy has long since been a friend of the Academy and has always been willing to support what we do there. However, Mr Anslows recognition goes much further as he told the audience ever since he (Mr Anslow) started Taekwon-do he has seen Mr McCarthy selflessly referee and judge at many many events and its time his contribution and help was recognised . Further than that, we found out that Mr McCarthy has been training since the 70's and though it wasn't mentioned at the event Mr McCarthy is known to have played a leading role (if not THE leading role) to taking Taekwon-do to Ireland and setting up one of the first schools there (He was Mr Daltons original instructor for those that don't know) and he was humble enough to despite being a 5th degree in Taekwon-do at the time, to don a white belt and start Jiu-Jitsu from scratch, a true example of humility! Mr McCarthy was surprised and if I may say so, a little humbled by this unexpected award.
The divisions that everyone wanted to see was up next and rather than leaving it until the end of the tournament (as many tournaments do) it was great to not only see the Junior Black belts setting a fine example to one and all, but to watch the Adult Black belts competing in front of a packed venue, rather than the few audience members that could manage staying put until the end of a tournament. These divisions were not to disappoint as some fine displays of Taekwon-do was about to grace the Beacon centre .
First up was the 1st Degree black belt patterns. Some great examples of the black belt tuls were show but Luke Warner from Aldershot did an outstanding pattern to take gold, whilst, David Lewis (Northants) was drawn with Colin Avis (Rayners Lane) and had to go again to decided who got the silver. After another round, Colin won the silver and David took the bronze in this close contest.
Following the 1st Dans, the 2nd dan and above Patterns division was up. Varying higher grade patterns were shown, from Juche to Ul-Ji. The division was eventually won by Richard Hills (Aldershot) after a tie with Craig King (Aldershot), but these were also closely contested by Dee Harris (Hay Harris) who also gave an exceptional display. Kay Parker (Northants), Lynn Slater (Essex) were also very close in the scoring and were unlucky not to place.
As the black belts kitted up for sparring the Adult Coloured Belt Flying Side Kick section started on area 3. Though there were some great jumps, no one could match Anuradha Dissanayake (Denham TKD) who even after winning looked as if he could go on another few rounds. In the ladies section, Gina Baldwin (Essex) flew into the gold medal position against her opponents - excuse the pun :
With the black belt sparring divisions under way, some fast, furious and also very technical bouts were taking place. In the -70kg division Ross Campbell (Kam Bains) fought a good fight against the excellent Jack Mawdsley (Earls Barton) in a great semi final, only for Ross to go through. Whilst Dev Patel (Rayners Lane) was having an equally exciting out against Luke Warner (Aldershot) which led him to the finals. Ross and Dev battled it out, throwing great hand and foot combinations in a furious bout, with neither wanting to give an inch. The final result ended up with Ross having to settling for silver and Dev placing gold in this great final.
In the Adult Female Black belt sparring, Natasha Meakins (Moulton), Claire Scott (Hay Harris) and Kay Parker (Northants) were battling it out. Natasha put up some brave fights but finally took the bronze, whilst Kay Parker gave an exceptional account of herself against leggy Claire Scott who was a brilliant fighter. It should be noted that Kay was originally in the Female Veterans division, but due to lack of entries gamely agreed to fight in this division, with black belts many years her junior. Her exceptional account was not simply down to the age gap, but because she gave as good as she got against some extremely competent and 'up for it' opponents.
Whilst the ladies were battling it out, the +71kg Black Belt Sparring Division started up and what a great division it was. The first semi-final taking place was between Daniel Healy (Sarum TKD) who fought bravely against the eventual winner and showed fine form whilst doing so. William Gane (Wilton) also fought hard having been drawn against one of Rayners Lanes top guns, Parvez Sultan. It was a good bout, but saw Parvez going forward into the next round. To face Richard Hills from Aldershot. Another good round of kicking skills took place which took Parvez into the finals to face Colin Avis of Rayners Lane. Colin had come up on the opposite side of the table to Parvez and the final was a match of chess strategy coupled with great kicks and excellent hands.At the end of it all, the judges hands went up to leave Parvez with the silver and Colin to take his second trophy of the day by wining the gold.
Whilst the heavyweight black belts sparred on ring 1, the Veteran Black belt divisions started on ring 2. This was for black belts of 35 years and older and it was a great spectacle for the crowd to see their instructors and older black belts at their schools not only having a go and gamely stepping in the ring, but doing also showing some great skills in the process. The +75kg Veterans divison was up first and saw Warren Manual (Kam Bains) facting Tony Mawdsley (Earls Barton) in the first of the semi-finals. Both competitors gave great accounts of themselves in a closely fought bout but it saw Tony through to the final. The 2nd semi-final saw Kam Bains pitting his skills against Adam Throne (Braintree) in another good bout. Despite being close, it was Adam that went through to the final. The final was a hard bout with both competitors pushing themselves forward and throwing some good hand combinations and great kicks leaving Adam to eventually claimed a well deserved gold on the final bell.
Next it was the -75kg Black Belt Veterans division. The first semi-final saw Michael Casley (Wilton) against Adrian Gent (Moulton), both battling hard to get through to the next round. Despite a brave effort by Michael, Adrian went on to wait for the final bout. The next bout was watch eagerly by the audience. Having recently written a piece for Taekwon-do and Korean Arts magazine about 'Light Continuous' sparring not being light or continuous anymore (because of contact) many eyes were upon my instructor Stuart Anslow (Rayners Lane) to see if he practised what he preached! His opponent was Dee Harris (Hay Harris TKD) who himself was an exceptional fighter and I believe both of them could have roughed it up if they wanted to, but instead they both showed the correct control through the whole bout. What made it even more entertaining was despite being veterans they shot of some fine techniques, which saw brilliant hand combo's defended well, as well as kicks like jumping reverse turning kicks landing with control, something you rarely see now a days, so it was great to see. That's without even mentioning al the other well controlled kicking techniques both fighters displayed. Like I said, a real crowd pleaser and it was a shame one had to go out, but it was Stuart that went onwards, leaving Dee with a bronze medal. The final between Adrian and Stuart was good. Adrian gave a great account of himself which really pleased the White Tigers crowd to narrowly take the gold over Stuart, who was perhaps being a little too controlled and respectful of his opponent for his own good. Much credit to Adrian though as Mr A is a good fighter to say you have beaten.
As some of the black belts went off to start their special technique and destruction divisions the Adult Colour Belts started off their patterns. What was nice about this is firstly they didn't have to arrive until 1pm, so no waiting around for hour upon hour getting tired and secondly, the higher grade divisions were not left until the end, but almost done in reverse when it came to the sparring divisions.
In the patterns, the Adult 10th to 7th Kups performed. After drawn rounds, Anuradha Dissanayake (Denham TKD), Seb Barquin (Western Favell), Clair Chegwidden (Aldershot) and Anya Millican (Hay Harris) had to fight off (for want of a better description) against each other for positions. This left Clair with the gold, Anya with the silver and Anuradha with bronze, leaving Seb to simply know he had done really well as many competitors didn't place that high.
In the 6th to 4th Kup Adult patterns, another draw ended up for silver with Shane Garner (Aldershot) eventually claiming it and Rhianna Dowdeswell (Denham) taking the bronze and ven these were closely contested by 'point' rather than 'points' by the liked of Marek Handzel (Rayners Lane) and Ben Rogers (Aldershot) who were unlucky not to place. However, the gold was won out right by Chen Lin of Sutton-Bonington TKD who gave an excellent performance.
The 3rd to 1st Kup Adult patterns saw even more draws and fight offs. Credit must go to all those that fought off for placings; Richard Atkinson (Essex), Marc Buckingham (Braintree) Tristan Whitehead (St. Albans), Gina Baldwin (Essex) and Peter Bartels (Denham). After some close decisions it was Marc who was to claim gold, with Gina claiming silver and Tristan claiming bronze positions.
Whilst the adults did their patterns, the black belts were flying high and competing in the Flying Side Kick division. After a number of rounds slowly they began to fall leaving only Ross Campbell to make a successful complete jump and win the gold.
Following this the adult black belts started breaking boards. This looked a very difficult section as they had to break multiple boards with a 'Double Jumping Front Kick' and land on their feet.. hard, even for black belts. However, many successfully got through the early rounds eventually leaving three. Craig King (Aldershot) did well to break but unfortunately failed to land on his feet, which took him out of the race. Colin Avis (Rayners Lane) fared better, breaking two black boards, so it was left to his instructor Mr A to decide his fate. Running over from organising across the hall to take his attempt he misjudged it and didn't break leaving Colin to claim his 3rd trophy of the day.
The Adult Coloured belt sparring was now well giving the crowd some entertaining bouts. Unusually, the 3rd to 1st Kup divisions were up early with the Male -75kg division. Andrew Thomas (London Panthers) gave his usual high performance to claim the gold against an equally good Peter Bartels (Denham). On the way both had fought Philip Cole (Sutton-Bonington) and Richard Atkinson (essex) in some great bouts, leaving them in bronze position.
In the Male +75kg 3rd to 1st Kup division, Robby West (Essex) had made it past Calvin Thomas (London Panthers) - a good feat in itself, to face Tristan Whitehead (St. Albans) in the first semi-final, whilst on the other side of the table, both Anthony Whitaker (JKK) and Prez Fedrowski (Rayners Lane) had won to make it to the other semi-final. Despite brave attempts by both Anthony and Tristan it was Robby and Prez that made it a Essex/Rayners Lane final. A fast and furious bout took place with some very fast hand and foot techniques leading to Prez to be announced as the winner and Robby the runner up (and silver medallist).
The Adult Ladies 3rd to 1st Kup sparring was great to watch also. Lyndsey Sainsbury (Rayners Lane) stormed her way through to the gold medal, first beating the excellent Gina Baldwin (Essex) and then the equally excellent Dawn Barlow (also Essex) in the finals. Dawn having beaten the indomitable Alicia Chapman from St. Albans in the semi's. The future ladies black belt divisions look set to be highly interesting!
Over in the other rings the Adult 6th to 4th Kup and 10th to 7th Kup Sparring divisions were under way. In the 6th to 4th Kup -75kg Adult Male Sparring, Micah Pink (Northants) who had just come up to the adult divisions did exceptionally well to win the gold. Alex Fawcett (Braintree) lost to Micah in the finals, but had beaten Sam Pattuzzi (Hay Harris) in the semi's. James Cole, also from Braintree, was unfortunate to meet Micah in the semi's (though not as unfortunate as his opponents who met him in earlier first round) to claim a bronze along side Sam.
The 6th to 4th Kup +75kg Adult Male Sparring had some highly entertaining bouts. The first of the semi-finals saw Dennis Potipako (Rayners Lane) fighting off against Ben Rogers (Aldershot). Despite a valiant effort from Ben, Dennis showed some excellent techniques to take hi into the finals. His opponent was to be either fellow club mate Marek Handzel (Rayners Lane) or Braintrees Matthew Muscutt. Marek put together some good hand and foot combo's to eventually thwart Matthews efforts and face Dennis in the finals. The the semi-finals were electric, but the finals were 'electrifying' (think Grease!). Dennis throwing out great kicks, with Marek dodging and moving then countering with his hand and good kicks of his own, to which Dennis dodged and jumped in and out. Everyone waited to see which flags went up in this close fought bout and it was Dennis who won by the narrowest of margins.
The 6th to 4th Kup Adult Female division also had some excellent fighters in it. From the semi-finals it was down to Rhianna Baldwin (Denham), Annie Nofer (St. Albans), Kate Barry (Rayners Lane) and Angela Middlehurst (Aldershot). Some great semis left Angela and Rhianna in the bronze medal position, whilst Kate and Annie fought off for the gold. Unfortunately, Annie caught Kate accidentally with an elbow as she tried to spin away from one of Kates combinations. After a check by the 1st aiders the fight continued only for it to happen again (also accidently). However, despite this both fought well and showed some good kicks and fast combinations with Annie eventually taking the gold and Kate the silver.
In the 10th to 7th Adult Female division Clair Chegwidden (Aldershot) did well to win the gold against fellow Aldershot student Annabel Berry. It was Hay Harris students that took the bronze positions in the form of Jade Reed and Anya Millican.
The 10th to 7th Adult Male division was the final division of the day. So far the whole event had been action packed with some exceptional displays of both talent, perseverance and courtesy towards each other and this final division followed that trend to a T. Another Veteran who was fighting with the youngsters due to lack of entries in his 'Vets' division, was Jose De Figueiredo from Rayners Lane despite being close (or over) the 50 mark, he pitted his witts through many rounds against much younger opponents to secure a well earned bronze, only being defeated in a very close final by Denhams Mark Curry. Credit also goes to the talents of the bronze medallists Adam Rhind-Tutt (Wilton) and Harry Muscutt (Braintree) as this was a big division and they did well to get where they did. What was also nice about this division was that many of the competitors, upon being knocked out (of the division, not literally) supported their fellow competitors with gusto even though this was probably the first time they had met them. It was great to see this sort of spirit from these grades, but that was the spirit seen throughout the whole event.
As the day drew to an end (for everyone except those like me that stayed to help pack everything away) Mr Paul Adams School (Aldershot TKD) had won the most points due to a brilliant start with his junior students from very early on and was presented with a nice big trophy for it - well done Aldershot.
As spectators, competitors and officials started to leave the venue, they were full of praise for the event as the nice comments were coming as fast and furious as some of the sparring bouts earlier on. For me, there are loads of things to remember above and beyond my sore nose from my sparring division and the great displays that took place during the event itself. Moreso as I have an insiders view as I helped Mr Anslow with the massive organisation of it all. From meetings with the council, to arranging for some trophies to be replaced just days before the tournament (as some sets were imported especially for the event from Germany and one lot had been held up in customs on the way, though no-one even noticed the change), to getting all the T-Shirts sorted in the right sizes to surprise the kids, to 5 hours shopping for the food just for the coffee shop and officials to eat. Of Mr Anslow spending hours and hours just doing the projector slides so they looked right, and the kids proudly wearing their T-shirts with the massive smiles on their faces, to Jose De Figueiredo in the Adults Yellow Belt Sparring Division scoring on his opponents then checking they were okay! To Dev (Anwar in Skins) being wound up by Mr Anslow that he was going to repeat part of the episode of "Skins" where Dev kicks someone with a reverse turning kick and play it over and over, to which Dev was almost begging him not to. To seeing Mr Anslows 4 month old baby girl (Jorja) sitting there all day watching (looked after by her mum Gill) as good as gold as if she knew her dad was busy making sure everything ran smoothly. In fact, what many probably didn't notice was that whilst keeping everything flowing all day, even whilst competing himself, from the moment he arrived to when he finally shut his car door to go home, he didn't sit down once!
Mr Anslow would like me to thank the family members of Rayners Lane students who helped out with the event by manning the computer, door and coffee shop, as well as laying out and packing away the hall for the event. As well as the instructors and black belts that assisted in refereeing and judging throughout the whole event. He particularly wanted me to mention his appreciation for the junior black belts who helped with the time and score keeping who were excellent (sorry I don't know all your names or clubs). In particular a young Mr Smith who despite having hurt his ankle a few days before (meaning he could no longer compete) tirelessly assisted with much an endless supply of enthusiasm and was a credit to his dad, his club and the LTSI.
Finally a big thank you to the students who competed in the event from the following schools: Northants GTUK (Ms Kay Parker, II), Essex Tae Kwon Do (GTI - Mr Gordon Slater V), St. Albans LTSI (Mr Chris Snow V), Kam Bains School of Martial Arts (IV), Earls Barton White Tigers (Tony Mawdsley, II), Aldershot and Denham Learn TKD (Mr Paul Adams, IV), The London Panthers/IUTF England (Mr Patrick McCarthy VI), Hemel LTSI (Mr Stuart Smith, III), Hay Harris Taekwon-do Academy, Wilton Fighting Arts (Mr Michael Casley, III), Braintree Tae Kwon Do (GTI - Mr Adam Thorne, I), Moulton White Tigers (Mr Adrain Gent, IV), Sarum Taekwon-do, JKK, Western Favell White Tigers (Mr Ron Denny, IV), Sutton-Bonington TKD (Mr Peter Whitehead, III) and of course Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy. And last but not least, thank you to Mr Anslow, IV for organising and hosting the best "Taekwon-do Explosion" yet.