2018 USA and Mexico road trip.
The day began like any other with the Road Warrior and a Hapkido seminar (which went well) before heading over to the train station to catch my train from Fes into Casablanca (4 hours). A 30-minute wait in Casablanca before the train to the airport (1hr) and then I have 3 hours at the airport before my 1:40am flight Casablanca to Frankfurt (3 hours 20 minutes). I arrive at 6am and get 7 hours and 20 minutes to wait at the airport, before grabbing the 1:20pm flight across the Atlantic into Newark (8 hours 25 minutes) arriving at 3:45pm and a short 2 hour 40 minutes wait for my Newark to Richmond flight (1 hour 30 minutes). Then it is a leisurely 1-hour drive to my hotel arriving around 9:30pm and a night’s sleep before starting a week of training. For those adding up the time, if I start from an easy 8am in Fes, it will be well over 40 hours door to door, talk about Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Flights #17, #18 & #19 Casablanca – Frankfurt – Newark – Richmond (Lufthansa Airbus A319 & Boeing 747-8i + United Embraer RJ135)
Some travel days should only be remembered as Epic, but never enjoyed whilst doing them. Today will go in the books as one of those. Still I made the Atlantic crossing smoothly and am looking forward to the North American Road Trip. It was good to meet up with KSN Brian and Abby at the airport and to give them an update on the World Tour on the drive back to Yorktown. However, it was time for this Road Warrior to do a quick update and then crash before the full week of training.
Images no Road Warrior wants to see
The Care package that was waiting for me
The Adults class ready for action
A view of the freshly renovated back room
So, the plans for this visit to Yorktown were to spend time each day working with the Instructors, Advanced and normal students. These were broken into 3 sessions 9:30-11:30, 12:30-3:00 and 3:30-7:30. Also planned for the week some time to work with students on specific areas, a Belt Test and an open seminar focusing on weapons. To help me get through the week one of the local students had prepared a care package for me, some snacks, a rubber duck to keep me company, a drink bottle and an offer to assist with laundry, thank you for the kind thoughts and help, it was mush appreciated. A busy week that meant leaving the Hotel by 9am and returning sometime around 11pm, but overall a good chance to spend some quality mat time with the local IHA family. The local team under KSN Brian kept me caffeinated and all went very well. CGN Stephanie from North Carolina also drove down to join the fun and be part of the first ‘Hell Week’ in VA.
The Dojang Equipment Display
Local Burger Haunt
Team Black Belt
Weapons R us
Saturday Seminar Group
The week wrapped up with the seminar where I worked on the concepts of weaponry, with a focus on blade and flex types. The students also got the chance to bring in some normal items from home to see if they could stump me, I was able to creatively work out ways to use them all as weapons, however there was a moment where I had to think about how to use the Muffin. During the week I also had the chance to work with KSN Brian on plans for NATS 2 (North American Training Seminar) which would be in Yorktown next year. I wrapped up my visit to Virginia with a quick stop at the outlets to replace some clothing, always a good way to save some dollars in comparison to home. Then KSN Brian and I took the 5-hour drive heading towards North Carolina and CGN Stephanie’s Dojang.
Challenge #1 – Photo Error..
Challenge #2 – KSN Brian - 700
Rolling in Style
Road Trip: Yorktown, VA – Denver, NC – Gastonia, NC – Clemmons, NC
The drive went smoothly and we arrived into Denver, North Carolina just in time for dinner with Ma’am Stephanie (Tang Soo Do 4th Degree & IHA 1st Degree Instructor) and Ben her husband (Tang Soo Do 3rd Degree & now IHA Blue Belt). Over the next few days the schedule had a range of classes from Morning IHA lessons, evening kids, IHA Seminar Class, a class specifically for Tang Soo Do students, and an open seminar. Lots of mat time with a couple of outside seminars, one at Gastonia Martial Arts and one at Clemmons Family Martial Arts. KSN Brian stayed over for the Monday’s action and then headed out on Tuesday to return home for classes at his Dojang.
Now that’s a welcome
KSN Stephanie’s Dojang – Floor #1
KSN Stephanie’s Dojang – Floor #2
The BBQ Pork Special
Kids Seminar – Bag Fu
Adults IHA Seminar Class #1 – How to Kick
Where else do you put a Butchers but in a Petrol Station
Kids Seminar – Pressure Points
Adults IHA Seminar Class #2 – How to Strike
Adults IHA Seminar Class #3 – White/Orange Self Defence + Angry White Belt
Hapkido Seminar – Tang Soo Do group
Wings R Us
Challenge #1 – Staff Choke
Challenge #2 – CGN Stephanie - 800
Saturday morning and the travelling seminar crew head over to SBN Shawn’s Dojang for the next seminar. The focus is on Hand Attacks, Arm Bar Under and then onto Hook Punch Defence for some slam and Jam. This will be last seminar at this Dojang as SBN is moving his Dojang literally the next week, so I look forward to seeing the new location next time. That night we all headed into Charlotte for a Meatfest at Chima a Brazilian Steakhouse where food coma is the modus operandi, mission accomplished!
Gastonia Seminar Group
They take their flags seriously around here
I guess you would call that a modified car
Challenge #1 – Gun Defence
Challenge #2 – SBN Shawn - 900
Sunday and it was time to put the local students through their paces with some of the local students testing for their next ranks. One of the freshly nicknamed students “Dump Truck” even came in for the testing after having gotten married the day before. Now that’s commitment, at least I hope the new wife was has happy with the choice, at least he went home with a new Orange Belt. The afternoon included some ‘interesting’ Mexican type food, it was Cinco de Mayo and then a better experience with some Heated Recliners and a viewing of the new Avengers movie. I also had to judge the week long Australian Art competition which was filling up the mirrors in the Dojang, some excellent pieces of art. Sadly they seemed to have gone missing...
Grading Group – Dump Truck the Orange Belt on the right
Cinco de Mayo
Final Seminar Class - Before
Final Seminar Class - After
Tim Tam Slam – Teaching the Yanks how it’s done
Australian Art Competition, I stole the good ones, umm borrowed.
CGN Stephanie is still on Chauffeur duties for the drive over to my last seminar in North Carolina this trip. We head over to Clemmons family martial arts for the evening where I run the group through the Kwan Nyom conceptual motion techniques. The seminar goes well and we head back for a late night wrap up before the inevitable early morning and getting back on the road.
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee – Yes, it is a thing
Clemmons Seminar Group
Up the next morning for the quick drive to Charlotte and my next couple of flights, this time with Delta as I was unable to get flights that made any financial sense with United. As mentioned, before it comes down to where different Airlines had Hubs, and that makes for way different pricing at times as well as weird connections. Like today I am flying South to Atlanta to connect to my flight North which is cheaper that anything direct or remotely more straightforward.
Flights #20 & #21 Charlotte – Atlanta – Philadelphia (Boeing 717-200 & Douglas MD-90)
Smooth flights with Delta into Philadelphia where I pick up my Rental, now to see what I get as I was offered a free double upgrade on my booking. As we walk into the car park to find a car, the car rental guy asks what I drive at home, a Mustang I reply, well you get that today… Argh, my double upgrade gets a Toyota Camry, um, how is that an Upgrade at all. Still I am on the road for the quick dash over to Master Wagner’s Tang Soo Do Dojang for the seminar. I stop on the way to check in to my hotel, that was where the wheels came off so to speak. One of the wheels falls off my new luggage, and then a second one. Jeez, I manged to get the bag to the room as the 2 remaining ones where diagonal and still let me roll it some. Add a repair stop to my list somewhere.
Respect for the Fallen
Double Upgrade Mobile
The Bag might have Wheel problems but the TSA still leave a love letter
At least the seminar is on track and the students get a chance to run through Kwan Nyom conceptual motion and how that builds. I also made sure that all learned the dreaded Aussie Wallaby block as part of the night. It is always fun visiting with Master Wagner’s students, sadly he was away on the road so his instructor team made sure to look after me.
Seminar Group @ Bensalem, PA
The next morning, I took the Camry onto the road for the 3-hour drive North towards Williamsport and Master O’Connell’s Dojang. The drive was smooth even if a few crazy driving Soccer Moms showed some elite driving skills with their overtaking manoeuvres. It was straight onto the mats for a Meet and Greet with the local students. There was a good group with some excellent questions and the evening went well with parents getting involved as well. The next day Master O’Connell was running a Black Belt grading for some of his students so I sat in on the testing to add some gravitas.
Boots outside the room please
Meet and Greet #1
Meet and Greet #2
Sunday and mother’s day rolled around and I was on the mats for a private seminar class for Master O’Connell’s leadership team which was followed by an open Lock Flows and Dan Bong seminar. It was a good weekend and I am looking forward to working with Sir on continuing his path into the IHA.
Challenge #1 – Dan Bong Cord Projection
Challenge #2 – Master O’Connell - 1000
It was a brief but good visit with Master O’Connell and his students, but time to saddle up the Camry for the drive to Philadelphia and my next flight. The GPS decided to take me sight seeing and I took a side trip past New York city, at least I had plenty of time to get to the airport. The was definitely no rush as the flight was then delayed and I waited in the lounge watching my transfer window shrink, even with small time between flights you can run it, but your bags don’t move the same way from plane to plane. The flight got into Chicago late, boarding had begun for my next flight in a different terminal so I hoofed it quickly. Basically, I stepped off one plane and ran onto the next one, I checked the United App and apparently my bags made it, now that was not to be expected with under 15 minutes turn around.
Flights #22 & #23 Philadelphia – Chicago – Minneapolis (United Boeing 737-800 & 737-900)
SBN Corey is at the airport with coffee in hand and we hold a moment until KJN Dave catches up with us. Time to see if the bags did make it and as a good surprise they do. I shepherd the limping bag to Corey’s truck and we hit the road for Hutchinson. The next day is open so we drive into Minneapolis to get my bag repaired but find out it is a 10-day thing as the replacement wheels have to be shipped in from Europe. At least it meant we could sneak in a lunchtime visit to Fogo. SBN Corey takes over the repair mission and some time later the wheels are cleaned, reattached with both Loctite and Graphite with the bags rolling as new. That night I am on the mats with the younger Hapkido crowd, seminar one on Bag Fu and seminar two on Nunchaku.
Fogo Salad Bar
Australia continues to infect the USA
Bag Fu + Nunchaku Seminar Group
We are running a different schedule this visit for the first couple of days to allow for the school age Black Belt candidates to finish school and then join the training, so the morning is free and we kick off at 3pm. On the schedule today is the Sun Bae and my chance to spend some time with potential new Black Belts as well as the seniors. After the Sun Bae we move onto a Technical Review for CGN Rick who is working towards his 2nd Degree.
Team Sun Bae
Keeping the heat on the Mats
Hell Week Seminar Group
The next 2 days we continue the Hell Week and set a new record with 16 Black Belts in the Dojang training. The energy is high and it is good to see the students from the different Dojangs working together like family. This time we have participants from Hutchinson MN, Minneapolis MN, Yorktown VA, San Jose CA and Denver NC. Of course, all this training leads into the next Black Belt Spirit Test with Team Hawk. 3 of SBN Corey’s student along with 1 of KSN Brian’s will be hoping to join the IHA Black Belt family. We have a good crowd of 60+ cheering on the 4 Hawks and I am pleased to announce that all four successfully earned their 1st Degree Black Belts. Congratulations new CGN’s Bradford “Man of Mystery”, Tyler “A+”, Justin “Bluie” and Amber “Hair Whip”.
Congratulations new Black Belts
The next day we were back on the mats for the final day of the Hell Week and a chance for CGN Rick to complete his Technical Review and earn his 2nd Degree. Congratulations to our new KSN, good to see the step up for this belt sir. After classes wrapped KJN Dave, SBN Corey, CGN Kris and I headed in Minneapolis for a good bye dinner, this time at Rodizio Grill a different Brazilian steakhouse but similar to Fogo. KJN and I had hotels at the airport so we could catch our early flights the next day. Back into the air this time winging my way south to our Mexican Family with a couple of flights.
Congratulations KSN Rick
Challenge #1 – Monkey Ball Wrap
Challenge #2 – SBN Corey - 1100
It was lucky that I had a 4-hour break in Houston between flights as it took that long to get the trip reported updated. At least the United lounge has upgraded its Wi-Fi, very fast this visit even with lots of people signed in. The time goes fast typing up the report and I grab flight #2 across the border.
Flights #24 & #25 Minneapolis – Houston – Guadalajara (United Embraer 175)
Check here for the latest on Hapkido News, Events, Photo's and Reports
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
Wow GM G, leaving Morocco and heading to the Americas takes 40 hours. I wonder how you mange to sleep/rest? Considering the years of travel experience Im certain you've attained many techniques along the way.
Looking forward to the Americas leg of the journey.
Safe travels Sir.
Looking forward to the Americas leg of the journey.
Safe travels Sir.
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest