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Athletes on the move

Some of our funded athletes are beginning to travel overseas for specialist coaching leading up to the World Champ in Spain this October.

The first to do this are Mark Trotter and Carl van Roon who are currently in Europe training under various top coahes and exponents. They are also running a series of seminars.



Back in Korea today after an excellent final day coaching in the South of Holland with our host Master Willy van De Mortel.

Mr Trotter and I began the second day of this seminar by co-instructing a sparring session that presented several unique options for nullifying the conventional sparring methods of opponents who are effective in International competition.
Following lunch, I ran a session on special technique, not dissimilar to the structure of our coaching approach in Finland, with the emphasis on using basic principles of biomechanics to maximise each individual's potential to perform jumping kicking techniques. I was pleased to see athletes diligently take on board this information, and make significant progress in both the heights the could hit, and the beauty of their kicking techniques.

From here, Mr Trotter continues his journey to Scotland to train with quite possibly the greatest female competitor that the ITF has produced; Julia Cross. It is my understanding that Mr Trotter will train with Miss Cross during the next week in Scotland, before competing in Ireland next weekend in micro weight sparring and 4-6 degree patterns.
I would like to wish him all the best. I have every confidence in his abilities and as always, it has been a pleasure sharing another memorable and constructive trip to Europe with him.
No doubt we will hear how he gets on soon.

So I am only in transit in Incheon airport now, soon to board my flight back to Auckland. My plan is to spend a few hours with my ever supportive folks who are based in Aucks before jumping on the final plane back to the Gold Coast where this adventure ends for me and another begins with fatherhood just around the corner.
My partner Marney is due in just 7 weeks time with our first child, which I am tremendously excited about. For someone who has never been involved in Martial Arts, Marney has been everything I could ask for in a supportive partner with her sharp insight and encouraging nature, having travelled with me to compete in Wellington, Australia, the UK, the Phillipines and later this year I expect, Europe. We are already picking out a newborn dobok for our newest supporter. Thank you darling.

That's all from me. For those that have been following these updates I would like to sincerely thank you for your support.
It is an honour and privilege to do what you love with your life, and perhaps most satisfying of all is sharing that with others.
I look forward to seeing you all soon, in one corner of the world or another.

Carl van Roon


Very happy with first day here coaching in the South of the Netherlands with a gifted group of coaches and athletes, including members of the Dutch and Belgian National ITF teams. Also in attendance were our 'brothers and sisters' from the Chang Ung led ITF group.

I was first up coaching, straight into sparring this morning with a series of drills exploring how to control, deceive and counter an opponent in punching range. This included highlighting vital exercises for developing efficient head movement, footwork and body awareness to control the rhythm of free sparring. The second half of the morning was conducted by Mr. Trotter who shared his experiences on developing competition patterns with an 'X-factor'. This included a series of creative exercises to this effect, and also extended into practical advice on how to forge kicking techniques with real Martial arts spirit within patterns rather than relying on placing one's kicks into 'pretty' yet conservative positions to retain one's balance.

After lunch, I continued coaching free sparring and in this session focused on investigating how we can deliver lead leg kicking techniques with more efficiency, to prevent telegraphing our intentions, and hence increase our chances of deceiving our opponent. We explored how speed of delivery of a given kicking technique is relative to initial positioning in stance and hence can give the impression of great speed when done efficiently (although not actually faster in absolute terms) or alternatively delay a kick so it is terribly telegraphed due to inefficiency of movement.

To round out the day, Mr. Trotter led the group in a traditional sparring session with the aim of introducing key elements for success in this exciting and relatively new discipline as introduced at the ITF World Championships in 2007. Mr. Trotter covered options for how to create interest within a routine, appeal to the perspective of the judges, and enhance excitement through the manipulation of rhythm. Mr. Trotter also encouraged athletes and coaches to consider how to uniquely, yet correctly apply techniques from the ITF Taekwon-Do Encyclopedia.

Our sincere thanks go out to our dear friend and past specialist coach of the NZ national team, Master Willy van De Mortel who organised and hosted us for this seminar. Tomorrow, we will look into several themes for sparring and patterns training in more depth, and deliver a module on those jumping kicks used in the special technique discipline.

Arrived safely in Eindhoven to be picked up by Master Willy. Chilling in the hotel, prepped and good to go for the seminar in the morning (see schedule).


We are on the train to Eindhoven (in the South of Holland) as we speak, having spent an enlightening week training under World Champion Coach Stephen Tapilatu. (See picture. L-R: myself, Stephen's father and own coach during his competing days Master Wijnand Tapilatu, Stephen and Mark Trotter).

Mark and I would like to personally thank Stephen for his warm hospitality, unique expertise and friendship. To quote Stephen from Facebook: "The honour was all mine Mark Trotter and Carl van Roon. To have 2 extraordinairy specialists who will travel the world to improve themselves and find the energy and time to share it with the people around them! Muchos respect for that! Was nice having you here and I think I speak also for everybody at our Sportcenter!"

Tomorrow morning is the beginning of our two day seminar for Master Willy van De Mortel who has arguably been the most influential overseas coach on the development of NZ competitors who have finally enter and rise up in the sparring medal tables at World Championship level.

For those that are unfamiliar with Master VDM, he spent a period of almost 5 years coming and going from NZ, with a strategic plan implemented to help NZ evolve in sparring. Because Mark and I were at the forefront of this approach as athletes who had yet to medal, I would like to express our gratitude to Master VDM for his input through that period. Now, it is an honour for us to share some of our recent experiences and training methods with Dutch and Belgian athletes including Master VDM's students.


First off, I'd just like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who was selected for the NZ Taekwon-Do team today. To all those who I have been working with personally (you know who you are!) I am very proud of your progress over this past year and I know we are all going to take things to the next level in Spain.

Last night we had another great session with Stephen Tapilatu at the Tapilatu Sportcenter here in Groningen.

We began with drills working distancing and positioning to take the advantage of an attacking opponent. Later that night we would discuss tactical considerations with Sabumnim Tapilatu in more depth.

Following sparing training, Mark and I once again set to work making the most of the time we have together on this trip to choreograph more prearranged sparring. I have the feeling that this process is a lot smoother this year on account of working together for the first time last year. I think the sequences we are now developing are more technical, while still being rich creatively. As you can probably appreciate, it is a tiresome process with the amount I time required, but ultimately is very rewarding.

Tonight we return to the Tapilatu Dojang to put in more work, with the aim of nutting out one more complete prearranged sequence which will leave us in a strong position before our seminar this weekend in the South of Holland with Willy van De Mortel (see poster!)

We will keep you posted, and once again, congratulations to everyone on their selections to the 2013 National Team.


Many thanks to Sabumnim Thierry Meyour of Black Eagle Taekwon-Do for his professional hospitality and kind praise for our work in Europe. Below is Mr. Meyour's report on our seminar from last weekend in Finland:

Last weekend, the Black Eagle Taekwon-Do (BETKD) in Tampere, Finland was honored to have the visit of Mr Mark Trotter 4th degree and Carl van Roon 2nd degree from New Zealand. We were some of the few lucky ones to be able to host them during their European visit in preparation to the upcoming Word Championships.

The group was restricted to 20 people exclusively from our school in order to gain the maximum information and have an almost one on one session with 2 of ITF greatest champions in the field of Traditional sparring and of course in the case of Mr. van Roon, special techniques.

Saturday, Mr Trotter and van Roon covered aspects of power kicking for patterns as well as body movement in sparring close distance.

Sunday was focused on Traditional Sparring, and we were extremely lucky to see some of their past routine as well as hints of their upcoming World Championship routine. Mr Trotter explained the correlation between his experience as movie stuntman and camera angles as well as team work, imagination as well as the importance of rhythm in catching the referees attention.

The second part of the seminar was conducted by 5 times special techniques World Champion Mr. Carl van Roon. What can be said except that we were stunned by this amazing athlete's jumping capabilities and his use of bio mechanics and physics in order to bring the best in everyone's techniques. within 2 hours, we could definitely see GREAT improvements in everyone's jumping capabilities.

In the evening we took them to our traditional Sauna and ice swimming...Mr van Roon even had a weak moment with a very feminine vocal expression when entering the 0.2 degree water. All in all I personally was extremely happy to get to meet 2 top athletes which are also incredible pedagogues. It was clear that they really mastered their topics and were absolutely for the seminar. We also exchanged some technical ideas that were extremely beneficial for both parties, and trust me when I say that I will definitely bring them over again.

Thierry Meyour
6th Degree


Got in a great prearranged sparring choreography session before joining in for a kickboxing / Stand-up MMA session with Stephen Tapilatu and his crew in Groningen last night (see photo). In spite of being retired from competition himself, coach Tapilatu really leads the fighters at his club by example, with a high work rate and plenty of spirit when he joins in to work the pads. Tonight we return to the Tapilatu Sportcenter for more prearranged sparring and technical ITF sparring drills, conditioning and tactical training.

Finally, here is a link to a report on the European ITF website written by Sabumnim Thierry Meyour on the seminar we held over the weekend in Tampere, Finland: http://www.itfeurope.org/NL2013-01-54.html

"One more thing! Here is an article from the front page of yesterday's newspaper here in Groningen describing our trip to the Netherlands to train with Stephen Tapilatu. It describes some of our experiences, our motivation to train under two time world champ Tapilatu, and details of the rest of our European tour."


Special tech seminar, Tampere, Finland


Back from an energetic sparring session with coach Stephen Tapilatu here in Groningen.

Also in attendance was past World Champion Richard Holandia (Stephen's cousin) who won the junior world championships in Warsaw, Poland in 1995.

We worked a variety of tactical scenarios with a high work rate to simulate actual sparring.

So far, Sabumnim Tapilatu's insights have been very valuable, and we look forward to doing more with him throughout the week.

So, it has been a LONG day having caught the early flight in from Finland and finishing up with more training here in Holland. It's now midnight so we are going to get some rest.

I hope everyone back home in NZ / Aus is doing well. We miss you.


Yesterday we completed our seminar in Finland with Black Eagle Taekwon-Do athletes from the city of Tampere.

To finish up the day (excuse the pun) we were invited to jump into an icy lake at night after the seminar. As you do in Finland I guess? We started in the hottest sauna I have ever been in. Unbearably hot on the top seats, 85 degrees centigrade plus. Then into the freezing water... Perhaps I'll post a video of us getting in the iced over lake. The funniest thing for me was observing the crazy middle aged Finnish dudes just hanging out in the icy water like they were in a Jacuzzi while we rushed in and out screaming like schoolgirls!! Hahaha Definitely one of my most memorable travel experiences to date.

So today we have just flown back to Holland. This week we are training with ITF Taekwon-Do legend Stephen Tapilatu again. This weekend we will be in the South of Holland running a seminar for Master Willy van De Mortel.
Stay tuned!


This afternoon Mark and I ran a seminar for a talented and hardworking group of young competitors at Black Eagle Taekwon-Do here in Tampere, Finland. More photos and footage to come. It is now midnight and we fly back to Amsterdam in five hours time!! Time to get some sleep!

Great session with a group of black belts at Mr. Thierry Meyour's club here in Finland yesterday.

Mark ran an insightful segment covering kicking for patterns, covering how to generate power in front snap, turning, side piercing and reverse turning kicks.

I covered techniques for setting up counter punches using distancing and trunk movement once inside kicking distance. Both of our approaches seemed to be well received by this hardworking group.

Today we are off to run a prearranged sparring and special technique (jumping kick) seminar.
Apparently afterwards we will be taken to a traditional Finnish sauna which as you may have heard includes jumping into icy water when you get too hot... We will keep you posted.


Safely arrived in Finland and met our host with the most Sabumnim Thierry Meyour. Mr. Meyour has a club of around 150 students with what he describes as a multicultural atmosphere. Impressively, Mr. Meyour is fluent in five languages including English, Finnish, Italian, French and Arabic and hence he can appeal to different demographics as a coach.

The photo here is a view of the street outside our hotel when we woke up this morning. It's hard enough for me coming back to NZ from the comfy weather on the Gold Coast let alone being here in the snow!! I've become soft... Anyhow, we are off to a midday training session now. Stay tuned!"


Flew through Amsterdam last night on the way to Finland for our seminar at Black Eagle Taekwon-Do in Tampere. Photo here is outside Schiphol Airport.

Inside Amsterdam airport, although confused about the function of the standard size clog, Mark gets into the traditional Dutch spirit.


We are off to Finland! We will be running a seminar there with Sabumnim Thierry Meyour at Black Eagle Taekwon-Do in the city of Tampere this weekend. Last night we had a constructive evening with Stephen Tapilatu, and we are now on the train to Amsterdam to catch our flight to Finland in a few hours.

At last night's training there were prominent young competitors from the Dutch National team, including medalists from the last World Cup. So far what has been most valuable to me are Coach Tapilatu's insights and perspective on sparring strategy and mental preparation for competition.

For more information on coach Tapilatu, please visit the link below for his Wikipedia profile. We will send our next update from Finland. It's looking to be pretty cold up there!


Finished up day 1 here in Groningen, Holland.

Training included some light padwork drills to begin, and ended with us working on the choreography for our prearranged routine for this year's worlds in Spain. We are pictured here with Coach Stephen Tapilatu after we exchanged t-shirts. As Stephen also runs MMA classes along with his Taekwon-Do and personal training sessions, I thought it would be appropriate to bring him one of the t-shirts from Potential Unlimited MMA club where I train on the Gold Coast.

We are now back at the hotel looking to shake off our jet lag with a good night's sleep. Looking forward to a big day tomorrow. Night!


After braving the cold snowy weather for an overnight stopover in Korea yesterday we have finally touched down in Amsterdam.

Smooth sailing so far, straight on a train to the North of Holland to the city of Groningen where we will be working with Dutch Taekwon-Do legend Stephen Tapilatu. Around an hour and a half to go. Tomorrow we're looking forward to getting into our first sparring session and working out our new prearranged sparring routine choreography for this year's worlds.

Finally, I'd just like to express my gratitude and admiration to a wonderful woman, my partner Marney, (who now at 30 weeks pregnant with our first child!) continues to be ever supportive of my journey in the Martial Arts. I am a happy man! Good morning NZ / Aus... Goodnight Europe!"


Safely touched down in Korea after a smooth flight over and an inspirational weekend working with GM Bos, GM Marano and GM Lan at the International Instructors course. Staying one night here then onto Amsterdam.

We are psyched about training with Stephen Tapilatu in the North of Holland. For those that are not familiar with Coach Tapilatu's exploits, among other achievements he was two time ITF World Champion (1990, 1994), silver medalist at the WTF World Championships (1991). More recently he has competed in Mixed martial Arts and has just recently taken on the role of Dutch ITF National Team Coach.

Time to get a good nights sleep. Hope everyone is well. Will post again soon!"

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