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The Importance of Poomsae.

Heaven and light, joyfulness, fire and sun, thunder, wind, water, mountain and earth are the interpretations of the poomsae we all practice. If we reflect on the amount of times that we have all practiced each pattern, especially our esteemed grand masters, it must be in the thousands. Each poomsae has a specific flavour, really apparent after Sam Jang, a specific sequence and a designated set of neural networks in our brains. Poomsae are designed to mimic an imaginary combat situation, and a way for us to gain uniformity in our stances, blocks, kicks and punches. When we first attempt a new poomsae we are reminded of what it feels like to begin a new journey. Poomsae are complexed and challenging.

This blog is to place an emphasis on poomsae, an importance beyond just practicing them for your grading, but instead, to practice them at each and every opportunity. Students of Inspire Taekwondo are challenged to practice their poomsae in the most obscure, wonderful and beautiful place that they can find. Poomsae should be powerful, meaningful and strong. An esteemed Master last week posted, “Its not just a block, its how you perform the block, its not just a kick, its how you perform the kick, and its not just a punch, its how you perform the punch.” I couldnt agree more.

Think when you are performing your poomsae, “How does it feel?” Are you tense, relaxed, do you demonstrate power at the correct time, waist twist and focus?

I know its so difficult to do, but video your poomsae, have a look at how you look as well as how you feel. Critique yourself, share it with your instructor, and Inspire Students, share it on our pages. We will not pick fault with chambering hands, or bent back legs in Ap Goobi, but we will celebrate poomsae as a stress busting, balance building, self improving set of amazing exercises. Keeping the mind active in later life will delay the onset of neural decay and illness!

Ps..30 mins of Poomsae = 300 calories!

Gamsahamnida

Il Jang, E Jang, Sam Jang, Sah Jang, O Jang, Yuk Jang, Chil Jang, Pal Jang.

Merry Christmas from St Helens Taekwondo.

As we approach the festive period, it is time to reflect on what a year we have shared. Our first year as a club, proudly representing St Helens, we have students who travel far and wide to our club on a weekly basis. I thank you for your dedication and your hard work. This year started with booking Cowley High School and they have been a good host for this year. We have no plans at present to move as we have a secure base. The modernisation of the gym is on the cards and we will be using other school facilities when this occurs.

The biggest change that I have witnessed since our formation is the friendships that have formed in the club, and the camaraderie that has developed as the year has moved along. The relationships between families and the youngsters is a pleasure to witness, and the way that everybody supports each other is crucial to our future. We have experienced all seasons together and we have seen laughter, tears and tantrums. We have seen broken toes, and we have seen dodgy knees. We have witnessed raw recruit white belts moving through the ranks and we have always gained new beginners to replace our crop of 8th Kups and above.

This year has been exciting, daunting, detailed and rewarding and none of this would have been possible without certain family names. Firstly, The Johnsons, headed by Andy Johnson, who has become a trusted confident, a fantastic ally and a taekwondo black belt with the true tenets of Taekwondo emblazoned across everything he does. (Big year next year Andy!) Joanne has become a valued club member who, with our other adult females, has caused more mischief than most! Joanne has juggled work commitments with training commitments and I have to state that she has taken the decision not to grade when she was entitled too, and as such, shows true martial spirit.

I recall three young men walking into the gym called Derbyshire, and the room lit up with their energy. Harvey, Zak and have developed into three excellent taekwondo students and all three would be very quickly stolen by any sport who requires athletes. I love their continued enthusiasm and the competition that exists between the three brothers is what will define their successes. Mum and Dad enabled them to come and train with us, and not to be outdone, both parents then decided that leading by example was the best way forwards. Darren and Tracey both work as hard as each other and a family of 5 black belts will be some achievement!

Cowley has provided us with one of their leading students in Ryan. Ryan started back in January with a couple of friends and he quickly became one of the mainstays of every class. Ryan is a perfectionist and he has mini tantrums with himself on a nightly basis. He has developed into a model Taekwondo student and we know we must keep him interested as he is multi-talented and excels at other sports and at academic studies. Ryan introduced his younger sibling to the club. Jack was the most quiet and shy boy that ever walked through our doors. He built up his own confidence by attempting to improve his practices and he now shines when performing poomsae. He understands the importance of delivering power by waist twist and how to chamber, block and strike like an adult.

Cowley also provided us with Antony who has worked to correct faults picked up from another club and is developing nicely. Antony has been hit by a couple of dodgy injuries but returns from injury where others would simply take the easy option and pack training in. Antony has an asset that you can not teach and that is resilience. Being over 6 foot will have its advantages and Antony will be watched very closely in sparring in the future.

We are blessed to have some of the most talented young ladies that you could come across at the club and sometimes the boys, (and adults) are intimidated by the girl power that exists in their enthusiasm. First to arrive was young Chloe, who cartwheeled herself across the floor and demonstrated her excellent gymnastics skills, (Causing the Derbyshire boys to do the same, as they like to demonstrate their gymnastic and acrobatic ability too.) Chloe was the most gentle young lady you could ever meet and she would ever so gently perform poomsae. Guided by our adults, Chloe began to find a real nasty streak and she turned into a little ninja almost overnight. To top this off, Chloe gained best in grading recognition earlier this month. Being a family club, as we are proud to boast, the inevitable happened, well… with a little bit of nagging and Katie Williams also begun to train with us. Katie herself has developed her skills to a good level this year and she will continue to do so as time passes by. She has been unfortunate this year with injury, but she has an enthusiasm that is encouraged by our other female adult members.

Another adult student arrived in the form of Ste. Ste had previously been a Karate Black Belt and it showed. He had the most devastating turning kick we had seen for a long time and we thought, wow, we can do something to help you become a Taekwondo student. Ste has tirelessly worked on changing his long-term memory and shortening long stances and chambering his hands in the correct position. He has now started to look like a taekwondo student and he, himself, cannot wait to compete in the new year.

A staff member from Cowley high school had talked to me about her two daughters and how they would like to try another martial art. Both girls arrived and both girls excelled in their other martial art. Kiera was a first Dan Karate Black Belt and Isla was moving towards her grading. (Kiera is now a Second Dan). Kiera is a world champion and Isla loves a scrap! Both girls are a true reflection of the martial arts values that learning Karate from a young age has bestowed upon them. Both girls are flying at Taekwondo and both girls train with massive smiles on their faces. These girls are a great example to our younger students and lead by example. Isla, one month before her black belt grading broke her toe. We were all gutted for her and it was fabulous to see her back two months later. We will support Isla in her grading, and wrap her in cotton wool this time! The relationships that have formed between our older youngsters and the young youngsters is fabulous.

Millie has been a constant member of the club since its formation and she has worked so hard to improve her Taekwondo. She has worked her way up to her green belt grading and she is due to grade soon. She has always trained with a massive smile on her face and she loves to be more flexible than anybody else! She has a big year ahead of her and I see her performing brilliantly in Poomsae tournaments, especially with our young girls’ squad!

Finally, I must reflect on my partner in all things, Kirsty. 2018 brought a nice meniscus tear and 2019 was interrupted by surgery and rehabilitation. This is the woman who has supported the development of the club and she is responsible for more things behind the scenes than anybody else. The reason I always train to this day is Kirsty. She is a very capable Blue Belt and she has excellent Poomsae style and is mean in sparring. She has not let injury put her out of Taekwondo for ever and she will return with vengeance. I have no doubt that Kirsty will join the mischievous adult female cohort again and all of our ladies will benefit from her return.

We have had students who have arrived from other clubs recently and we will no doubt see some more soon. I have the pleasure of teaching some of the most wonderful and dedicated students I have seen, and they are also the friendliest. We have always stated that we do not want egos and we have none, we do not want aggressive and hostile individuals and we have none, and we have always stated that we would offer a safe and supportive environment where everybody can train in a friendly, welcoming club, and that is what we have. We will welcome any new members in 2020 with open arms as we always have.

For all students who have supported Taekwondo with St Helens Taekwondo this year we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe, continue with your practice as a martial artist and we continue our Taekwondo Journeys on the 7th January 2020.

Youth Opportunity In Our Towns.

Every day we seem to witness more bad headlines, telling us of the crimes and pain inflicted by one person on another. Youth crime, county lines, stabbings, shootings, exclusions from education, PRU to prison, child exploitation…the list could continue for this whole blog! As we have previously noted, “The devil makes work for idle hands” and in a society which has seen massive shifts in , closure of youth provision and the subsequent corresponding rise in crime, we appear to have plenty of “idle hands” in our communities. What can we do when TV is full of get rich celebrity vacuous individuals, and social media is full of the ill gotten gains from the gang lifestyle. How do we instil the value of hard work and actually looking after one another? Parenting is a luxury that parts of our society do not receive, and moral codes and ethics are skewed by what youngsters find out for themselves. Worse still, an elder in a gang may instil his code of ethics and values in a youngster. How do we reduce knife crime? How do we reduce anti social behaviour in our communities? How do we tell youngsters that hard work is good for them and shortcuts and get rich schemes do not exist? As soon as is possible, expose youngsters to positive role models, get them interested in an activity that promotes self development for life, that will encourage them to work hard and reap the rewards for their efforts. Give them focus, direction and an identity that is positive and beneficial to themselves and future generations. Dont let the youngsters of today pass on the wrong values to the next generation, as they will be parents one day. Taekwondo, and the tenets of Taekwondo, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and Indomitable Spirit should transcend the Dojang and could assist your local community. St Helens Taekwondo offer a family based club where we love to promote values via all of our adult and teenage role models. We support the no more knives campaign and we promote inclusion. If your youngster has “Idle Hands” bring them along to Cowley International College Gym Gamble Avenue Tuesday or Thursday Evenings from 6.30pm onwards for an initial chat.

St Helens Taekwondo Sports Leaders Level 1 Award.

As a progressive club we look at developing the skills of our young students. We need to add to the value of our teaching and recognise the input that each and every student puts into our sessions. I continually watch the assistance given by students to each other across the grades and i think that we can now formalise this by adding a qualification that will transcend our Taekwondo. We all recognise the benefits of Taekwondo, the confidence building, the benefits to our health and fitness, and the intrinsic values that accompany us throughout life. At St Helens Taekwondo we can now offer you a formal qualification that can lead to a career in sports coaching. Please feel free to ask me at training about the format of the course, and trust me, as a teacher of sports coaching, physiology and psychology, i will guide you through the academic side of the qualification alongside the practical elements which will be covered at the club. Gamsahamnida 🇰🇷🇬🇧🇰🇷

Dates for your diaries! 🇬🇧🇰🇷🇬🇧🇰🇷

St Helens Taekwondo have been invited by Master Lisa of Strike Taekwondo to participate in their tournament on the 20th October.

Following the Strike Taekwondo tournament we have been invited to the England Open by Grandmaster Mark Richardson. This event is hosted across the weekend 23 and 24 November. Truly exciting times for our club.

Great work last night in training and we will prepare you for both tournaments to the best of our ability.

21 For The 29th Time..!!🙄

11 days and counting until im 50 not out, and as with every milestone, i suppose you reflect and take stock of your life. I have changed a few things that i do in the last twelve months and i have been pleased with the results of an increase in more endurance exercise. It would be fair to say that with the combination of heavy resistance work and the anaerobic nature of Taekwondo training i struggled to run a bath! I was fooling myself that my exercise regime was benefitting me, when actually it was contraindicative. I looked at peers and colleagues who were having issues with knees and hips, in some cases only resolved by a surgeons knife, and i thought that i had better look at longevity if i want to continue to train past my 60s. I am fortunate enough to have a career which enables me to exercise on a daily basis, with students with different sporting backgrounds, and as such, and due to my inherent competitiveness, i strive to beat them at every opportunity! I found that my knees were, and will continue to be a pain, literally. I looked at the way my knees were placed under strain whilst kicking and i subsequently looked at the prime movers in the kicking action. It was quite obviously the powerful development of the bicep femoris muscle along with the gluteals that caused an imbalance in the knee, especially around the patella ligament. Rehabilitation of the knee would start by working on the vastus medialis muscle, but also, reducing the silly amount of heavy weights that i was shifting! Running would assist in restoring a better quality of synovial fluid in the joint capsule, and i started to drop weight. 12 months on and i can safely say the difference is noticable in all aspects of my training. In sparring i have more fuel reserves and i feel more like i used to feel in boxing, and in the gym, i feel like i can continue to exercise at a higher level for longer. We stick with our training schedule because “its what i have always done!” Is what you have always done correct, or are you actually affecting the chances of longevity?? I approach 50 with a spring in my step because a couple of changes actually allow me to do so!! Gamsahamnida 🇰🇷🇬🇧🇰🇷