On Sunday 8th April 2018, TTA London fielded one of its largest team yet in the TTA Team Championships. Following months of disciplined training and steadily improving performances in recent competitions, we were excited to be entering players across a diverse range of categories.
Strong performances across the board returned an impressive medial haul whilst a special mention should go to our excellent referees – many of whom were officiating for the first time – and Annecy Crescini in particular, who won the inaugural ‘Best Referee’ award.
Support for the players was outstanding throughout the day, earning us a coveted Team Spirit trophy!
The team competition brings the added challenges of paired and team poomsae (patterns) competition, and the camaraderie of team kyorugi (sparring). A number of our competitors trained hard to enter the synchronised poomsae competitions for the first time, and should be commended on their successful debuts. Commenting on their experiences from the event are Barty Shepherd, Vera Mikusch, Victoria Boyle, Jenny Wilson, Annecy Crescini and Matthew Cheng.
Bart Shepherd, 8th kup (first time poomsae and sparring competitor)
This was my first competition with the TTA and I thoroughly enjoyed it! In the weeks leading up to it I wasn’t sure about doing both the poomsae and sparring competitions, as I didn’t want to bite off more than I can chew. However, with the support and advice of the seniors, I did both and I’m glad I did! The poomsae definitely helps calm the nerves before sparring and really helps you concentrate and get in the zone on the day.
The support from the whole TTA London team was amazing and invaluable, and it was incredible to be in a room with so many people enjoying and experiencing a shared passion. The competition gave me huge experience, which I massively value and will take forward in my future training. My poomsae partner Vera and I made it to the 2nd round of the pattern competition and in sparring I won a fight and lost one, so it’s never too early to compete! My advice to any other junior grades thinking of competing would be to absolutely do it! You’ll have an amazing time, meet wonderful people and it’ll give you an early boost to your training!
Vera Mikusch, 6th kup (first time poomsae and sparring competitor)
Before the competition a senior grade told me that taking part would change the way I train. I found out that this is very true – the experience of actually sparring with full body
protection gives training sessions more dimension. Fighting against people you haven’t met before and unfamiliar fighting styles makes you more aware of areas you may need to work on.
Whether you compete in poomsae or sparring, the competition is an experience that puts you out of your familiar training routine and makes you view your own skills from a different angle. Lower belts in particular should take part in as many categories as possible – as a green belt I am quite happy I decided to enter everything! It’s a chance you only get twice a year.
Victoria Boyle, 4th kup (first time team poomsae competitor; second time sparring)
This was my second time at competition and I’m not sure what I preferred: not knowing what to expect or the experience of knowing what is about to come!
As always, training before competition ramped up and we all worked extremely hard to build up our stamina and perfect our synchronisations. The team element added an extra edge to preparations and reiterated the fact that we must work together and build each other’s skills, not just our own, to succeed.
The competition was strong and it was great to see some new faces from across the other clubs. I was really happy with my performance and as always have walked away with new elements of my taekwondo to work on.
I’m really proud of how we all continue to improve and support each other. Another great competition!
Jenny Wilson, 3rd kup (first time team poomsae competitor; second time sparring)
The team event was very appealing to me because I enjoyed the camaraderie of competing alongside my classmates. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of preparing the paired poomsae with the opportunity to polish not only the moves themselves, but also the synchronisation aspect. As a result, I felt that my presentation and confidence performing my poomsae improved significantly.
I had learnt a lot from my first competition in terms of things that went well and things I could improve on in the kyorugi, and so part of competing this time was about trying to put those lessons into practice. I was really pleased to achieve my aims of getting in some head shots and back kicks, and hope I made less of the same mistakes as my first competition, but have also come away with a new list of things to work on for the next one!
Annecy Crescini, 2nd kup (first time referee)
This was my first time refereeing a competition. Our ring operated a rotation system so everyone had a go at different roles and I was very nervous the first time I was the centre referee. I kept replaying in my head the rules and commands in Korean. The head of court was assessing us on our refereeing skills and gave feedback after each match. By the time I refereed my second match I was getting the hang of it, was more calm and started to enjoy being in control of the ring.
I did get kicked at one point even though I was not the competitor, but I took it as a sign that I was doing a good job as a referee – being assertive to break the fight when needed. My refereeing skills were acknowledged by the head of court and gave me the opportunity to referee the women’s senior black belt team final. After the event, I received the award for “Best Referee”, which I am very proud of.
Matthew Cheng, 1st Dan (first time referee)
Being asked to referee was daunting due to all the new concepts, which were challenging to grasp at a high level before the competition. But once my foot hit the ring mat for my turn as centre referee, all of the nervousness disappeared. My focus was on the match, the task at hand and most of all, the participants’ safety. It was an amazing experience and key to success was being an assertive leader.
Team Poomsae: Silver
- Romuald Kouassi, Elias Zapantis, Jamal Wallace, Annecy Crescini and Josh McDonald
Pair Poomsae: Bronze
- Nico Brocchin and Maya Marriott Semper
- David Andersen and Youngae Shin
- Gold: Victoria Boyle
- Silver: Louise Mayor, Youngae Shin
- Bronze: Charlotte Foong, Jenny Wilson, Vera Sol Mikusch
Male Kyorugi Team: Silver
- Black belt Team: Jason Smith, Anthony Cornwell, Patrick Callaghan, Romuald Kouassi
- Yellow belt Team: Barty Shepherd + Ayrshire Team mates
Male Kyorugi Team: Bronze
- Red belt and above Team: David Anderson, Elias Zapantis, Josh McDonald and Ben (TTA Sussex)
- Blue Belt Team: Nico Brocchin and Darren (TTA Sussex) + Leeds Team mates
Female Kyorugi Team: Bronze
- Black Belt Team: Charlotte Foong, Louise Mayor, Tricia Eghagha
- Kup Grade Team: Maya Marriott Semper and Vera Sol Mikusch
Referees and Officials
Mr Jake Bender, Matthew Cheng, Bharat Raj, Michaela Raj, Jamal Wallace, Annecy Crescini
Ms Jemima Kingsley and Ms Sarah Garrett