UNION POOMSAE SEMINAR
On Saturday 25th May 2013 after the Taekwondo Union of NZ Annual General Meeting, the Union presented a 3 hour Poomsae Seminar open to all Union Taekwondo Students to attend. The Seminar was held at our Christchurch Olympic Dojang and was well attended by our Christchurch Olympic and Shirley Olympic Students. We had 7 black belts and 10 coloured belts with several members of our kids class also attending.
The seminar was taken by 5th Dan Master Instructor Sophia Haynes who is a recent Oceania Poomsae Champion. Ginny Cheng & I had participated in one of Sophia's seminars earlier in February at the Union Instructors Camp which was brilliant so we knew our Students would really benefit from her instruction. Sophia was also assisted by fellow Poomsae Technical Director Lani Morrison from Dunedin.
Lani began the seminar by showing us an excellent warm up that focussed on dynamic stretching drills. I have written down a couple of new warm up moves that I will definitely be implementing at my next class. Following the warm up, Sophia ran us through some technical drills that focussed on short sequences from our Poomsae. Whilst we practised, both Sophia and Lani offered us all individual feedback to improve our technique which was invaluable. I especially liked the partner work that Sophia showed us where one person performs a sequence of moves from a pattern whilst the partner critiques and alerts them of any errors by clapping as soon as an error is made. It really helped us to start thinking like Poomsae Competition Judges and helped us work out the small technical errors we were unaware of needing attention.
Following the drills, we separated into two separate groups. The Blue Belts and above with Sophia and Green Belts and below with Lani. Sophia immediately sorted our group into teams of 2 or 3 people and informed us that we were going to practise a pattern to perform in a mock Poomsae Competition. She gave us some finer details about positioning our team on the mat, how to march on and off the mat and how to work together and practise to perfect timing and achieve consistency with varying levels of flexibility. Then we were on our own to practise and put our knew knowledge into action. After about 15mins we were then asked to perform our Poomsae whilst Sophia videoed us on her I-Pad. Each team performed admirably despite our mixed grades and short practise time. Once we'd all finished Sophia showed us our videos and gave us constructive criticism on our performances and offered advice on how to improve. It was invaluable to get this sort of instruction from such an experienced Poomsae competitor. Sophia also showed us the I-pad App for scoring Poomsae Competition called 'POOMSCORE' and showed us how Poomsae competitions are scored.
Following the competition tuition Sophia ran through the numerous Poomsae 'on request' helping individuals upskill and perfect the Poomsae that they had been struggling with. The highlight for me was learning Pyongwon which has been on my to do list since my grading last November. I was able to capture Sophia's instruction of Pyongwon on video meaning I can now take my Tablet to training on Monday to practise and refer to which will be brilliant.
The day finished with Master Vijay Chhika and Master Ken Glassenbury taking a short but effective session on how to improve your basic technique to improve your Poomsae. Vijay really got us thinking as he showed us the importance of accurancy and in particular the trajectory of your punches, blocks and kicks. He also discussed the importance of relaxing before tensing on impact, the use of your core strength to hold posture and drive power and the importance of understanding every single move in your Poomsae. Ken showed us some of the common Poomsae errors and issues he sees from the Judges table and gave us some unique partner drills to use to test and practise accuracy.
It was a really valuable seminar and it was amazing how fast 3 hours flew by as we soaked up as much new knowledge as possible. I'd like to thank Sophia, Lani, Vijay and Ken for their time and their willingness to help us all upskill in a fun, relaxed environment. A big thanks to the Union for enabling this day to happen. I look forward to seeing our Students compete at the upcoming South Island Tournament where we will all be putting our new skills to use.