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From The Editor

Master John Correlje is one of the co-founders of the All Tangsoodo Organization (ATO) and Owner/Chief Instructor of Tang Soo Do Chon Kyong in The Netherlands. He is a long time friend of mine and a regular contributor to Tang Soo Do World, supplying articles, news and photos for the many varied events he organizes or attends.

He recently mentioned a trip he made to England where he participated in and taught in a number of locations. I asked if he would write a short article for us and as always, he graciously obliged. Here then is a review of his weeklong experience.

My Trip To England

by Master John Correlje, 5th Dan
Tang Soo Do Chon-Kyong, The Netherlands


I was invited by some English friends to teach some classes and seminars in England, and I accepted. It was an inspiring trip, meeting many hardworking people. It was nice meeting old and new friends. There were some who had physical disabilities who trained very hard without complaining, trying to conquer their handicap. We Dutch like to complain, so seeing these guys train made me realize how lucky we are and have no right to complain. I had much respect for them and their instructors. They taught me again that Tang Soo Do is not for winning prizes in championships or gaining higher ranks, but becoming a better person. This isn't measured by rank or big trophies, but by mental and physical growth.

I flew on Saturday morning to Birmingham to meet up with Master Jacqui Fisher of the ATMA. In the afternoon there was sword seminar with the phenomenal Sensei Steve Iles in Coventry. He teaches Iai / Batto Do, the art of drawing the sword. I always thought, what's the purpose of this Art? I found it to be very educational and it made think differently. This really is Martial Art in its purest form, not a sport. If you get chance to train in this art, don't hesitate.


 

 

Iai-Batto-Do embodies the art of drawing and using the single sword from a standing posture. It teaches not only drawing and cutting techniques, but also the mental and spiritual aspects which governed the daily lives of swordsmen long ago. Iai-Batto-Do is based on the practical application of the sword as a weapon. It consists of basic cutting techniques, basic kata, advanced two-man kata and a variety of specific cutting patterns. It places significant emphasis on the importance of actual cutting with the sword and understanding the intricate details. It focuses not only on the physical details of every action involved in using the sword, but also the mental and spiritual meaning which also must play an equal part in understanding the sword as was once done long ago.

The next day I went to the town of Nuneaton to teach a short stick class. Here you could see the differences between the handling of a short stick and a sword. With a short stick you can hit with the points and the side of the stick. With the sword you strike with the cutting edge just beneath the tip. During the training with the short stick we trained basic strikes and blocks with the left and right hand. We also did different defense combinations against strikes and thrusts and a little sparring. Some had blisters on their hands from the training.


 

 

Monday morning I joined Master Fisher's Tai Chi Class and in the afternoon traveled by train to Manchester where I was picked up by Master Charlie Featherstone and Master John Parkinson from Family Martial Arts Centres. After visiting one of Master Parkinson's other Do Jangs we went to Bury. In the evening I taught a class of about 50 students, starting with some basic kicking and combinations, followed by Hyung applications. It was nice meeting these new friends. Next time I will also go to Master Featherstone's Do Jang In Hartepool.

After a good sleep in Manchester I returned to Birmingham, and on Tuesday and Wednesday taught some Hyung Application classes in Bedworth and Redditch. On Thursday I then left for Letchworth in the East of England to visit Master John Brinda from the North Herts Academy of Martial Arts. Thursday was a day off and we went to visit the beautiful university city of Cambridge. On Friday evening I was teaching again, this time in a little town close to Letchworth. Finally, on Saturday I went to see Master Laura Drayton fight in her first MMA fight in Colchester. She fought very well and won her match.

It was a good week meeting my friends! I want thank all these good people!

Tang Soo!

 
 

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