| On the 25th-27th July I participated in the New Zealand Elite Taekwondo Kyorugi and Poomsae Development Camp in Palmerston North. As one of the new Poomsae Technical Directors for the Taekwondo Union of NZ I was invited to attend the Poomsae component of the weekend. The Camp was held at the Massey University Sport & Rugby Institute which is an extremely professional facility which has been used by the All Blacks and many other high performing sports teams.
The camp attracted approximately 90 attendees with 17 participating in the Poomsae training and the remainder participating in the Kyorugi.
We arrived midday on Friday 25th and we were welcomed to the camp with an orientation tour and we were given a bag with our Training Book, pen, drink bottle, snacks and lanyard with room key. After meeting our roommates and a group lunch we began our first session.
The Poomsae was lead by NZ Poomsae Champion Samantha Knox. Sam has participated at numerous World Championships and has won Gold at the Oceania's 2008-2012. Not only is Sam a highly regarded Poomsae competitor but she is also the NZ Poomsae Coach for the team attending the Oceania’s this year.
Our first day saw us concentrate solely on our kicking technique for Poomsae. With drills and strength and conditioning exercises Sam put us through our paces and corrected our technique to competition standards. After this 3 hour session we participated in our first "hot/cold" session. In groups of 6 we entered the 12 degree cold pool for a numbing 30 seconds before entering the hot pool for 30 seconds. This process is repeated 3 times (reluctantly!) The hot/cold sessions have been proven to assist with the removal of lactic acid and aid muscle recovery. Our hot/cold sessions were followed by an amazing buffet dinner in the dining room.
After dinner we participated in a really fun Team Building session which saw us split up into teams and we competed in various hilarious games such as "The Balloon Train" and another which involved transporting loaded mouse traps on top of foam noodles..... It was a great way to meet some of the athletes who came from all over the country. It was especially good to see the Cadets, Juniors and Adults all grouped together and having fun.
Day two started with a 5:30am wake up and the Poomsae Team had a 6:00am Cross Fit session. With Poomsae specific exercises concentrating on the quads and core we sweated it out for about an hour before a well earned breakfast.
After breakfast we began the main Poomsae session which would prove to be the most significant to me. Sam spent the day instructing us on how to 'transition between stances' and emphasised the importance of 'weight transition' in your poomsae. For me this was a real light bulb moment as it answered all the questions I had about why I was struggling with my stances and balance and it provided real solutions that were logical.
For so many years I have practiced my individual stances in the mirror checking my form, distance, feet angles etc but never had it been so accurately explained to me that it was the shift of your balance 'between' stances and the timing of your feet that was even more important. While putting the theory into practice was far from easy, the change was significant and to come away with this knowledge of 'what and how' to practice is priceless.
This daylong session was again followed by our hot/cold sessions which stretched to a minute this time. We slowly acclimatised and managed to endure the aching cold knowing that our muscles would thank us for it the following day. Today we also participated in Physical Health training with Dr Bren Dorman which was really informative. We covered off the topics of Fluid Balance, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Travel Medicine. We concluded the evening with a great session learning the Haka along with the NZ team who will soon be performing the Haka at the Oceanias.
Day three started with a 6:00am session where Sam covered off a few of the remaining Dan poomsae that we hadn't covered the previous day. We then learned about how to approach Poomsae competition with respect to entering the mat, etiquette and judging. Then it was time to put all our new skills into practice. We held our own Poomsae Competition where we each performed 2 pre-selected Poomsae in front of a judge who was scoring on the iPad. I got to perform Koryo and Pyongwon individually and then had the pleasure of teaming up with Jo and Tania to perform Taguek 8. While the nerves were pretty high given the calibre of the audience I did enjoy the experience and I was pleased to successfully implement some of my new stance transitions.
After a final hot/cold session and fantastic lunch together it was time for the camp to come to a close. I have to say that although the weekend was hard with long intense periods of physical training, it was thoroughly enjoyable. For me, it was an absolute pleasure to train in the company of such a fantastic team of talented Poomsae people who are all inspirational in their own way. I found the environment to be highly motivating being surrounded by so many like minded people who were all there with a view to learning as much as possible and helping each other.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Samantha Knox as our Instructor and also to all the other attendees who offered me advice and encouragement. I'd also like to thank all the organisers ...DJ, Joan, Dave (for picking us from the airport) and all the other people who made this weekend possible. I have come away from this experience truly excited at the prospect of implementing my new learning and sharing my knowledge with as many students as possible.
See you next year!! Article by: Anita