120th International Instructors Course, 7th-9th July in Manchester
& Master Robin Blair 7th Degree Promotion
IIC DAY 1
The 120th International Instructors Course hosted by TaeKwon-Do UK on behalf of ITF England welcomed 202 participants from 14 countries to the very sunny city of Manchester. The following ITF member countries were in attendance; Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, Switzerland & Wales.
27 TaeKwon-Do practioners travelled south from a somewhat cooler Scotland to Manchester, the vast majority being members of ITF Scotland. The 3-day course took place at the Armitage Centre, which is the University of Manchester’s main sports facility. The campus had on site accommodation within a few minutes walk of the training hall that was ideal for those not wishing to book a hotel away from the site and have to travel.
Course registration took place on Friday morning, with everyone receiving a free Mightyfist goody bag, fridge magnet, pen, course t-shirt and a much-needed bottle of water. The course was brought forward by half an hour and commenced promptly at 2pm with speeches and introductions to the ITF Technical Committee consisting of Grand Master Hector Marano, Grand Master Ung Kim Lan & Master Pierre Laquerre. Each of the Masters taking part on the course were given a commemorative glass plaque.
Master Laquerre kicked off the proceedings with an hour long warm up concentrating on the legs and core muscles before handing over to the Grand Masters who spent the remainder of the day covering colour belt patterns with some brave volunteers being picked apart during the Q&A sessions. The day ended at 6pm with everyone in need of refreshment and a bite to eat.
IIC Day 2
Saturday morning saw everyone line up at 8.45 to allow the Technical Committee to enter the hall, our second day of training starting shortly after 9pm with a brief warm up before a morning of 1st Degree patterns. The 1st degrees were taken to a different hall for some self defence whilst the remainder of the group proceeded with 2nd Degree patterns the session overran by 30 minutes cutting into the allotted time for lunch break allowing more time for training.
The afternoon saw the group divided further with 1st & 2nd Degrees taken to the second training hall thus allowing for 3rd Degrees and above to go over 3rd Degree patterns. The pattern sessions were interspersed with some 3 step, 2 step and 1 step sparring throughout the day. The final split of the day reunited the 1st & 2nd Degrees with the main group for some self-defence. 5th Degrees and above were then taken away to go over Tong Il. The group were brought back together and dismissed for the day shortly after 4 pm.
As nearly 200 TaeKwon-Do students were leaving the training hall looking forward to a relaxing summers evening and quite possibly a cold drink, 4 candidates were readying themselves to sit a Master’s Grading under Grand Masters Marano, Lan and Ellis. One of those candidates was our very own Mr Robin Blair 6th Degree. Master’s Gradings are a strictly private affair within the ITF, this was no exception with less than a dozen fellow Master’s in the hall to watch the proceedings. I am pleased to say that although I was not permitted to sit in the hall I found myself in a position to watch the entire grading.
Mr Blair and his fellow candidates were put through their paces in a grading that consisted of a handful of blackbelt patterns, 3,2 & 1 step sparring, free sparring, self defence & board breaking. There was also a display of self-defence from a seated chair and a kneeling position on the floor, culminating with questions at the table from the Grand Master’s. As a viewer I would say that all candidates were exemplary, the energy, effort and skill shown throughout would embarrass a much younger man.
Needless to say after a short discussion at the grading table, promotions were awarded to all concerned with Master Robin Blair being the 3rd name to be called. Special mention to Master Jamie Campins who was among the first to congratulate Scotland’s newest Master, Master Campins had travelled to Manchester solely to support Master Blair and left for the long journey home shortly after doing so.
Due to pressing commitments elsewhere Master David McNairn was not able to attend the IIC but on hearing of Master Blair’s promotion sent the following message.
“Congratulations Master Blair, it was a pleasure to work with you on the run up to your grading, sorry I had to change my plans at the last minute and I was not there to see you grade, but word on the street is that you passed with flying colours, as expected. We will celebrate when I get back, the way only we know how ! David”.
Master’s earning promotion :
Master John Archer 7th Degree
Master Ian Ridley 7TH Degree
Master Robin Blair 7th Degree
Master Kim Anderson 8th Degree
After a quick shower and bite to eat, Master Blair was dragged out for what he thought would be a quiet night. That was not the case as he was joined by members from Pro-Edge, Howden, GMAC, Forth Valley TKD & DMBBA for a celebratory drink. Mr Lupton surprised Master Blair by presenting him with a new Master’s dobok and embroidered belt on behalf of the STA members. Needles to say everyone was tucked up in bed early in preparation for the last day of the IIC.
The IIC Banquet was held in the Great Hall of the University of Manchester with 120 people sitting down for dinner with the ITF Technical Committee. A raffle was held during the night’s proceedings, which raised a staggering £1100 for the victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire in London. Further contributions were made after the closing of the IIC to bolster this sum.
IIC Day 3
After the formalities of lining up in front of the Technical Committee it was straight down to business, a warm up with Master Laquerre before the group was split yet again. This time 1st to 3rd degrees moved to the smaller hall for some self defence, to allow 4th Degrees and above to go thru 4th Degree patterns under the direction of GM Marano & Lan.
The groups were brought back together for some sparring drills with GM Lan before moving on to some stretching with Master Laquerre, which brought the sessions to an end. Closing speeches were made by all members of the ITF Technical Committee and the organisers Master John Archer and Mr Jeff Brider 4th Degree who gave Grand Masters Marano, Lan and Master Laquerre some gifts as souvenirs of their visit.
After the customary handing out of course certificates, everyone had the opportunity for photos with the course instructors before departure.
Many Thanks to Master John Archer & Mr James Miley 6th Degree for organising and inviting us to the 120th IIC, special thanks must go to Mr Jeff Brider 4th Degree for the fantastic job he did with the administration of what was a fantastic weekend of Taekwon-Do.
Report by: Mr Ronnie Dewhurst 4th Degree
Pictures: Various sources
ITF Scotland Members at the 120th IIC ;
Master Robin Blair 7th Degree
Mr Garry Shaw 6th Degree
Mr John McIlvaney 6th Degree
Mr David Lupton 5th Degree
Mr Ronnie Dewhurst 4th Degree
Mr John Munro 4th Degree
Mr Brian Penman 4th Degree
Mr Jason Munro 3rd Degree
Mr Ross Penman 3rd Degree
Mr Christopher Dickson 3rd Degree
Mrs Kerris Dickson 3rd Degree
Miss Lauren McMillan 3rd Degree
Mr Michael Carver 2nd Degree
Mr Craig McDonald 2nd Degree
Mr John Ricci 2nd Degree
Mr Stewart Mellon 2nd Degree
Mrs Catriona Steele 1st Degree
Mrs Brenda Bow 1st Degree
Some further pictures can be found in the gallery below.