On Sunday 18th November 41 members of TTA London travelled to Glasgow to compete, referee, coach and officiate in the 2018 TTA Individual Championships.
A large number of students and instructors competed in the kyorugi (sparring) and poomsae (patterns), delivering an impressive medal haul of 12 golds, 11 silvers and 14 bronzes. TTA London also fielded more officials than ever before, with 17 members refereeing and/or officiating.
The hard work and commitment of the club’s members has been particularly evident in recent competitions, with London slowly climbing up the medal table. This year the club surpassed its previous achievements to win its first ever team shield as the most successful team in this year’s championships!
The win is a tremendous effort that has been years in the making. The taekwondo experience of those competing ranged from 3 months to more than 10 years, highlighting the contributions made by all members of the club. The shield is testament to their training and to the commitment of all TTA London students, including those who were not at the competition but have been instrumental in pushing their classmates to achieve more throughout their taekwondo journeys.
Lastly, we would like to thank TTA London’s senior instructor, Mr Bender, for building the club that so many enjoy today, and Grandmaster Loh, for his instruction, guidance and insight. Below is a small selection of experiences from those taking part in this year’s competition.
Michaela Raj, 1st kup (fourth time poomsae competitor and second time referee)
This was my fourth time attending a TTA competition and as before, it was a busy day full of valuable learning experiences, great team spirit and a lot of fun.
In the weeks before the competition, training for both the poomsae and kyorugi really ramped up, and those of us attending as officials also got a chance to get some refereeing practice in. All this hard work definitely paid off and it was great to show off our skills and take on new challenges on the day!
As in previous years, the day kicked off with the poomsae competition and it was a really interesting experience – performing poomsae in front of so many spectators, including Grandmaster Loh himself, is a valuable exercise in conquering the nerves and focusing on technique and precision, as well as a great opportunity to watch others and reflect on my own practice.
I felt more confident about refereeing compared to the previous competition. Nevertheless, each match brought new competitors, new sparring styles and a new set of challenges, and focus was key. Our ring ran a rotation system to give all officials a chance to experience the different roles and make the most of the learning opportunities on the day. Refereeing may feel less physically intense than competing, but it gives one a different perspective on kyorugi and is a great way to increase understanding of taekwondo!
Overall there was so much to learn and take away into regular practice, strong team spirit and camaraderie on display from the participating clubs, and great skill and tenacity shown by the competitors. The London medals and first-ever team shield were just the (well-deserved) cherry on top!
Celine Dabert, 4th kup (first time poomsae and sparring competitor)
This was my first time participating in the TTA competition and I enjoyed every aspect of it!
Before the event, I was nervous but also excited to apply what I have learnt and test my skills. Being in Glasgow with everyone the evening before the competition was a good opportunity to relieve some stress as the more experienced students were sharing their experiences and being very supportive.
The day started with the poomsae competition. It was a good way to practise my pattern but also observe seniors. It encourages you to practise more and improve.
For the sparring, I was nervous but it was a very powerful experience. You realise what your weaknesses are and how you need to work to overcome them. I completely enjoyed the experience! A lot of things we have been learning now make more sense.
During the competition, I enjoyed the amazing team spirit: everybody was supporting each other, giving advice and cheering during matches.
I loved every part of the competition. It was a very rewarding experience and I have learnt a lot. It will change the way I train and look forward for the next competition!
Blue Gene, 8th kup (first time sparring competitor)
When I joined TTA London earlier this year it didn’t take long to learn that the competition was impending. Having not yet done my first grading (before agreeing to compete), I felt a calling to enter as a challenge to myself.
Post-grading, I started to get to grips with sparring. Learning to move – reacting to your opponent’s kicks by shifting and stepping, before counterattacking – proved more challenging than anticipated. The guidance I received from the instructors and senior students was invaluable and has given me the tools to reimagine myself.
Three day before the competition the seniors helped me to finally download – so to speak – the mechanics of the turning kick to my head. I hoped, now that my mind has understood the principles of the turning kick, that my body would move in accordance.
During the competition itself I managed to score some points that included a headshot! My opponent was a formidable yellow belt and I am now aiming to reach his standard and beyond. I lost the bout but awakened the Indomitable Spirit – a key tenet of taekwondo – within myself.
Since the competition I have graded for and achieved a yellow belt. I know that, through dedication, I can keep progressing onwards from here.
Annecy Crescini – Kyorugi
Barty Shepherd – Poomsae
Diana Llewellyn – Poomsae
Elias Zapantis – Poomsae
Matthew Cheng- Poomsae
Nikolett Timar – Poomsae and Kyorugi
Robert Simmons – Kyorugi
Romuald Kouassi – Kyorugi
Sarah Garrett – Kyorugi
Victoria Boyle – Poomsae and Kyorugi
Annecy Crescini – Poomsae
Barty Shepherd – Kyorugi
Bharat Raj – Poomsae
Daniela Torres- Poomsae and Kyorugi
Diana Llewellyn- Kyorugi
Jessica Tjeng – Poomsae
Louise Mayor – Kyorugi
Matthew Cheng – Kyorugi
Sarah Liang – Poomsae
Vera Mikusch – Kyorugi
Anthony Cornwell – Kyorugi
Bashkim Isai – Kyorugi
Blue Gene – Kyorugi
Celine Dabert – Kyorugi
Danielle Vrublevskis – Kyorugi
Jonathan Liang – Kyorugi
Joshua McDonald – Poomsae
Luisa Liu – Poomsae
Mandeep Kaur – Poomsae and Kyorugi
Michaela Raj – Poomsae
Sarah Liang – Kyorugi
Youngae Shin – Poomsae and Kyorugi