The 17th annual TTA Summer School was held from 7 – 12 September 2014, led by Grand Master Loh 9th Dan. This year the London TTA was represented by veterans Chantal Lew Kum Hoi, Chris Gilmartin, Richard Price, Tricia Eghagha, Maria Carapeto and newbies Charlotte Foong, Anthony Cornwell and Lennon Chirebvu.
As previous attendees will confess, there’s only one certainty of summer school – you never know what to expect each session. Cue the daily speculation, assumptions and mostly epic fail predictions about what Grand Master Loh would focus on each session! With most of the London TTA team arriving the day before training commenced, the afternoon was spent relaxing, familiarising ourselves with our surroundings, exchanging tips on taekwondo practice and rounded off with a group meal before all retiring to bed ready for our first session.
Day one from a newbie’s perspective was a mixture of excitement and anxiousness. Fear of not knowing all necessary etiquette and concern of not remembering the basics in the midst of training amongst other TTA members from all over the UK! Those nerves didn’t take long to disappear once we walked through the front doors of the training centre and began meeting other attendees. There was a mixture of veterans of many summer schools and new faces covering all different kup grades and dans. There was a real sense of togetherness and team spirit from the word go.
All 6 days of training were different, with sessions emphasizing on a variety of elements of Taekwondo practice including fitness, technique, stretching, sparring and poomsae. For the more junior kups, Grand Master Loh was particularly keen to emphasize to us the importance of self-discipline and perseverance; pointing out that though most of us may have similar end goals our journeys will be very much individual.
Sparring was a great opportunity to implement techniques and skills harnessed during the training camp. To begin with, sparring felt like an exercise in cops and robbers trying to avoid the lightning quick combination kicks from the senior belts or axe kicks that seemed to originate from heavens above. However, with each passing hour confidence instilled during our weekly training in London returned and with some fine tuning from Grand Master Loh better technique in movement was implemented enabling better sparring. Asking questions also seemed daunting to begin with but seeing all practitioners of all levels soaking in Grand Master Loh’s wisdom was a lesson in itself and most of us felt very fortunate to be there.
Of course, there was a social element to summer school giving us an opportunity to know each other better and make new friends along the way. There were events organised after training with all invited and encouraged to attend. Watching early 80s and 90s martial arts movies was a source of great entertainment that kept us in stitches during our evenings in, with sporadic Q&A on identifying the Taekwondo kicks/patterns being implemented by the characters.
All in all, a successful week of Taekwondo, full of learning and fun. Summer School 2015 is already in most of our diaries. It’s a no brainer.