People often ask me what I do in my spare time down here. There are a lot of things I get up to, but some of them are just like home.
Back home I teach TaeKwon-Do and hold the rank of 4th Dan International Instructor/Examiner with the Unified International TaeKwon-Do Federation. I run my own school and before I left I decided to bring some of my student manuals down just in case anyone wanted to learn.
I got a group of three winterers that decided it would be a good way to pass the time and they were also interested in learning some self defence. So just after the summer crew left on the boat we started training together two nights each week. We found a perfect spot in the upstairs lounge that had just enough room to train and got down to business on the fundamental movements and some basic Korean language.
Around a week before I decided to give the students some notice that they were going to be tested for their next belt. This was received by what I can only describe as shock with everyone saying they didn’t think they were ready and they all started studying their theory each night after work. At the same time we got a new participant which was great so now we have grown to four members.
Around came the 15th of June where I held what I believe to be the first ever TaeKwon-Do grading in Antarctica. I spent a fair amount of time clearing out the lounge and setting up the area in the proper way to conduct a grading. The examiner’s table was set up with the national flags behind and a portrait of the founder on the table. At 5pm we held our final training session before the testing and took the opportunity to go through the formalities that are involved in the grading.
Everyone had a good training session and any nerves were hopefully calmed down, we had dinner and cleaned up then headed upstairs to start.
After having everyone do all the basic techniques including blocks, punches and kicks we moved on to their patterns. Once the patterns were complete I called them up to test them on the theory component of the art. There were some nerves but all did quite well.
After a stressful hour of testing I had the honour to promote my first three students here to yellow belt.
Hopefully some continue their training when they get back to Australia and they will all be able to brag that they got their first belts down south which is a fantastic achievement.
Sharky (Sabum Paul Daniels)