Stockport Charity Training Day ! - 6/8/2016

On Saturday 16th July, Stockport Taekwondo held a charity event to raise money for Cromwell High School in Dukinfield. Cromwell High is a specialist support school for students with a variety of special educational needs and sadly back in April the school was victim of an arson attack with much of their equipment being destroyed and the school being unusable.  As we have a class at Astley Sports College, which is next door to Cromwell High School, I felt we had to do something to try and help the school.

It promised to be an exciting day.  Mr Archer VI, President of Taekwondo UK, and Mr Ridley VI, Vice President of Taekwondo UK, agreed to teach two classes together; one for colour belt students and one for black belt students.  In between the two sessions we had a demonstration so some of the parents could see what their children get up to in their lessons and also a raffle to raise even more money.  Unfortunately, due to family reasons, Mr Archer was unable to attend but sent his apologies and best wishes to us all.  

The colour belt session started at 10am and I was very pleased to see students from across the Trident Group attending this event to help us raise as much money as possible, with some students even travelling all the way from Chester.

Mr Ridley put everybody through their paces with a heart pumping warm up before settling in to some of the more technical details of patterns.  Never one to let people get too settled, Mr Ridley mixed up the technical parts of the session with some application work and kicking drills, encouraging students of all levels to just try their best.  

The session ended with some self defence and sparring with Mr Ridley demonstrating the importance of ensuring students used the correct tool for the target area they wished to impact and also the correct target area for the size and build of the attacker. 

All students came away having learned a few new things and had a lot of fun along the way. 

We then had a short break to allow parents time to arrive, buy raffle tickets and settle in their seats before starting our demonstration. I gave a short introduction to the audience and whilst I was getting the students in position Mr Ridley explained a little about how nervous some of our younger students would be and asked them all to show us a great deal of support.

First up was the patterns demonstration. We performed Do-San as a group in unison to show the military aspect of this martial art. Next we had two young brothers, Meheer and Rohan Moghal, who had worked on pattern Hwa-Rang together but performed from a back to back position so the flow of the pattern took them away from each other and then brought them back together. Secondly, we had our two youngest black belt students, David Kelly I and Toby Walker I, who performed one of the 1st Degree patterns, Ge-Baek, standing in positions so that they created almost a mirror image of each other. Not one to ask my students to do something that I won't do myself, I performed a 2nd Degree pattern, Choong-Jang, in unison with Scot Hickinbottom III, who had very kindly agreed to step in at the last minute after my Assistant, Richard Kelly II, became injured and was unable to perform.  Last in the patterns section was Mr Ridley who performed Yoo-Sin, one of the 3rd Degree patterns.  This pattern perfectly shows off the level of power he has at his disposal.  

After the patterns demonstration our students partnered up and showed the audience their step sparring and self defence skills, with some of our black belt students including some takedowns to very good effect. 

Lastly, I chose to show the power that can be achieved through correct taekwondo techniques with a display of power breaking. Mr Ridley had to ask for some assistance from several students and a couple of the spectators to set up a combination break with several different hand techniques performed consecutively.  I chose to show one of my personal favourites with a turning kick, Mr Hickinbottom performed a side kick and Mr Kelly a back kick.  The big finale was then set up with Mr Ridley performing a flying side kick, leaping through the air over 5 students before kicking clean through the piece of wood. 

After the demonstration was over I commenced the raffle draw.  I had received some very generous donations of prizes from students who were unable to attend the training sessions but still wanted to contribute and also had a fight programme and signed picture donated from local boxer, Ricky Hatton.  
After the draw it was time to say goodbye to the parents and start the black belt training session. 

Mr Ridley took the black belts through patterns in detail, including some work on the distances for sliding, flying and shifting techniques, etc.  We partnered up to go through some application work and step sparring and spent some time going over destruction, with Mr Ridley teaching some of us how to do the impressive looking "One Inch Punch".  We rounded off the session by all going through the patterns for our grades.  

A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all who attended and I am very pleased to announce that we raised £350 in total!  

I am extremely proud of all my students who performed in the demonstration.  I know how nervous they were beforehand but they really did perform brilliantly and I am so proud of them all for going out there and giving it their all.  

I would like to say special thanks to the following, without whom the day would not have been the success it was: - 

Mr Ian Ridley VI, who gave up his time free of charge to teach the two sessions and also performed in the demonstration.
Astley Sports College, who allowed me to hold this event in their performance hall free of charge.
Mr Ricky Hatton, for the very kindly donated raffle prize.
All the students and parents who attended the training sessions, took part in the demonstration and bought raffle tickets.  Without support from you events like this would be pointless.