Darren Clark Stokes Accepted on the WTF – KHU Training Programme (Kyung Hee University) in Seoul South Korea
Before leaving Taekwondo for several years due to a knee ligament injury I was competing at national level and training with the national squad. However, my return to Taekwondo was a little daunting to me as my fitness levels and flexibility had dropped considerably, second to this the fighting style had also changed with the rules and scoring system. But, with some hard training and determination I managed to get myself to the national Championships and earn a Bronze medal.
To my surprise only a few weeks after the National Championships I received a letter of recommendation from Adrian Tranter (British Taekwondo President) as a suitable participant for the WTF – KHU Taekwondo Training Programme held at the international Taekwondo Academy in Seoul, Korea. Situated within the college of Physical Education and Sport Science department at Kyung Hee University, I was invited by Master JongKook, Song. Ph. D. Director of the WTF – KHU Taekwondo Program, Professor of the Taekwondo Department at Kyung Hee University to participate in the program which ran for 2 weeks.
I have truly enjoyed my time studying here in Korea, training was very hard to get use to at first but after the 4th day of Sparring, Self-Defense and Poomsae you quickly adapt to the fitness and there’s no holding back.
As well as the practical aspects of the course sparring etc… we also studied the Philosophy of Taekwondo, Nutrition for Taekwondo Players, Analysis of Sparing and Rules, First aid & Taping, Taekwondo Biomechanics, Korean Language and K-pop (Korean Dance). My favorite classes have to be Taekwondo Biomechanics, Korean Language and K-pop.
However, my time here is not all work and no play in fact I managed to visit Kukkiwon the headquarters for Taekwondo, I visited the Traditional Palace and some Traditional Korean Markets we also had an amusements day and trekked the mountain to Seoul Tower were the views of the city are breath taking whist there we watched a Taekwondo demonstration. The knowledge, the people I have become friends with, experiencing a new culture and the discipline of a nation has inspired me and will be an experience I will never forget.
I hope this training and experience has made me stronger as an athlete and grow as a person I am looking forward to putting my new skills and training regime to the test in this year’s International French Open in December and hopefully bring home a medal for Britain and Pislung as I wish to be selected again for the national squad and compete in the world championships as my ultimate goal and dream for the Olympics is ever growing.
I would like to thank everyone at Kyung Hee University special thanks to Master Jung, Taylor Kim and Kevin Na for their support during my time in Korea. Extra special thanks to my parents whom without their financial support the trip would not have been possible and a big thanks to Master Andrew Hill my Instructor whom without his training, knowledge, guidance and friendship I would not be the athlete I am today…