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About: Dr Zibby Kruk

Recent Posts by Dr Zibby Kruk

"Malaysia Inspired" – Tul Tour Program Report

Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” – Day 1 (14-Nov-2016)
It has finally begun. The last tul tour (TT) Taekwon-Do & Cultural program for 2016 in the homeland commenced today. A team from Malaysia arrived at Incheon airport. Dressed in dobok, ready for action and welcomed by the TT organizers. After a short briefing and introduction the team was taken to their hotel in Seoul where the official welcoming ceremony took place. airport

The team from Malaysia consists of ten enthusiastic members and although this is so far the smallest group that has ever come for a TT program it was possible to accommodate such a small group through negotiation and arrangements to provide a satisfactory program.
For the welcome reception members wore traditional Malaysian outfits “baju melayu” with some also wearing traditional Indian costumes but before the opening reception the participants enjoyed Korean bulgogi delivered by a company that provides halal food in Korea. welc11c1bThe organizers managed to accommodate the dietary requirements of the mostly Muslim team members. So far, TT organizers have always been able to accommodate the participants dietary requirements whether they were dictated by religious believes or dietary choice.
The welcome reception began with the official introduction of the TT organizers and a presentation about Korean customs. Then the participants learned about the daily program for the entire week. Toward the end of the reception the TT attendees were divided into two teams that will face various challenges through the entire program and at the need the team that will accumulate the more points will win a price.
The welcome reception concluded with group photos being taken and informal discussion and the introduction of the Malaysian members. Everybody then retired to their rooms to get some well deserved rest and prepare for the next day.

Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” DAY 2 (15-Nov-2016)
It was a chilly morning when tt participants left the Baiton hotel in Seoul and traveled to Deoksugung palace to watch and participate in the guard changing ceremony.
On this occasion the organizers were able to accommodate all 5 male members of the tt program to become active participants of the guard changing ceremony. This created history since this is the first time five TT participants could act as generals and palace officials with two of the youngest, at 14 years of age, acting as the TT drummer and as a General officiating the ceremony. Considering the fact that some Hwarang generals were only 15-19 years of age this was appropriate and rewarding.2a
After the ceremony we took pictures with our new officials and moved to the Seoul Mosque so our guests could contemplate and pray, which was followed by a delicious lunch at the restaurant that had provided dinner for the welcome reception the night before. The lunch was very tasty and highly appreciated by the tultourers.
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The next location was Dosan Park. It only took us about 40 min to arrive at Dosan park and museum for training. Before training we watched a documentary about Dosan while visiting the museum and then gathered together at the Dosan monument where we spent approximately 1.5h discovering the technical secrets of Dosan tul. The training was conducted by Master Zibby Kruk. At the end of the training the two teams performed Dosan tul with the best team being awarded bonus points. To enhance the experience and enjoyment of the training the application of Dosan tul techniques was performed in an acting/entertaining fashion.
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On completion of the training the group moved to a vegetarian buffet style restaurant which provided a variety of side dishes and soybean dishes that were surprisingly tasty.
After dinner, the group made the journey to the Taekwondowon in Muju where we planned to rest before the next full day of activities at the park, but during the trip Master Kruk conducted a quiz that summarized the knowledge about Dosan his life and activity. It was pleasantly surprising and rewarding to see how much information about Dosan was absorbed by the tultourers in such a short period of time. This reflects the educational value of the program that helps the practitioners to better understand the meaning of the patterns when they practice them in the locations closely associated with them.
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Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” DAY 3 (16-Nov-2016)
Today, most of the day was spent in Muju at the Taekwondowon but even so it was felt that it would have been possible to spend at least another day to be fully satisfied with what the park had to offer. The day started with breakfast being delivered to our accommodation so the participants did not even have to leave their building to walk to the cafeteria for their meal.
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After breakfast all participants gathered in the gymnasium to prepare for a 2h “Taekwondo aerobic program” however to fill in time before the arrival of the instructors Master Kruk worked with the tultourers on Hwarang tul, correcting details and explaining technical applications. Then the 2 Korean female instructors arrived and took the team through warm ups and introduced Taekwondo dance routines that were enjoyed immensely by the boys and girls. It took over an hour to learn the moves and coordinate them with both teams at the end performing their routines and receiving bonus points for their TT team competition.
On conclusion of the active program and some refreshment the participants visited the museum where they viewed the portrait of General Choi. Discussions ensued about the recognition of General Choi with Mr Razak, the leader of the Malaysian group who has been involved in Taekwon-Do in Malaysia for a very long time pointing out, that even in Malaysia the WTF instructors and Masters regard Gen. Choi as the founder of Taekwon-Do since they use the oath and the tenets created by the General and recite them at the beginning of every training session. It was felt that it is very disappointing that the some members of ITF family have presented a weak stance on this issue by applauding the recognition of Gen Choi in Muju Park Museum only as the Taekwon-Do name giver.
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The time in the museum passed quickly and after some quick shopping in the souvenir shop everybody had lunch and the entire team enjoyed a spectacle performed by the Taekwondowon team. It was very exciting and following the demonstration the participants were able to take pictures with the performers and congratulate them on a excellent and skillful performance.
The afternoon fortunately warmed up, making it easier to cope with the cold November weather in Korea since the Malaysians members are rarely exposed to cold weather in their home country. We then traveled to Gyeongju, and after settling in the hotel and having dinner we moved to Anapchi where the participants admired the beautiful architecture of the location which is a former Hwarang warrior training ground.
anapchi1The group walked around Anapchi pond enjoying the serenity of the location with the small number of visitors at this time of year creating a very relaxing atmosphere. Once time was taken to create these memories we began our revision and practice of Hwarang Tul supervised by Master Kruk. The training concluded after an hour or so and because of the chilly evening the participants were encouraged to wear their TT warm jackets that were presented to them by the organizers. Everybody returned to the hotel at 10pm and relaxed before another busy day ahead. anapchi2

Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” DAY 4 (17-Nov-2016)
Today was spent almost entirely in the province of Gyeongju. The weather was very nice and we departed the hotel to the Bulguksa temple that is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and encompasses seven National treasures of South Korea.
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The beautiful scenery around the temple, fantastic autumn colors and peaceful atmosphere created a desire to spend more time there than initially planned.
We started our visit by posing for pictures. Since the entire area relates to the Korean monk Wonhyo, the poses and techniques used related to this pattern.
At 10am a professional guide provided a tour for our members to present the beauty of the temple that has been recognized as a UNESCO site.
On leaving the Bulguksa temple we paid a short visit to tomb of Moon moo that is located on the eastern sea. We managed to take pictures and relax a little by the sea.
Our next destination was Golgulsa Temple. We arrived there at mid-day and experienced a temple style lunch. Since it was vegetarian and not heavy we were able to move directly to the temple training hall and start work on Wonhyo tul. The Golgulsa temple is also associated with the monk Wonhyo who dedicated his life to spread Buddhism among the common people during the Silla dynasty.
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After an hour and a half practicing, the training continued but this time it was conducted by a monk who introduced the basics of the temple martial art called Sun Moo Do. Our tultourers were taken through step by step instruction on how to perform the first Sun Moo Do pattern.
The program concluded late in the afternoon with the tultourers enjoying a demonstration performed by the monks and being given the opportunity to perform Wonhyo tul as a part of the Sun Moo Do demo.
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We then headed back to Daejeon where we had dinner in a sushi buffet restaurant and after settling into the hotel we walked to the nearby foot spa amphitheater where Master Zibby Kruk entertained the participants by playing guitar and harmonica and singing songs. The participants joined in and sang some popular songs as well. Following this entertaining evening everyne visited the office of ITF HQ Korea for coffee and discussions with some individuals purchasing new doboks so they could have fresh uniforms for the next day for training.

Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” DAY 5 (18-Nov-2016)
The day started with travel to Hyeonchungsa – Admiral Yi Sun Sin’s shrine. On arrival we visited the museum and watched a 4 D video about the Admiral and his battles. Then we moved to the top of the hill to visit the Yi Sun Sin shrine and practice Choong Moo tul in this beautiful setting with autumn colors. The lower ranked students who did not know the pattern were taken by Mr Razak (a 6th Degree Malaysian instructor and the team leader) and practiced fundamental techniques and elements of other patterns. The training lasted for an hour and a half after which we moved to Seoul for a late lunch. We decided on Indian cuisine and enjoyed spicy delicious food in Insadong.
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After the late lunch we moved to a shrine dedicated to Dangun that was located near Gwanghwamun Square. The group focused for over an hour on practicing this pattern. Master Kruk challenged practitioners with different performance styles, such as orientation, speed, or adding kicking techniques. It was pleasant to see the students enjoying their training and showed their technical progress. Fortunately, the students also were greeted by Mr Lee Gun Bong, who is the director of Center, who was kind enough to present the participants with souvenirs of their visit.
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It was after 6pm before the group moved to the hotel located in the heart of Seoul and enjoyed dinner delivered by a halal food company. Immediately after dinner we met all the participants in the hotel conference centre and concluded the program. Participants received their tul tour certificates and some also received Dan certificates as they had completed their Dan tests. Mr Hafidz, a 4 Degree Black Belt from Malaysia who was a coordinator of the “Malaysia Inspired” program, was appointed as the Islamic Tul Tour Director and his role will be to coordinate further programs that will be offered specifically for Muslim participants. There are specific religious requirements that need to be observed and fulfilled so it is very important that the TT team closely cooperate with experts who can not only promote the program to Muslim practitioners but also serve as professional advisers.
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The evening was designated for souvenir shopping and relaxation. Day 6 is the last practical training day and will cover the remaining 3 color belt patterns.

Tul Tour “Malaysia Inspired” DAY 6 (19-Nov-2016)
I am not sure how many of you are aware about the current difficulty of the political situation in Korea due to presidential problems, this definitely had an impact on this tul tour program. Political demonstrations in Seoul and other Korean cities caused closure of many main roads and places and had the organisers not addressed these issues properly it could have meant that the tt participants could have been stuck for an entire day in a traffic jam.
As always tt organizers take these things into consideration and prepare a backup plan.
In order to avoid any difficulties we moved to the Ahn Joon Gun Memorial Hall first thing in the morning.
received_1205717226154866We toured around the museum admiring the documents, calligraphy work, learning about this brave independent movement activist and took group photos. Then we spent an hour or so working on the details of Joon Gun tul in front of the Ahn Joon Gun monument.
received_1205716919488230Many locals and tourists stopped to watch our training and take pictures. It was great promotion for Taekwon-Do ITF in its homeland. Master Kruk covered many nuances and technical aspects associated with this pattern. As you leave the park there is also a statue of Yi Hwang (Toi Gye) and we took the opportunity to take a few group pictures in front of the statute since we did not plan to visit another location associated with this scholar.
This was just the right time to leave Seoul as demonstrators had only just started gathering on the streets and police were only beginning to close the roads.
We then moved to “Paju” which is a city that Yul gok had a significant presence in the 16th century. He worked there during his adult time and passed away there too.
Upon arrival at the site we had a picnic style lunch at Yulgok park and watched a movie that presented Yulgok’s life and achievements.
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Being armed with this new knowledge we walked in the amazing scenery to visit his tomb which is located in the Park. It was the first time that TT members have visited the Yulgok tomb. This time of the year the surrounding area is so colorful and beautiful and because there are not many visitors it is very peaceful as well.
After taking some group pictures we returned to the two large monuments of Yulgok and his mother Shin Saimdang (who is a great figure in Korean history as well) located at the entrance of the park and began Yulgok tul training that was conducted by Master Zibby Kruk.
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The participants were able to practice the elements of the pattern for nearly two hours, receiving individual correction and because it was the last practical session Master Kruk provided a summary for each member on what they have to work on. Master Kruk pointed out and personally checked whether students remembered what they had to focus on during their training while back in Malaysia. Also head instructors, Mr Razak and Mr Hafidz had an extended conversation with Master Kruk about future training.
After training, student’s spent some time on their prayer and then moved to a guest house in Incheon located close to the airport. After dinner and making sure that our guests were set for the next days travel home,the organizers farewelled the tultourers and departed to Daejeon.
Our Malaysian guests expressed their appreciation for what they were able to experience and we look forward to meeting again in 2017.

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Interview with Paul Zaichik the founder of the Elastic Steel method of Athletic conditioning

While searching for Martial Arts training methods I came across some very interesting videos about flexibility, methods of stretching and the scientific explanation and reasoning behind them. Being impressed by these videos and the knowledge they presented I contacted the author Paul Zaichik and invited him to write for our moosin online magazine. Paul accepted my invitation and since then his articles have become one of the most popular, reaching up to 45K readers per article. Based on this popularity I invited Paul to do an interview where he could explain his work and the methods he has developed.
Paul’s interest in Martial Arts dates back to his early childhood. During his Martial Art training Paul realized that many advanced students could barely kick at head level. He had begun to experiment in this area. As a result Paul transformed many Eastern European Stretching and Gymnastic techniques to meet the needs of modern martial artists. More and more students were utilising Paul’s techniques, acquiring great strength and flexibility in return. As a certified Exercise and Nutrition instructor Paul has been able to develop many effective techniques over the years that has become known as ElasticSteel. I believe that this interview will clarify some matters related to stretching and will benefit our readers who have a particular interest in this area.
Dr Zibby Kruk
Editor-in-chief Moosin online magazine

Zibby Kruk: So Paul tell us a little bit about Kinesiological Stretching Techniques.

Paul Zaichik: KST (Kinesiological Stretching Techniques) is a method of stretching the muscles. There are many differences from standard stretching techniques. KST is different from Dynamic, Static, PNF, etc is that one muscle is targeted at a time. This is opposed to many muscles targeted together.

Zibby Kruk: What are the advantages of targeting one muscle at a time?

Paul Zaichik: Well for example let’s say we are working on a “hip flexors” stretch. Most people assume that a deep lunge targets the “hip flexor(s)”. Some people use other positions that extend the hip joint (bring the leg behind the line of the body), such as Pigeon or Modified Dancer’s pose. In reality there are 10 muscles that flex the hip (prevent the hip extension). The 6 hip flexors and 4 adductors. Anyone of them can prevent the extension of the hip. Targeting them separately allows to focus on the problematic one(s). At the same time, not all skills require the muscles to be equality stretched. What we do in EasyFlexibility and ElasticSteel is break the skills down into muscles and target those that need stretching for fastest results.
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Zibby Kruk: How do you isolate the muscles?

Paul Zaichik: The muscles can be isolated because each one does something else. Each muscle is unique. For example if we can come back to the hip flexors for a second to demonstrate the point. All hip flexors flex the hip. However some favor medial rotation and some favor lateral rotation. Some prefer flexion with abduction and some with adduction. Some cross the knee and some don’t. Those who cross the knee may flex it or extend it. So for example Sartorius. It flexes the hip, laterally rotates and assist in hip abduction. The only muscle that does the same is Rectus Femoris. Also a hip flexor, assists in hip lateral rotation and abduction. However former flexes and medially rotates the knee and later extends the knee. The position of the knee would different between which of the two muscles we are targeting. Providing that we extend, adduct and medially rotate the hip.

Zibby Kruk: How would you stretch the hamstrings for example with your technique?

Paul Zaichik: Hamstrings is 4 heads. We isolate the lateral and medial heads, since they do different things. Do you mean how we target the muscle specifically or how do we get a person to bend forward at the hip, like in sitting sit and reach?

Zibby Kruk: What about both?

Paul Zaichik: The two are actually different things, because a person who wants to touch his chest to his knee(s) with a straight leg, is stretching more than hamstrings. Other muscles must be stretched first. So gluteus maximus, piriformis, ischial head of adductor magnus, and in some cases adductor longus (it becomes an extensor past 70 degrees), posterior fibers of gluteus medius, and calve. Of course ankle position and hip position will dictate if some of the names muscles need stretching.
If we are targeting hamstrings muscle specifically, we can work it as an extensor of the hip vs the flexor of the knee. If it’s lateral hamstrings for example (which is very tight in most people), we can use horizontal adduction and medial rotation as one of the action, usually as leverage.

Zibby Kruk: The concept of Target and Leverage is unique to Kinesiological Stretching techniques. Can you talk about that?

Paul Zaichik: Yes, in basic terms a target is the direction where we want to stretch the muscle. For example in a sitting straddle (Side Split), we want the legs to come apart to 180 degrees. That is our target. So by moving the legs away from each other we are moving them into the direction of the target.
However the legs may and usually refuse to move past certain point. To keep them moving, we use leverage. The leverage are short movement, that target the same muscle groups. However unlike our targeted direction, which is usually a specific skill (Side Split), the leverage moves the joint to target the same muscle in it’s other actions. For example, adductors are medial rotators. Doing the opposite (Laterally Rotating the hip, stretches the muscles further)
The main point to understand is that if we perform outward rotation we get the flexibility in the muscles that we don’t need, at least not in the way we have it. So we stretch the inner thighs through rotation, but we don’t care about the hip rotation at the moment, we want the legs to go further apart. Well, when that rotational stretch is let go, there is “space”. This means few more degrees to space the legs out, with decreased resistance. 14459685_1120768561348349_1968650002_n

Zibby Kruk: So what is the advantage of using target and leverage over regular stretches like done in yoga?

Paul Zaichik: The advantage is speed of flexibility progress. If we stay with the Side Split, let’s say. One would either sit with legs apart and nothing happens. Just sitting there and no progress. Either that or one would somehow force the legs out, like with a “torture stretching device”, against pain and resistance. With KST you move into leverage, come back out of it and all of the suddenly, you are more flexible.

Zibby Kruk: Can someone just keep doing KST until a full split is mastered, if there is a small gain with each Target/Leverage movement?

Paul Zaichik: In one workout, you mean?

Zibby Kruk: Yes

Paul Zaichik: Significant flexibility can be gained in one workout, but we don’t recommend getting greedy. However we know of the possible progress one can quickly make, because people did get gluttonous in the past. In EasyFlexibility we prefer to make progress, secure it and move on.

Zibby Kruk: I want to ask you about EasyFlexibility in a second. Can you expand on “make progress, secure it and move on” bit?

Paul Zaichik: So one EasyFlexibility/ElasticSteel developments was an ability to keep the progress received from Kinesiological Stretching Techniques. People got pretty flexible in their training session, using KST. Let’s say they could barely touch toes at the start of the session and would be palming the toes at end of the session. Then the next workout comes and they are at square one again. Barely touching toes. So exercises were developed to keep what was gained. So that at the next session, they would start more flexible.

Zibby Kruk: So next time they would be contacting their palms to their toes?

Paul Zaichik: No, they would not be as flexible as they ended up last time, but more flexible than they started. So they would not palm the toes, but they would be touching with finger tips, while before they could not. So the point is to start a little deeper and end a little deeper each time. After some training, what was the deepest flexibility, becomes the starting flexibility.

Zibby Kruk: I see and what kind of exercises allow one to keep flexibility?

Paul Zaichik: Various strength and movement exercises. Their aim is to make the newly developed flexibility range accepted by the body as normal and comfortable.

Zibby Kruk: How did you come up with KST?

Paul Zaichik: One of my friends was stretching his shoulders for swimming. He wanted to develop good medial rotation. He was on the floor on the side, trying to push his hand closer to the floor. It was not really going. Then he turned in such a way that he created a horizontal flexion in the shoulder. So basically he did the leverage. As he came back, his arm went deeper. So he did the target. I noticed that. When I saw it, I realized based on my experience in Kinesiology that both of those actions, targeted the same muscle group. (Posterior Deltoid, Teres Minor and Infraspinatus) Long story short, I did the stretch myself and it worked. Next I did the same for all the muscles and it worked as well. And Kinesiological Stretching was born.

Zibby Kruk: Named after Kinesiology?

Paul Zaichik: Yes, exactly.

Zibby Kruk: People often confuse EasyFlexibility, ElasticSteel and Kinesiological Stretching techniques are they often used interchangeably. What is the difference between them?

Paul Zaichik: ElasticSteel Method of Athletic Conditioning is a company I founded to share my knowledge, experience and research in various fields. Flexibility Training, Strength Training, BodyWeight Training, Martial Arts.
EasyFlexibility is a brand under ElasticSteel umbrella. Martial Artists who practice the method often call it ElasticSteel, while dancers, yogis, cheerleaders, gymnasts and other athletes call it EasyFlexibility.
EasyFlexibility is also a brand signifying the “Elastic” part of ElasticSteel focusing on Stretching. Several brands signified the strength component of EasyFlexibility, with ZejaX being the leading one right now.
Kinesiological Stretching Techniques is the way of muscle elongation in ES and EF programs. However, as I said before, it’s only a part of the EF and ES. It’s completed by other techniques.14445463_1120768194681719_1158648316_n

Zibby Kruk: So in short, ElasticSteel is for martial artists EasyFlexibility is for different athletes and Kinesiological Stretching are stretching techniques for everyone?

Paul Zaichik: Yes.

Zibby Kruk: So what is next for Elasticsteel?

Paul Zaichik: Still looking for ways to improve the system. Trying to find ways to develop flexibility faster, but still keep it safe and sustainable. As soon as we discover and test something, we make it available for everyone.

Zibby Kruk: Thank you Paul, it was great chatting with you.

Paul Zaichik: Thank you as well

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Dr George Vitale visited ITF HQ Korea

On the 14th-15th February Dr George Vitale arrived in Daejoen for a meeting with officials from ITF HQ Korea, Master Oh Chan Jin and Dr Zibby Kruk. It was not Dr Vitale’s first visit of to South Korea but it was his first time in Daejoen. Since Dr Vitale has studied Taekwondo history extensively, Daejeon was of special interest as it was in this city that Taekwon-Do started to modernize its techniques. General Choi moved from Jeju Island to Daejoen where he trained solders in the newly named art of Taekwon-Do. zibby
Dr Vitale was also interested in modern Taekwon-Do history, and events that took place following the re-introduction of the ITF to South Korea by Mast. Oh Chan Jin. Master Oh shared stories of how he met General Choi, how he began introducing the ITF in South Korea, the first historic world championship and shared stories of thousands of officials, pioneers, masters, students and instructors who have visited Korea from early 2000 to the current time.
Dr Vitale, accompanied by Dr Kruk and Ms Hera Jin, visited the “Donghaksa Temple” located in the eastern valley of Gyeryongsan Mountain, the first and the oldest existing academic institute for female monks. The temple is home to about 150 monks who study and practice Buddhism. In spite of the very cold weather Dr Vitale was able to admire the elegant structure of the temple that is enhanced by the majestic view of Munpilbong Peak. george
After lunch in a traditional Korean restaurant Dr Vitale visited Daejon national Cemetery, which is the resting place of deceased patriots, men of national merit, generals, officers, soldiers. It was interesting to speculate whether it could have been the resting place of General Choi if the South Korean Government had responded positively to the Generals request to get medical treatment in South Korea and this may have been his life’s final destination instead the North.
Daejeon National Cemetery covers a vast area of land spanning around 330,000㎡ and includes such facilities as the Memorial Tower and the Memorial Gate to pay reverence to patriotic spirits, Patriotic Spirit Exhibition Center displaying photos and articles left by the deceased, and an outdoor exhibition space, where military battle equipment is on display. This provided a great background to take some photographs and reflect on the history of Korea and Taekwon-Do.
The first day of the visit ended with long discussions about Taekwon-Do, plans and history, in the office of HQ Korea with Mast. Oh, and continued later at a beer and chicken restaurant.
The second day started by visiting ITF HQ Korea office where some photos were taken to record Dr Vitale’s visit. Then after lunch we were accompanied by Ms Rachel Kim and taken to the Gaetaesa Temple that was established by King Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty and was the site of the final battle with the Baekje dynasty where he celebrated victory in 936. Rachel provided helpful information about the temple that gave us some background knowledge about the place prior to our visit.
The Gaetaesa Temple was established by King Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty at the site of the final battle with the Baekje dynasty where he celebrated victory in 936 in the 19th year of his reign. The temple was built to celebrate the unification of the three kingdoms of Korea. Three statues of Buddha in the temple are regarded as some of the better works of Buddhist art of the early Goryeo Dynasty.
Again, the site was a great place to reflect on Korean history, Taekwon-Do and talk about tul tour programs. Thanks to Rachel Kim, Dr Vitale was able to connect some historical events from history and located the place in Nonsan where General Choi created Gae-Baek tul.
We returned to the office of ITF HQ Korea where Dr Vitale shared his research on Korean history and Taekwon-Do. All Korean participants were amazed with the information they received and were astonished with Dr Vitale’s knowledge and understanding of Korean history.
The visit came to an end and in the evening with Dr Vitale leaving for Seoul where he had other arrangements.
During his 2-day visit the only time we were not talking was when we were sleeping. It was a great Taekwon-Do/history interaction that allowed us to discover new facts and exchange information that helped us understand Taekwon-Do history and General Choi’s patriotic work much better.

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Could this new electrical brain-zap method help you to obtain your Black Belt faster?

Martial Art training is an ongoing process that takes years to master your skills and finally earn your first black belt.  It is a constant repetition of movements, memorizing sequences and applying them at training with partners or alone. During such training your muscles, through constant repetition, “remember” correct trajectories of the movements/techniques and after X thousands of repetitions you can perform them almost subconsciously and finally attempt your black belt test.

However, what would happen if there was a way that your muscles could memorize movements faster? Or if one could learn and perfect techniques quicker? Could the length of the time required to learn and reach the black belt status be reduced?

The latest research

The answer to some of these questions might be found in the research headed by Dr Shapour Jaberzadeh and his group at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.  The research was described in a paper published on the 15th of July 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

In the article the researchers discuss a new noninvasive technique that could rev up your brain to improve your physical performance — for athletes and musicians, for instance — and might also improve treatments for brain-related conditions such as stroke, depression, and chronic pain.

Introducing transcranial pulsed current stimulation (brain-zap method)

The newest method, called transcranial pulsed current stimulation (tPCS), increases more corticospinal (muscle-movement-related) excitability, according to the researchers who discovered that this new treatment produced larger excitability changes in the brain. When a task is being learned during movement training (for example learning a new Martial Art technique, pattern or even playing the piano) gradually the performance gets better. This improvement coincides with enhancement of the brain excitability. This novel technique can play an important role in enhancement of the brain excitability, which may help recipients learn new tasks faster. At this stage it is difficult to tell how much acceleration can be achieved and more research is needed but increasing the length of the impulse and decreasing the time interval between pulses heightened excitability even further.

tPCS is a new, non-invasive neuromodulatory technique. It is safe and easily applicable. Participants seat upright and comfortable with their head and neck supported by a headrest. A pair of saline-soaked surface sponge electrodes are attached and the treatment proceeds for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. The next step in the research is to investigate the underlying mechanisms for the efficacy of this new technique. This will enable to develop more effective protocols for application of tPCS in individuals that desire to improve the locomotion ability or patients with different pathological conditions.

Conclusion

Obviously there are some gifted individuals that require less time to master a movement and, they undergo the same rank testing time criteria as applied to everybody. On the other hand, the physical performance for a successful Black Belt testing is one of the aspects and the time designated to achieve appropriate maturity while training is also very important and should be properly estimated. Otherwise, we will end up with very young, imprudent and skillful technically grandmasters for whom the 1-9/10 Dan scale will not be high enough. More research is needed in this area to properly assess the maturity of Martial artists that make them eligible to become responsible and humble grandmaster with charisma.

The author would like to thank Master Steve Weston from Australia for the revision of the article

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Smart Martial outfit will keep you comforted while training

What would it be like if at a high intensity Martial Art training session, your uniform, instead of becoming soaked with sweat and getting stuck to your thighs and torso, kept you comfortable while providing a cooling effect? How much more efficient would your training be with an outfit that not only makes you feel good but also takes away the burden of overheating and discomfort.

One may suggest that heating or cooling the training hall would fix this problem but imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature — regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. There have been many approaches in the past aiming to produce a cooling effect to the body by adding an active cooler worn on the back of the neck or implementing an innovative advanced material that leaves you Cooler, Drier, Longer in the hottest conditions (CHILLSTITCH™ technology – new Cooling Towels and Multi-Wrap). However, all of the approaches have a limited time of action and diminish the cooling effect with time.

The researchers from the University of California, San Diego, received $2,6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for the project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating). The project lead by a distinguished professor of nanoengineering Joseph Wang aims to design a smart fabric that will regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin — keeping it at 93° F (approximately 34°C) — by adapting to temperature changes in the room or the wearer’s activity. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter or the activity of the person wearing the smart outfit increases, the fabric will become thinner, using polymers inside the smart fabric that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat.

93°F or 34°C is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people. The clothing will incorporate printable “thermoelectrics” into specific spots of the smart fabric to regulate the temperature on “hot spots” — such as areas on the back and underneath the feet, under the armpits etc. that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.

The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself, using rechargeable batteries to power the thermoelectrics and biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat. The 3-D printable wearable parts will be thin, stretchable, and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy. The material will also be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight.

If such smart fabric can be incorporate into Martial Arts training outfit it may result not only on creating a more comfortable training external environment but also may be able to utilize more efficiently the energy expanded during the training to charge mobile phones and other electronic devices while participating in training.

Although it is the beginning of the smart outfit project we will follow and report its progress as this smart fabric may revolutionize not only the textile industry but when utilized for making martial arts outfits may improve the performance of the practitioners.  We also hope that it will look attractive and fashionable.

(Adopted from UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, “Engineers win grant to make smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating”, June 1, 2015.)

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Smart Martial outfit’ will keep you comforted while training

What would it be like if at a high intensity Martial Art training session, your uniform, instead of becoming soaked with sweat and getting stuck to your thighs and torso, kept you comfortable while providing a cooling effect? How much more efficient would your training be with an outfit that not only makes you feel good but also takes away the burden of overheating and discomfort

One may suggest that heating or cooling the training hall would fix this problem but imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature — regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. There have been many approaches in the past aiming to produce a cooling effect to the body by adding an active cooler worn on the back of the neck or implementing an innovative advanced material that leaves you Cooler, Drier, Longer in the hottest conditions (CHILLSTITCH™ technology – new Cooling Towels and Multi-Wrap). However, all of the approaches have a limited time of action and diminish the cooling effect with time.

The researchers from the University of California, San Diego, received $2,6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for the project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating). The project lead by a distinguished professor of nanoengineering Joseph Wang aims to design a smart fabric that will regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin — keeping it at 93° F (approximately 34°C) — by adapting to temperature changes in the room or the wearer’s activity. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter or the activity of the person wearing the smart outfit increases, the fabric will become thinner, using polymers inside the smart fabric that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat.

93°F or 34°C is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people. The clothing will incorporate printable “thermoelectrics” into specific spots of the smart fabric to regulate the temperature on “hot spots” — such as areas on the back and underneath the feet, under the armpits etc. that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.

The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself, using rechargeable batteries to power the thermoelectrics and biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat. The 3-D printable wearable parts will be thin, stretchable, and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy. The material will also be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight.

If such smart fabric can be incorporate into Martial Arts training outfit it may result not only on creating a more comfortable training external environment but also may be able to utilize more efficiently the energy expanded during the training to charge mobile phones and other electronic devices while participating in training.

Although it is the beginning of the smart outfit project we will follow and report its progress as this smart fabric may revolutionize not only the textile industry but when utilized for making martial arts outfits may improve the performance of the practitioners.  We also hope that it will look attractive and fashionable.

(Adopted from UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, “Engineers win grant to make smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating”, June 1, 2015.)

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Taekwon-Do and Korean Culture

Taekwon-Do, the Korean Art of self-defense gained enormous popularity throughout the world due to the tireless efforts of its founder General Choi Hong Hi.

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Martial Arts with meditation in their curriculum keep your brain healthier

This may suggest that doing Martial Arts with meditation in the class will not only give you a better physique and self-defense skills but may potentially extend your mental capability.

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60th Anniversary of Taekwon-Do

The ITF HQ Korea, the only official Taekwon-Do body in South Korea has been preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Taekwon-Do in its homeland.

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Interview with President Global Taekwon-Do Federation, Mrs. Linda Park



SPONSORED BY GLOBAL TAEKWON-DO FEDERATION

The GTF is committed to the traditional values taught by our founder and teacher, Grandmaster Park Jung Tae. For more information about GTF, click here

Interview with President Global Taekwon-Do Federation, Mrs. Linda Park

The Global Taekwon-do Federation (GTF) was formed in 1990 under the leadership of the famous late GrandMaster Park Jung Tae, 9th Degree Black Belt, who was ranked as the leading technical trainer in the world until his death on April 11, 2002.

Since the passing of Grand Master Park Jung Tae on April 11, 2002, GTF has gone through a transition period to take the Federation to the next level of development. At a meeting, the GTF Masters and Senior Instructors unanimously agreed that the Executive Vice-President of the Global Taekwon-Do Federation, Mrs. Linda Park was the only person able to become GTF President. President Linda Park has been involved with Taekwon-Do since 1969 and her knowledge of GTF matters from working side by side with her late husband, Grand Master Park has given her insight to the future greatness of this Federation.

In this personal interview, Mrs. Park shares her memory in the life history of her late husband, as well as her aspirations on the future development of GTF.

Moosin: When did you get involved in Martial Arts and how did it happen?

GM Linda Park: I was always active in sports and one day in late 1969, I was at the Toronto Exhibition in Canada and came upon a Taekwon-Do demonstration by one of the local schools. I was very impressed and thought I would like to get involved with that martial art. A few months later I joined that club and the rest is history.

Moosin: What were the most memorable moments from your training history?

GM Linda Park: I remember Grand Master Park teaching me sparring techniques. He would stand behind me and told me that I had to move to the side not backwards. He said that there was only a spit second between the attack and my defense. If I moved backwards, I could lose that moment of opportunity. I !remember distinctly one time I got kicked in the stomach because I lost focus of what I was to do. I am sure everyone who spars can relate to that powerful turning back kick.

Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson that day. Move circular, not back. Taekwon-Do has shaped my life in remarkable ways. From meeting extraordinary people and travelling the world to participating in exciting championships my moments are numerous as I feel that I am connected to this Art through years of observation, practice and philosophical discussion. Although I no longer physically practice this beautiful Art, the essence of martial arts is part of my daily life through balancing mind, body and spirit.

GM Linda Park (center) with GTF members in Malaysia

GM Linda Park (center) with GTF members in Malaysia

Moosin: How did you meet late Grand Master Park, your husband and what influence did he have on your Taekwon-Do training?

GM Linda Park: I met Grand Master Park when he arrived from Korea as a guest Instructor at the Taekwon-Do school where I was training. His charisma and approachability was mesmerizing to me. He was the ideal Instructor because he encouraged you to excel in your training and reach your highest potential. I loved training with him as did anyone who ever had the opportunity. He emanated an inner power that drew you in. Known for his technical skill, he was respected by all and when you left a training session with him you knew that your skill had been sharpened and you wanted to maintain that level of expertise.

I have experienced many facets of Taekwon-Do through the eyes of being a practitioner, being the wife of a great technical expert, administrator and leader of an international organization and being the mother of a practitioner. Grand Master Park’s passion ignited a passion inside of me to pursue and continue Taekwon-Do even after his death. As of today, I have been supporting Taekwon-Do for 44 years (ITF 20 years and GTF 24 years). I guess there is some merit to my Taekwon-Do experience.

Moosin: What was your most significant achievement as a Martial Artist?

GM Linda Park: Becoming President of the Global Taekwon-Do Federation was very significant for me. Taekwon-Do leadership is traditionally male dominated and I was the first woman to break that mold. There were many challenges to overcome, but my determination to secure the legacy of the late Grand Master Park has driven me to protect GTF on all fronts. I try to follow the tenets of Taekwon-Do and work in unison with the GTF Masters so that we speak one voice.

A Martial Artist is not only someone who performs but also someone who lives according to martial arts philosophy and I would say that is how I live.

GRM Linda Park at Hall of Fame

GM Linda Park (right) was accepting the “The People’s Master” award from Master George Vitale (left)

Moosin: You have been inducted into the Official Taekwon-Do Hall of Fame in Seoul, Korea. What is your feeling?

GM Linda Park: It was a great honour to be inducted into the Official Hall of Fame in Seoul Korea. It was an acknowledgement of my contribution to the promotion of Taekwon-Do since becoming President of the Global Taekwon-Do Federation. As a pioneer of Taekwon-Do, Grand Master Park Jung Tae was inducted in the Taekwon-Do Hall of Fame in 2009. When I was given this great honour, it represented a continuation of building a stronger Global Taekwon-Do Federation with leadership that is recognized and accepted in the Taekwon-Do community.

Moosin: Since your husband and Gen. Choi worked so intensely together, what would you think was their greatest similarity and what was their greatest difference?

GM Linda Park: Both General Choi Hong Hi and Grand Master Park lived and breathed Taekwon-Do. They worked together to improve the technical aspects of training and each played their part in standardizing the ITF techniques. Grand Master Park was a hands on Instructor and was nicknamed “The People’s Master” because he was approachable to anyone no matter what their level was.

He never withheld his skills or knowledge that would benefit the practitioner. In the early days, it was unthinkable for a student to approach Gen. Choi. On occasion, a black belt might get the rare chance to speak directly to him and that would be only after one of the Senior ITF Masters talked to Gen. Choi first. From my perspective, Gen. Choi was distant with the general membership on a personal level and concentrated on using the Masters worldwide to promote and spread ITF Taekwon-Do.

Gen. Choi was distant with the general membership on a personal level and concentrated on using the Masters worldwide to promote and spread ITF Taekwon-Do.

Moosin: Your husband, Grand Master Park was the top representative of ITF when promotion and techniques were concerned. What is the reason for his decision to start a new Federation?

GM Linda Park: The creation of the Global Taekwon-Do Federation came about because Grand Master Park Jung Tae left ITF and there was a void that had to be filled for all the practitioners who wanted to follow him. Grand Master Park devoted his life to Gen. Choi and ITF promotion/development. It was unimaginable that Gen. Choi would turn his back on his top technical instructor as well as most loyal supporter. Through misunderstandings it did happen. Grand Master Park lived and breathed Taekwon-Do and needed to continue developing and promoting Taekwon-Do to the world and he did this through the Global Taekwon-Do Federation (GTF).

Moosin: GTF has it’s roots in ITF. What are the similarities and differences between these two styles?

GM Linda Park: Both GTF and ITF promote a similar system of Taekwon-Do. Both have roots in ancient martial arts philosophy and techniques derived from various methods of self-defense. The main difference between the two styles is that both systems have their own distinct patterns and the techniques and methods of execution are different from each other. ITF has patterns created by Gen. Choi. GTF has patterns created by Grand Master Park Jung Tae. In this respect, it would be incorrect to say GTF has it’s roots in ITF.

[Tweet “It would be incorrect to say GTF has it’s roots in ITF.”]

Moosin: Considering the similarity of ITF and GTF, would a combined competition event be possible?

GM Linda Park: As stated previously, the Global Taekwon-Do Federation has it’s own distinct style and patterns; however, our members do practice the ITF patterns as Grand Master Park taught when he was the ITF Technical Chairman. ITF does not practice GTF patterns. Even so, it is very common to see both GTF and ITF practitioners lat the same event. Time will be a factor to determine if a combined major competition will take place in the future where both parties share in the same vision.

ITF does not practice GTF patterns. Even so, it is very common to see both GTF and ITF practitioners lat the same event.

It will be interesting to see the result of WTF (South Korea) and ITF (North Korea) organizing an event according to the Protocol of Accord recently signed between those two organizations. ITF (North Korea) is only one part of a larger group and the favoritism shown by IOC’s approval has created a further division in the Taekwon-Do community and doesn’t represent Taekwon-Do Federations
worldwide.

GM Linda Park at the GTF Championship

GM Linda Park at the 7Th GTF World Championship2009 in Malaysia

Moosin: If you had to describe Gen. Choi in 2 sentences, what would it be?

GM Linda Park: To describe General Choi Hong Hi is not easy as he was a very complex person. I would say that he was extremely clever, had great resources to achieve what he wanted and took advantage of opportunities to promote and develop ITF Taekwon-Do throughout the world.

Moosin: If you could foresee the future, what would be the first and most important thing you would want to influence.

GM Linda Park: This interview is about Taekwon-Do so I will answer this way. Protocol amongst martial artists is fading and I would encourage practitioners to study martial arts philosophy and to live accordingly. With the current trend of sport vs martial arts, the practitioner who follows Taekwon-Do the sport, will only need a trainer to win.

If we’re not careful, martial arts philosophy associated with Taekwon-Do, the Martial Art will be lost along with the instructors. I don’t want to see this happen. That is one reason GTF will always be a Traditional Martial Arts Federation.

Moosin: What is the short and long-term plans of the organization you lead?

GM Linda Park: The Global Taekwon-Do Federation is known worldwide for its high technical standards so we will continue to ensure !our instructors get the highest quality of training and give support to our members. Our long-term goal will be to maintain high technical standards while at the same time bring people together under an umbrella of peace and harmony through training.

Moosin: How would you see future co-operation between ITF and GTF organizations?

GM Linda Park: Many Masters and Grand Masters have not moved with the times and this makes it difficult to work together as they are set in the old ways and ideas. Grand Master Park Jung Tae always said that we must move with the times. If the Taekwon-Do leaders today can put aside personal ego’s and truly work for the highest good of Taekwon-Do on a universal level, then maybe we have a chance
to do something great together.

Moosin: In your opinion, what makes Taekwon-Do suitable for women?

GM Linda Park: I think Taekwon-Do is especially suited for women because of the technical ratio of 70%-30%. Using the legs 70%, having more power than the hands and also the fact that the legs have a longer reach than the arms gives women confidence that they have a good chance to avoid close encounters with a possible attacker.

As well, the techniques learned in self-defense with more emphasis on kicks gives women the power needed at the time of an attack. The one thing I learned through training is that most people don’t know how to fight or defend Interview with President Global Taekwon-Do Federation,
themselves. Even today with so much emphasis on martial arts/fighting/video games geared to battle etc, the same is true.

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