Eleven day journey . . . thousands and thousands of miles . . . adventure after adventure after adventure . . . that pretty much sums up what our CTI Black Belt Team and Support Crew did on their tour of South Korea! The group numbered 42, and everyone did a wonderful job the entire time. Each really earned their World Tour Patch, because after the daily, multi-choiced breakfast that was had, it was nine to nine each and every fun-filled day!
On the first day, arriving at 5:30 AM from the United States, we met Mrs. Yung J. Park who was waiting for us when our plane landed. After our first breakfast in the Land of the Morning Calm, the team got its "Korean legs" while touring Seoul National University's Ocean Wave Engineering project. The walk around the campus located in Seoul, the wave research presentation and lunch at the university's Student Center got everyone acclimated quickly.
The next couple of days found the group touring ancient Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, shopping at Insadong and Dongdaemun shopping areas and working out in Yongin City with the Kyung Hee University Taekwondo Teams.
Our CTI Black Belt Team was able to work with the three main teams at Kyung Hee University. (These Korean black belts get their degree in Taekwondo and Major in one of three areas - Poomse, Sparring or Demonstration.) On this second day of the trip, the team trained with members of the Korean Olympic Sparring Team. All between the ages of 18 and 24, the Korean team had lightning quick feet and pushed our team hard! Exercises started out with some big time stretching. Then it was on to exercises that help develop and improve sparring abilities. The begining of the exercise was similar to what is done in our CTI Power Taekwondo. A few sweaty hours later, it was time for a little free sparring.
The following day the team returned to Kyung Hee University and was met by the Kyung Hee Demonstration Team. But before the drive to the training, the team did the most touristy-thing of the trip . . . that's right . . . they went to the Unhyeongung Royal Residence and took turns dressing in the traditional costumes of the late 1800's for pictures, education and fun! Afterwards the team went to the historic Myeongdong area for some shopping and lunch at a local Korean restaurant.
When our CTI Team did arrive at the university, we met the Kyung Hee Demo Team and they showed us their demonstration that included some basics and some excellent breaking techniques. Then, the Kyung Hee Poomse Team took over. After a few hours of training, including a good long warm-up and countless kicking drills, it was time to trade some Taegeuk poomse back and forth between groups. Taeguek il chang was performed by the Korean black belts. Then our black belts performed Taegeuk il chang for the hosts. Then it was two poomses at a time, with the Koreans going first and then our CTI team going next. All the poomses were alternated back and forth up to, and including, the sixth dan WTF poomse Ji-Tae. After the poomses, the Korean Team members were split up with our team members to work on different poomse techniques.
It was time to head back to the Provista Hotel in Seoul, and get ready for one of our favorite parts of the whole trip - meeting the Park Family for dinner. And it was not just an ordinary dinner, it was a Hanjeongsik - a many, many coursed meal of exotically prepared yumminess. On hand were two of Great Grandmaster Park's brothers Dr. Song H. Park, Dr. Young H. Park, and many of their family members. It was quite an evening, and a night for our group to remember for a long time!
Don't miss Part 2 of the CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '14.