Report on the Polish winter camp January 2014
A group from ETA was joined by students from other parts of ITF England to participate in the ITF Poland Winter Camp held between 24th and 29th January 2014 in Szyrck in Poland.
The party travelled from Stansted and was met at Katowice Airport for transfer to the training venue. Once rooms had been allocated and dinner served a meeting was held with Master Loboda, Master Jedut and Mr Suska to brief the participants on the structure of the week. We learned that there would be two training sessions a day with consultations with Masters Loboda and Jedut and Mr Suska each evening. The training sessions were split between juniors below the age of 15 and all others. We learned that there was a possibility to ski between training sessions but the limited amount of snow restricted the extent of the ski area. Nevertheless, we did get the opportunity to ski on a couple of occasions. This included an opportunity for beginners to try their hand at skiing for the first time. Whilst the snow conditions were not brilliant all levels had a chance to get on the piste during some of the mornings.
Training began in earnest on Friday morning. The structure of each day was broadly the same in that the morning session involved fundamental exercises although these included many new techniques and variations on drills that are commonly taught. The afternoon sessions were devoted to many different sparring and related drills.
All sessions were mentally and physically taxing and challenged everybody, especially yours truly. Where possible a video record has been made of the sessions to enable their use in classes. Warm ups were largely Taekwon-do based and all the morning sessions used Saju jirugi, Saju magki and patterns up to and including Do-san as a key element of the warm up process. Partner work, involving kick shields, was extensively used and strengthening routines were also a key element of the morning sessions. Master Jedut took all the sessions for those above 15 years of age. He kept us constantly on our toes and whilst there were opportunities for rehydration, breaks they were short. Spare doboks were essential unless time was spent washing them in the evening. It would be difficult and lengthy to enumerate all the drills in this brief report but several members of the party made a detailed list of all the drills that were used in all the sessions.
The afternoon sessions followed the same format although no fundamental techniques and patterns were utilised. The afternoon session moved very swiftly to kick shield work using combination punching and/or kicking drills. These sessions were extremely fast paced with a demonstration of the drill to be performed with little or no break between each drill. After approximately 45 minutes sparring equipment was used; one session used only hand protection whilst the rest used all protection.
All sessions were held in a school hall some 2.5 kilometres from the hotel so we all had an opportunity to warm up on the way up to the venue. The afternoon sessions finished at 6:30 and we then wended our way back for a shower and dinner. As temperatures were in the region of -5 degrees centigrade we did not dawdle on the return journey.
After our meal those that wished to could take the opportunity to practice some of the routines learned during the day or seek private consultations with Masters Loboda and Jedut and Mr Suska. This allowed the majority of the participents to go through patterns and other matters in great detail. I was impressed by the time given to each student and it was an opportunity not to be missed.
As already mentioned the structure of the sessions were as set out above except for one session which was devoted entirely to strength exercises using what I can only describe as bungee cords.
The camp ended on Thursday evening and the ITF England group took the team leaders out for a meal.
As will be imagined all taking part were aching at the end of the camp and some aggravated injuries that they were carrying before arriving in Poland but notwithstanding the aches and pains all left having learned so much and made new friends. Thanks are due to Master Tom Denis who coordinated the arrangements for the group from England.
Finally, I will long remember the warmth of the hospitality of the Polish participants and the efforts of Master Loboda, Master Jedut and Mr Suska in making this a brilliant camp. The training met and exceeded all that I had been led to expect.