On the 15th June 2014, the first Callander Cup Competition took place in Scotland. The London team met for dinner the night before the competition to socialise, share last minute tips and find out more about the competition schedule. The Callander Cup consisted of individual poomsae (patterns) and kyorugi (sparring), with the results equating to points for your club (15 for 1st place, 10 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd ). There were trophies for the three clubs with the most points at the end of the day.
When we arrived in Callander, there was only one sparring ring awaiting us surrounded by rows of spectators, with a separate section of the room for registration, weigh ins and warm up mats.
The day began with the poomsae competition. Everyone was called up in groups by grade, starting with the white belt juniors/children and finishing with the senior/adult dan grades. It was interesting to watch all of the different grades performing their patterns so confidently, and the quality of techniques particularly from the senior grades was inspiring to see.
London pulled in some fantastic results in this section:
Sarah G – 2nd
Maria – 1st
Charlotte – 1st
Kien – 2nd
Anthony – 2nd
Up next was the sparring. All the competitors had at least two scheduled fights, which provided everyone with much more sparring competition experience than with a knockout format. Sarah Garrett and Syed shared coaching duties, which was invaluable, especially when competing for the first time. Each fight was two rounds, each two minutes long. During the matches, the spectators created an exciting and encouraging buzz with their cheering which spurred the fighters on. Off the mat there was also the chance to meet people from other clubs whilst not sparring! Despite my nervousness, I surprised myself by winning my two fights, and there were more great results from the London Team:
Sarah G – 4th
Charlotte – 1st
Kien – 3rd
Anthony – 1st
Oyvind – 2nd
Although we were a small team of six, (and a team not from Scotland!) TTA London ended the day as proud owners of the 3rd place Callander Cup! The Cup competition ended in an incredible, fast paced and intense men’s tag team fight, which was extremely exciting for all the spectators and other competitors watching.
Grandmaster Loh often says that everyone goes through their own journey with Taekwondo. Taking part in my first competition was definitely a big stepping stone in mine. Personally, it was a chance to apply techniques learnt in training and overcome the reservations I’d built up about competing, particularly in the sparring. But it’s also a chance to challenge yourself and learn where you are and where you need to improve in your taekwondo training. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know others in our club and other TTA clubs. I’d definitely recommend others to take part when they next have the opportunity. Special thanks go to Sarah G for organising all of the logistics and for her amazing support and coaching, and to Syed for travelling such a long way to provide the hugely appreciated coaching (and for feeding us all at the end of the competition!)