Sunday, August 9, 2009

Training with Master Gil-Jun Park

Master Park, as i said earlier, is awesome. His technique and ability perfect and precise. His knowledge of Martial Arts is comprehensive. He put us through our paces from Tuesday 4th to Saturday 8th. Tue-Fri consisting of two 3 hour sessions a day and Friday we did three sessions that day and one last training session on Saturday morning.

From the start Master Park asked us what we would like to learn and concentrated on those areas that we were interested in. Although we did do some TKD, we mainly concentrated on Hap Ki Do. The training was hard but insightful, as Master Park is one of those teachers who pays meticulous detail to every little aspect of training.

It is the height of summer in Seoul and the weather was consistently around 30 degrees. Needless to say Instructor Alex, Anne Marie and myself lost a few kilos whilst training at his dojang. Like every aspect of his session, the warm up was comprehensive and lasted a minimum of 30 minutes. Master Park explained (whether through his wife or one of his English speaking students) the purpose behind every warm up exercise: what part of the body it was meant to affect and more importantly exactly how. Only then then did we commence with Hap Ki Do training in earnest.

Instructor Alex, commented, that one of the main things that stood out for him during our time training with Master Park was the completeness of his system of Hap Ki Do. Master Park constantly linked one element of training to another and in this manner gave us a deeper insight into the complete whole.

For Anne Marie, what stood out for her was Master Park's passion for teaching; his ability to explain and convey ideas all the more impressive due to his lack of English or should I say in this circumstance - our lack of Korean.

For myself, one of the things that really stood out, was the depth to which he explained 'Dujoung breathing' and the channeling of Ki energy. This was something that had been explained to me in the past by other English speaking Korean Masters, but yet again, Master Park was able to open a whole knew world of understanding for all three of us through his passion for teaching and his comprehensive knowledge.

I should also note that both Master Park and his wife have a great sense of humour. After training a couple of days with Master Park, Alex and I asked Mrs Park if there was a laundry service near our hotel that we could use (the hotel prices being far too high) as our uniforms were becoming undeniably ripe!! Mrs Park promptly offered to wash our uniforms for us - which we gratefully accepted. However, upon the next days training after demonstrating 'rather firm wrist locks/throws on both Instructor Alex and I, Master Park was heard to comment in English "Washing!" nor could Mrs Park hide her deep belly laugh on these occasions.

Nor was the week all training and no play. In between training sessions we managed to get some shopping in, visited the Kukkiwon (the official headquarters for WTF Tae Kwon Do) and watched a Kukkiwon TKD demonstration at the beautiful setting of the historical Gyeonghuigung Palace.


  1. Hey guys, come back and get me. Your trip is going really well. Lots of Love Marl'ene and family xxx