Year In View: 2003

Its been a fairly busy year for both myself & the Academy! Did you miss it all? If so where were you?

February I visited Chris Galea in Malta & attended a martial arts seminar over there following an invite
from Chris (which featured ninjitsu that actually looked good, as well as Chris's Shotokan, Wing Chun, Budo,
Kick Boxing & Jui Jitsu). But the first big thing of 2003 for Academy students was the
March grading which
brought out an A level & O+ level passes, which was excellent, this was followed the day after by the first of
Kick It tournaments.

At the beginning of
May we held our annual tournament at the Academy, 'Taekwon-do Explosion 2003',
which by all accounts was the best yet. The Explosion saw Firooz Nadiree winning the over-all competitor
award & gleaming 100 worth of Blue Eagle equipment. Firooz also won 'Best Junior Competitor', while
Justin Goh won 'Best Senior Competitor`, something which they should both be proud of as they were not
voted on by any of Rayners Lane Black Belts.

This was shortly followed by a well received '
Pressure Point' Seminar by Rick Clark, 8th dan, from the
USA, which those who attended found both painful, & interesting.

Then in
June we had another successful grading, with no less than 7 students obtaining O+ level passes.

June 24th, Logan Daniel Anslow was born & instantly became the apple of his daddies eye. He's already
in training so watch out!

July students attended the 2nd Annual kick it event. Unfortunately I couldn't attend, so Mr Gautam
took the reigns & led the crew into battle, again with many students doing really well.

Early in
September we had our 3rd grading of the year with some good all-round O level marks, but only
two students achieving an O+ level marks, so there's always room for improvement.

Also in
September we had a visit from Colin Wee, all the way from IAOMAS Australia, which was great for
the Academy as he took a class & fantastic for me personally to actually meet up with Colin in person. Colin
also presented me with a certificate for work in diplomacy on an international level with the IAOMAS, which I
was humbled by.

September was quite a big deal for myself & Mr Gautam as we started teaching at the John Lyon School to
a class of 53 students (the majority of which were beginners in martial arts). I believe that this is a first in this
country as its not an 'after school' class, but actually within the school day, as a weekly part of their
curriculum. This reminded me of the early military days, when Taekwon-do was spread throughout the Korean army to large squads of privates.

September also saw a change in class schedule, splitting kids & adults & junior & senior grades which was warmly received by most students. It was neccesary due to class sizes & to enhance teaching levels, but I know a few had some problems due to their vast extra-curricula agendas, but we have tried to accommodate all students where possible.

October we attended the UKTA Open with some disappointing results in the Patterns divisions (due to the marking, not the students performance I should add), but many of the same students took home golds in the sparring as they
literally tore the competition apart.

Also in October I was fortunate enough to be nominated & receive a Combat Magazine 'Hall Of Fame'
Award which was nice.

Another big day for me personally was
October the 30th, as me & Julie (whom many of you know) finally
tied the knot & got married.

November saw an historic event when Rayners Lane hosted the '1st International Alliance Of Martial Art
schools Seminar
', an 8 hour seminar that was very much enjoyed by all that attended.

Also in
November we received a visit from Axel Markner, Alexander Hartmann, Debbie Paterok, Heidi Hartmann & 8 other students from IAOMAS Germany schools who trained along side us, which was great.

Then in
December the final grading of the year was held with some very good results,  (eight O+ level passes, one a whisper away from an A).

2003 was also a good year in the martial arts press, in Januarys 'Taekwon-do & Korean Martial Arts
Magazine' there was a Kick It Championship 2002 Report. In
Julys 'Budo International / Black Belt UK
Magazine' there was a feature on the 'International Alliance Of Martial Arts Schools`. In the
August edition of
'Taekwon-do & Korean Martial Arts Magazine' there was an article on the Rick Clarke Pressure Point Seminar
with some nice photos of Parvez & others in pain!

August 'Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine' featured an article called 'The Current State Of Taekwon-do`
which was a write up of a poll from the web site & again featured many Academy students in the photo`s.
Combat Magazine in
September featured an old article I`d written called '10 Tips for Successful competition'
but listed it under someone elses name (arrh!) but still has Peng & some others pictures on it!

Taekwon-do & Korean Martial Arts Magazine featured a massive 8 page spread report
on Taekwon-do Explosion 2003, featuring pictures of all the medal winners & many
more of Academy students & other competitors in action, which was great.

October 'Taekwon-do & Korean Martial Arts Magazine' featured another old article
of mine, titled 'Taekwon-do Blues', whilst in the same month Combat Magazine
featured 'Get Motivated! : How To Achieve Your Goals using Martial Arts' which I again
wrote some time ago, again all with students pictures abound.

Decembers Fighters magazine there was a feature on Mr Wee`s visit to our dojang.

All the above articles & pictures can be found on the web site & back issues are
usually available by calling the magazine direct.

Just for the record, in 2003 we entered 4 competitions, but brought back a total
of 39 Golds, 27 Silvers & 27 Bronzes (that's 93 medals in total!), which is pretty good I`d say & says a lot about the overall standard of students at the Academy. A good majority of students passed through the junior ranks into senior grades which is, of course great & quite a few new students started at the Academy which is always good to see, I hope you all keep it up, to & beyond black belt!.

Dev I think had the most training injuries this year, followed by Peng & Parvez I believe (unless they are just all whiners :-), although nothing major luckily. Both Charlotte & Kanai broke bones, as well as Colin who broke his finger the day before a tournament! Charlotte broke her leg & Kanai his collar bone by the way, neither were Taekwon-do related.

Good Points of 2003: Logan being born, getting married, seeing the standards of students flourish in the tournaments, meeting loads of great martial artists at the IAOMAS seminar, making history at the John Lyon School & seeing some of the students advance really quickly, recieving the 'Hall Of Fame' award, getting Bako in loads of leg locks, watching Justin fall over practising his 540 kicks, getting a photo with karate legend Unel Wellington in fighting stances, seeing consistency in many students, knowing that the Taekwon-do we teach is the real deal! The IAOMAS seminar & the IAOMAS flourishing worldwide, Bakos 'Student of the Month' T shirt, seeing Vijay & David get into the ball game, still flying higher than my students at Taekwon-do Explosion 2003 (come on you lot!), Mr Gautams amazing 3 second jumping back kick win at the Explosion, two students (Dev & Lyndsey) completing their 'Tour Of Duties' & gaining valuable teaching experience, with Justin just starting his!

Bad points Of 2003: Having to pull up a few adult students for childish behavior, two students losing their tempers in class, listening to all the excuses of 'I havn`t been training because...', watching my students get biased decisions in the pattern sections of a certain tournament, not enough Academy support from parents of young students, some students inconsistency in training, having to disappoint students by not allowing them to grade because of their inconsistency, students not reading the news letters, senior students not starting their 'Tour Of duties' and knowing that we may not be able to run 'Taekwon-do Explosion 2004'!

So what could happen in 2004? Well possibly one or two of the students could be taking their black belt gradings (if they put in the training), Mr Ahmad may go for his 2nd degree if he knuckles down to training too, Mr Gautam will hopefully be going for his 2nd degree as well & I may even take my 4th degree. Theres the 2004 World Championships in Ireland, Kick it Tournaments plus probably some others, a seminar with the Army featuring the infamous 'redman' suit, the 2nd IAOMAS seminar plus Im sure a whole lot more to keep you training hard throughout 2004.

Year In View: 2003