Taekwon-do Demonstration



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 A selection of Connacht Taekwon-do Academy juniors performed a demonstration for the community of Ballybane in July. They showed the crowd a variety of patterns, some sparring drills and special techniques. (To see highlights, click the image above.)


Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon teaches a successful course in Madrid

By Mr. Alejandro Veyssiere, V

More than fifty Taekwon-Do lovers of all ages and various Spanish regions were able to enjoy a very complete course directed by the international instructor Shane Fitzgibbon, celebrated in Madrid the weekend of May 31 and June 1. The workshop was organized by the Madrilenian Traditional Taekwon-Do Association (AMTT) and took place in the facilities of the Malvar School and was attended by fourteen black belts, including four international instructors, the national coach, several components of the Spanish National Team, representatives of Andalusia, Canary Islands and Alicante, as well as the instructors and teachers of the major clubs in Madrid.


In the first training session, Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon, who was assisted by Ms. Lisa Connolly and all the instructors, showed his large experience as an international competitor explaining different sparring techniques which define his personal fighting style. At all times, Mr. Fitzgibbon made it clear that his techniques were not intended to change the fighting style of the practitioners, but that these techniques could be new ideas that can be added to each fighter’s repertoire, according to his/her own style. At the final of the first training session, all the workshop participants were delighted with a set of self-defence techniques, with specific work on neck chokes and ground techniques.


The Sunday training session started with the application of the fighting techniques shown on Saturday in the competition sparring situation, and also detailed work on basic principles of Taekwon-Do technique. In this way, Mr. Fitzgibbon emphasized the fundamental principles that must be realized in each Taekwon-Do movement and technique, as the proper execution of wave movement, the action and reaction principle, rotation, balance control, concentration, backward motion, and all those aspects that determine the power and effectiveness of the attacking and defensive techniques. Before the session ended, an exclusive technical session for the black belts took place. After that, the workshop was closed, the organization thanked all the participants, instructors and authorities through the presentation of participation certificates. Also, the AMTT gave Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon and Ms. Lisa Connolly several presents to remember their visit to Madrid and to recognize their work in spreading Taekwon-Do, based on building friendship between the instructors and students from Madrid with the Irish Taekwon-Do representatives.

Barna Summer Grading

The summer 2008 grading took place in Barna School Hall on 29th June. On a morning of many fine performances, both children and adults were examined and successfully achieved promotion to higher ranks. There were some especially fine examples of board breaking. Many congratulations to all taking part. The adult grading award was presented to Mr James Dunne, and the junior award went to Eleanor Noone. Both these students did exceptionally well and graded with the highest marks.

Ballinasloe Grading

Ms. Connolly hosted Ballinasloe's second grading since the school opened in the beautiful Carlton Shearwater Hotel. The studetns did extremely well with grading awards going to Olivia Moloney (Snr) and Eric Moloney (Jnr). Mr. Fitzgibbon's student who travelled from Galway to participate, Brian Higgins, was double promoted to yellow belt.

Black Belt Grading

European Open Taekwon-do Championships

Connacht Championships 2008

Galway West Spring Grading Report

6th April saw Mrs. Whelan's students successfully grade and gain promotion to their next belts. The grading awards for the best performances by Senior and Junior students went to Mr Mike Glynn and Cormac Pope. Congratulations to all who took part.

Mr. Fitzgibbon receives Irish Competitor of the Year Award

Connacht Recipients of ITF Black Belt Certs

Mr. Fitzgibbon and a number of his students recieved their official ITF black belt certificates prior to the IIC banquet. Form L-R: Eoghan Doyle (Galway) 2 dan, Mrs Mary Mannion (Athlone) 3rd dan, Ciara Doyle (Galway) 2 dan, Mrs Sally Whelan (Galway), 1 dan, Mrs Sandra Doyle (Galway) 2 dan, Ms. Lisa Connolly (Galway) 3rd dan, Mr. Fitzgibbon (5th Dan).

Connacht instructors and students attend International Instructor Course and Banquet

by Mrs Sandra Doyle

Day three started at 10am and we got straight into it (after Master Choi introduced Master Lee Won Il VIII, a master and close friend from Spain) finishing off Toi Gye and moving on to the three first degree Tul. We completed all three covering all the minutiae - chambering, trajectory, development of power, sine wave. Master Choi stressed that Tul should be elegant and beautiful as well as powerful and precise. They should look nice, have grace and nice lines, and that by combining power and technique with elegance and grace we can achieve this. We worked on the back kick in some detail, with the point being made that if you turn the body too much it becomes a back side kick and not a back kick. All of a sudden it was all over and Master Choi commented that Mr and Mrs Dalton had made him too welcome and he didn’t want to leave. He seemed genuinely sad to have to finish up and said he was having too much fun - I think we all were. Then Master Lee Won Il addressed us in Korean, which Master Choi translated for us, and delivered a rousing and touching speech. He said how watching us made him want to go get his Dobok and join in, and he brought many people close to tears. He praised Master Choi and Mr and Mrs Dalton and left us all feeling renewed. The whole weekend left us all feeling a regenerated love of what it is we do and teach, a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm for the Art and a desire to be better not just at Taekwon-do but to be better people all round. Master Choi and Master Lee Won Il posed for photos with each group and finally departed leaving us with a sense of loss and a desire to do it all again at the next available chance.

Mr. Espeche departs

Athlone Spring Grading

Mrs. Mary Mannion hosted Mr. Fitzgibbon for the spring gradings in Athlone. As per usual, she had the students well prepared in anticipation of a gruelling test. During the examination of a green-blue belt group, Mrs Mannion observed to Mr. Fitzgibbon that she always felt her students were well prepared for black belt due to his thorough gradings. The two highest scores (and hence the grading awards) of the day went to Alison Hughes and Mathew Funk.


The following excerpt is from an email that was sent to Mrs. Mannion by a parent following the grading and training workshop Mr. Fitgibbon gave two weeks prior:


Hi there, Would you let him (Mr. Fitzgibbon) know that I appreciate his words of encouragement to the students? It's great to hear someone talk about personal responsibility and the importance of not quitting when things get tough. Matthew loved the 2 hour seminar and was so excited about the new moves he learned. His muscles were sore for a couple days afterward though!

Thanks again for the great job you do (Mrs. Mannion)! You are truly gifted at teaching - your enthusiasm and positive outlook really inspire.

Denise Funk (parent)

Mr. Fitzgibbon gives workshop in Athlone


Chief Instructor, Mr. Fitzgibbon gave a two-hour workshop for Mrs Mannion's students in Athlone on Thursday 6th March. The GAA community centre was packed wall-to-wall with students from white to black belt eagerly ready to learn. Mr. Fitzgibbon covered a variety of sparring drills starting with simple step-kick-punch exercises progressing to more complex combinations. This tested the students capacity to learn and remember. He also covered the fundamental Taekwon-do patterns and emphasised the importance of understanding how to correctly perform movements, while comprehending the application of such techniques. The workshop was taught by Mr. Fitzgibbon free of charge and afterwards, Mrs Mannion, and her husband thanked Mr Fitzgibbon by taking him for a delicious meal in Athlone town.

Master Maidana Seminar

The Connacht Taekwon-do Academy students were privileged to host a workshop with Master Jose Maidana, VII from Argentina in February. Held at the Galway Lawn Tennis Club in Galway, Master Maidana put all who attended through their paces for three fantastic hours. Credit to the younger members (as young as 7 years old) for lasting so long. The seminar started at 7pm and didn’t finish until just after 10pm. For many it was too early at that!


Master Maidana, assisted by Mr. Don Dalton, VI covered a large variety of sparring drills and also patterns form Chon-Ji to Joong-gun. There were representatives form Loughrea, Barna, Ballinasloe, Oranmore clubs as well as Galway. Mr. Fitzgibbon thanked Master Maidana for travelling to Galway to give the workshop. He was also delighted for the attendees to meet his own instructor, Mr Dalton who has been his Taekwon-do instructor and friend for over twenty years.

WKA Trials


The Irish trials for the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) World Championships were held in C.I.T. on February 24th. Congratulations to Mr. Leon Brydone (Athlone), Brendan Kenny (Oranmore) and Cillian Howard (Oranmore) who all qualified for the World Finals to be held in Florida next November. Mr. Brydone qualified in sparring , while the two juniors qualified in both sparring and patterns

Munster Championships

Labane Student of the month (Dec)

Name

Points

Eoghan Doyle

8

Evan Liu

20

Damian Saternus

5

Laura Costello

11

Brendan Kenny

36

Cathal Kilbane

10

Thomas Hogan

5

Leon Brydone

20

Cillian Howard

13

Mark Buckley

16

Competitor of the Year Table

(N.B. It is the responsibility of each competitor to ensure that his/her results are correctly included in each tournament report below, as it is from these that the table is compiled)

December

Christmas Party & End-of Year Awards

November

Irish Championships

October

Leinster Championships

July

Taekwon-do Demonstration

July

Brydone is European Champion

July

Mr. Fitzgibbon gets great write-up in Connacht Tribune

June

Mr. Shane Fitzgibbon teaches a successful course in Madrid

June

Bronze Medal for Howard at German Golden Trophy

June

Barna Summer Grading

June

Cork Friendship Tournament

May

Ballinasloe Grading

April

Black Belt Grading

April

European Open Taekwon-do Championships

April

Connacht Championships 2008

March

Galway West Spring Grading Report

March

Mr. Fitzgibbon receives Irish Competitor of the Year Award

March

Connacht Recipients of ITF Black Belt Certs

March

Connacht instructors and students attend International Instructor Course and Banquet

March

Mr. Espeche departs

March

Athlone Spring Grading

March

Mr. Fitzgibbon gives workshop in Athlone

February

Master Maidana Seminar

February

WKA Trials

February

Munster Championships

January

Labane Student of the month (Dec)

Tournament & Event Reports For 2008

Irish Championships


History made - the first ITF Ireland Irish Championships with nine fully matted rings. Ireland's premier martial arts competition kicked off on Saturday with the black belts. Connacht had two medallists - Cathal Kilbane (bronze) and Shane Rabbitte (silver) which got the weekend off to a good start for the province. On Sunday, the colour belt standard was very high, but Connacht competitors did extremely well.


Special mention goes to Brendan Kenny (Oranmore) and Mark Buckley (Galway) who each won two gold medals - a truly fantastic achievement.


The other  results were:

Yvonne McHugh (Ballinasloe) - gold, silver

Charlie Bermingham (Labane) - gold, silver

Shannon Holland (Galway) - gold, silver

Leon Brydone (Athlone) - gold

*Awaiting other results*


Mr Fitzgibbon launched back into action this weekend again after his year-long layoff, as the Irish Team sought to regain the Celtic Cup. He remained undefeated in the competition and one again captained the team to victory (over Holland) in the final. According to Mr Fitzgibbon, “it was a privilege to compete once again with champions such as Mr Padraig O’ Connor, Mr Sean Keane, and current star, Mr. Leon Brydone.”





Christmas Party & End-of Year Awards


The 20089 Christmas Party went down  a storm this year, as per usual. There attendees from the Galway, Oranmore, Ballinasloe, Labane and Barna schools. After a beautiful, festive meal  Mr. Fitzgibbon and Ms. Connolly presented grading certificates and colour belts to the students who had graded the previous day. ITF black belt certs were presented to:

Mrs Sally Whelan - 2nd dan

Mr David McEvilly - 3rd dan

Laura Costello - 1st dan

Thomas Hogan - 1st dan.


Following the grade presentations, the end-of year awards were give out for the Galway/Oranmore classes. The well-deserving recipients were:

Shannon Holland - Student of the Year (senior)

Damian Saternus - Student of the Year (junior)

Brendan Kenny - Connacht of Competitor of the Year


Next up was the karaoke session and disco. The karaoke was well attended by the juniors, but  Ms. Carol Moloney (Ballinasloe) absolutely brought the house down with her Tina Turner rendition. The irreplaceable DJ, Fintan Higgins, brought  2008 to wonderful close.