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Senior Instructor: Master Mark O'Donnell VII Dan ITF

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ITF International Course 2010

The Lucan Spa Hotel in Dublin was the venue for the third ITF International Course conducted by the RITA’s Senior Master Francis Barrett VIII Degree. Members of the association from all parts of Ireland and ranging from 8th Kup Yellow Belt to VII Degree Master gathered in the hall on the first day of the two-day event. Seniors in attendance on the course included our own Master Robert Howard VII, and the RITA’s most recently promoted VII Degree, Master John Jacob. The Galway School was represented by Mr O’Donnell, Mr Collins, Mr McCormack, and Ms McGrath.


After the official introductions, Snr. Mst. Barrett began proceedings by explaining that the main purpose of the course was to ensure that all Black Belts were teaching technique and tuls correctly. Starting off with fundamental movements, he made the point that students must clearly understand the purpose and method of each movement performed, and emphasised that Taekwon-Do techniques are all based on practical applications – in other words, if you’re in doubt about how to perform a technique, practice it with a partner and find out what works and what doesn’t. Snr Mst Barrett reinforced this point over the course of the weekend and urged the members not to simply repeat techniques, but to practice and improve them constantly.


He then moved on to pattern practice and used Black Belt ‘volunteers’ to teach additional movements for each pattern, and then the pattern itself to the entire group, giving advice and suggestions for improvement in terms of instructing methods, as well as clarification and explanation of many technical points. Again, drawing on his 37 years experience in Taekwon-Do, and many seminars under both General Choi and First Grandmaster Rhee, Snr Mst Barrett emphasised and explained in detail the application of the movements. As everyone was engrossed in the business of the day, the time flew and before we knew it, having completed patterns as far as Choong-Moo tul, it was time to finish. All the participants eagerly looked forward to the second day of the course. A relaxed chat followed in the hotel, and Snr Mst Barrett enjoyed a meal with some of his Taekwon-Do family who were staying overnight at the venue.


Sunday kicked off with a recap on the first day’s content, and more practice of Hwa-Rang and Choong-Moo tuls, before moving on to the Black Belt patterns. Fourth degrees and higher were each asked to teach additional movements and a pattern to a single Black Belt volunteer, while the rest of the group watched attentively, and Snr Mst Barrett oversaw proceedings and again gave advice and clarification as we went along. This was a great learning experience. As Snr Mst Barrett pointed out, when you are performing patterns, your mind is completely focused on executing the techniques, but when you have a chance to observe a pattern being taught and performed, you have the chance to pick up on a lot of finer points.

As with all good Taekwon-Do events, the time went by so quickly, and having completed 23 tuls, the 7th and 6th Degrees performed Tong-Il tul as the course neared its end. Snr Mst Barrett finished up by reminding everyone of the key points covered over the weekend. After some presentations of certificates, the course officially closed. Sincere thanks to Snr Mst Barrett from everyone who attended for a fantastic, educational and informative ITF International Course.