On Saturday 18th February we ran our second ITF-England fund raising Masters Seminar in Newcastle, following the one in November in Croydon..
We had 76 Taekwon-do students in attendance who made a great effort over the 5 hours of training. The event raised a fantastic profit of £1955 for ITF-England. Thank you to Master Ken Chesterman for instructing and also to Master Anthony McKenna for instructing and for doing a great job helping me to organise this event.
Master Russell Dennis
The Board of Directors of ITF England would like to convey our sincere congratulations to our two newest ITF England Masters, Master Janitzio Moreno (Pantera Taekwon-Do) and Master Philip Lear (Vision Taekwon-Do), who were both successfully promoted to 7th Degree at the IIC 114 held in Paris on 26th November 2016.
The photo shows Master Moreno and Master Lear pictured with Master Nick Symonds (TOTAL TKD).
On Saturday 19th November, we ran an ITF-England fund raising Masters Seminar in Croydon, South London.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Master Raymond Gayle, Master Kim Anderson, and Master Nick Symonds, who along with myself, gave up their time to instruct at this 4 hour training seminar.
Thank you also to Grand Master Nardizzi who was present throughout this event. All the Masters and students said that the time went so fast and that they very much enjoyed it.
All of the Masters refused to take any money for the day, not even for travel and so £900 profit was made for ITF-England.
A great Taekwon-do day!
Master Russell Dennis
It is with great honour and pleasure that the ITF England Board of Directors and membership convey our sincerest congratulations to GM Donato Nardizzi (TKD Impact), who was promoted to 9th Degree 'Grand Master' at the World Cup in Budapest, Hungary, on the 15th October, 2016.
This is a magnificent lifetime achievement, which is only managed by the elite few and following a lifetime of dedication, hard work and enthusiasm for Taekwon-Do.
GM Nardizzi's particular devotion to the ‘TKD Kids Program’ has been recognised on the world-wide platform and the tireless effort he has made as President for ITF England does not go unnoticed. This result is a true reflection of the effort, hard work and determination which he has applied to Taekwon-Do for many, many years. An inspirational Grand Master who has set the ultimate goal for others to follow.
The Board of Directors and members of ITF England would like to extend their warmest congratulations to Master Nicholas Symonds (Total TKD) who was promoted to 7th Degree Master by the ITF Masters Promotion Committee at the IIC 113 in Quebec, Canada on the 24th September 2016. Master Symonds is also the Umpire / Tournament Director for ITF England.
The photo shows Master Symonds at the IIC with Grand Master Marano
The Board of Directors of ITF England would like to congratulate Master Thomas Denis (of ETA) on his successful promotion to 8th Degree, and Mr Errol Bernard on his successful promotion to 7th Degree, at the IIC in Warsaw, Poland on 28th May 2016.
The photo shows Master Denis at the IIC with Master Dunbar and Master Dydiszko.
A voting Congress of the AETF was held on 29th April 2016 in Tampere, Finland. The Congress considered a lengthy agenda of which a major element was the election of a number of officers and Board Members for a four- year period from 2016 to 2020.
The following candidates stood for six places on the Board:
After a vote of the delegations attending the Congress the following were elected:
Mr Lear was elected for a third term with the highest number of votes which was a testament to the work he undertakes for the AETF Board.
All the votes were scrutinised by two delegates one from ITF England and the other from the All Russia Taekwon Do Federation.
Reported by: Dr Jeff Brider
On Sunday 24th April Mr Philip Lear travelled up to Burton on Trent in Staffordshire, England for the Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI) Black Belt Hall of Fame awards.
Mr Lear is now in his 20th year of running Vision Taekwon-Do in England after returning from training in Malaysia under his instructor Master Tan Eng Kiat. He was nominated for the award from Martial Arts Illustrated which is the longest serving Martial Arts magazine in the UK spanning 3 decades.
The awards ceremony took place at the National Brewery Centre in Burton on Trent with in excess of 400 people from the world of Martial Arts present including Mr Lear's old England team mate and now famous actor Mr Silvio Simac (aka Joe Maska). He was presented with a plaque and belt by the editor of MAI magazine Mr Bob Sykes and inducted into the MAI Black Belt Hall of Fame for all the work he has done in the last 20 years for Taekwon-Do in the UK including producing many European and World Champions, organising the World Cup in 2012 and his own personal achievements as a competitor.
In his speech Mr Lear thanked his wife Ellie for all her support over the years and also thanked the boy who bullied him at the age of 15yrs back in the 80's, without whom he would not have got involved in the Martial Arts. Through that experience he dedicated his life to helping others overcome their fears and to reach their potential, inspiring children and adults alike to be strong against adversity.
Mr Philip Lear said 'it's an honour to be recognised outside of the Taekwon-Do community with numerous other of the best Martial Arts coaches in the country present, there are many others who deserve the same accolade for what they have done in Taekwon-Do in the UK and I sincerely hope they will also get the recognition they deserve'.
Master Kim Anderson has been awarded with a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) Sports Partnership 'Service to Sport' award ceremony.
Nominees are chosen from Winners of the Local Welwyn Hatfield Borough Sports award winners which Master Anderson won in 2014.
[Master Kim Anderson receives the 'Herts Sports Partnership' Lifetime Achievement award at the Herts County Ceremony]
The following passage was read out at the awards:
Congratulations, Master Kim Anderson!
2015 has been a busy and successful year for ITF England and it was wrapped up with the first of two sessions for the selections of next year's National Team, which will be representing ITF England at the forthcoming European Championships in Tampere, Finland from 28th April to 1st May 2016.
The selection process was open to all ITF certified black belts from 1st - 6th degree for seniors who are 18yrs on the 1st January 2016 and 1st-3rd Degree for juniors who are at least 14 years of age on the first day of the European Championships (28th April) and up to 17yrs on the 1st January 2016.
Those wishing to represent ITF England had to commit to attend all squad training sessions for their events leading up to the Euros and be available to travel between 26th April and 2nd May for the sole purpose to represent England at the European Championships. They must also agree to work and cooperate with all of the ITF England Coaches and staff.
Selection Day 1
The first part of the trials took place on Sunday 6th December 2015 at Coleshill Leisure Centre, Birmingham.
The selection event had 65 candidates representing 10 groups and associations from within ITF England: Vision TKD, PUMA, Total TKD, Impact, TAE, De Silva Taekwon-Do, T-UK, Absolute TKD, Trident TKD, Proaction Martial Arts and ETA.
The event was organised by the ITF England Umpire and Tournament Director - Mr Nick Symonds with assistance from ITF England National Team Manager - Mr Philip Lear.
The Officials for the first part of the event were Master Ken Chesterman, Mr Daniel Lammin, Mr Paul Adams, Mr Jonathan Emm, Dr Jeff Brider, Mr S Bourne, Mr Stuart Longdon, Mr Mark Davies, Mr Piotr Capaja and Mr Wayne Burns.
On this first day of the 2016 Selections, the focus was entirely on individual events. The candidates who had registered interest were competing for 2 spots in each senior event and category, whilst the junior competitors had 3 available positions they had the opportunity to claim.
Despite running the first day of the selections under the format of a tournament with coaches, umpires and officials, displaying sufficient European standard was the prerequisite and the ultimate decider on whether a competitor was selected for a spot, regardless of whether the position was contested or not.
The day began with all competitors and coaches lining up. Mr Symonds welcomed the competitors and introduced the umpires.
First up to show off their patterns performances were all the junior male, followed by all the junior female candidates. The divisions were competitive and with a few of 2015 junior competitors moving up to the adult divisions, it was encouraging to see some new competitors stepping up to the challenge.
Once all of the junior patterns rounds had been completed it was time for the senior male and female patterns candidates to demonstrate their skill.
After the patterns, things heated up a notch with some exciting displays in the sparring bouts, first from the senior males and then the senior females.
No doubt inspired by the senior fighters the junior male and female fighters kept all of those watching on their toes and added the excitement and high energy of the day.
All power test and special technique trials took place at the same time on a separate matted area and the numbers of the candidates registering their interest in the power event in particular made this a very competitive affair.
After the events concluded the National Coaching Team assembled to discuss the results of the event and decide on which individuals had shown enough to guarantee a spot and those who would need to perform again on Day 2 before the final decisions would be made with respect individual selections.
Selection Day 2
The second selection day took place on Sunday 7th February 2016 at The Royal Masonic Girls School, Rickmansworth.
The focus of the day was to make final decisions on filling available individual spots, standard permitting and also on selecting the best teams for each event to hopefully secure an even better performance and results for England at the 2016 Euros in Finland than in Scotland 2015.
The format of this session was less formal than that of a full tournament. Mr Lear opened the session introducing the 2016 National Coaching Team and each coach's main area of responsibility. These were as follows: Mr Lear - Team Manager; Mr Lammin - Senior Coach; Mr Adams and Mr Thompson - Patterns; Mr Ernest and Mr De Silva - Sparring; Mr Capaja - Power and Mr Burns - Special Technique. Mr Thompson also had a secondary responsibility for leading the strength, conditioning and nutrition programme for the team. As before, Mrs Wendy McColl was announced as the Team's much needed Physio.
Mr Lear also further reiterated that high standard was paramount and that the Coaching team will only consider selecting candidates for individual available spots if they showed the potential to be competitive at the European Championships themselves.
The competitors were divided in two groups. Those who were still to be re-assessed for a patterns individual position had remained in one half of the hall with Mr Lear, Mr Lammin, Mr Adams and Mr Thompson. Master Chesterman was also there to offer council in his capacity of an international umpire.
Whilst this was taking place, Mr Neil Earnest and Mr Johann De Silva took the sparrers in the other half of the hall for a warm up, drills and some free sparring training.
Once the patterns assessments were complete, it was time to switch positions and re-assess some of the undecided individual sports in the sparring categories, under the watchful eyes of Mr Lear, Mr Lammin, Mr Ernest, Mr De Silva and Master Chesterman.
After finishing running the bouts Mr Capaja and Mr Burns proceeded to focus on the power team selections.
Once all of the events were complete, it was time for all competitors to go home and await the news on the outcome of their efforts. The coaching team then stayed on to conclude their discussions and finalise their decisions.
Results of the selections were announced to each individual via a decision letter emailed from the team manager Mr Lear with confirmation of the details of squad sessions dates. These sessions are compulsory for those selected with some squad dates available to the unsuccessful candidates wishing to benefit from the expertise of the National Coaching Staff to improve their chances of selection for the 2017 ITF England campaign.
After long discussions and careful consideration of all available options, the ITF England National Coaching Team are confident they have selected the strongest possible team and are now looking forward to the getting each member of this team ready to be the best they can be at the 2016 European Championships in Tampere, Finland in April.
Reported by: Liliana Cottrell, ITF England PR Officer
It is with great pleasure that we would like to inform our members that Master Anthony McKenna was successfully promoted to 7th Degree at the 100th IIC in Aberdeen in March 2015.
Master McKenna is from Newcastle upon Tyne. He started training in Taekwon-Do in 1984, grading as a colour belt under FGM Rhee Ki Ha. He was promoted to 1st Degree black belt in 1989 as a member of the UKTF where, as a 2nd degree, he was voted on to the Board of Directors and later, as a 4th degree, became Chairman. In 2009, Master McKenna became one of the founder members of the Taekwon-Do Association of England (TAE) and is currently Chairperson of the Association and the first from TAE to be promoted to Master.
The Board of Directors and members of ITF England would like to offer our warmest congratulations to our newest Master.
It has been just over a couple of months since the end of the ITF World Championships in Jesolo and many are still buzzing with inspiration.
Team England at the The Event
The 19 Senior and 13 Junior ITF World Championship in Jesolo Italy was truly a world class event and the jewel of the ITF 2015 competition calendar.
When asked about her favourite moment from the event, one of England's National Team competitors said: "Aside from the obvious gold medals won, the opening ceremony was one of the best ones that I have seen. It really set the mood for the event and the high standard that it was going to be". Jennifer Swain, ITF England National Team, Patterns and Pre-arranged Sparring
1,019 competitors at the top of their game from 53 different countries took part. It was a very competitive, well organised and supported competition with a display of seriously high standards across all of ITF Taekwon-Do competition categories and events. It was a memorable week, soaked in a fantastic atmosphere of an inspiring mix of friendship, respect, focus, talent and professionalism. The added bonus of course was also that it was set in beautiful Italy!
Team England - The Results
England placed 9th overall in the medal classification tables with 2 Gold, 6 Silver and 8 Bronze medals. The team achieved the 4th largest number of medals, coming ahead of ahead some larger teams in pure medal count.
Team England - The Performance
These results make this the most successful campaign for ITF England in recent years and this is what the Team Captains had to say about England's performance:
"England's performance was amazing, it was definitely the best we have done since I joined the team in 2011". Izzy Brider, Junior Female Pattern World Champion and England's Junior Female Team Captain
"I think England as a squad and individually performed incredibly well, exceeded all expectations". Zak Espi, ITF World Champion and England's Men's Team Captain
"I think England's performance was outstanding. We have had the strongest team ever this year across all boards and it showed in the results. I am so proud to be a part of it and to witness our achievements. Obviously we still need some work as I think the most of the silvers and bronzes could have been gold. Also, some didn't perform the way they should have but if they had I would imagine they would have gone into the later rounds. The females did extremely well with 4 individual finals, which I believe have surpassed expectations. England is up and coming we have some really talented juniors, some did not medal at the championship but I am certain in years to come they will be on that podium. Jennifer Pena, ITF Vice-World Champion and England's Women's Team Captain
"I can't compare to previous performances, but I was very proud of what I was a part of. I think the results were incredibly impressive with all medals won and so many of the team only narrowly missing out on medals in very competitive bouts in both patterns and sparring!" Adam Bonwick, ITF Vice-World Champion and England's Junior Male Team Captain
Team England - The Preparation
We all love celebrating a good success story. Yet many who are not involved rarely really stop and think what it takes to compete at the top
Talent itself is not enough. I remember seeing somewhere in social media a paraphrase of the basketball player Kevin Durant's quote, which stuck with me:
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, but when talent works hard too, special things happen". I think it was the footballer Sean Dillon who might have used it. So this stands true not just in sport but anything else we do.
In the context of preparation for this World Championship, in addition to the regular training with their clubs, members of the team were required to attend frequent National Team Squad Sessions.
Let me tell you, these sessions are specially and lovingly prepared by the National Coaching Team to be challenging in their content and full of sweaty hard work. They last 3-4 hours and are held at selected venues around the country. For some of the squad members, some weeks, this means leaving the house as early as 4.30 am on a Sunday morning to arrive in time for a squad session starting at 9.00 am. How much would you fancy doing this, if you don't do it already? So, next time you are snuggled up in bed on the weekend in the blissful thought that the alarm isn't going to go off, know that many athletes, juniors and adults, have given up the Sunday morning snooze dreams, to chase a much bigger one... the dream of representing their country through Taekwon-Do - the martial art, which shaped their lives and outlook from an early age. This is the dream that may be one day, they will be the ones standing on that podium with the National Anthem playing for them, making it all worth the sacrificed lie-ins; the late nights trying to fit in life's other responsibilities; the turned away cakes and drinks; the missed parties or leisurely families days out; the sore muscles, the exhaustion and the injuries and disappointment along the way... Izzy Brider, Junior Female Patterns World Champion, shared some of the challenges she had to overcome: "I think one of my biggest challenges in the lead up to the WC was recovering from a knee injury and regaining confidence. Time management was also a big challenge in the lead up as I had AS exams to prepare as well as the WC".
Yes sure, this dream is not exclusive just to our Taekwon-Do athletes and is shared by many determined athletes all over the world but Taekwon-Do is our chosen passion. It is the driving force to inspire others, young and old that it is possible to turn a dream into reality. Of course making it come true is a team effort.
Team England - The Competitors
40 competitors from our National Team represented England at the World Championships and did ITF England proud with the great results they achieved but also with their sterling conduct on the mats and throughout the duration of the Championships.
Of course successful performance under the pressure of a big event doesn't come over night. It takes years of hard work in building the foundations of a strong competitor and months of solid focused preparation for a competition like this.
As I touched on this earlier, this requires much dedication, commitment and strength of character to put yourself through the type of training and all round preparation required to take you to the top. This is something that each competitor has to do for themselves. No one else can make you want it. It either burns in you or it doesn't and the preparation has to be all encompassing and holistic.
Here is a glimpse into Adam Bonwick's preparation for the WC: "...intense fitness programme for sparring and obviously physical conditioning and sparring drills and bouts in tournaments to prepare but my biggest focus in the last month was mental and tactical preparation to be a smarter fighter. My body was ready for competition. In the last month the focus was to be a step ahead of my opponents in the ring. I think the analysis and mental prep was the most important to me in the last period leading up to the worlds".
However, to unleash your true potential and make that fire rage with full force, each competitor needs inspiration and support. The support of their instructors, the support of the Coaches, their families, friends and loved ones and of course - they also need the support of their team mates. A team is more than just a collection of individuals. The magic only happens in the bond of this collection of athletes - that special click that makes you push through the pain when you feel you have nothing left but you have to keep going for the team and the people in it who inspire you and those inspired by you.
When asked to comment on his favourite highs from the week in Jesolo and what motivates him, Zak Espi had this to say: "The atmosphere within the squad and the support for each other during the whole competition... I think England as a squad and individually performed incredibly well, exceeded all expectations.... My coach Darren Anderson as well as my training partners in Absolute TKD motivate me to train harder and strive to improve my performance each time I train". Zak Espi, ITF England National Team Sparring World Champion and Men's Team Captain
Here are some of my own many favourite England moments:
Amongst my top favourite moments was watching Jen Pena fight. Always such a pleasure to see her do her thing. She came second but I believe she has everything to be the next World Champion in her category. You only have to hear her speak about what motivates her to know that she is serious about this: "Just knowing that I haven't reached my full potential yet because I know I can be better. I don't think I've ever left a competition fully satisfied with my performance I always look to see what I need to improve on and work on it. I also believe I have not showcased all my skills which makes me more motivated to show them off. However, in general, Taekwon-Do motivates me because it is very much an ongoing process where you are constantly learning, achieving and growing mentally and physically not only as a martial artist but also as a person".
When she lost in the last few seconds of her final, after being in the lead all of our hearts stopped as we knew she deserves to be on the top step of the podium for her tireless work ethic, talent and lovely personality to complete the package.
I remember seeing Zak Espi and Matt Cadle visibly distressed and feeling every bit of her disappointment for her with empathy and emotion which better than any words expressed what genuinely decent guys they are but most of all the support that the team feel for each other. It is a little moment in time which stayed with me.
Of course, the single best moment of the entire week came when Zak became World Champion and Neil Ernest, fell on the mats to his knees to rejoice. It was quite fitting that it was him who coached Zak to victory, as Zak named him to be his "favourite Tae Kwon-Do fighter of all time."
The fact that so many from all different nationalities rooted and shouted in support for him is a testimony to Zak and how worthy he was of this title. It was such a good day for England. I asked my son, as a junior member of the squad what he thought of Zak and these were his words: "Friendly, inclusive, absolute rock, true senior member, speaks to everyone, totally likeable (until he kicks you in the head), inspiration for many of the younger fighters on the team and in the TKD community in general". Ollie Cottrell, ITF England National Squad Member
Team England - The Coaches
"A huge amount of credit needs to be given to the England coaches and staff who worked tirelessly preparing the Squad before and during the World Championships. The squad had a good mix of individuals, both highly experienced and new members who complemented each other". Zak Espi
The members of this year's squad were selected and led to success by Mr Philip Lear and his excellent coaching team on the mats: Mr Piotr Capaja, Mr Wayne Burns, Mr Paul Adams, Mr Daniel Lammin and Mr Neil Ernest. Mrs Wendy McCall worked around the clock keeping the competitors going with physiotherapy treatments and sports massage delivered by her not-so-gentle touch. She also provided cover on the mats when the going got tough with time clashes. Mr Johann De Silva helped form some of the team's sparring game plans, through the analysis of opponents' strengths and weaknesses.
Jennifer Swain, National Team Patterns and Pre-Arranged Sparring Specialist, said: "We as competitors couldn't get to the standard of world class athletes without world class coaches, physios, and therapists that are often involved in our training. Thank you. I feel one person in particular is worth a name mention and that is Mrs Wendy McColl. She was on the team as physio support. She did an excellent job around the clock to make sure our bodies were in the best shape to perform".
I don't know how it is in other countries but here the coaching team do all of this not for prestigious titles or generous financial rewards. There are none. They give up their time, incur expenses and say good bye to their families on Sunday mornings and when travelling with the Team, because they care. Fact. They care about Taekwon-Do, they care about raising the profile of ITF England and our ITF as a whole, but most of all they care about helping people be the best they can be. They see potential, a little spark of talent in a youngster and care enough to nurture it and develop it. If you ask me, they all have the patience of saints even though many would not think it and they may not come across that way when they are shouting their voices off in their passion to make dreams come true... But I believe in all of them because they are genuinely driven by love for it all and this does comes across loud and clear.
I remember stopping over for some food with my son on the way back from the first squad training session after Jesolo, and he said out of the blue: "Did you hear Mr Lear speak at the end today? It gave me goosebumps....it was inspiring...". And he was right. I felt that myself when I heard him and observed the reaction of each of our squad members on the floor listening to him…believing in his words.
I too was moved and believed Mr Lear's words when he said to them: "You guys have proven to be an amazing group of people and I am so proud of you all. The Team spirit you have all shown is inspiring and I am so excited by the amazing journey we have had so far. We have 6 sessions left to make it the best European Championship for England yet... We were 4th in medal count overall at the World Championships, so next we will be expected to be on that podium. I believe the Team will make a massive statement there and I am so excited by the prospect!" Philip Lear, ITF England National Team Manager and Head Coach
When I asked him to write down some highlights of what he said to them for this article he said to me: "I never prepare anything I say, it's always from the heart. I did the same for my speech when I got married. Just let my heart speak, then people know its's genuine. No highlights, just good feelings for everyone! I wanted everyone to know how proud I am of them". Then I remember asking him what makes him put so much time an energy into the team development and performance and his words were "I do it because I love the people and I believe in doing what I can to put England where it deserves to be. I am a very patriotic person. I believe in people and now we are unified and we are strong and I think everyone in the team has bought into how we work".
Team England - The Parents aka the Supporters Crew aka the Wine Club
The last piece of the team puzzle is made up by the parents, families at home and other supporters. They may not endure the training and stand toe to toe with the opponents on the mat but rest assured they feel all the highs and lows of our competitors in spirit, doing whatever they can to support them. Funding their Children's training and trips; buying kits; washing kits; running around looking for lost bits of kit; getting up early on Sundays; taxiing juniors to training sessions all over the country; dealing with the emotional fallout from disappointments; enduring the mood swings that come with people being hungry and making weight; prodding, praising, providing advice and gentle motivation; families at home putting up with long hours of absence, parents on tour darting to the venue on competition days to secure the best seats for the team, running around to pass messages, fetch gum shields, towels and misplaced bottles of water, lost voices from shouting too much in support for the team and of course, contributing to local economies where the competitions are held by sampling the wines on offer...
And all of this they do out of love and that wonderful sense of being part of a shared dream, out of love for our children, partners, friends but also for the feeling of being a part of something bigger than just the individuals involved, that sense of belonging to a big Taekwon-Do Family. Yes, it may sound like a cliche to some, but this is how I see it and I know that I am not alone in this.
In the words of Diana McCarthy, another parent (mum of Sean McCarthy): "For me being part of this experience was just amazing, I will never forget this for a very long time... I think the Team's success is due to everyone on the ITF England Team, for their commitment, performance, achievements and being there and supporting each other through thick and thin. I think the whole experience worked well, I certainly have nothing negative to say about this competition at all".
And there you have it. We are all pieces of the Team England puzzle, we all share this bond from our different perspectives and we all love it.
In closing, the week in Jesolo was a week, which will stay with me in my memories and these of others and will serve to inspire and comfort that through the love of our Taekwon-Do we can all share this big dream. The smiles and laughter; the tears of joy, disappointment and frustration; the adrenaline buzz, the crashing exhaustion, losing your voice shouting for your team; the gut wrenching feeling when the scores flipped the in favour of the opponent, the elation and rejoicing when the decision went our way, made it an emotional roller coaster for all who competed, coached and supported. A great week, full of memories of a great event organised and hosted by wonderful people in gorgeous Italy!
Now, bring on the European Championship in Scotland! England will be there!
Written by Liliana Cottrell,
The 19th Senior and 13th Junior ITF World Championships took place in Jesolo Italy between the 27th-31st May 2015. The Championships attracted 1019 competitors from 53 countries comprising 586 seniors and 433 juniors. ITF England took a large contingent of 79 competitors, coaches, officials, umpires and spectators.
The outcome of many hours of training resulted in a total of 16 medals which placed ITF England 9th on the medal table ahead of many larger teams. This was made up of 2 Gold, 6 Silver and 8 Bronze medals. Individuals won 13 of the 16 medals. Full details can be found on the ITF website but for ease the table below sets out the full detail:
The progress of the team can be seen in the significant increase in winning medals; in the 2013 World Championships the team won 9 medals (4 individual and 5 team) as compared with 16 medals (13 individual and 3 team) at the 2015 World Championships. This also underestimates the performance of the team in 2015 given that many competitors progressed further in their respective divisions and were close to achieving semi-final places. This applied equally to the individual and team categories. Overall, therefore the competitors and coaches should be extremely proud of their achievements. It is pleasing to see the major progress in all areas that is a testament to the work put in by the individuals and the coaches.
The list above gives neither an idea of the level of the competition faced by the individuals and teams nor the level of excitement of the majority of the events. Many of the sparring bouts went down to the wire and at least three medals could have been gold rather than silver.
It would be invidious to single out individuals for particular attention but it would be remiss not to highlight the two gold medallists. Zak Espi Castillo's success as World Champion in the Individual Male, Sparring over 85kg category which means that he has won gold medals at all the major events in the ITF Calendar, World Championships, European Championships, World Cup and European Cup. His perseverance was a stimulus for all the team. In addition, I would like to draw attention to Izzy Brider who persevered to become the Junior Female II Dan Pattern World Champion. (On a personal note this writer shed a few tears when she won her medal). In highlighting Zak and Izzy I recognise that all the Silver medallists were finalists and at least two were within seconds of becoming World Champions. I feel sure that this will spur them on to win the gold medal next time.
The performance of the team was amazing and has clearly built on the foundations laid first at the 2013 European Championships in Sweden and consistently developed thereafter at the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 European Championships in Riccione. The training sessions are delivering results and the hard work and commitment of the coaches and the team members is delivering amazing results. I feel sure that this will continue and lead to greater results in the 2015 European Championships in Scotland.
Thanks are due to the Team Captains, all of who managed to reach finals in the individual events, the parents and others who supported the team in Italy and in the months leading up to the tournament, the competitors themselves who performed so well against the best in the World.
Finally, thanks are due to Mr. Lear and his coaching team (Mr. Adams, Mr. Burns, Mr. Ernest and Mr. Lammin) whose efforts and dedication have developed such a strong team that is going from strength to strength. In addition, the coaching team were helped by Mr. De Silva who analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents that our competitors were to meet in later rounds of the competition. Mrs. McColl provided physiotherapy support throughout the squad sessions and the tournament. It is much appreciated by all the competitors and others connected with the team. Their commitment and hard work is a key ingredient to the success of individuals of the team. I know that they felt the highs and lows of all the team, even when some lost their voices!
In conclusion, it would be remiss not to place on record thanks to the organising committee and all the umpires and officials that allowed for well-organised and friendly Championships.
Dr. Jeff Brider
The 18th Senior and 12th Junior ITF World Championships took place in Benidorm, Spain between 23rd and 27th October 2013. The Championships included the participation of 57 competitors, coaches, umpires, officials and supporters from ITF England. The team joined 1042 representatives from 58 countries for four days of hard competition.
The outcome of long hours of training building upon performances at the European Championships in Sweden resulted in four individual medals and five team medals which place England 8th in the overall medal classification. The medal winners were:
Matt Cadle, Gold in senior male sparring to 63kg
Junior Male (comprising Josh Wadey, Tim Lobley, Zack Leberl, Todd Gillespie, Tom Davies and Daniel Lobley), Gold in pattern
The team settled into its hotel in mid afternoon on Tuesday 21st October and undertook light training at the hotel in beautiful weather that exceeded 25 degrees Celsius. All members of the team achieved their respective weights and undertook further training sessions on the following day. In between the training routines the team had an opportunity to recuperate in the hot weather.
Competition began on Thursday, the schedule being divided between individual sparring for junior competitors and individual pattern and power test for the senior contingent. It is invidious to highlight individual performances because all competitors performed beyond expectations and showed much improvement on their performances at the European Championships.
The first medal was won just after noon when Izzy Brider gained a bronze medal in her sparring division. This was hard won, as she had to beat competitors from Argentina, and Poland before being beaten in the semi-final by the eventual World Champion, Ellen Ince from Ireland.
The day was hectic with competitors appearing at regular intervals on eleven rings and many members of the team progressed through a number of rounds. It was very late in the day when Tom Davies won a bronze in his division following a thrilling series of bouts against competitors from Spain, Italy and Ireland losing in the semi-final to the Russian competitor who went on to become World Champion.
The itinerary for Friday was the reverse of Thursday i.e. the seniors took part in sparring and the juniors in pattern and team power test. The junior female power test team secured a bronze medal after a "break off" with five other teams.
Matt Cadle was, at the same time, progressing through the draws in the under 63 kg division. He beat competitors from Krygystan, Finland, Norway and then late in the evening he won the semi-final against Slovenia to go through to the final that was held over to be part of the official opening ceremony that was held that same evening.
After a short break the competitors assembled for the opening ceremony that preceded the final of Matt's division. After two closely fought rounds against the current World Champion from the USA Matt secured the gold medal for the team. Matt's progress through his division was a thrilling spectacle and he had to dig deep on many occasions, including his bout for the gold medal, coming from behind in the closing stages of the second round. If ever there was an example of perseverance and indomitable spirit it was here and his gold medal was the culmination of his exemplary sparring in the competition. A medal richly deserved.
Saturday and Sunday were given over to team events and the junior individual power test which was carried over from the previous day. The senior teams competed in patterns and the juniors in sparring and power test on the Saturday. Kristine Evio secured a silver medal in the junior female power test. Kristine was one of three team members that were in a play off for silver and then bronze medals.
Team performances were of a high standard and the senior male pattern team secured a bronze medal by beating Germany and Argentina before being beaten by the eventual winners Poland. This was followed up by the junior male sparring team who won a well-deserved bronze medal by beating Poland in the first round then Italy before losing to the eventual winners in the semi-final.
Senior team sparring and power test and junior team pattern filled the schedule on Sunday. Excellent performances by all the teams were in evidence. The senior male sparring team beat a strongly fancied team from Poland in the first round, had a walk-over in the second before being beaten in a close match against the eventual winners Ireland.
Senior team sparring and power test and junior team pattern filled the schedule on Sunday. Excellent performances by all the teams were in evidence. The senior male sparring team beat a strongly fancied team from Poland in the first round, had a walk-over in the second before being beaten in a close match against the eventual winners Ireland.
At the end of the Championships the team had an opportunity to relax and reflect on a job well done.
The performance of the team was brilliant and all competitors had built on the foundations laid at the European Championships. The training sessions following Sweden coupled with the addition of new team members delivered a series of amazing results and performances. The training routines and hard work put in by the team and the coaches is paying off. I, for one, was impressed by the team spirit and the support that the team gave each other. All involved competitors and coaches should be proud.
Thanks are due to all the parents and others who supported the team in Spain and in the months leading up to the tournament, the competitors themselves who performed so well against the best in the world and the team captains who performed such a brilliant role. Finally, thanks are due to Mr. Lear and his coaching team comprising Mr. Dunn, Mr. Adams, Mr. Burns and Mr. Capaja. whose efforts have developed the team leading to their performances in the championships.
Finally it would be remiss if I did not thank the organisers, the officials and referees who helped to make the ITF World Championships in Benidorm such a success.
Dr Jeff Brider
Here are two reports, one from an umpire and one from a competitor of the European Championships in Skovde, Sweden.
A team comprising 49 competitors, coaches and spectators gathered in the small hours of 1st May at Stansted airport to travel to Skovde in Sweden to compete in the AETF European Championships. The team joined representaitives from 26 other European countries for three days of competition at the 28th Senior and 19th Junior European Taekwon-do Championships.
The outcome of long hours of training and performances in Sweden resulted in 5 individual medals and medals to the Junior Female Patterns team. What follows is a brief report from an umpire who saw much of the action in a blur from one ring; it is therefore very impressionistic and a highlight of the event.
The team settled in on the first day and undertook some light training to await the weigh in on Thursday morning. All competitors achieved their respective weights and then went to the first training session at the Skovde Arena a second session took place on Thursday evening and then the team relaxed in preparation for the start of competition on the following day.
The competition commenced at 8:30 on Friday and the Junior divisions took up the whole day. A full day saw some excellent performances with medals being won by Kelly Brennan (Silver medal in Junior Female Sparring under 45kg division) and Bethany Hodkinson (Bronze medal in Junior Female Sparring under 65kg division).
The senior competition commenced on Saturday with exceptional performances in the pattern categories and hard fought bouts in the sparring divisions. Once again hard training led to impressive performances by Tom Nicholson (Silver in the Male Pattern 4-6 Dan division) and Laura Fox Longdon (Bronze in the Female Sparring to 62 kg. division). Kristine Evio also secured a Bronze medal in the Junior Female Individual Power category which took place during the day. Competition continued throughout the day and after a short break a short opening ceremony was followed by a number of finals.
The final day of competition was taken up by the team events for both the Senior and Junior teams. The Junior Girls Pattern team secured a bronze medal and despite great performances the Junior Girls Sparring team were beaten by the Netherlands team which went on to become the European Champions. Excellent performances by the Junior Male and Senior Male teams against strong teams bode well for the future.
At the end of the Championships the Team had the opportunity to build on friendships, renew friendships made at previous Championships and make new Friends. A key element of any tournament.
The team performed very well and foundations have been built for the future. The work of the coaches is certainly paying off with the potential for medals in future competitions.
Thanks are due to all the parents and others who have supported the competitors over the months leading up to the tournament, the competitors themselves who performed brilliantly against the best in Europe. Finally thanks are due to Mr Lear and his coaching team (Mr Dunn, Mr Adams and Mr Capaja) whose efforts have developed amazing team spirit which led medal success and some near misses in gaining a place on the medal podium.
Finally it would be remiss not to thank the AETF's organising committee, the tournament committee and all Swedish team that put on such a well-organised and friendly Championships.
Forty nine competitors, coaches, supporters, umpires and officials all met at Stansted Aiport in the early morning of Wednesday 1st May ready to depart to Skovde, Sweden for the ITF taekwondo European championships. Day one included a light training session outside in the lovely weather and last attempts to make weights.
With an early start on the Thursday morning it was time for the weigh in, with everyone making their weights it was a good way to start the day. We then walked to Arena Skovde for a training session where many teams joined us. After lunch, everyone went to the bowling ally for an hour of bowling, this was a good way many team members bonded well and had some fun before the evening training session.
Another early start on the Friday brought the first day of the European Championships seeing the juniors compete in patterns and sparring and the seniors compete in special technique and power. Laura Fox Longdon narrowly missing out on a bronze medal in power and Nick Edmunds also closely missing out on a medal, a great effort from the seniors in power. A great performance by Josh Wadey entertaining us with his amazing sparring matches, fighting hard in the quarter finals which kept going to a draw, eventually meaning he narrowly missed out in an intense sudden death match. The day started to improve when Bethany Hodkinson secured a bronze medal in the junior female -65kg category on the centre ring. Later on came Kelly Brennan in the final of the junior female -45kg category, unfortunately losing the match to Scotland. The last fight saw James Padula go up against a Polish giant in the junior male +75kg category. James showed true indomitable spirit not giving up against the Pole and not making it easy, great effort.
Saturday saw the seniors fight in the patterns and sparring category's and the juniors go for the power. Junior female, Kristine Evio got the day off to a flying start winning a bronze medal in the junior female power. Tom Nicholson then gave an amazing performance in the senior male 4th-6th degree patterns battling through the rounds to meet Suska in the final. It was a truly amazing match; Suska winning his 20th European title, meaning Tom had to settle with silver. In the sparring, Laura kept things going and reached the semi finals in the senior female -62kg. Unfortunately she couldn't beat the World Champion, Paprocka, meaning she came away with a brilliant bronze medal. In the hyper weight senior male sparring Rob Kearn fought brilliantly to dominate the Ukrainian. However, his next fight was scheduled straight after and it wasn't long enough for Rob to regain all his energy. This meant unfortunately he lost to the Romanian but also getting a black eye in the process! Later that evening came the gala of finals, this showed many outstanding fighters from all over Europe fight their hardest to try and become European champion.
The last day of the European Championships brought the team events. Great performances were displayed from all teams in the team patterns. The junior female team did exceptionally well to secure a bronze medal despite only being together for a couple of months prior to the Europeans. In the sparring great determination was shown by the junior boys being faced with the Scottish team filled with hyperweights. Also, the senior males had a great round against the Spanish, progressing to the next round where they had the favourites, Poland. It was an epic battle although England ended up losing by just one point.
On behalf of the England team, I'd like to thank the coaches for helping us, thanks to the supporters and the whole England team. There was an amazing display of team spirit at the European championships from England and I hope the amount is maintained in the future.
The European Championship took place in Skovde, Sweden which is located just a small distance outside Gothenburg. Due to exams and a few injuries, ITF England took a smaller than normal team to battle the best that Europe had to offer.
Day 1 (3 Bronze)
The competition started with patterns and out of the 10 senior pattern divisions that were to be contested ITF England came away with 3 bronze medals from Suz Patterson, 4th degree female, Jill Sommerville, female 3rd degree and Dan Farrell, male 3rd degree who all lost in the semi finals.
Suz lost to the current world champion. Dan and Jill beat the 2009 European champions as they progressed to the latter rounds. Dan and Jill achieved the same results in winning bronze at the recent World Championship in 2009 Argentina. The only other 2 seniors to enter patterns ended up losing narrowly to their respective opponents. In the junior section our 3 representatives of Callum East, Regan Lawrance and Marcela Capaja ended up just short of the medal rounds when they all lost in the quarter finals.
Day 2 (3 Bronze, 1 Silver)
Sparring was the main event of the second day. Zak Espi +80kg and Matt Cadle -63kg progressed steadily thru the rounds until the semi final stages where Zak lost to a Slovenian fighter. The fact that Zak made it that far was a remarkable achievement as he had sustained an injury 8 weeks prior that made training impossible and he aggravated it more in the quarter final and after that round was basically fighting with one leg and no mobility. Matt fought well but in the semi final appeared to tire slightly to lose to his Dutch opponent who would go on to become champion.
Morgan Da Silva was to be our highest placed competitor at the championship when he gained a silver medal in the -70kg junior division. He learnt his lesson in Argentina by listening to his coach and this time made it to the finals where he lost to his much taller German opponent. The final medal of the day was won by Graham Patterson in the senior Power Breaking event where he had lead the competition for a long time before he was pipped at the post by 2 Eastern Europeans.
Day 3 (1 Bronze)
The last day of the competition was to be the least successful for the team where only one medal was won. This was to be the Senior Male Power Team who after leading for ages finished 3rd behind Romania and Hungary.
The cream of Europe gathered together in Benidorm, Spain from the 24th -26th. The title of Europe's best was at stake.
The competition started with the patterns and Steven Arroyo won Gold in the 2nd degree patterns and Dan Farrell gained a bronze. First timers to the team were finding that mistakes were costly as Callum East and Marcela Capaja found out. Jay Hill performed well but a bad draw saw her pitted against Poland, who would go on to get to the final. Samuel Wood went through a few rounds before falling just short of the medal positions. Graham Patterson beat his first challenger before he went up against the 17 time European Champion, the decision was 4-1 against him but the result means that in head to head matches they are tied at 1 apiece as Graham beat his opponent in the 2003 World Championship on his way to being crowned World Champion. Suzanne Main was blatantly robbed as it seems 4 of the judges like high kicks. It didnÕt matter whether the kicks were correct, as long as they were high. The team patterns were lost in the quarter finals when a mistimed movement was to prove very costly against the Norwegian team.
In the sparring James Emblin won through to gain bronze in -52kg junior sparring. Mazda Hazzandedah in his first championship fought well but lost to a more experienced competitor. Marcela Capaja had a tough battle against a Finnish opponent and ended up on the wrong end of a close decision. Morgan Da Silva battled against a Polish Junior and although he managed to get his adversary 10 warnings he still lost out.
Regan Lawrance had to move up to the next weight category as somehow the scales he used were not correct so when he weighed in he was over the limit. His first opponent was a boy from Ireland who was considerably heavier than him and Regan managed to accumulate enough warnings to mean he would be giving his opponent 3 points but with seconds remaining he caught Irish lad with a lovely kick to the head. Result 4-0 and a match against the Spanish fighter. With home support against him Regan showed class and easily picked off his opponent scoring on a regular basis. Again 4-0, next up Germany. Again well timed scores give the match to Regan and he progresses to the semi final to meet Slovenia. Accumulation of attempted weight loss for his original division and matches occurring rapidly, fitness played a major part and Regan loss but the bronze was won.
In the senior division current World Champion Matt Cadle went up against a tough fighter from Romania. After being caught with a body kick within the first 30 secs Matt had to chase the fight and was on the wrong end of a decision. England Captain Nicholas Symonds had to face Scotland and after 2 closely contested rounds the decision went against him.
Zak Espi would have to do it the hard way if he wanted to be crowned Champion. In most of his fights he is lighter and shorter against his opponents but the man is a machine that only has forward gears and bout after bout his opponents would amass 10+ warnings. In the quarter finals he went up against the Norwegian fighter that got the decision at the World Cup in Italy with zakÕs controversial disqualification. He disposed of him and also his semi final opponent before facing the polish fighter in the Finals. In a bout that went to extra time the decision went against him. The fact that a member of the jury council and high ranking officials who were observing ringside commented that they thought Zak had won says a lot.
Holly Bagshaw made the jump from junior to senior competitor and she found the going tough. Lisa Dennis started in the sparring as one of the favourites for a medal as she had won silver at the World Cup, first up for her was a Russian girl who was made short work of. Next up was the repeat of the World Cup semi final pitting Lisa against a Polish fighter. This was to prove a bruising encounter as both contestants accumulated 2 minus points for heavy contact and when a crushing punch to the face caused a major nose bleed the Polish lady was disqualified. With little time to address the nose injury Lisa was called to battle with a Slovenian and ended up claiming the silver medal.
In the power competition Piotr Capaja had to pull out with 2 days to go due to a hamstring injury and his place was taken by Graham Patterson. With no time to do any extra conditioning Graham put on an excellent show and actually led the competition for a while before he had to settle for bronze. Lisa Dennis had come to Benidorm to do a job in the Power event and she most certainly did that, being the only competitor to break with all 3 techniques. Gold to Lisa, to add to the silver. With these 2 great performances in the individual power event, it boded well for the team event.
First up were the men and after taking an early lead they had to sit and watch after country by country went up and tried to beat EnglandÕs score. 3 Countries tied the score so there was a 4 country play off to decide the medals. Knife hand was pulled out of the hat and along with Finland, England were the only other country to break; this was achieved by Graham, leaving Germany and Romania to collect bronze. The punch was pulled out as the next eliminator and the Finnish Competitor bent both boards to collect 2 points. Up stepped Piotr to gain maximum points and the Gold for England with a magnificent break, bearing in mind that only 2 competitors out of nearly 40 had managed to break with the Punch. It was the ladies turn next and Suzanne Main smashed thru the knife hand before Lisa Dennis done the same to the side kick, she was the only lady out of 40 who broke with the side kick, Yvonne Wilcox stepped up to do the turning kick but was unsuccessful with her attempt. Once again it left the ladies awaiting the results of the other teams. This time just Romania and England contested the main prize and as soon as side kick was drawn out of the hat the Gold medal was ours. Lisa once again proved she was a class above the other competitors by going thru the boards easily and the Romanian didnÕt dent them. The junior male power team managed to secure another bronze medal and the ladies junior team performed admirably to get bronze in team special technique.
In the team sparring category we had 3 teams competing, they were Male Junior and senior and female junior. The senior team had a tough draw against Slovenia and ended up losing 3-1. Similar score line happened in the junior team as they had to go up against the Polish team. Through injury and exams the junior team did not have a full strength team out but performed admirably well. The junior ladies had a tough draw against Russia, but with good tactical sparring the match was won. In the quarter-final Spain were the opposition but once again sacrifices were made and the team emerged victorious to set up a semi with Poland. Against bigger opposition the girls found it hard and had to settle for bronze.