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International: Team 10



Thanks to Carl van Roon for his updates, Carolina Dillen and Estelle Speirs for their photos and updates. Reports and Photos from the Impact SIte.

Asian ITF champs: Vietnam takes third place 

Vietnam has come third after winning a total of 2 gold and 3 silver and 5 bronze medals at the 2nd Asian International Teakwondo Federation Championships held in Ho Chi Minh City from July 23-25. In the men’s under 52kg category, Nguyen Minh Duy easily defeated Afghanistan’s Fayeh to take the first gold.

The second gold medal went to Dang Thi Kim Phung when she defeated her Afghani opponent in the women’s 50kg category.

The excellent performances by the Vietnamese athletes were praised by international observers as this year’s championships attracted many top contenders, who have recently won Asian and world championship titles.

Mariusz Steckiewicz, a Polish six-degree black belt from the International Teakwondo Federation, said that Vietnam can achieve greater success in the future if the country invests more in its competitors.

In the medals tally, New Zealand came first with 19 gold, 9 silver and 3 bronze medals followed by Japan with 3 golds, 6 silvers and 6 bronzes.

Vietnam will attend the ITF World Championships in New Zealand in March 2011.

Source: http://english.vovnews.vn/Home/Asian-ITF-champs-Vietnam-takes-third-place/20107/117888.vov

Reports courtesy of Mr Carl van Roon

[27 July 5.20pm] Hi everyone,
So now the dust has settled from the tournament, and this is my last update. Especially seeming as my hand has kinda ballooned up more now... kinda looks like a dish washing rubber glove filled with a water...
Anyway yesterday we went to the cu chi tunnels. My rubber glove hand made it fun to crawl through them hahaha
The biggest tunnels are about 1m high and 70cm wide... the smallest? Three levels under the ground? 50cm high... 60-70cm wide... Meaning that soldiers had to literally squirm forward on their stomachs... and the problem, according to our tour guide, was not the size (not for the Vietnamese anyway...) but the lack of oxygen! Sounds like hell to me. Let alone when someone is trying to throw a grenade at you and chase you down a tunnel...

"LET'S GO TUNNERRRR!!" was our tour guide's favourite saying of the day. He was an ex-guerrilla who extensively explained a series of vicious looking traps designed to puncture boots, legs, knees and other body parts in order that GIs would be incapacitated and easier to "neutralise".
It was pretty saddening really to consider the humanitarian cost of the war, and I made the comment to Steve that I can totally see how the American public withdraw there support for such a war, particularly considering it was the first time that clear colour images from the war zone were sent back to families waiting in the states, which was enough to de-romanticise past thoughts of idealised, heroic and valiant efforts in war in which everything was thought to have been done in an honourable way.

So anyhow, the tunnels themselves were pretty scary. For those that don't know anything about them, the Vietcong (guerrila fighters all over Vietnam) used a series of tunnel systems in a zig zag fashion with tiny entrances hidden in the ground that led to kitchens, bunkers, meeting rooms... everything. They hid down several levels in order to escape B52 bombers and napalm and we got to go through a genuine tunnel system. It was nuts. It was freaky enough as it was just in a tour group, but in the war, it would have been pitch black, and being tall myself, big americans carrying packs and heavy weapons would have struggled...

It really brought what I had studied way back in highschool to life.
Really really stimulating.

People also got to fire all sorts of heavy weaponary at a firing range for 20 USD or so... my favourite moment was seeing a hyped up Nick Lourantos return from the range after firing a heavy assault M60... the kind they used to mount on tanks, armoured personal carriers, and choppers. He said he was still feeling the adrenalin from shooting this thing (which was so loud it hurt your ears even from 20m away) that he was still shaking and feeling buzzy 15 min later! Crazy.
But for all the commercialism and tourism. The overbearing feeling was still very sad. A proud people, caught in a political war and subjegated to a decade of violence in their home country. Very sad.
Sure, it's fun to shoot a gun at a simple target, but when you think about the actual purpose for that gun, and what it is really used for?...
I think you get my drift anyway.

So, today I'm off to Cambodia, to go and see Ang Kor Wat.
I could write about it, but it isnt really TKD related... So I'll probably catch up with you all when I get back.

My final thoughts? 4 international tournys in 4 weeks? Waaaay too much. Peaking for one or two is enough of a challenge, let alone 4 and then returning to trial in another few weeks....
Then again, I guess experience is the best teacher and until you push yourself, you don't know where the limit for these things really lie for you personally.
Still, these last four weeks have been incredible and I thoroughly look forward to blogging for you again at some point in the near future.

Bring on the training for 2011.
Best of luck to all those trialling for the NZ team in Aug and Sept. Kia kaha.

My best regards to Nick and his team organising next year's World Championships in Wellington. It is a very exciting time for our organisation and country and I'm proud to say I am a part of it.

Yours in the Martial Arts.


NZ won a total of 19 Gold Medals in total. Results of Day 2:

9 Gold Medals: All in Sparring Divisions
Michael Davis - Jnr Male Light Weight
Amanda Cleland - Jnr / Snr Special Sparring
Chris Broughton - Snr Male light Weight
Mark Trotter - Snr Micro Weight
Carl van Roon - Snr Heavy Weight
Estelle Speirs - Snr Femail Micro Weight
Carolina Dillen - Snr Female Light Weight

Female Team Sparring
Male Team Sparring

6 Silver Medals: All in Sparring Divisions
Simon Davis - Jnr Male Light Weight
Ethan Parker - Junior Male Middle Weight
Melisa Timperly - Jnr / Snr Special Sparring
Richard Lavin - Snr Male Heavy Weight
Clint King - Snr Male Hyper Weight
Alicia Yates - Snr Female Micro Weight

2 Bronze Medals: All in Sparring divisions
Mathew Davey - Snr Male Light Weight
Michael Onland - Snr Male Hyper Weight

[26 July 2.30am] Hey hey everyone

Great day for NZ.

But look, my hand is wasted from punching hong kong in the forehead in the semi so this typing is like a one handed t-rex going at it...
Was a massive day but I really need to rest this hand.
New Zealand took out the most divisions and Trotts, Brought-shorts and Carolina were all eligible to be best overall competitors with gold in both patterns and free-sparring :D Lets just say they were lucky there was no special technique... *cough*

So I'll leave the official results up to Mr. Lourantos or Mr Pellow perhaps? <nudge nudge>
But for now I'd just like to wish my utmost congratulations to all the team on their efforts during the asian champs 2010.

Some highlights for me were watching Clint flying side kick his opponent, then execute some sort of barrel-roll type kick to the face into and inadvertant scissor-leg take-down. Always entertaining bro.
He took out silver in hyper.

Also a great fight was between the Uzbekistani hyper and our hyper "big Mike" in the final of team sparring, were mike totally pushed himself to another level and really took control of the match. Great cross-step mike. Shot.

Also thanks to ethan for letting me stink up his sparring gear and to trotts, yes, I owe you $5 for pulling off that sweet 360 downward kick.

Good times. Ok, my hand is sore. Tomorrow, I'll write more!



Competition - Day 1 Results

Individual Patterns:
Gold - Michael Davis Junior 1st Degree Male
Silver - Simon Davis Junior 1st Degree Male
Gold - Christopher Broughton 1st Degree Male
Gold - Carolina Diillen 1st Degree Female
Silver - Carl van Roon 2nd Degree Male
Gold - Ethan Parker Junior 2nd Degree Male
Gold - Estelle Speirs 2nd Degree Female
Gold - Melissa Timperely 3rd Degree Female
Gold - Mark Trotter 4th Degree Male
Silver - Richard Lavin 4th Degree Male

Pre-Arranged Sparring:
Gold - Mark Trotter & Christopher Broughton
Bronze - Melissa Timperely & Ethan Parker

Team Patterns:
Gold - NZ Female Team 
(Alicia Yates, Amanda Cleland, Estelle Speirs, Melissa Timperely & Carolina Dillen) 

[25 July 2.30am Hey we had a big (half) day today, with New Zealand taking out many of the medal placings in each division. My personal highlights included the female team winning team pattern, Trotts and Brought-shorts prearranged and the final play off for 4th degree patterns contested by Rich and Trotts.

Male 1st degree was taken out by Chris (Brought-shorts), and, being the dedicated patterns practicioner that I am, I somehow swung into the final with Japan and tried to take him on Juche Vs. juche. Alas, fail. Haha all credit to team Nippon.

When we get official results, we'll be sure to post them up :D

Tomorrow we have the sparring divisions, and while I'm not sure about the female divisions, I know that many of the male divisions have decent numbers with 8-12 competitors in divisions such as micro, light and heavy, so it should make for a few good fights on the way into the final.

I'm also happy to report that I've been learning a little Vietnamese, which is really quite difficult to pronounce! As you may know, it is a tonal language, like thai, or Mandarin. I did some mandarin at uni, and lived with a chinese family as a tutor for 18 months, which is another story, but seriously Vietnamese seems much harder... The way they clip the syllables with consonants and the tones up down left right back to front (ok maybe not) makes for some difficulty in remembering... But it has been fun.

So, today's Vietnamese phrase for us to use in the marketplace tonight is "Het bao nhieu?" = "How much?"

If you're feeling in a more romantic mood? "Anh yeu em" = "I love you" as spoken by a man to a woman... I dunno how to say it as a woman...

Anyhow, we are off to the night markets to get some sweet deals.
I'll email ya'll tomorrow after the tournament to let ya know how we got on!



Evening team - just got back from demo at the opening ceremony.
What a sight, with half a dozen martial arts teams demonstrating in time to choreographed musical routines, breaking, weapons forms and what was more like dance at times, it was a good time.
100 little kids or so from south korea performed a giant team poomsae (WTF lingo for tul) and local Wushu, Vietnamese Martial art and Karate teams performed before we put on our own little NZ ITF demo.

So at this time you may be asking "what? WTF? Karate? Wushu?" and suprisingly, both WTF and ITF as martial arts are under the same banner here, with an organisation approved by the government called the VTF (Vietnamese Taekwon-Do Federation) leading both.
Acting President of the ITF Grandmaster Tratjenberg even made the comment that he was very pleased to be working with "our brothers from WTF..."

The demo itself went well, with Trotts performing Moon-Moo towards the crowd of several hundred (maybe a thousand max?) and a panel of ITF and WTF masters including the head of the Asian Taekwondo (notice the spelling) Union which leads the WTF in asia, GM Tratjenberg, Master Alfred Yu who leads the ITF in Asia and several other distinguished guests. How unusual a situation I thought... The last time such unity was seen in Taekwon-Do was before the creation of ITF in 1966 and WTF in 1972...
Very interesting.

Yet again, I digress... Back to the demo.
After Trotts put on a great Moon-Moo to some very receptive and pleased applause from the Vietnamese home-crowd, yours truly was up to demonstrate some special techniques by kicking empty soda cans off my team-mates, after kicking a few off Clint, and then to cheers from kicking off the head of big mike with a flying reverse turning, I finished with a three direction off Chris, Rich and Clint... alas my looping turning on the final kick swept way over Clint's can, and, with a delay that felt like ten seconds (prob more like half a second) Clint dropped the can... which the audience laughed at anyhow. They were very cool and very appreciative, which was nice considering we weren't that prepared.

For the finale of our demo section Trotts and Brought-shorts put together a pre-arranged by effectively doing a "Doctor frankenstein" in combining sections of their past winning pre-arranged routines from nationals and worlds... Once again, the crowd was very pleased and it was nice to notice the approving smiles of the ITF masters in the VIP stand.

So the opening ceremony and demos were taped for national Vietnamese TV, and I got some footage too courtesy of gravy baby (matty). Shot matt.

Just been practicing team-pattern 10 mins ago, preparing for tomorrow, with the tournament starting at 2pm.

I'm off to bed.

Goodnight :D


[23 July 10 pm] Xin chào NZ
Arrived in Vietnam late last night after getting the run around with my visa... I must have made a fatal error on the application form because the dates were out by a week and they refused to let me get on the plane! They did mention it was probably for my own good so I didn't end up being stranded on the wrong side of customs for the next 10 days inside the airport at Ho Chi Minh City, like Tom Hanks in that movie, forget the name of it...
Anyway, the point is, I made it.

Coincidentally, on the same flight as me were the Japanese team, who we just saw earlier this month in Jamaica and the states. You should have seen Lee Sung Bong's face (the Japanese coach for the Asian Champs), he thought I was just kidding when I said I was flying through Japan for another tournament and a side trip to Okinawa to meet Mr Miyagi. Guess it's one of those "you had to be there moments though..."

So we just got back from weigh-in and checked out the arena. A group of us hit up the sauna this morning, so finally being ushered through to the scales was a welcome moment which heralded a collective sigh of relief and the traditional team pig-out, that just has to be done following the process.
The food here is delicious and very affordable, which is a welcome change from the US and Japan...and people are so polite, warm and hospitable, in what feels like a very genuine way.

We're just chilling out back at the hotel now. Mr. Brought-shorts (Chris) is on my right and we're systematically working our way through various supplies we liberated from the local convenience store....One local drink of note, is "revive" kinda like a fizzy version of powerade.
Dunno if I'd be that keen on the burps while bouncing around in my sparring gear but yea it's nice to revive me after the weigh-in process.

So far, the others have mentioned visiting the "Cu Chi" tunnels which the Viet-Cong created as an extensive means of both transporting weapons, hiding and ambushing G.I.s during the Vietnam war.
I didn't make it myself but super keen to check it out after the tournament.
Mention was also made of the museum documenting the war, including exhibitions with every weapon, tank and jet fighter you can imagine. Trotts, Clint and Rich even hit the shooting range and played around with some AK47s. Guess you don't do that everyday...
As for the actual museum content? Mr. Pellow described it as very sobering, which reinforces similar experiences I've had with visiting concentration camp sites and the like in Europe.... I guess it just highlights again some of the terrible things that human beings are capable of, things which we will need to collectively endevour to avoid with open-communication, respect and understanding.

But I digress... Tonight we are putting on a short demo (although not the most prepared we could be!) at the opening ceremony.
I'll let you know how that goes :D
Tomorrow is patterns and pre-arranged, with sparring on sunday.

We just saw the indian team arrive on mass before and we've also seen a large contingent from Hong Kong, Vietnam and a few Uzbekistani's and the like floating around.

Until later tonight, all the best from Nam.


PS. Everyone keeps going on about how amazing the prices are, just to give you an idea - $1 US for a pair of CK boxers, 10c US for the latests DVDs, $5 for a fake LV bag, $3 for Adidas t-shirts etc... good shoes, well known brands Nike, Puma etc $20 USD, sometimes less...
It's all about bartering here, like crazy, and the guys have already been harassed several times, with some being wrist grabbed, sat-down, told they can't leave shops until they buy something etc... Nuts.
I'm yet to experience this myself but should be fun, maybe mr. pellow could use the situation as a testing ground for releasing techniques?
Ok. See ya later.

From Estelle Speirs  July 22 at 10:12pm

We received this US Open update:

Michael Onland, Shane Black, Ross Black and Corey Hunter traveled together and their results were as follows:

Michael Onland
1st Point Sparring (A class)
3rd Continuous Sparring
Finalist – Traditional Forms (Patterns)

Shane Black
3rd Continuous Sparring (AA class)

Ross Black
2nd Continuous Sparring (AA Class)

Corey Hunter
2nd Wood Power breaking – Foot
2nd Continuous sparring 16-17yr (Advanced brown – red belt)
4th Point Sparring 16-17yr (Advanced brown – red belt)

Other results

Ogy Kabzamalov
3rd Continuous Sparring
3rd Point Sparring

Matt Davies
Finalist Traditional Forms

Reports courtesy of Mr Carl van Roon

[1.30pm, July 11]

Afternoon everyone. A beautiful final day here at Disneyworld in Orlando and the lads and I are just settling down to watch the FIFA 2010 World Cup final. Go the Netherlands!

Yesterday was another action packed marathon with Trotts and Gravy Baby (aka Gravy Baby) competing in the same AA Black belt traditional Korean forms (patterns) division. Alas, while the boys competed valiantly (as I mentioned yesterday) I think they just needed to scream a little more… Be sure to ask Gravy about his rendition of Choong-Jang too… Good work guys.

Following the forms, Kane “BayGent” Baigent took on one of the top point fighters in the under 154 pound AA blackbelt division in his point fighting debut. His opponent had incredible footwork which made him very elusive and while Kane caught him a few times in the corner with some good hands, his opponent would take the match with a combination of absolutely class consecutive lead leg sliding kicks and acrobatic counters including one or two cartwheel flip type kicks and even a downward kick executed from a one handed hand-stand… can’t imagine it? If you know what a break-dancing / capoeira L-kick or K-kick is you’ll kinda get an idea of what this guy was capable of doing. Epic.

In the evening at the night of champions, I would have my chance to fight Jamaican heavyweight Kenneth Edwards in a match broadcast on ESPN. Being backstage was an exciting experience, particularly considering the talent of those performing on the night. Just ask any of us on our return and I’m sure you’ll get an enthusiastic summary of just how incredible some of the performers here are. The first time we attended the US Open Night of Champions in 2007, I was blown away. In particular, Raymond Daniels, considered by many to be the greatest sport karate point fighter ever, left a truly lasting impression on me. It was a surreal experience to end up fighting at the same night of champions as him three years later here in 2010.  Simply youtube.com search “Raymond Daniels Highlights” and you’ll get the picture.
As for the match, the ITF contingent only had 5-6 minutes of airtime and hence, the fight was limited to a single round, with a sudden death period limited to just 15 seconds, should a draw be the result. Sure enough, it was a draw after what felt like a close match. Once in the sudden death round, the decision was given to my opponent. Over the next few weeks or so, I’ll do my best to upload some footage for you all from these last two tournaments. And while this last fight was close, what can I say! I was simply honoured to have had such a surreal opportunity. Once more, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the Jamaican Taekwon-Do Association, those ITF Taekwon-Do Masters, coaches and athletes for supporting these events, and to my teammates; Trotts, Chris, DJ, Kane and coach Steve Pellow for an epic trip that I will remember fondly for a lifetime.

So, last night following the fight night, we hung-out and celebrated with some of the other teams pool-side here at the resort and basically marvelled at the events of the last 10 days both here and in Jamaica.
Tomorrow, we go our separate ways. Mr. Pellow, Trotts, Chris, DJ and Kane will fly back to New Zealand via a stop to do a little shopping in LA. From there, Trotts tells me he has around 18 hours until he will have to board another plane, this time bound for the ITF Asian Champs in Vietnam. Having just returned from Argentina before we left for Jamaica, I feel his pain at the sight of anything that even resembles an aeroplane. Still, at least being a microweight is conducive to making the most of economy class… As for the other lads, Chris B and Mr. Pellow will also make the trip over to Vietnam, just somewhat later. DJ and Kane, I suspect, will just be happy to be back home in New Zealand just to chill out for some time as the NZ team trials draw ever closer.

Myself, I’ll be flying solo to Japan early tomorrow morning via Washington DC. The leg from DC to Narita (Tokyo) alone is an 18hr straight killer. Good times… So the plan is to spend 9 days in the land of the rising sun before meeting the others in Vietnam on the 21 July. I’ll be making a short pilgrimage down to train in the birthplace of Karate, in Okinawa, before competing alongside another NZ Team at a Martial Arts tournament in Fukuoka, which is known as Auckland’s Japanese “sister city”, in the south of Japan.
In the meantime, if I manage to hook-up some photos from either the Gold Cup or US Open events, I will be sure to post them up here for ya’ll.

Until then, thanks for tuning in. I look forward to catching up with everyone on our return from Vietnam in early August.

Much love and enjoy the world cup final. Go the Netherlands!


[Midday July 10.] 2nd day of competition at US Open.

With my supersonic hearing I’ve heard people (particularly family members, loved ones and friends) holding their breath for updates… my bad. Chris B and I are currently sitting outside the Disney World Business Centre using their WIFI just down the hall from the competition venue.

Today is the second day of the Martial Arts tournament on steroids event that is the US Open Martial Arts World Championships.

Yesterday, ITF representatives pretty much dominated the continuous sparring divisions. For those that are unfamiliar with the sparring rules used over here, continuous sparring is the closer of two main rule systems that resembles ITF sparring in that the match is not stopped (in a Karate-esque style) every time a valid score is completed.  Argentina, in particular had a very good run yesterday, winning 4/4 divisions they competed in. It was similar to the near clean sweep as that seen with Poland in the individual sparring in Jamaica.

In yesterday’s continuous sparring, Chris B had a bye and then fought the Polish lightweight winner of the Jamaican event. Chris scored well with his left sidekick, which threw off the Polish southpaw who was determined to land his trademark overhand right (wondering what I mean? Just watch Toni Moki, I’m sure she is gonna get me for this but… it’s her favourite, and only, punching technique!) In the end the decision went to the Pole, which I believe in part was due to the scoring system used here, which sometimes rewards aggression over actual effectiveness in landing clear blows. Just ask anyone when they’re home about the kind of brawling that goes on here, and you’ll understand.

So what about today? Well, Trotts will be doing his patterns and our middle and heavy (Kane and DJ) will be fighting in the point sparring shortly. It is a difficult situation at times being judged by those with such different backgrounds, and different interpretations of what is ideal in terms of both sparring and kata (patterns) are a big factor. Extremely low stances at 90 degree knee angles or deeper while performing drawn out blood-curdling screams seem to be the winning flavour here at the US Open… But, no doubt, there are also some incredibly well conditioned, explosive and dedicated athletes that compete here and surely inspire a lot of people to take their training to the next level.

Tonight, starting at 6pm, is the night of Champions, where elite competitor’s performances are broadcast on the US sporting channel ESPN who I’m sure most of us are familiar with. They’re currently rehearsing the line-up for tonight’s show, which is about 3 hours long. Some of the events on the card tonight are; traditional Karate forms, extreme (acrobatic) forms, creative forms, point fighting, Sport Jiu Jitsu (stand-up and groundfighting), submission grappling, power breaking (ice, concrete, wood etc) and continuous fighting… which is where I come in. Tonight, I will compete with Kenneth Edwards, the Jamaican heavyweight, at around the half way point of the ESPN broadcast. Top ITF referee Kurt Otteson of Canada and four International Masters from Poland, Germany and England will judge the fight. No pressure. Haha.
We’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, I hope everything is well with you all back home and once again thank you for taking an interest in our progress.

Morning, 9 July

Morning :)
just touched down in fort lauderdale, Florida, after an early flight from Jamaica had us up at 330am making a break for the airport!

Sending this from wifi at the ft lauderdale airport lobby.

it's currently 10am local time and we're just waiting for our bus to arrive... Still another 4hrs to spend on the bus ride to Disney world, before the each platoon of sleep deprived foreign competitors can crash for a mid Arvo siesta.

Midday, 6 July

First off, my apologies for taking so long to put through this update as we’ve been without online access during some of the travel we’ve done since the completion of the tournament.

It’s an absolutely stunning day here and we’re currently stationed in the town of Negril, touted by some of our Jamaican friends as Jamaica’s top beachside getaway. Negril is pretty much as far from Kingston as possible, but still not too far considering the size of the Island. The trip took us about 4.5 hours yesterday, in a shuttle bus with the Japanese and Canadians. Kinda been like the United TKD Nations, with everyone speaking French, English, Japanese and the local Jamaican slang, which might as well be another language. Mind you, they probably find the same thing, listening to my clipped “Flight of the Conchords” accent.
So, the area of Negril itself is mostly dominated by activities for tourists, and as you would expect, is very much the picturesque Caribbean post-card type scene. We’re here with all the teams from Canada, Poland, Argentina, Japan and Jamaica, staying in cabin like accommodation about 50m from the beachfront.
So, you might have struggled trying to decipher the garbled short text I sent through yesterday before we took off early in the morning. To clarify, I’ll summarise how the tournament went.

When we arrived, we were greeted by flags from each nation flying at the front of the stadium entrance. Before being escorted to the New Zealand locker room we were shown the arena. A raised centre stage complete with lights, flags and giant posters with mug shot fighting poses of some of the tournament’s top competitors from each team. The entrance where later, each team would be escorted out to the competition area and introduced to the crowd, was framed with pyrotechnic flames which set off in time to the music as we came out. It looked like something from the successful reality TV series “The Contender” or possibly, a professional wrestling event. The competition area was closed off with the kind of fencing commonly scene at fight nights in other combat sports. It was an impressive sight and definitely put everyone in an excited mood.  

The Jamaican crowds were very animated and added to the electric atmosphere.

Team Jamaica received standing ovations from the local crowd by winning the first event for the day, defeating three teams in succession to win the “ISKA World Continental Gold Cup” team sparring title.
In team sparring, our team took on Canada in the first round. It was a close match, with several draws. Chris B won his fight, coming out with a beautiful lead leg high turning kick early in the round. Kane fought hard but Canada took the fight. Yours truly took Canada to a draw, as did Trotts with an outstanding performance that had as convinced he had taken the fight against his rival and Microweight world champ from 2007, Maxime Bujold. In the end, Canada took the match and went on to the semi-finals. We were determined to better in the individual divisions.

After a short intermission in which local hip-hop artist “iOctane” performed some of his better known songs, the individual categories began.

Trotts was up first fighting, once again, against Maxime Bujold of Canada. The fight was close, with both fighters landing several good techniques. Trotts landed a particularly clear counter jumping punch at one point, with both fighters hustling for distance with their lead side kicks from closed southpaw stances. Just toward the end of the fight Bujold landed a authoritative turning kick, but still, I thought Trotts had it. Alas, it was not to be and Maxime advanced on, winning the next match and going into the final against Amit Batra of Poland, who won the division.

Poland also went onto win the lightweight division, where Chris B had a rematch with leading competitor Estani Serrano from Argentina. Chris fought well, but it was not to be, with Serrano taking the match and advancing to the next round.

Our representative in the middleweight division, Kane B, did well to secure bronze in his division, after a well-contested fight with a tall Canadian opponent which left him fighting for third place against Japan. Kane dominated this last fight, and took 3rd place.

In the hyper weight division, DJ had a bye in the first fight and went on to compete with Canada in the semi. Here he countered the heavier Canadian well with his mobility, setting up several well placed dodging back kicks. After falling and landing on his injured knee however, he was unable to continue into the final and take on ex-world hyperweight champion Darius Idikowski from Poland, who won the division.

At this point, Poland had won four out of five of the individual divisions. The final division of the night was mine, heavyweight sparring. First, I took on a friend of New Zealand’s, Taizo Suguya, who trained and lived in New Zealand for around 4 years. Having won this match with a decisive 360 high turning kick, I advanced to compete against the home-crowd favourite, Kenneth Edwards.

I had competed against Edwards before. It was in my first match of the 2008 World Cup in Italy, where he had been victorious in our first encounter. The fight was very enjoyable, and the crowd was passionate and animated. We both played up the action and had a lot of fun fighting hard. In the end, I took the decision and advanced to fight my rival and winner of my division at the last world championships, Jonathon Batista of Argentina.

The final fight went similarly to that contested in Mar Del Plata, Argentina until I managed to land a step in counter reverse turning kick. This sealed my victory in the final, so at least the Polish, for all their skill, didn’t win every division!

We returned to the hotel around 1030pm, chilled out for a little with the lads and prepared to depart for Negril the next morning early, at 8am. Which was yesterday.

At this point, on behalf of the team I’d like to thank the people of Jamaica for their hospitality, the Jamaican Taekwon-Do association and sponsors such as Busta Cola (Jamaican beverages) for this opportunity. The whole trip has been surreal.

On a more personal note, on behalf of the lads, I’d like to express our gratitude to the ever dedicated Mr. Steve Pellow, our coach, who has been working to prepare us for this event since the beginning of the year. His open-mindedness, experience and passion as a Martial Artist has been a grounding force for us. Thanks Steve.

Finally, thanks to the boys; Trotts, DJ, Kano (BC) and Brought-shorts (Chris).  Your support as brothers in arms was and always is invaluable to me. It has been an honour sharing this adventure with you. Much love.
“Respect” from Negril.  

Carl VR 
P.S. all the teams went snorkelling this morning, the water was clear like glass and as warm as the air. Amazing. Not sure about the others, but I had several “Finding Nemo” moments with the literally thousands of fish swimming in schools all around us.

5 July 8.30 pm (NZ Time)

Txt from Carl: Nz 2nd overall of 6 countries. Pol 1st overall: 4 indiv gold of 5. Kane brnz. Dj injured winnin semi. Me gold vs arg. haka well received. Jamaica won team sp.

4 July 10.30am
Morning everyone. We have another warm, humid day here in Jamaica’s capital city of approximately one million inhabitants, Kingston.
First off, big congratulations to everyone on what sounded like a very successful and well contested National Championships. “Way to go Auckland North”
In an hour and a half we will depart for the nearby stadium for today’s competition. The order of weight divisions to be contested after team sparring is: micro, light, middle, hyper and finally heavy (for myself at the end of the day). It feels a little like being in a dream here, and although subtle, I expect that it isn’t only our team that feels something of the initial culture shock we’ve experienced at times.
This morning one of the TV movie channels is playing a marathon of Sylvester Stallone films, including a string of Rocky films. Oh yea, I can just hear you now, “ The Eye of the tiger” (Carl begins acting out inspirational Rocky scenes, fists pumping in the air, shadow boxing and screaming “ADRIAAN” complete with the characteristic Rocky off centre lower lip)
Ok haha got a bit carried away there. Back to reality, we’ll catch up with ya’ll later on after the event wraps up tonight.
One love. Arohanui.

July 3rd 9.45pm
Hey Aotearoa
It’s the end of a relatively uneventful day of chilling out, other than having just returned from an officials and competitors dinner at the nearby Hilton Hotel.
Tomorrow, we depart from the hotel for the competition venue at midday, with the tournament itself starting at 2pm.
At the dinner we had the chance to catch up with several other familiar faces from the International Taekwon-Do community, including Master Tom Dennis, who ex-New Zealand team member and 2003 world champion Graham Patterson currently trains with, and Master Lan from Germany who ex-NZ team head coach Andrew Niven (and my original instructor) currently studies under.
Other than still adjusting to the time difference and a little vertigo from the jetlag, the lads are in good spirits and looking forward to the tournament tomorrow.
I’ll keep you posted as to how everyone gets on, if not by email, then with the odd cheeky text throughout the day.

8.45am 3 July
Morning everyone – I know many of you’ll all be heavily focused on Nationals right now (go Auckland North haha) but in case you hadn’t heard, there’s a small group of us who are absent this year as we are off competing at an event known as the World “Gold Cup” Taekwon-Do sparring Championships in Jamaica. The “Gold Cup” is a sparring only event, and this is the first year it has been held.
Total flight / travel time was getting near 30 hours last night (the 2nd of July) when, with a sigh of relief we pulled up at our hotel (google-map Courtleigh Hotel and suites Kingston if you’re keen to check it out) around 10pm local time.
After a deep sleep and waking up to a beautiful view of this tropical Island from central Kingston, we’re ready to weigh in. With 4/5 of us carefully watching our weight during the trip over, we’re anticipating a good day of R&R before the tournament starts up tomorrow on the 4th July (happy independence day to any American friends who happen to read this).
So, as for the event, the basic premise is that a top male team (yes, sorry NZ female team!) from each continent competes in a total pool of 6 teams for individual and team sparring “Gold Cup” titles. Trotts made the comment yesterday that it is kinda like the old “King Of Taekwon-Do” competition that was held in Japan as a “best of the best” type event for some of the top International fighters of the previous generation… well, I think we like to think it is like that at least ;) If you’re still wondering what I mean… Just search “King Of Taekwon-Do” on youtube.com
So, each team (this year being NZ, Argentina, Poland, Canada, Japan and our hosts Jamaica) send a single fighter for each of the five weight divisions.

Team NZ for the first “Gold Cup” is:
-54kg = Mark Trotter
-63kg = Chris Broughton
-71kg = Kane Baigent
-80kg = Carl van Roon (myself)
80kg+ = Dee Jay Thompson

10am 3 July
We’ve weighed in, with no drama, so it was straight off to breakfast for us.
It was cool catching up with old friends from rival teams over a bite to eat and watching as the Argentine contingent jumped out of their seats in reaction to the live coverage of the Germany vs. Argentina World Cup semi-final game.
So, we’ll be getting the draws soon and will be sure to keep you all posted on any developments. The five fighters from each country will first compete as a team and then individually. The event itself begins tomorrow at 2pm Jamaican time (7am NZ time). Tonight we have an official dinner to attend, so we’re anticipating a pretty chilled out pre-tournament day.

Team Draw:
NZ up first against Canada.
Individual Draws:
Mark – Up first against Canada (rematch with rival Maxime Bujold)
Chris – bye, then fight the winner of Jamaica vs. Canada.
Carl – Up first against Japan (Taizo Suguya)
Dee Jay – bye, then fight winner of Jamaica vs. Canada
Kane – bye, then fight winner of Jamaica vs. Canada
We’ve had issues with our camera cable, but hopefully we can sort that out soon and I’ll upload some shots… Until later, ‘one love’ as they say here.


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