TUNZ INSTRUCTORS CAMP 2013
On Friday 15th February I travelled with Ginny Cheng to Auckland for the 2013 TUNZ Instructors Camp. This year the camp was held at the YMCA Camp Adair in Hunua, Papakura which is approx 37mins south of Auckland city. The camp itself is really big and is hugely popular for school groups offering great basic amenities as well as confidence courses, a large gymnasium, large grassed fields, a water slide/mud pool and campfire area.
Our first evening was spent getting to know our fellow instructors from around the country. There were 33 instructors in attendance with majority coming from the North Island. The only South Island representatives were Ginny, myself and Ken Glassenbury & Carl Bennett from Tigers TKD. After a great meal we all spent the evening discussing our respective Clubs with common conversation topics being around Marketing and the retention and acquisition of new members. It was a fairly early night with us all retreating to our 'log cabins' in anticipation of our first full day on Saturday.
Saturday began at 8:30am with Master Sophia Haynes of Victoria University Taekwondo Club taking an excellent session on Competition Poomsae. Sophia has recently returned from the Oceania Championships with a Poomsae Gold Medal so we knew we were learning from the best! Sophia, along with the assistance of fellow NZ Poomsae team mates Jo Killalea and Selena Chhika ran through and demonstrated the finer details of basic techniques from a Poomsae perspective explaining that without good basic technique a Poomsae competitor would 'hemorrhage' points in competition. Sophia was keen to impart the importance that as Instructors we emphasize the basics from day one when a new student enters the Dojang as opposed to the month prior to entering a Poomsae competition. It is easy to tweak minor errors but near impossible to change years of bad habits. Part of the lesson involved running through the entire Poomsae Competition format from competing to judging. After explaining and demonstrating how the scoring deduction system works she showed us some online apps that can be downloaded to use on your iphone or ipad for judging. If you have either, try searching 'iPoomsae' or 'Poomscore' and I encourage you to bring along your ipad and we'll try it out in class. I also encourage everyone to check out the WTF website for a copy of the latest Poomsae competition rules.
After Sophia's session on Poomsae, it was a timely transition into Jo Killalea's session on stretching for Poomsae flexibility and strength. Jo shared some great insights from a recent visit they had at their club Capital City TKD. The Club had arranged for a member of the Royal NZ Ballet to come and demonstrate some of the Ballet stretching techniques that could be applied to Taekwondo. A great reminder to think outside the square in the pursuit of new and better ways of doing the everyday stuff! I especially enjoyed Jo's demonstration of how to use your belt to isolate muscles and intensify a stretch. Look out for this in upcoming classes.
The next session was taken by 2x Olympic NZ Rep Logan Campbell. I think most of us watched Logan compete at the London Olympics with great excitement so it was a real honour to meet him in person. Logan is hugely passionate about the sport as you would imagine and it was really amazing to hear him speak about his TKD journey and hear him share insights from behind the scenes at the Olympics. His visit was really timely in light of the announcement that had just been made that Taekwondo had secured a place at both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics!
Logan spoke to us mainly about the latest rule changes and how this has affected the sport and how strategies have changed. We discussed what kicks were scoring on the electronic body pads. In particular he spoke about "cutting" which by appearances is similar to the "leg check" but with more of an extended leg. Logan suggested that with the new scoring system that the old days of the Taekwondo tournament bouts favouring the Defender are now over and it is the Attacker who has more potential to win. It's about throwing more kicks and in particular the kicks with the highest point potential. Definitely worth considering as you prepare for your next tournament.
Next on the agenda was a session by Dafydd Sanders from Central Olympic Taekwondo Auckland, on Effective Warm Ups and Cool Downs. Dafydd has a wealth of knowledge from his own training experience as well as being a trained Personal Trainer. Dafydd shared the physiological reasons why a warm up is required explaining the importance of sending Synovial Fluid to the joints before we do vigorous activity. This reduces the wear and tear on joints and the risk of injury. He was keen to change our view of exercise from one of "Physical Punishment" to viewing it more as "a form of self nourishment for the body (much like nutrition)".
Dafydd recommends that a warm up should involve 3-5mins of light activity to get the heart rate up followed by dynamic stretching such as leg raises etc that use full range of motion as opposed to static stretches that he says are better done at the end of your training. After dynamic stretching we should move into General Conditioning which uses patterns of movement specifically related to the sport such as squats, burpees, pressups etc. Then you move into specific drills such as kicking techniques.
An important thing to note is that a cool down period at the end of class is crucial especially as you get older. The rule is, the longer you train, the longer you should spend cooling down. Ginny & I will be sharing some ideas with other instructors so watch for some new warm up and cool down drills coming soon.
In the afternoon Master Vijay Chhika of Capital City TKD used his International Referee status and experience to enlighten us all on the new Protest System being used in Tournament Fights. Vijay has stressed the importance of all competitors and coaches ensuring they have a thorough understanding of the new ruling as correct use of the system could be the difference between winning and losing a fight. If you are unsure of this new ruling be sure to ask Alan or Nic to explain, or ask Ginny or myself for a basic explanation.
On Sunday we started the day with a fun introduction to CrossFit. Stephen Ah Chong from CrossFit West came and introduced us to the new hard core fitness craze that is steadily gaining in popularity. CrossFit provides a constantly changing, varied, series of workouts using more traditional tried and proven exercises. They deliver short, intense workouts without Gym machines. Unlike a standard gym class the emphasis of the Crossfit Clubs is to build a sense of community amongst participants much like our Taekwondo Clubs. They call their participants 'Athletes' and encourage members to participate in CrossFit Competitions where they can compete against others for titles. The session that Stephen got us to do was an AMRAP session which stands for 'as many reps as possible'. Our session was made up of 10 squats, 10 press ups, 10 sit ups and a bear crawl the length of the hall. We repeated this routine for 12 minutes and we can all testify that it is intense and perfect for building fitness and strength for our sport. If you want to learn more check out YouTube to see some of the types of workouts they do.
The last session was taken by Dr Bren Dorman who is our NZ Tournament Team doctor (and Father to Nic). This session covered a range of health topics that affect tournament fighters. We discussed the dangers of dehydrating to lose weight, and the importance of nutrition. The importance of tailoring any of your cross training for fitness and strength to fit the specific requirements of a Taekwondo fighter. We talked about the health considerations for overseas travel with regards to vaccinations and also the way in which the anti doping agencies operate and what performance enhancing drugs they test for. To close, we learnt a simple yet effective way to test someone to see if they are concussed. A simple balance and coordination test can be carried out on anyone that you are concerned about. If you are interested to learn this testing technique, then ask either Ginny or I to demonstrate.
So all in all it was an action packed weekend and both Ginny and I came away with lots of ideas, lots of notes and plenty of knowledge that we will share with the Club. I encourage all Black belts/Instructors to try and get along to an Instructors Camp if they get the chance as it will reinvigorate your training with new ideas and new contacts which will benefit you and in turn other students.