AS you may have heard the WTF Peace Corps accepted TNZ's invitation to come to New Zealand. For those who don't know too much about the Peace Corps, they are Taekwondo-practising University students from Korea who travel throughout the world promoting Taekwondo and Korean Culture.
On Sunday 15th February the Korean World Peace Corps Team arrived here in Christchurch to be hosted by the Christchurch Olympic Taekwondo Club.
The visit started with a welcome party and BBQ held at the Dojang. On the Monday, Sarah Vergeer and I had the pleasure of showing our new guests around our city. We took them on the Tram and stopped at the Cathedral and Restart Mall before walking to the Botanic Gardens where we had a picnic lunch. Following this we took them to Willowbank Wildlife Park where they got to see their very first live Kiwi and many other New Zealand native animals. From Monday through to Thursday the Team split up and took various evening sessions at various venues for the Taekwondo Students of Christchurch. The sessions included Poomsae, Kyorugi and also Demonstration which is a combination of Poomsae and dance set to music. The sessions were well attended and enjoyed by all.
I found the sessions to be dynamic and challenging and I have taken away a lot of ideas that I will be implementing as an Instructor into our General Classes. I found the Peace Corps Instructors to be extremely friendly and outgoing and despite limited English they conveyed their instructions very clearly and often with great humour which we all responded well to. The sessions were inspiring and it was really great to see so many of our Students attending all the sessions and giving it their all. I know there were some very sore muscles after the four days of training but it was well worth the effort. In the true spirit of the Corps the event brought together several Clubs and I personally really enjoyed training alongside other students from other Clubs. I got to meet a lot of new people and there is already talks of further combined training sessions between clubs which can only be a positive for our sport. The week concluded with a short ceremony at the Dojang on Thursday night where our Club presented each of the 4 team members with carved Maori pendants and Christchurch Olympic Club T-shirts and badges. We thanked them for sharing their skills with such enthusiasm and in response they thanked the Club for extending such warm hospitality. They expressed their regret at having to leave so soon and made it clear that they would have loved to have stayed longer.
I'd like to thank TNZ for this presenting Christchurch with this amazing training opportunity and really reiterate just how valuable the visit has been. Our students and Instructors have come away from the experience reinvigorated and motivated by the skill and expertise we have witnessed. We are excited to implement our new learnings and improve our training methods. We would definitely love to host any future teams that visit and look forward to future events of this nature. On behalf of the Club I would like to thank Joshua Vergeer for his efforts in organising the Peace Corps training schedule across the three venues, and thank Joanne Vergeer for her organisation of the team whilst here in Christchurch, Thank you to both the Vergeer and Burns families for billeting the team. A special thank you also goes out to Hannah Lee for providing her translating services which really enhanced the sessions and helped us convey our gratitude to the Team. Finally I would like to say a big thank you to all the Students who supported this wonderful event. What an amazing week for Christchurch Olympic Taekwondo!
Power: Heo Eun kicks pads held by Kang Ki Hoon,left, Nam Bo Kyeong, and Ryu Do Hyeon, members of Korea’s Taekwondo Peace Corps, during a demonstration at the Christchurch Olympic Taekwondo club.