On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe/UK

Check here for the latest on Hapkido News, Events, Photo's and Reports
User avatar
Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
Posts: 1014
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:18 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe/UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:24 pm

2014 The Euro Edition

“ The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu”

Tic Toc, the clock chimes time for a World Tour, can it be already? Time has been fleeting with the amount of travel I have taken over the last couple of years. Still it will be good to get this lap of the globe done so I can spend some time at home. Unlike other years though my flight is at night so I get the day to hit the Dojang and work on a lot of the future plans…. I check in on the Mustang which is getting close but still not on the road, I am hopeful that 3 months is more than enough time to get it complete, something to look forward to. Remind me one day to tell you the story of the week leading up to this world tour, it has been somewhat challenging and that is probably a vast understatement. Onto the M5 for the cruise to the airport, where check in is smooth and a new experience as I am flying Air China for the first time. I clear customs and immigration only to realise that all in my work today I overlooked the one item I really needed for the trip, thank god for Donna and her efforts in dropping the errant memory stick (with all my files needed) to me at the airport. A 2nd time through the metal detectors and now I am ready to fly. A brief stop in the Air NZ Lounge, it is shared with a whole bunch of the Star Alliance carriers of which Air China is one. This trip I am going to sneak in some travel tips from my years on the Road, look for the notes titled GMG Road Warriors Tip – GRWT for short.

GRWT – Always travel with a jacket (light or heavy depending on weather) but more so for the one stop place to stash everything BEFORE you get to the X-ray/Customs, even better if you have one with zip up pockets, put your wallet/keys/passport/belt/phone/etc. into the pockets. Onto the X-ray belt it goes, you pick it up at the other end put it on and walk, as you cruise reallocate the stuff.

Image

Flight #1 Sydney – Beijing

Onto Flight #1 Sydney to Beijing with Air China, they are using an Airbus 330 so it is familiar; the layout like all airlines is a little different but in the confines of an aircraft’s limited space similar. The service is interesting as the attendants are helpful but at the same time strict to their systems, it is almost like – You will take this refresher towel, after all I have to hand them out. The flight is smooth and we touch down into Beijing Central airport just on 6am. Immigration sends me to the transit section; even though China now offers a 72 Hour Visa free entry if you are connecting they still call you a Transit passenger which of course confuses a whole host of people. Still the unsmiling (a common thread for officials) immigration agent stamps my passport and I head to collect my bags. As I am heading to customs I see a desk with forms for customs, no one at this stage has mentioned the form, on or off the flight so I fill one in just in case.

GRWT – Check on the net prices for transport options to/from your intended airports, that way you are always in the know when it comes to negotiating with the crooks, I mean the somewhat dubious drivers & forms of travel.

Now every country has its entry procedures and some are interesting but here you Queue to put your bag through an x-ray machine but it is unmanned. Hmm why? I get my bags back as they slide out the other end onto the floor and head for the exit, no one is there to collect my customs declaration so into the bin. Ducking the taxi touts I head for the ‘official’ stand, normally a good policy in any foreign country. Still when I get there the pricing ranges from 750rmb ($135Aus) and after 4 cabs and much haggling I get it to 200rmb ($36Aus) which is still too much but none of the official taxi’s here want to put on the meter. The one I get actually reaches up and disconnects the cable that connects his vacant sign to the meter, flipping the sign activates the meter normally. It should normally be around 100-120rmb. They all use the reasons of, oh there is traffic (minimal) and tolls (1 toll for 10rmb), so take those comments for granted. Of course as you get close to central Beijing there is some traffic but still less than Sydney in Peak Hour. It is just before 7am and -4 degree’s enough haggling, get me to my hotel.

Image

Even the elevator buttons have that Asian style

Traffic in China is controlled, people use lanes but the merging/overtaking is fluid and the breakdown lane isn’t, why waste space when it can become another lane. I was last here over 15years ago and the prevalence of bicycles is now well and truly gone, the 1000’s that you would see on the roads have turned into cars, no wonder smog is a huge issue here. The ride is just under 40minutes and I am checked in looking for a nap (must be only a power nap or Jet Lag will happen) before 1 day to check out Beijing.

*Side Note* The internet is controlled/censored in China, so no connections to Facebook, or most of the Google websites including Gmail and YouTube. You can get to Google Hong Kong and through there Google Maps but it is slow.

The mission in Beijing is to seek out the best Peking duck restaurant, and I am off in search of lunch at Quan Jude Roast Duck Restaurant which apparently is the one to go to (Established in1864). The experience was somewhat of a let-down compared to others I have sampled; still it is Peking duck in Peking (the former name of Beijing). The service was more of the stoic Chinese sort, no smiles here either, still it was an experience and one of the older establishments I have had a meal in. I think a Pub in London from the 1600’s still has my personal record.

Image

Apparently this is the best restaurant in Beijing for Peking duck

Image

They like the duck meaty here. No point to an after photo ;)

Then back into the winter/spring cold and I walk towards Tiananmen Square, I am approached a number of times by people who want to talk, not always a good thing if you are the tourist who stands out. I ignore the first 3 and the 4th happens to be a wizened old man who turns out to be a retired art professor, we talk as we walk to Tiananmen. He is entertaining, of course he invites me to visit an art shop near the square, still it is a passive sell and apparently some of his art is on the walls. I leave without succumbing to the urge to buy some overpriced art and head to the square. At different spaces along the sidewalk and in/out of the train stations there are security checks with X-ray machines for bags, they waive tourists through but check the locals. No mention of why so I ask, and it is a ‘preventative’ measure to stop any troubles, well the unofficial word is it is stop protestors from bringing signs or other propaganda into the major tourist areas.

Image

Now that would make a good entrance to a Dojang

Tiananmen Square seems smaller than I remember but that is probably due to the construction being done, I enjoy a stroll around the area, past the Emperors Palace and then down into an old part of town before it gets darker, colder and I decide it is time to head back to the hotel. Even though it is winter and the temperature was hovering around 0 the sky was a clear blue and the sun made it ok to wander around, I was told a number of times that I was lucky as the smog was so bad yesterday you had to stay indoors. It is a major issue here and it is quite common to be told you can’t go outside, especially the young, the old or anyone with any respiratory problems.

Image

Some of the normal scenery, it is China after all

Image

Tiananmen Square and look at the clear blue sky

An early morning taxi ride, this time metered to the airport (100rmb) and I am checking into for my 2nd Flight, this time with Polish Airlines (LOT) and on the newest airplane in the skies the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, LOT are the first to fly Dreamliner’s in Europe.

*Side Note* The first thing you notice apart from the new plane look (everything is really clean), is that the plane feels airy, it is how they arranged the storage and increased the space in the cabin, due to the composites used in building the plane they can pressurise the cabin at a much lower level so you do feel less dried out and it is noticeably more comfortable. Another nice touch no window shades, you touch a button to cause the windows to darken, ah technology I embrace thee. Even the bathrooms are tweaked with a door that opens in a different way to make it easier to get in and out of, hard to explain the angle and how it works in text. Even the toilet seat is different and self-flushes when you put it down. Of course it is natural to compare the new offerings from both major airline manufacturers the Airbus A380 vs the Boeing 787-8. Of course the Dreamliner isn’t as large a plane but it gets the win for the comfort and general way it feels, a big step up in flying technology. I am looking forward to seeing the difference between the LOT setup and the United Airlines one I am catching from the UK to USA in 5 weeks or so.

Image

Flight #2 Beijing – Warsaw

The flight is just on 10 hours but it is technically a day flight, we leave China at 8:45am and after 10 hours arrive into Poland at 11am, I choose to stay awake even though everyone else in my section goes to sleep. Now am I the smart one or are they? They even serve ‘Dinner’ at 9:30am and talk about waking people up for Breakfast before arrival. I have my own method of time and flying that I use for the World Tours, partly on the time of where I was, where I am going and the hours I am flying, so this one fits the stay awake, but know that I will be tired in Poland mid-evening and sleep well. Part of the GMG Road Warrior Guide book to be released soon at a Dojang near you… *Just kidding

GRWT – Jet Lag my old nemesis. Sleep well before you travel, drink lots of water, set your watch/phone to the new time zone as soon as you get on the flight, switch your mind-set to the new location as well, finally when you arrive you MUST hold your body clock to the new time zone regardless of being tired or awake. That means stay up or stay in bed, whichever one it is. Be strong if you want to follow the Road Warrior path young Padawan.

Touchdown Europe, hello Poland, I have to admit I am smitten by the new Boeing, goodbye Dreamliner I will miss thee. Time to change some Yuan (Chinese RMB) for some Zloty (Polish PLN), yes I know neither of the contractions match the currency. A taxi into Warsaw, no problem here they put on the meter, and I am checked into a new hotel this trip, hello Radisson Blu Centrum. I get offered the chance to upgrade my room to what they call Business class, factoring in the cost of Breakfast which it includes and it is less than $10 difference, Business Class it is. I drop the bags and head to walk off some of the travel weariness. That evening I catch up with SBN Jaakko for a bite at a local Italian restaurant and the next morning I grab a cab to the airport to catch my flights for the day.

Image

Flight #3 & #4 Warsaw – Vienna - Zagreb

Today my two flights were with Austrian and both on the smaller planes so I make sure to pick decent seats even though each flight is just around an hour. The flight into Vienna is quick and after going up 2 flights of steps I cross Immigration, not sure why as Croatia is now part of the EU, still its painless and I grab a snack in the lounge before my next flight into Croatia. Of course getting back onto a flight means going down 2 flights of steps, Vienna has a weird on/off system. The flight is even quicker at just on 40minutes and I am on the ground, collecting my next passport stamp and getting my luggage. Vlad the owner of the Combat Centar Zagreb is here to meet me; he is hosting my first visit to Croatia.

GRWT – Small planes, otherwise nicknamed Bug smashers, the Dash 8, Bombardier Q400, etc. are used all over the world for those short flights up to 2 hours or so. They are squeezy no matter what seat you get, so normally I grab a window one to lean on, and always a seat near the front, when you are packed in like a sardine for over an hour or more, being one of the first off counts, it also means in Europe you get onto the aircraft bus first (most small planes don’t stop at the terminals). Being on the bus first means getting a place near on the exit doors to save time and avoid the queue at immigration. Of course http://www.seatguru.com is your travel friend, grab the app as well.

Zagreb looks like pretty much most European cities, you could be in Brussels, Vienna, etc. and it would look the same. From the airport we head over to the Combat Centar where there is a Kyokushin Karate seminar being held today. The school is located in an old restaurant and the total size is over 1000m2. CSD @ Moorebank is 325m2 as a comparison. Vlado has laid out the inside to include a showroom for his Martial Art equipment business (Kwon), a waiting area, and 4 training areas, change rooms and a massage room for a Physio who works here. The school is still coming together with construction in some areas but it is a good space with lots of potential.

Image

The Combat Centar Zagreb

Image

The main floor of the Combat Centar

Dinner is at a traditional Croatian restaurant where I get to try a whole bunch of different types of meat, Cevapi being the main type, thumbs up from me. I am staying at a Hostel called the Funk Lounge, it is clean and probably the average age of the people staying there is under half my age, I get a single room that does the job. Overall it is a cheap way to stay, with the Funk café next door for breakfast, etc.

Image

Let’s get the Funk on!

The morning it is time to get on the mats for the seminar, there are people from Zagreb as well as some from Riga, Slovenia, and rural parts. I work on Circles, Hand Attacks, S Locks, Hook Punch and some Dan Bong to give everyone a taste of Kwan Nyom Hapkido. The group works hard and everyone enjoys the new techniques.

Image

The Aussie flag is on loan from the Australian Consulate

Image

Some of the group from the Seminar, a few had to leave early

After the seminar I get to chat some with the local students and give them my thoughts on Hapkido, they are an eager group and want to hear more about Hapkido in depth. It seems that Kwan Nyom Hapkido is a hit in Croatia, so lots of chats about the future and a return down the track. Dinner was an another authentic Croatian restaurant and this time we had the meat platter, now this is a true Hapkido meal!

Image

At least they tell you the Beans are overdone

Image

I am not sure this is healthy but it is GOOD!

I have a feeling, that a trip to Croatia = weight gain, the meat has been excellent, it probably isn’t the place to come if you are a vegetarian. Monday is a free day so we start with visiting with Drago, he is one of the local Black Belts as well as being the head of Zagreb Police, like a Commissioner, we have lunch with him at the Headquarters, again it is a large meal: chicken noodle soup (bucket size), followed by a schnitzel that covers the plate, with sides and pancakes to finish. The Pancakes were normal sized… After lunch we waddle around town to look at some of the local sights.

Image

Charge!

Image

The old and the new, I don’t think they work here

Image

Zagreb in miniature

Image

The main cathedral

Image

A ninja monk in the Bamboo, well maybe not.

Monday night we return to the Combat Centar where I get to sit in on a couple of classes including one for Jujitsu and one for Ninjutsu (I think I couldn’t really see them.) Tuesday started with a meeting with the Australian Vice Consul, we also returned the flag. It was good to hear a couple of Aussie accents to chat about the plans here; they are willing to help us with the future growth of Hapkido in Croatia. I found out that over 100,000 Aussies traveled here last year as tourists that is decent.

Image

Morning tea with the Australian Vice Consul

After the extra-long morning tea, a small tour of the city before some free time to get the trip report up to date. It is heading to spring here in Zagreb which means it is still cool, varying from around 0 to 10 degrees Celsius, and it has been drizzly with rain. I am hoping as I go north we don’t repeat last year’s record -22 in Finland. Tuesday night I helped with the regular Hapkido class and gave them a refresher of the Circular Releases as well as some Evasions. Everyone enjoyed how easy it was for the basic techniques to work so well. Dinner afterwards was as is custom a lot of meat; it was back at the same restaurant we went to on the first night.

Image

Another Meat fest in Zagreb

The next day the morning was spent working with Vlado on welcoming him and the Combat Centar Zagreb into the Kwan Nyom Hapkido family. I take pleasure in welcoming them into the International Hapkido Alliance as representatives for Zagreb, Croatia.

Image

Welcome to the IHA

Next stop was Zagreb airport for 2 more flights as I head back to Warsaw. Zagreb is a relatively small airport so check in went smoothly and I was back in the air for flight number 5 again on a bug smasher this time with Croatia Air, as I head to Vienna. The layover was very brief, actually just another time to do the elevators up to get my passport stamped, then back down to get to the gate and board with about 5 minutes to spare. This time it was a 737 with LOT (Polish Air) so more space even if the flight was fairly full. So I am back into Warsaw with a quick check into the Hotel, I get offered a room upgrade to a suite for a bargain basement price. The room is nice; the best thing is the Nespresso machine.

Image

Flight #5 & #6 Zagreb – Vienna - Warsaw

A Key to the Maps, a red dot is a connection, a yellow dot is a stop (seminar or break), a red line is single flight, a blue line is a return flight same path, a black line is a 3rd flight on that same path, a yellow line is a return drive 2 hours or more.

During the world tour I try to visit 3-4 nice restaurants during the 3 months, in this case I have a reservation for Atelier Amaro which is the first restaurant in Poland to earn a Michelin Star, so I grab a taxi to head to the restaurant. On the way we pass the Palace of Culture and Science which was a gift a the time from Stalin, as it has a Russian connection some people are using it to protest the recent Ukrainian issues, there is a car on fire outside the front of the building. The things you see whilst on the road.

Image

A Russian BBQ, with a car as fuel

Image

The building in a better light

After the traffic confusion from the fire, the taxi finally makes it to the restaurant. As it is a Friday night the menu is simply a fixed 8 course tasting menu, and even though the restaurant has 1 star in my opinion it is on a par with others with 2 or more. Each course was excellent, for those travelling in from outside Poland it is also very affordable. If you happen to head this way, you have my recommendation to eat here.

*Side Note* Michelin stars are worth thousands of dollars to a restaurant, as well as incredible recognition for the chef. Michelin inspectors travel the world and secretly visit restaurants to give their reviews with the possibility of awarding, losing or gaining more stars for that restaurant. As I predominantly dine alone I find that a lot of restaurants think I may be a critic of some sort. In the case of this restaurant in Warsaw I was not only given some extra tea (Specially made from pine trees) to take with me, I was also given a tour of the kitchen, a chance to talk with the chefs and the card from the Maître D with an assurance that no matter how busy they are in the future I will be able to get a reservation.

The next day it is time to hit the mats with the local students for the first seminar day. SBN Jaakko starts them off with Circle techniques, and then I work on hand attacks, punch defence and Bag Fu. SBN Jaakko has been doing regular training with the core group here and it is good to see how far the standards have improved, IHA Poland is lucky to have him on deck to help out.

Image\

The seminar group in Warsaw

After the seminar I head back to SBN Jaakko’s apartment for a nice home cooked dinner with him, his wife and brother in law. SBN Jaakko cooked a special fish pie that not only featured HKD on the pastry but was extremely good to eat. It is good to be able to enjoy some home cooking and a bit or normalcy from the rigors of travelling.

Image

HKD fish pie, courtesy of Chef SBN Jaakko

Sunday and back on the mats, this time to work on the official curriculum with the local IHA members. I start at White and work through to Green Belt, I also spend a little time on the side working with CGN Grzegorz and CGN Ernest on some preparation work for their 2nd Degree testing next visit. To wrap up the day I show some kick and weapon defence. Afterwards I head into the city with the local seniors to grab a bite to eat as well as talk about our future plans. On the way to the restaurant we pass some buskers playing the didgeridoo (what else would you expect on the streets of Warsaw).

Image

Warsaw + Didgeridoo

Image

Austro/Hungarian Shank

After dinner we go looking for a decent coffee shop and Marcin takes us to one he knows as being decent, strangely they also serve one of the rarest coffees in the world Kopi Luwak so I have to try it. I grab an espresso as well as a Latte, the Luwak is very strong and has a unique taste, and the normal latte was top notch as well. From the coffee shop we head back to my hotel so we can continue to work on future plans for building Hapkido in Poland.

Image

Just why is this rare, do some research, its rather unique

The morning I get the trip report up to date and then head back to the airport for 2 more flights, this time to Graz, Austria via Vienna. Before I hit the skies I would like to thank Team Poland for yet again being great hosts and for their continued efforts in building Kwan Nyom Hapkido here.

Image

Flight #7 & #8 Warsaw – Vienna - Graz


Grandmaster Perry Zmugg (9th Degree Sin Moo Hapkido & head of Austria) meets me at the airport and we head into Graz to firstly visit his Dojang. GM Perry also teaches Wing Chun and Arnis, so when we visit there is a Wing Chun class in the main room and some Arnis in the 2nd area. The Dojang is located very centrally in Graz and near the tram line, so an excellent position. We grab dinner at a near Chinese Restaurant called Chop Suey, where I try the surprisingly ok Peking Duck.

Image

Its just Chop Suey

I get a chance to catch up with GM Perry, we first met during Dojunim’s handing down the techniques seminar in Korea and then bumped into each other again at the Sin Moo Hapkido summit last year. The next morning we hit the streets of Graz to do some sightseeing. Graz is a very scenic city with the mountain fort Schlossberg located in the centre of the city, there is also a river that runs through the town and the central square is basically what you would picture as a standard European city.

Image

Interesting thermometer, yes a balmy 9 degrees Celsius

Image

The steps up the Schlossberg

Image

Graz Town Hall

Image

No Ice Cream allowed!

We take a walk about the centre, enjoying the somewhat warmer weather of the oncoming spring; it is almost 10 degrees, snow-capped mountains in the back drop. Then we head towards the central mountain and to save time, and honestly some legs, we grab the elevator which is located inside a cavern inside the mountain. I can understand having your dog muzzled but no ice cream… The view is excellent and the history tells of a group of 700 locals holding back several thousand Turks of Ottoman times for months from this location.

Image

On top of Schlossberg

Image

The View from the top #1

Image

The View from the top #2

Image

GM Perry and I on the mountain

Image

On the left the weird looking Art Museum and in the centre a man-made island with a cafe

Image

The View from the top #3

Image

The Tram down

The ride down is on the tram, a fairly steep incline, but no quite the same as the Blue mountain train at home. After the stroll it is time for lunch and we head back to GM Perry’s car, a Ford Galaxy (new model, not the classic). We head out of the city and on the way pick up GM Perry’s wife to head out into the surrounding hills for lunch at a traditional Austrian farm house where the family cooks. At this stage we notice that the fuel gauge reads empty with 0 km to go. GM Perry feels confident that we can traverse the 10+ km to the farm, and as its uphill we can roll back, I see pushing happening, once time it is better to be the higher rank.

Image

GM Perry pushes the envelope

Lunch is good and the view great, the roll back down the hill, well not quite it seems the diesel Ford finds more fuel and on the return trip it shows 40km range, GM Perry feels confident then to bypass filing up and we actually drive back to town, and again out again alter before he does, amazing range.

Image

Out in the Austrian Hills for lunch

Back in town it is time to hit the mats, I start with a couple of techniques for the kids and then straight into the adults seminar with S-Locks, Hand Attacks, and Hook Punch defence. There are students from are far afield as Croatia and Slovenia joining us for the night. After the seminar the food choices are somewhat limited so I get to try a local staple, the toasted sandwich, ham and cheese, not that unique, but still made in Austria.

Image

Night #1 Group Shot - Graz

The next morning time to head back into town for more sightseeing, this time we take the walk along the river, cross over at the manmade island before heading past the art gallery, it has its own distinctive look which stands out even more being surrounded by old Austrian Style architecture.

Image

Random Church looks ok photo

Image

Art Gallery up close

Image

Another bridge featuring Love Locks

Crossing the river back into the city we use another one of those “Love Locks” bridge where people inscribe their initials then lock it on the bridge. Who can name what trip report and where featured another one of these bridges, SBN Jaakko was with me at the time. We are heading for a tour of the Armoury with some time to kill beforehand so we take a break for some genuine Viennese coffee and Sacher Torte.

Image

The real stuff, Coffee good, Torte a little sweet for me

The Armoury features a collection that is big enough to equip over 4000 troops, racks and racks of helmets, shield, picks, flintlocks, breastplates, etc. It is spread over 4 floors of the original storage area with some of the racks being over 300 years old as well. A lot of the armour was not used so it is still in pristine condition, some 5 years ago a basic footman’s set was auctioned for $18,000euro ($27,500Aus) and that was a basic set not some of the specially crafted ones, and there are sets for 4000 people….. Hmm some math anyone, of course trying to acquire this would require a fleet of trucks to move it all. We wrap the tour with a photo chance with a 2 handed sword, not sure the guide appreciated 2 Hapkido GM’s trying to spin it around…

Image

Armoury – Flintlocks and Canons

Image

Armoury – Breastplates

Image

Armoury – Flintlocks

Image

Armoury – Sets

Image

Armoury – GM Perry goes Highlander

Image

Armoury – One handed style

Back to the Dojang for the second seminar, this time IHA Dan Bong 101. As normal the pain stick does its job and everyone is tapping, dropping or making sounds that are probably not quite normal. Some of the local students even volunteer for the more painful techniques, the sign of true Hapkidoists, slightly crazy. It has been a great visit to Graz, the town is scenic, the food good, GM Perry a great host and the seminars a success. Another late night but this time we manage to find a restaurant where I get to enjoy a traditional schnitzel with salad, the pumpkin seed oil dressing is a local touch that is quite good.

Image

Night #2 Group Shot - Graz

An early morning and back on the road. Graz airport is small so they don’t even bus you to the plane; you just walk across the tarmac. Dodge the luggage carts, fuel trucks and other cars please.

Image

Just walk out on the Runway

Image

Flight #9 & #10 Graz – Vienna - Amsterdam

Sometimes foreign languages still make some sense or sort of in English. I had to grab a picture of the “I’m Not Fall” on the door of the plane… Hopefully it is closed and we don’t fall…

Image

Of course you don’t

The first flight was only 25 minutes flying time, 3 hours in the lounge in Vienna to catch up on e-mails (Vienna Airport has free decent Wi-Fi), then onto the Fokker 100 for the flight to Amsterdam of just under 2 hours. Touchdown The Netherlands, time to find the hotel, load up the trip report and then head out for a nice meal. The restaurant I booked just received its second Michelin star so it should be good. One thing you can almost always find in Europe is fine food.

GRWT – Plastic bags are your friend, pack 3-4 of them. They weigh nothing, give you a separator for clean/dirty clothes, keep wet stuff safe, and make a good way to protect some of the odds and ends you collect on your travels. I find I have one large thick back for laundry and then some different sized ones for the other jobs, and they fit anywhere into your bags.


Dinner last night was good, and this morning I meet up with Robert (1st Kup) who trains with SBN Ron. Robert has graciously volunteered to take a day off to pick me up from Amsterdam and then chauffeur me around on the way to Best, one of the 2 locations is that SBN Ron teaches. Robert tested for Provisional at the ITS and he has plans to do the Spirit test in Finland next year. We head out of Amsterdam with a brief stop a the ITS venue so I can finalise a few items before heading to Dongen0 for lunch at a nice café. The sun is out and it is still around 10c but it is pleasant. After lunch we head for Best and the hotel where I will be staying for the evening, I bump into Master Henrie in the foyer and then Master Roddy and CGN Henk, so we take some time to catch up before the evening Sun Bae training. This weekend is not only my seminars but the Dutch Open TKD championship which is being held close by in Eindhoven, and Master Henrie had bumped into a team from India who asked about the jacket he was wearing (ITS 2013), they enquired about Hapkido and the next thing we are talking about possibilities of them working with the IHA. Stranger things have happened..

Image

Welcome to the IHA Dojang in Best

Image

One interior view of SBN Ron’s new location

Onto the mats for the Sun Bae training and I get a chance to spend some quality time with the local seniors. KSN Erwin, CGN Henk and CGN Lisette are working hard on their final instructors signatures. During the training CGN Henk gets his last one and I congratulate him on earning his official IHA Instructor certification. The next morning we head to nearby Tilburg for the 1st Day of seminars. Today I work on balance breaks, hook punch defence, multiple opponent psychology, multiple grabs, and using your head as a weapon. KSN Erwin also completes his instructor’s signatures, so congratulations are in order for earning his official IHA Instructor certification.

Image

Tilburg Seminar group

After the seminar I hit the road with Master Henrie for the drive to Rotterdam, tonight I am booked into another hotel more local to the Hoogvliet and Spijkenisse Dojangs. Dinner is at a local Dutch restaurant where we tackle not 1 but 2 of the Tomahawk Steaks which are well over 2kgs. CGN Henk enjoys chewing one of the bones but the rest of us are well filled with just the meat.

*Side Note* Hotel room rates sometime seem like an arcane science, for example the hotel I am using for the weekend nights (Sat/Sun ) in Spijkenisse, is around 45 euro per night, the same room for Monday night is 192.50 euro. This is for an ok regional hotel. But in reality pricing is purely governed by supply and demand, in this area this hotel is the only choice for large companies that use it only during the week, hence the price differences. So needless to say I get a 5* hotel in central Rotterdam on Monday for 1/3rd of the regional pricing.

The next morning I am back on the mats, this time in Hoogvliet at Master Henrie’s Dojang where we re-touch upon the balance breaks, striking concepts + counters, multiple opponent defence and special kicking. It really is a pleasure to see seeds planted over years of travel growing around the world, each visit I can see the local students not only becoming more involved in Kwan Nyom Hapkido but also growing in the IHA family. Talking with the local Team I am pleased to say that Team Holland will be bringing at least 12 to ITS6 in Mexico. After another good day of training with the local students we head to the Traditional Wok restaurant for dinner and a chance to catch up.

Image

Hoogvliet in action

Image

Congratulations CGN Henk and KSN Erwin

Image

Hoogvliet Seminar group

Monday rolls around and I head into Rotterdam with Masters Henrie, Roddy and CGN Henk for some local sightseeing, one thing with Dutch architecture is that they push the envelope of design, and the city is filled with interesting buildings including the brand new central train station. We grab a late lunch at a dim sum restaurant, before driving to the Spijkenisse Dojang to run the 2nd Official Instructors course in The Netherlands. BSBN Sascha drops me back at my Hotel for the night and in the morning Master Roddy and CGN Henk make sure I get to Rotterdam Centraal station for my ride back to Amsterdam.

Image

Parking in Rotterdam

Image

Rotterdam Centraal station

Image

Rotterdam = building designs = funky

Image

Park close to shopping to save the walk

I check into my hotel, and grab a nice meal for dinner to take some time to work on some of the next steps for the World Tour. Each stop is like a chapter in a book, parts of the story are complete, others continue, and then it is time for a new chapter and off I go again. The next morning I grab the train to Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) and check in for my next 2 flights, these are #11 and #12. When you are hitting a lot of stops like I am you don’t always get to choose flights that go direct so I am flying via Copenhagen on the way to Helsinki. A slight change to the security check, this time they want everyone to take the power cords for laptops out as well as the laptop, they also asked for camera’s and other electronic goods to be put outside bags. My next couple of flights are with SAS (Scandinavian) and they do a good job, even the inflight food is ok. The flight is 2:40pm but that means getting the train by midday, and with the 2 flights, I will get to Finland around 8pm. Just another way to burn up a day.

Image

Flight #11 & #12 Amsterdam - Copenhagen - Helsinki


Helsinki only has a population of 675,000 in the centre so hotels here are not only limited but relatively expensive, so I tend to stay at different hotels each visit. This time I am trying out the Hotel Finn located in the centre of town, it is a little different to most in that it is located in a shared building and the hotel is only on the 5th and 6th floors. The entrance is simply a doorway in a side alley and rather run down, the lift is old and you need to manually open/close the door. The change in decor once you get to the hotel floor is a huge contrast, the foyer and rooms are quite nice and recently redecorated. There is no restaurant but guests get a discount at a nearby restaurant aptly called Kiila (is that pronounced Killer?).

Image

Hotel Entrance

Image

Hallway to the rooms

Image

Helsinki enjoying some cool spring weather

The next morning I get picked up and we had out to SBN Tapio’s Dojang where the first 3 days of the 4 days of seminars will be held.
Day #1 - First up in the morning a Black Belt Physical Challenge & Technical review as CGN Pertti continues his testing for 2nd degree. From there we head onto a day focusing on Striking, Kicking applications and defence. After the good day on the mats I head back into town for dinner at what is rated the #1 restaurant on Trip Advisor, I get to the restaurant to find out that they earned their first Michelin Star just a week ago.

Image

Ground and Pound in Finland

Day #2 - Today we worked on Falling, how to modify Techniques for older students, Offensive techniques, weaponry for the Black Belts, Balance breaking principles and some Ground Locking for the coloured belts. After the training I get to enjoy a nice dinner whilst having a meeting with SBN Juha and BSBN Kim who are members of the Finnish Hapkido Federation Dan Collegium. We head to a restaurant where SBN Jaakko’s brother Eero has just taken over as head chef.

Image

One of the Seminar Groups in Finland at HMAC

Day #3 - Saturday rolls around and I cover on all the basic locking concepts, then adding them into Lock Flows, after lunch straight into some Multiple Opponent defence as well as some Ground and Pound defence. In the evening is it time to put 4 Provisionals through a spirit test. I am happy to welcome to 4 new 1st Degree Black Belts into the Kwan Nyom Hapkido family under the International Hapkido Alliance. Welcome to the Black Belt family, CGN's Janne Autio, Risto Turpeinen, Lars Papponen and Marko Sorvisto.

Image

The Black Belt grading group and new 1st Degrees

Day #4 – Today we move Dojangs and head out to Jarvenpaa where the seminar is in Sisu (Spirit) Gym. The day includes self-defence from pushes, punches, grabs then into arresting and control techniques. The afternoon included 'Turbo' topics as well as a chance for the local students to work on their personal material. I also had the pleasure of promoting Pertti Varjola to 2nd Degree after he completed all his testing requirements.

Image

In action at Sisu Gym

Image

The last seminar day group shot

Image

Where else would you see a truck filled with Australian wine

Image

Congratulations newly promoted KSN Pertti “Hey Man” Varjola

Day #5 – Back to HMAC (Helsinki Martial Arts Centre) to run another official IHA instructors course. The course goes well and I have some time in the afternoon to get the trip report up to date before I head out for Dinner with BSBN Pekka at what is probably my now favourite restaurant in Helsinki – Gaijin. No it has nothing to do with its Japanese name (Gaijin = Foreigner), just the good quality food which is an interesting Asian/European fusion. BSBN Janne picks me up in the morning and we head out to Helsinki airport for my 2 flights today, first stop Stockholm for a flight change then onto London.

Image

Flight #13 & #14 Helsinki – Stockholm - London

The flights go well and we and into Heathrow around 20 minutes early, and for the first time ever there is no queue for immigration so I am straight through. I get to the luggage carousel just as my bags are the first 2 onto the belt. It was almost the perfect hat trick for arrival. I meet up with my pre-arranged taxi cab for the 90 minute drive to my friend’s apartment in Purley (South of London). I have a day free to see a little of London and grab some photos from around the area.

Image

Bottom left, even the wrestlers are stealing our Dobok design

Image

The old and the new, London Tower and the Shard at night

Image

Hmm, is that a Ki Finger machine gun?

Image

Maybe it is time to launch my new style – Combat Yogalates

The weather here was apparently very nice last week, but has taken a turn for the worse becoming colder, and raining with some snow just as it was time to head to Portsmouth for my first seminar. Master Nick - Hapkido 6th Degree and the KJN of Moo Sool Academy in Catford where I will be teaching next week, has volunteered to help with some of the driving while I am in the area. He picks me up for the 2 hour drive to Portsmouth where we meet up with BSBN Graham before the seminars. During the seminar I work on Hand Attacks, Hook Punch defence and some Balance Breaks. The group is a mixed group of TKD, MMA, kids and adults and they enjoy the seminar topics, KJN Steve who runs the school invites me back next year during the World Tour.

Image

The seminar group in Portsmouth

GRWT – Wi-Fi and more. The first rule of travelling data states: Thy shall turn off Data Roaming on Thy handset. This is to save the huge bill that can occur, now the next question is do you need your mobile number active, if yes go to Wi-Fi is great, if not go to Overseas Sim is Better. Basically if you don’t need your phone number to be active buy a cheap local Sim card with a data pack and use e-mails or personal messages to communicate. If you do need your phone, keep Data Roaming off and ask for the Wi-Fi code in every hotel, restaurant or similar. I store all the codes as I have found some large corporates use the same Wi-Fi providers and in a lot of cases I auto log on with the information I already have.

Saturday rolls around and the plan was to drive up to Glasgow (around 7.5 hours) grab a hotel for the Sunday Seminar. I get a message from Master Sneddon letting me know that there were some issues with the seminar and a bunch of students are now unable to make it. I guess the combination of Mother’s Day (here in the UK), with the daylight saving change was always going to be an issue. So the decision is made to cancel the Seminar this time round. I catch up with Master Nick and we get a chance to talk about future plans in the UK. Monday I head into London for lunch with a friend in the Shard building. The food and view are good and the shard is easy to get to being located above London Bridge train station.

Image

London as seen from the Shard #1

Image

London as seen from the Shard #2

Image

London as seen from the Shard #3

From lunch I head out to Catford to meet up with Master Nick before the seminar at his Dojang. We have a chance to chat and discuss techniques before the evening kicks off. In the seminar I cover Bag Fu and Penkido, the local students all enjoy marking each other up with the bags and pens, lots of bruises and abrasions later I wrap up the class with a promise to return next year. Master Nick is making plans to travel to Australia later in the year and possibly be joining us during some of the full time training in September/October.

Image

The Catford seminar group

The next day it is time to head to Wembley for my last UK seminar. I meet up with SBN Omar for a coffee before the training starts. First up are the kids and with over 40 on the mats it is hectic, I cover Hapkido kicks and some basic self-defence. The adults are on next and the focus shifts to Balance Breaks and Takedowns.

Image

The Wembley seminar in action

Image

The Wembley seminar group

My seminars in the UK come to an end, and it was good to be able to catch up with the local instructors, a special thanks to Master Nick for his extra chauffeuring duties. I have offered to take him for a spin in the Mustang when he next gets to travel to Australia. Now it is time to say goodbye to the UK/Europe and head across the Atlantic towards the USA/Mexico part of my world Tour.

Image

Flights #15 & #16 London – Houston – Pensacola

This concludes the Euro part of the Trip report and the travels will continue in the USA/Mexico Section!

User avatar
Adrian Low
Sah Bu Nim
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:26 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Adrian Low » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:01 pm

China looks great: will get there before the bucket is empty.

And love the travel tips. Maybe a small book of tips to read on the plane :)

User avatar
Sung Duc
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:40 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Sung Duc » Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:39 am

Not cool to get disappointing Peking Duck in Peking.

Love the travel tips! Looking forward to more.

User avatar
Erwin Robberts
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:10 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Erwin Robberts » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:40 am

Peking Duck,one of my favorite food !

Have a safe trip GM G and keep on posting :)

User avatar
Nicholas Price
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:47 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Nicholas Price » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:00 pm

Great read, GMG. Always enjoy your satirical take on things.
I will remember to wear a jacket next time I fly somewhere,
and hopefully it will be on one of those Dreamliner's!

Looking forward to future posts, sir.

User avatar
Fabian Patino
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:54 am
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Fabian Patino » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:32 pm

GM Geoff,

Cant wait to visit china one day, great read and definitely wont be eating Peking @ Quan Jude Roast Duck Restaurant if I ever get the chance to visit.

look forward to more trip feeds.

Regards,

CGN Fabian
Last edited by Fabian Patino on Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."

User avatar
Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
Posts: 1014
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:18 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:09 pm

Updated to include Zagreb 4 March 2014

Regards

GM G

User avatar
Miguel Sandria
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 5:56 am
Location: Ki Dae Sur, Guadalajara, Jalisco. MEXICO

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Miguel Sandria » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:32 am

Wow.. Amazing places, amazing people!!
"Don't step back...
Never retreat!!
NEVER SURRENDER"...

User avatar
Fabian Patino
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:54 am
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Fabian Patino » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:08 pm

GM Geoff,

The Zagreb plates alone are a good reason to visit :)

Regards,

CGN Fabian
Last edited by Fabian Patino on Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"A man can remake the world if he has a dream and no facts to cloud his mind."

User avatar
Adrian Low
Sah Bu Nim
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:26 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Adrian Low » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:04 am

Great update GM G.

Loved the pics. And chevapi is yummy!

It sounds cool to meet the Australian vice consul - peanut butter or vegemite on the Aussie sandwich...

Adrian

User avatar
Sung Duc
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:40 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Sung Duc » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:22 pm

Not a vegetarian here, so foodwise Croatia will go down like a tee!

Regards,
Sung, KS

User avatar
Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
Posts: 1014
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:18 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Grandmaster G » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:53 pm

Updated to include Warsaw 10 March 2014

Regards

GM G

User avatar
Fabian Patino
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:54 am
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Fabian Patino » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:52 pm

GM Geoff,

Great trip update, is the Kopi Luwak really worth it? did you think twice about drinking it when you remember where it comes from?

Regards,

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

User avatar
Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
Posts: 1014
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:18 pm
Location: Moorebank NSW Australia
Contact:

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Grandmaster G » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:58 pm

It has its own flavour, but I think it is more so just to be able to tick it off the list. I didn't contemplate the origins whilst drinking it.

Regards

GM G

Marcin Wesolowski
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:16 am

Re: On the Road World Tour 2014 - Europe

Postby Marcin Wesolowski » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:27 am

Well Sir, you may have tried to avoid thinking about the origin, but you did express the hope beforehand that it wouldn't be served in a cat.. :D


Return to “News & Events”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests