On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

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Grandmaster G
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On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:13 am

2013 World Tour.

Dateline March 2013: The Mission – The 20th Anniversary World Tour – USA & Mexico.

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Flight #9 US Airways US Airways 731 (Airbus A330-300) London to Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

FT – 43 Hours
TT – 68 Hours
SS – 244

The Minicab arrived on time but got lost looking for Terminal 1, apparently some of the back roads near the airport had been closed off. Check in went well, even if the flight was delayed. After departing almost an hour late the Captain lit the afterburners and we still managed to arrive into North Carolina almost on time.

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Hmm, the inflight map shows where the Titanic sank.


Master Williford (TKD 6th Degree, HKD 3rd Degree) meets me at the airport and we hit the road for the hour drive to High Point where his Dojang is located. Master Williford’s Dojang is a free standing building in the main street and is a very well set up facility. During the day of the seminar I grab lunch with Master Williford and come across something new in the restaurant we go to. A soft drink called Clearwine. Clearwine tastes a little like Dr Pepper, and is apparently only made in the Southern parts of the USA. For the seminar I cover the concepts of Hand Attacks and Hook Punch defence, to wrap up the evening I go over some Dan Bong techniques. Master Williford’s students are a pleasure to teach and I look forward to working both with Master Williford and his students in the future.

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The Seminar group in High Point, North Carolina.

The next morning after the seminar it is an early morning drive to the airport for the flight to Jackson, Mississippi. A relatively easy flight if a little cramped, and I arrive into Jackson to meet Master Kincade’s step son and step daughter.

Flight #10 US Airways US Airways 2317 (Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200) Charlotte, North Carolina to Jackson, Mississippi.

FT – 44.5 Hours
TT – 72 Hours
SS – 331

The plan was to spend a day in Jackson with Master Kincade and for both of us to drive down to Florida for the Korean Martial Arts Festival. However Master Kincade’s wife Rebecca had just had some serious health issues and it is important for Master Kincade to stay in Jackson. I decide to rent a car and hit the highway for the 4.5 hour drive south into Florida. The car rental company accepts my Aussie licence and I am shortly on the way in a brand new Nissan Altima, so new in fact that it doesn’t have licence plates. The rear of the car has a sign that says Tag Applied For. That must mean that I don’t have to worry about speed or red light cameras..

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Speed camera stealth….

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Police check point anyone?

The highway system here is easy to drive and you can set a constant speed and sit back to cover the miles. However just before the border to Alabama all the cars are diverted off the highway into a side area that contains about 25 officers of different police agencies (Sheriff, State Troopers, Police, etc.) and it looks like they are inspecting each car and truck. They get to me and the Australian accent and drivers licence means I am straight through and back on the road, I wonder if these checks are a normal occurrence. I arrive into Crestview and meet up with Masters Gordon, Burrese, Ellis, Hawkins and Bledsoe for dinner.

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Jackson, MS to Crestview, FL with Air GMG in a 2013 Nissan Altima.

The next morning I head out to the airport with Master Gordon to pick up Grandmaster Hwang (9th Degree ITF) and Grandmaster Cyrus (9th Degree Chosondo). We then head into town for lunch where we get to have a good discussion with Master Hwang about both Hapkido and Taekwondo history. That evening the Korean Martial Arts Festival kicks off with GM Hwang teaching elements of ITF Taekwondo as taught to him by the founder General Choi. I had to grab a photo of Master Ellis wearing his many badged Dobok; the funny part of the photo is that he was reading an article on the wall that is about Uniforms with too many badges or colours, etc. Now that was Karma.

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Students on the mat listening to Grandmaster Hwang.

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Master Ellis, badged up and ready to roll.

One of the best things about events like the Korean Martial Arts Festival in Florida are the off mat discussions, the foyer in the official hotel quickly becomes the go to place for the latest talks on philosophy, techniques, martial politics and more. The diversity of the instructors and students at these events make it valuable for the off mat information, the on mat teaching and techniques are a pure bonus. The next morning the Festival continues, we kick off the morning with GM Timmerman teaching a session on Dan Bong and I get to run the kids through some Bag Fu. After these sessions we grab the group photos, the first one of the Instructing team and then the entire group shot. Master Gordon breaks down the sessions with Keynote instructors getting the entire group and Session instructors sharing the mat with 1 or 2 others, this gives all the students a choice of topic during those classes.

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The 2013 Korean Martial Arts Festival Instructing Team.

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The group shot for the 2013 Korean Martial Arts Festival.

Just before lunch it was my honour to be part of the Korean Martial Arts Brotherhood presentation to Grandmaster McMurray for his 50years in the Martial Arts. It was actually last year but at the time the recognition was overshadowed by other events so this year we made sure that it was properly celebrated. The KMAB presented GM McMurray with a Bowie knife that was at least 70years old and had a great history.

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50 years presentation to Grandmaster McMurray.

One of the Group dinners was at the nearby Chinese Buffet and as usual I spotted something a little different. The French are known for serving Frog legs, I never knew the Chinese were as well.

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Frog Legs in a Chinese Buffet…

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Now just how Australian is this?

Sunday was the final day at the Festival and I got the chance to get some new photos taken by Stace Sanchez of Kick Pics. BSBN Corey assisted by being my crash dummy and we got a couple of good shots. That afternoon I got a chance to spend some time catching up with Master Gordon (he is heading to the ITS this year as well). The next morning I was back on the road for the 4.5 hour drive back to Jackson and Master Kincade. I did notice as I was driving through Alabama that there were a lot of driving wrecks, lots of cars on the road that would never pass a road worthy inspection in most places. The seminar at Master Kincade’s Dojang went well and I covered Bag Fu and Dan Bong techniques. I look forward to catching up again with Master Kincade and his students on my next trip.

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The Brookhaven, MS seminar group shot.

*Side Note* As part of the World Tour I get to stay at a number of different hotels. Normally I try to take the pain out of booking these by getting my travel agent Malcolm to sort it out, however sometime I don’t have that luxury. In those cases it always helps to check some different review sites and most times the reviews will be either good to bad but with a mix of the other type. Whilst looking for a hotel in Jackson, MS I came across the following reviews for a nearby hotel. Seriously would you book this one?

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Now I wonder if this Hotel would be good to stay at.

The now standard early morning sees me on the road driving from Brookhaven into Jackson, it is about an hour drive and the rain pours down as I navigate the US highway system. I get into Jackson safely and grab the first of 2 flights today as I head to the East Coast. Now I get to go through a lot of security screening with all my flights but I must admit that this time there was a first. I walked through the metal detector and it didn’t ping to register any metal but it did make another noise which apparently was a random selection choice. So the machine made a random selection to have me screened for trace residue, sheesh now even the machines are checking up on me!

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Flight #11 US Airways 2317 (Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200) Jackson, Mississippi to Charlotte, NC & Flight #12 US Airways 1578 (Boeing 767) Charlotte, NC to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

FT – 48 Hours
TT – 90 Hours
SS – 405

I arrive into Philadelphia and meet up with Grandmaster Yates for the drive back to New Jersey. We head to a local Steak restaurant for a nice dinner and catch up. GM Yates has been busy having just opened a new Dojang and working through the process of getting it set up and running. The next morning I meet up with GM MacKenzie to head into Camden, NJ to visit the Riversharks stadium. GM MacKenzie is running a tournament here next weekend and he is meeting up with GM Yates and some of the local Black Belts to do a walkthrough of the Baseball stadium. The tournament is going to actually be held on the Baseball field outside, as far as I know this will be a first!

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Cruising with GM MacKenzie in his 1975 MG.

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The group inspecting the Riversharks Stadium.

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Inside the Riversharks Stadium.

After checking the stadium we head out to visit a nearby TKD Dojang on the way back to New Jersey. I do spot a building that looks like a prison, lots of barbwire, windows with bars and security cameras; it turns out to be a local high school. I am sure that environment would be great to learn in..

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Believe it or not this is a High School…

That night I am back on the mats teaching at GM Yates Dojang with Bag Fu, Hook Punch defence and some advanced locks. It is a good group and afterwards we head out for a nice Italian dinner. The next morning I head to GM Yates new Dojang and sit in on his Team meeting, and also get the chance to show some advanced locks to his Instructing Team.

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The Seminar group at GM Yates Dojang.

From there we head out to meet Chief Master Heath from Pennsylvania and I travel to Glen Mills for the evening’s seminar. CM Heath runs a well disciplined and traditional Dojang a bit like at home, and the seminar goes well. I rework some of the Bag Fu and Dan Bong techniques as well as touch upon some of the Advanced fighting Dan Bong techniques, not something I have taught in the US before. I also give the local students a chance to pick some topics and we cover bear hug, head locks and some other miscellaneous attacks. After the seminar I get to have a good chat over a Thai dinner with Master Heath and a couple of his Black Belts wraps up a good day on the road.

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The Seminar group at CM Heaths Dojang.

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Had to grab the Mustang photo even on the go.

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All I can say is, my eyes, my eyes!

Master Heath drops me back with GM MacKenzie and we head back to his house where I will be staying during most of my visit in this area. One of the features of GM MacKenzie’s house is the pack of attack cats he has roaming the yard; it seems over the years that a number of cats had chosen to call his house home. This included 2 that had just had kittens, one group too small to move and a couple of older ones that were learning how to attack intruders. GM MacKenzie like myself is a “car” person and has a number of older cars he has collected over the years, however the craziest has to be his newest acquisition a racing Volkswagen Beetle. Yes Herbie, but this one was definitely a crazy Herbie. I got the chance to go for a spin with GM MacKenzie, but as it is a racing car it doesn’t feature a passenger’s seat, so I got to ride on the roll cage and battery.

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The Love Bug from Hell! The Crazy Racing Herbie.

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Grandmaster Mackenzie’s Dojang.


I get a couple of days with GM MacKenzie before I am off with GM John Godwin (Sin Moo Hapkido 9th Degree & Tang Soo Do 7th Degree) and heading south to Delaware. My seminar is at his Hockessin Dojang and I work on Hand Attacks and Dan Bong, everyone enjoys the pain and GM Godwin joins to fun to make sure we both get a chance to share the techniques with the students. The next morning I head to GM Godwin’s Stanton Dojang to work with his Instructors team where I work on Hook Punch Defence, Takedowns and some misc. techniques. I have planted the seed in GM Godwin’s mind that he might like to join us in Amsterdam for the ITS so we will see if we can twist his arm a little more over the coming months.

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Hockessin Seminar Group.

GM Godwin drives me back to New Jersey where we meet GM MacKenzie, GM Yates and some of the local Black Belts for a lunch with Dojunim. Dojunim as always is happy to have members of his ‘family’ together for lunch and we enjoy the catch up over a decent Korean lunch. Later that night the East Coast Crew (ECC includes but is not limited to: GM MacKenzie, GM Yates, GM Godwin, Dr Fabi, Master Hettinger, Master Pierson, Master Blackman, and numerous senior black belts.) as I like to call them heads into Philadelphia for dinner at Fogo’s. Fogo’s is a regular haunt of mine when I am in the US; it is possibly one of the best Brazilian Steakhouses that serves an ongoing selection of fine meat couple with a decent salad bar. This time we head from New Jersey into Philadelphia on the Patco, the local area rail. This would be the wrong carriage to start a fight that is for sure. The next day I meet up with Master Turley to head to his Dojang for my 4th seminar here. Master Turley had heard of the infamous ‘Bag Fu’ so we added it to the seminar and everyone got a chance to be wrapped in plastic pain.

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Medford Seminar Group.

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GM MacKenzie & The Hummer at Campbell Field.

During my visit to New Jersey GM MacKenzie has been working on resurrecting a tournament he last hosted 10 years ago and this time to be unique as I previous mentioned he is hosting it outside at a nearby Baseball stadium. The day rolls around and we are up at 5:30am to head to the Stadium to set up the rings and get ready. Timing is essential as the tournament has to wrap completely by 4pm so the Baseball field can be prepped for a game at 5pm. With 10 rings setup the action begins with breaking and Dojunim arrives at 11am as the official guest of honour. GM MacKenzie has set up a couple of marquees on the field, one for the tournament control (dubbed the Booth of Booth) and one for Dojunim to sign signatures. The line for DJN stays constant for almost 5 hours and at the end we find he has signed, autographed and been photographed with well over 100 different students. The tournament finishes at 4:05pm and with over 200 competitors and 531 officially in the crowd is crowned a resounding success.

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GM Mackenzie’s addresses the Black Belts at the Tournament.

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Dojunim under Siege, for signatures that is.

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That is a Jumbo Hotdog at the Baseball Field, Really?

The next morning GM MacKenzie and I head to a nearby car rental to set me up with a car for the day. I am heading up to Lancaster to teach a seminar for SBN Mike and GM MacKenzie has a special event he needs to present at. The car rental decide that my Aussie licence couple with my International licence aren’t enough to hire a car so backup plan 2 is kicked into action. GM MacKenzie lends me the Hapkido Beast (his Hummer) and he takes his MG. Now the Hummer is a somewhat larger vehicle and I get a chance to experience a couple of interesting issues, firstly filling the tank can cost as much as $140-$150 that is in USD not the more expensive Aussie fuel. Also it sits so high that getting a ticket from a toll booth is almost a gymnastic activity. To get that ticket I had to put the car in park undo my seat belt and have the entire top half of my body out of the window, I am sure it looked strange from the cars behind.

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Kids Group in Lancaster.

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Kids Group in Lancaster.

The drive up to Lancaster goes well, and I get a chance to catch up with SBN Mike, BSBN April and KSN Nancy during the seminar. The kids get a dose of the now legendary Bag Fu and the adults work on takedowns, ground defence and some Penkido (yet another part of street weaponry along with Bag Fu and Card Sul). I do have to admit it was cool cruising down the highway in the Hummer crushing the miles whilst AC/DC played Thunder on the Bose sound system!

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The Hummer off the clock! Hmm what is that in KMH?

Monday rolls around and we head into Philadelphia to meet Dojunim for a more private lunch. It is always good to catch up with Dojunim and he asks how the Aussie family are going, he always talks fondly of his visits and the students he has met downunda. He makes a request that I head back to the US in November for the International Hapkido Summit and I let him know I will try; he wants to have a meeting with the highest Grandmasters to go over plans for the future.

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Dojunim signs the IHA Scroll.

After lunch Dojunim signs the IHA World Tour Scroll and we say our goodbyes, GM MacKenzie gives me a tour of the local area and of course I had to get a picture of the Speed Cushion sign… We also head downtown to the area near the Philadelphia Art Museum made famous in the movie Rocky.

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Speed Cushions, where are the Speed Blankets?

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GM MacKenzie showing how a Bear Hug is done!

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I think we could take him!

Of course it is the inevitable early morning and the drive into Philly to the airport where GM MacKenzie drops me off for my next 2 flights. I do check my luggage to make sure that he hasn’t snuck in one of his attack cats. So far there have not been many hiccups on my flights, however I find out that US Airways can’t check my bag through to Minnesota as my 2 flights are on different tickets, even though both are on US Airways. Sometimes things make no sense, so I have to get my flight to Charlotte, collect my bags, recheck in, clear security a second time and then fly to Minneapolis. This trip might see my last flights with US Airways anyway as they are merging with American Airlines and leaving the Star Alliance, my preferred Frequent Flyer group.

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Early? Now that is something you don’t see a lot of.

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Flight #13 US Airways 1161 (Airbus A320) Philadelphia, PA to Charlotte, NC & Flight #14 US Airways 982 (Airbus 319) Charlotte, NC to Minneapolis, MN

FT – 53 Hours
TT – 100 Hours
SS – 433


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Now that is some Battery life! 8 hours at 50% capacity.

The flights go well and I touchdown into Minneapolis St Paul Airport to meet BSBN Corey and SBN Dave. The delay for the bags is noticeable when compared to other airports. The flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 4:27pm and it actually arrived at 4:03pm however the bags arrived on the older schedule around 4:30pm. We hit the road and grab dinner on the way to Hutchinson. The next day the Hell Week kicks off and I am going to use my Facebook updates to cover the daily material.

- Day #1 of the Hell Week in Hutchinson now complete, today's topics included Hand Attacks, Arm Bar Over, Basic Striking and Basic Strike Combinations. The bonus seminar topic was Soft Point Striking.

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BSBN Corey’s ‘small’ dog called Tank!

- Day #2 of the Hell Week in Hutchinson now complete, today's topics included V Lock, Ground Defence, and Senior Colour Belt Kicking. The bonus seminar topic was Scarf or Belt techniques. In the evening the Mini Hapkidoists got a chance to work on Bag Fu!

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Ground and Pound time!

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Children’s Seminar Class group shot.

- Day #3 of the Hell Week in Hutchinson now complete, today's topics included Throwing, Lock Flows, Senior Colour Belt Striking and Combinations. The bonus seminar topic was Wave Motion. In the evening there was an extra class working on Kom Do and Kom Sul (Sword).

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The Sword class in action.

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Now a wooden Sword needs a warning? Talk about litigable correctness gone wrong.

- Day #4 of the Hell Week in Hutchinson now complete, today's topics included S Locks, Arm Bars (under), and Basic Kicking. The bonus seminar topic was Street Weaponry (Card Sul and Penkido). The evening was time for the local students to celebrate our (IHA) 20th Anniversary. The dinner was at the Tokyo Grill and over 20 students enjoyed the celebration.

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Time to kick!

- Day #5 of the Hell Week in Hutchinson done and the week now complete, today's topics included Locking Improvement, Variation Strikes, Ki/Meditation (this included Soft Palm board breaking). The bonus seminar topic was Street Self Defence.

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Outside the Dojang for soft palm Ki breaks.

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The Hutch Hell Week group, survivors!

This was another excellent week on the mats with the IHA Hutchinson family and a big thank you to BSBN Corey Ninneman for hosting, SBN Dave Scanlon for flying in from San Francisco and the Black Belts & students for the their great spirit and focus on training.

Each morning BSBN Corey, SBN Dave and I would grab breakfast at the Hutch Café which is located just down the street from the Dojang. The Café is a local institution and filled with a lot of local regulars, of course that meant that we stood out each morning we went there. As a joke I started to refer to them as the Children of the Corn grown up, strangely enough I saw this sign on one of the entry doors a couple of days into our visits…..

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Beware the Children of the Corn!

During the Wave seminar there was a slight accident when one of the local students Tim launched another student Brad across the Dojang into one of the walls. A few stitches later Brad was fine and back for evening classes, they make them tough around here. Tim was then renamed the Timinator, and in jest Brad brought in the following picture as a future protection against projectile Wave motion.

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Hmm could this be of use against Wave techniques?

The morning after Hell Week rolls around and we head to Minneapolis for lunch at our now traditional restaurant, Fogo de Chao. Afterwards we visit the Mall of America for some coffee and discount shopping. Whilst checking out the shirt racks for discounted Polo shirts (a shirt that is ~$100 in Australia can be bought for $10 here), most shirts are retail priced around $40 and discounted to around $10, however one stood out and I had to get a photo of it. Seriously how many people spend $245 on a Polo shirt, even if it is from Ralph Lauren?

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Now that is a saving, sort of.

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Of course where would find the Microsoft and Apple stores, straight across from each other!

The next morning I am back on the road, a short drive to Minneapolis airport, easy check in, United manage to check my bags all the way even though I have 2 different tickets and then it is into the air for 2 more flights on my way to Dallas and a seminar with Master Beck.

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Flight #15 United Airlines 4626 (Embraer 145) Minneapolis, MN to Houston, TX & Flight #16 United Airlines 5166 (Canadair Regional Jet 700) Houston, TX to Dallas, TX

FT – 57 Hours
TT – 110 Hours
SS – 450


The flight into Guadalajara has a few bumpy patches but otherwise rather smooth and I arrive into the somewhat warmer and dryer Mexican weather. A couple of different processes to clear immigration, firstly there seems a hiccup with having an Aussie passport until a supervisor overrides whatever the issue is and I get my passport back ready to go. Then at the Customs control the 2 questions are how much is your watch and do you only have 1 laptop with you. After those questions you get to push a red button and above it is a screen with 2 panels, mine lights up green and I get to enter Mexico…

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Welcome to Mexico!

SBN Hugo and several of the local senior black belts are at the airport to welcome me and we head into the city. The first impressions of the roads, traffic, and buildings, are similar to Bangkok, Thailand. Of course there are differences but the level of building and infrastructure seems similar. We grab a bite at a buffet style restaurant, I am told American food today, Mexican after. From there we head to what will be my hotel for this evening, and after a brief break I get the chance to catch up with SBN Hugo about the latest news and plans for Mexico.

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Did anyone want a GMG taxi?

The next morning I meet up with SBN Hugo and his wife for breakfast and my first real Mexican meal. The combination of flavours is far superior to any other so called ‘Mex’ food I have had at outside restaurants. After breakfast we head to SBN Hugo’s Dojang to meet the rest of the Instructing/Senior Team for the couple of hour drive to Mazamitla and the mountains. One of the local instructors BSBN Jorge has a family cabin there that we can use for some focused training.

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SBN Hugo’s Dojang, the HQ of Ki Dae Hapkido in Mexico.

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The Seniors get ready to head for the mountains of Mazamitla

On the way to Mazamitla we stop so I can sample some of the street foods, which include Camote (a type of sweet potato, prepared with lime juice and chili), Guamuchil (a fruit seed type thing, with hints of coconut), and Elode (roasted Corn).

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Would you buy Mexican street food from this man?

The cabin is located on private land just outside of Mazamitla (which is a local holiday destination) the cabin is on an allotment inside a park that includes over 100 different cabins. Only family members or owners of the cabins can drive into the park, all visitors must walk. There are nice wooden areas a garden and small waterfall that many people visit here.

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The Cabin in the woods of Mazamitla.

The cabin has 2 bed rooms with a bed and a separate double bunk, a couple of bathrooms, lounge and dining/kitchen, snug for the group of 9 that are staying for the weekend. 3 of the local instructors take up the main role of chef and make sure that everyone gets fed. The training starts straight away on Friday night and as it is raining we move the furniture and turn the lounge area into a small Dojang. First up is to work through the basic concepts as the local group want to experience ‘Kwan Nyom’. The first thing the local instructors get to enjoy are the junior belt concepts and most seem to enjoy the pain that comes from the Hand Attacks.

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Team Chef – Doc (3rd Degree), Toshiro (3rd Degree) & Coco Loco (2nd Degree). Their real names have been changed to preserve their identities.

The next morning the group go for a run to warm up and SBN Hugo like any good instructor makes sure that they experience the bracing water of the waterfall… Rumours of someone wearing little mermaid underwear will be stricken from the records. After breakfast it is time for more Self Defence Concept training this time on the Patio at the front of the cabin.

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Training on the Patio Dojang.

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Green = Hot, which means Red = What The! Hot!

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The mountain men of Mazamitla.

The weekend is a good one with time between training to enjoy the camaraderie of the local instructors, and also to sit back to soak up the relaxing atmosphere of being out in the woods. We cover the self-defence concepts including Brown and all the kicks and striking requirements to Black. As a final special topic the last night is spent working on some sword work. A few instructors head home late on Sunday night and SBN Hugo, BSBN Jorge and I head back to Guadalajara on Monday morning.

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The Mazamitla Church at night.

The drive back to Guadalajara goes well with a stop at a well-known Burritos restaurant for some very nice Burritos. I get to try Pork Rib, Pork, Beef Tongue and Chorizo. Then onto the hotel for a chance to get the trip report updated before tonight's seminar at the Dojang of BSBN Carlos. Each night this week I will be visiting one of the local Ki Dae Hapkido Dojangs and on the weekend there will be an open seminar. Tonight I am on the mats for the Ki Dae Malecon Dojang and the small group enjoy Hand Attacks, Tae Gyeon and some balance breaking techniques.

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The Malecon Dojang group.

After dinner we head to Tlaquepaque for dinner and it is there that we come across some statues, of course we had to grab an appropriate Hapkido picture. Dinner was in an open food court and I got to try a few different types of food as well as enjoy, I think that’s the word, a mariachi band. Fabian, option one complete, now let’s see if I can find a group with hats…

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Practising advanced Arm Bars, these turn you to stone!

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Did someone say Mariachi?

The next evening SBN Hugo and I head to the Ki Dae San Jacinto where the class is specifically for the Black Belts. I didn’t get a chance to work with the instructor group over the weekend on Ground Techniques so the class becomes a focus there. Apart from the Ground Defence I also throw in some multiple grabs, everyone enjoys the workout! The next Black Belt session is planned for Thursday night with Weapon Defence on the cards.

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Ground and Pound in Mexico!

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The Ki Dae Black Belts.

Wednesday is slated for some sightseeing so I head into the downtown area with SBN Hugo and BSBN Jorge. Amongst the area’s we visit are the Guadalajara Cathedral, Plaza of the Crosses, Plaza Guadalajara, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Liberación, Mercado Libertad, Degollado Theater and Cabanas Cultural Institute. The main stand out is the “Man of Fire” mural painted by Jose Clemente Orozco which is located in an old orphanage and which is now a cultural icon.

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Don’t mess with the Mexican Police!

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Don’t walk, run!

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #1

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #2

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #3

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #4

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #5 – the Symbol of the City

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #6

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #7 - Cabanas Cultural Institute.

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #8 – Man on Fire.

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #9 – More of the Mural.

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #10 – More of the Mural.

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #11 – Arch by Day

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Guadalajara Sightseeing #12 – Arch by Night

Wednesday night and it is time to visit BSBN Jorge at his Dojang Ki Dae Sur (meaning south). The Dojang is very well laid out and has a good feeling, the first group up are the kids and I give them some basic Tae Gyeon and Ground techniques, a good chance to get BSBN Jorge involved as the fake bully. After the little guys I move onto the Adults and this time we cover Hand Attacks, Arm Bar Under some miscellaneous techniques. BSBN Jorge joins the ranks of the Black Belts who wanted to feel the Hapkido Nap technique, and after the class there is a small ceremony to place the Australian Flag up on his Dojang wall. Dinner is at a Korean Sushi Buffet, yes that is almost as confusing as it sounds. The one thing that stands out as strange was that all the sushi included cheese; it must be a local taste bud thing. I do manage with SBN Hugo’s help to get a non-cheese roll made.

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Ki Dae Sur Dojang.

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Now that is a Banner!

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Ki Dae Sur Children’s Group.

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Ki Dae Sur Adults Group.

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The Australian Flag joins the wall of fame!

The next morning I have a meeting with SBN Hugo about future plans. Then we head off to have lunch at a local Brazilian restaurant, BSBN Jorge meets us there and the lunch is very nice. A big range of meats to choose from and like most Brazilian restaurants they kept it coming. After lunch I head back to the hotel to get the trip report up to date, and find that the local Ninja have snuck into my hotel room to leave a motivational note as well as some fruit.

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Notes of Inspiration placed in my Hotel Room by the Ninja.

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The Fruit Ninja strikes in my Hotel Room.


Tonight I am back on the mats, this time at Ki Dae Central or Headquarters Dojang; this is SBN Hugo’s personal Dojang. I work through some basic locking concepts with then onto knife defence. The local Black Belts all work hard and it is good to see the team spirit and focus on the mats here.

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The Black Belts getting ready to rock and roll.

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The Ki Dae Black Belt group – Second session.

The next morning I get to grab breakfast with SBN Hugo at a local institution, the Angry Sisters. Some of you might have seen my reference to this restaurant/café during my European tour last year. It seemed that at least one of the Angry Sisters was manning the cash register while we were there, and we also got a chance to share the restaurant with a high ranking member of the Federal Police, complete with his machine gun armed bodyguards.

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The Federal Police parked outside the Angry Sisters.

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Enjoying breakfast with some added protection..

After breakfast SBN Hugo and I hit the road for some errands, including working on a surprise for the ITS in Amsterdam, I am happy to say that secret project is looking good. As well as that we visited with SBN Hugo’s merchandise place to pick up some souvenir T-Shirts. Since Spanish is the language of Mexico we got the official ITS T-shirt designed in a Spanish version with the front language modified, and a different back. From there we head over to BSBN Jorge’s house for lunch and to sample his special Pineapple pie. I also get a chance to try the cactus fruit Pitaya, which is easy to eat but a little low on taste.

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Pitaya (Fruit from Cactus), inside and out.

This evening I head back to SBN Hugo’s Dojang for a couple of evening seminar classes with his students. First up at the little guys and I work on Nakbup, Throwing and Striking, followed by the Adults with locking concepts and how they work on the ground. SBN Hugo also gets the local students to sign a commemorative banner for me to keep as a memento.

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The Children of Ki Dae Headquarters.

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The Adults of Ki Dae Headquarters.

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The banner getting signed, SBN Hugo starts it off.

The next morning it is time for the Open seminar. The morning session is for the children and includes Bag Fu, as well as Soft Palm Ki breaks and all the children enjoy breaking the boards. Of course it added a little more work as they all realised that they could get their boards autographed.

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The open seminar Children’s Group.

After a break for lunch it is time for the adults to hit the mats. For the adults we work on Bag Fu, requested after SBN Hugo saw how affective it could be during the Children’s seminar. I also add some locking concepts, and then show how they can be used as punch defence and also as an attacking technique. The Children got to do Soft Palm Ki Breaks so we make sure that the adults don’t miss out. It is again one of those moments when everyone realises that you can break boards with basically no effort at all.

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Bag Fu in action in Mexico!

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The open seminar Adults Group – Day #1.

After the seminar I join SBN Hugo at a celebration (25 years) for one of the local Black Belts parents. It is interesting to see how they celebrate here in Mexico. The centre/food/music, etc. are very similar, the big difference is that the celebrations are expected to conclude sometime after 7am in the morning and the event includes breakfast. SBN Hugo and I depart just after dinner which was at 11:30pm. Day 2 of the open seminar and today it is just the adults on the mats. Topics include revisiting the basic concepts and then taking those into Dan Bong Techniques.

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The open seminar Adults Group – Day #2.

After we wrap up the training part of the seminar, SBN Hugo makes an announcement to the local students that Ki Dae Hapkido will be joining the IHA as representatives for Guadalajara. The local students are happy that they are joining the Kwan Nyom family and there are many happy faces as we conclude the days training. Please take the time to visit the IHA forum or my Facebook page to congratulate and welcome SBN Hugo and the Ki Dae Hapkido into the IHA Family!

CLICK HERE: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1953

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Made by Nestle, Mango +Chilli ice cream.

After the seminar has wrapped it is time to head to a nearby centre for my bon voyage/celebration party. As part of the activities a local Mariachi band are featured as well as a chance to go one on one with a Piñata! It is a good chance to sit back and relax after 10 straight days of teaching, also a time to chat with the local students about the exciting time ahead as they join the Kwan Nyom family.

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Mariachi at my Bon Voyage party.

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Piñata must die!

The next day I grab breakfast with SBN Hugo and we talk about future plans for Mexico, it looks like a return trip this year might be part of the plans. We then head out to meet up with 2 of his students that are highly ranked in the Police here to discuss plans to do some training for them at the academy that too gets added to the future plans in Mexico, of course I have to take the time to check out the ride. Police are always extremely visible in Mexico, there are a lot of them and the war (it is not a fight) on drugs and the drug lords is intense. Due to the level of interaction the police here more closely resemble army and are equipped almost the same.

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2 of Mexico’s finest.

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Checking out the ride!

The afternoon is spent tying up some loose ends and then a dinner with SBN Hugo, BSBN Jorge and BSBN Doc, this time we try a different Argentinian Steak House which is also decent. Basically apart from one type of Habanero oil (ouch) the food here has been very good and 100% better than any Mexican I have had outside of Mexico. I recommend giving it all a try if you get to visit, you might be surprised what you like.

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Squirt, almost like Solo.

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The view from my Hotel.

Groundhog moment, time to wake and get to the airport for my next flight, I do this too many times. Several of the local Black Belts drop by the hotel in the morning to say adios and it is off to the airport for my first flight on AeroMexico. Just before check in I am stopped and my bags are searched, this is a normal procedure here, I am not sure what in particular they are looking for, the security spoke no English. Check in goes well and I am into the friendly skies of Mexico.

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Beware the Mexican Speed Humps!

*Side Note* my visit to Guadalajara has been a good one, but I do have one thing I need to pick on. That is the seemingly endless amount and type of speed humps/bumps/cliffs/etc. These are warned with the above sign and some are so fierce that you lose axels if you don’t slow down to under 5kmh. The problem is not limiting speed but the sheer hundreds of these dotted everywhere including on main roads between cities! So beware the bump in the road, forget the bump in the night 
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Flight #19 AeroMexico 107 (Boeing 737-300) Guadalajara, Mexico to Mexico City, Mexico.

FT – 62 Hours
TT – 121 Hours
SS – 539

Touchdown Mexico City, I head to the baggage carousel to find my bag waiting; now that is some service. It looked like the bags marked with priority were all offloaded separately first. I head out to meet my ride (I booked a car through my next hotel), I see the sign and we head out to the curb to meet the car. This is where things slow down, some nearby Federal Police decide I look like someone of interest and they head over to question both myself and the sign lady from the car company. They ask for my passport, travel bookings, hotel confirmation and ask the same question 3 different ways about how I booked this car… It takes almost 30mins to be ‘screened’ and into the car and on my way I go. The traffic here is not that bad if you leave out the no speed limits (it seems), lane changes at will and some extremely deep pot holes. Honestly Mexico City would not make my top 5 worst roads.

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Now that is a hotel roof.

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Hotel Art Deco.

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The Zocalo.

Dinner is at a Trip advisor highly rated Japanese restaurant - Suntory (currently 3rd) and after some interesting driving from the car driver, I think he got lost, we find the very Japanese looking building amongst the Mexican neighbourhood. I choose the Chef’s tasting menu (normally the best dishes on offer) and it costs an incredible $42 including 7 courses, a drink and coffee…. The next morn I am met by Israel Calderon (1 of SBN Hugo’s brothers who lives here) and we head out of town towards the Teotihuacan Pyramids. The traffic in the city is abysmal; it took Israel almost an hour to cover 2km to the hotel to pick me up. However once we clear the chaos, 150-160kmh no problem…. Welcome to Mexico, senor! We reach the Pyramids in quick time and after parking head towards the hawkers. The first thing about hawkers here is that they are far more polite than most (Egyptian/Chinese/Indian) and if you say no they move on.

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One of the small Pyramids.

We walk straight through and climb up onto the first pyramid, some of the architecture is impressive and when you take into account the age even more so. I look over towards the larger 2 pyramids, the pyramid of the sun (largest) and moon. I think they don’t look that big, and is that people on the top? The walk to the temples is a good workout as there are a large number of walls with steps up and down over them, at least 10-12 of these walls over a 2km distance. You start to get an idea of how big this place is, and the larger pyramid.

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It doesn’t look that big!

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Ok it is Big! Climb it, seriously?

So we reach the Pyramid of the Sun and it is clear that people are climbing the steps to the top. One design feature of these pyramids are the stepped edges with spaces just big enough to give you a squat thrust each step. The only consolation to one of my lungs hanging out of my mouth was that all the younger climbers looked just as bad. You get to the top and realise that tomorrow your legs will hate you more. The view is excellent and the scope of some of the surrounding structures is incredible, and this is only 20% of the space.

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A view from the top, new lungs please!

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Next time bring a Dobok, & someone to carry me up!

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Just impressive!

The climb down was much easier, and we took a different path back to the car to avoid the stepped walls, some 2-3km later back to the car, air conditioning and on the road to chaos, I mean Mexico City. I heartily recommend the pyramids as a must do if you are ever in Mexico. The drive back goes better with Israel taking some sneaky back streets and we park the car to stop for a good seafood lunch (~3pmish is normal here). One thing you notice about the cars here is that most have a sticker in the rear window of a copy of their number plate. This helps to stop criminals stealing and using other peoples number plates.

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Number plate sticker.

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Mustang + Rust = Sad.

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Left = Police officer, Centre = Israel, Right = Pirated software in plain view. Who said Bribes?

Israel drops me back to the hotel and I get a small break before SBN Hugo’s next brother Erick drops by to take over guide duties. Erick (2nd Degree Hapkido) drops by and first up we grab a taxi to head to the Plaza Garibaldi which is known as the Mariachi hang out. I am on a mission to at least achieve level 2 of the challenge Fabian set. The Plaza is indeed the natural hunting ground for packs of Mariachi, there has to be 15-20 groups here prowling looking for tourist prey to play for. Some negotiating later and I have both a Mariachi band and Sombrero, poor Fabian: this takes it to Def-con 2.

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Interesting Taxi design, including a Kangaroo on the indicator.

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Mariachi Band – Check, Sombrero – Check!

After my little accomplishment we hit the street for a walk about the city enjoying the evening view as the city darkens. You could walk around here and honestly not know which major city you are in; the atmosphere is the same as any of the large cities around the world.

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Mexico City @ Night.

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Mexico City @ Night – Museum of Fine Arts.

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Mexico City @ Night.

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Mexico City @ Night – Revolution Monument.

Due to a size limit of 60000 characters per post, I have had to split this topic. Please check the On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico II

CLICK HERE: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1955

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Countries on the tour will include: Singapore - Germany (Frankfurt/Berlin#1/#2) - Finland (Helsinki/Jarvenpaa) - Netherlands (Amsterdam/Apeldoorn/Spijkenisse/Hellevoetsluis/Tilburg/Hoogvliet) - Poland (Warsaw #1/#2) - England (London/ Portsmouth/Catsford/Kilburn/Wembley) - USA (NC/MS/FL/PA/DE/NJ/MN/TX) – Mexico (Mazamitla/Guadalajara/Tonala) – USA (WA/NV) – Australia (QLD/NSW).

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Fabian Patino
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Fabian Patino » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:01 pm

Mariachis here we come... :)
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed May 15, 2013 4:05 am

Updated 14/5/2013.

Regards

GM G

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Jacob Bloom
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Jacob Bloom » Tue May 21, 2013 9:26 am

Now that sounds like a real highlight. The food must have been good and the Mexican hospitality sounds fun.

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Fri May 24, 2013 8:58 am

Updated 23/5/2013.

The Mexican Food is very good and the hospitality even better!

Regards

GM G

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Jimmy Trinh
Kwan Jung Nim
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Jimmy Trinh » Fri May 24, 2013 9:12 am

Cool! The Mexicans seem like an awesome and enthusiastic bunch.
Think thorough, act quick, work hard and live strong.

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Fabian Patino
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Fabian Patino » Fri May 24, 2013 9:44 am

Looks like a great reception from mexico...

I guess my first 20 Hapkidos are queued up for when you arrive GM Geoff :(
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Mon May 27, 2013 1:50 pm

Updated 26/5/2013.

It seems the local Mariachi aren't big on hats, still here is another photo!

Regards

GM G

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Fabian Patino
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Fabian Patino » Tue May 28, 2013 9:35 am

GM Geoff,

Yes, I notice the hats are not common within the locals which is good news for me :)

Regards,

Fabian P.
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue May 28, 2013 9:50 am

Fabian,

Well I do still have a couple of days in Mexico City to see if there are any hat wearing Mariachi's there... ;)

Regards

GM G

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Jacob Bloom
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Jacob Bloom » Tue May 28, 2013 4:41 pm

GMG you mentioned "Nakbup", what is that?

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed May 29, 2013 4:39 am

CGN Jacob - Korean for falling.

Regards

GM G

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Fri May 31, 2013 3:27 am

Updated 30/5/2013.

Poor Fabian.

Regards

GM G

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Fabian Patino
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2013 - USA & Mexico

Postby Fabian Patino » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:31 am

GM Geoff,

One step closer to the jackpot! 120 still a lot of hapkido's, I will stay tuned.

Regards,

Fabian P.
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."


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