On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

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Grandmaster G
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On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:18 pm

2015 Welcome to the US of A and Mexico!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous”

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Flights #11 & #12 London to Houston – Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner & Houston to Pensacola – Embraer RJ 140

So I get checked in, told about the late flight and board where the purser happily tells me that we are still expected to arrive into Houston 10 minutes ahead of the original schedule, I guess the captain got a release to give it some more gas or take a quicker flight path. Of course the joy is short lived when literally 5 minutes later we find out there is a communication issue and we need to wait to get that fixed before push back. That makes us a further 45 minutes late, and then we get the information that as the Heathrow flight corridors are full we get to wait another 20 minutes, so it is clear that any hope of an on time arrival is now gone with an adjusted arrival time of 7:01pm into Houston with a connecting flight leaving at 7:10pm. I am an efficient traveller but 9 minutes to clear immigrations, collect bags, customs, re check bags, and re clear security are a little outside that window. I check with one of the flight attendants and get told that if I miss the connection that they will automatically rebook me on the next available tomorrow and the boarding pass will be ready to pick up when I clear customs, it looks like a night at the Hotel which is connected to the airport before continuing on.

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I always know I am in the USA when I get TSA love notes

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Undoubtedly the best way to fly, the Boeing Dreamliner 787


Touchdown goes smoothly, the flight is indeed late and I join the 1 hour immigration queue to enter the USA, I have to admit that this entry process is in no way geared in any way towards making tourists happy to come here. I clear immigration grab my bags, go through customs and head to the service desk where I am informed they can get me on a later flight to a different airport that I know is still close enough to make the journey tonight, excellent, thanks for your help. I check in the bags, grab my new boarding pass and head through security towards the flight. When I present my boarding pass it sounds an alarm and I am asked for a paper ticket, umm it was an E-Ticket and this boarding pass was just issued 10 minutes ago by you. So I get sent to another nearby service counter, queue and sigh. I am still in the line when the doors to boarding close and a different gate agent runs over, are you Booth? He grabs the boarding card passes it to the service agent and tells her to get it sorted he is putting me on the flight, thanks! So I get the last seat and into the air to Florida to meet up with Chief Master Gordon.

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The offending Boarding Pass

Arrival goes fine, I grab my bags and I almost issue a sigh of relief, but before than can happen I have to deal with an urgent e-mail from Malcolm my travel agent. It seems that when the service agent changed this flight for me she wiped my next 15 onwards flights, seat assignments and upgrades from the system. It is a time like this you are thankful for having a ‘Gun’ travel agent, as I call Malcolm explain what happen and politely ask him to make it right. Over the weekend Malcolm comes through and rescues my flights, I am yet again thankful that I have a travel team on my side for these emergencies.

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They even make them in Pink

Chief Master Gordon and I had some free time before the Festival kicked into action and after talking about how the new Mustang was going to be released in Australia, CM Gordon arranged to take one of the ones here for a Test Drive, it helps to have bought cars from the dealership before. It was good to take the car out for a nice sedate cruise around the back streets of Crestview where there was little traffic. The 5 litre sounds excellent under slight loads, there was no driving fast at all…

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2015 GT Mustang Convertible

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2015 GT Mustang Convertible on the road

There were a few hiccups with the festival as storms had affected incoming flights, still it got underway and people had the choice of a couple of sessions featuring a range of different topics. Each presenter was going to repeat their split session so people could do both over the weekend and the key note presenters would get the floor to themselves when it was their turn. After querying some of the attending students I decided to cover Dan Bong techniques, and after the very first crash dummy screamed and headed for the floor like his Dobok was on fire, it was a little challenging to get volunteers. Still my session and the day went smoothly and in the evening we all gathered for the dinner presentations and celebration. Another good weekend completed at the Festival and plans for next year are already underway. CM Gordon will be joining us at the ITS this year as well.

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2015 Korean Martial Arts Festival Group

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Flight #13 Pensacola to Chicago – Embraer RJ 140

Monday rolls around and with Malcolm’s excellent work I have a flight to catch as I head out of Pensacola for Chicago and a couple of days rest. It was a smooth flight and I check into my hotel for a break. I got to enjoy 3 good dinners including the old school steakhouse ‘Morton’s’, a French fine diner ‘Brindille’ and one for the view the ‘Signature on the 95th’ which is located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building.

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Morton’s a must for meat lovers

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A dish at Brindille

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The view from the 95th floor

At the Korean Martial Arts Festival I met Master Rondy Mckee and as I was going to be in her area later in the week we arranged to add a seminar at her Dojang, another call to Malcolm and I got my Chicago to North Carolina flights switched a day earlier. Master Rondy is a high ranking Taekwondo Master as well as having ranks in other arts including Hapkido, and she is known for running what is regarded as the world’s largest Dojang at 24,000 sq. feet.

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Flight #14 Chicago to Raleigh – Canadair RJ 700

The flight went well and Master Rondy meets me at the airport with her white tiger striped Hummer for the short ride to her impressive Dojang. As mentioned before this Dojang is regarded as the world’s largest, it includes a number of training floors, a running tack, koi pond, gym area, pro shop, kids crèche and far more. First up for me is a class with the lady tigers during the day where I cover some easy self-defence concepts and ideas. I get a chance to talk with Master Rondy over lunch before the 2 evening sessions, first up Bag Fu with the kids (over 50 of them) and then Dan Bong with the adults. Dinner is home cooked Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) on the Dojang porch/BBQ/Pagoda area out the back. It was short whirlwind visit to White Tiger, Master Rondy was an impeccable host and plans are underway for future visits when I am in the USA.

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The main floor at White Tiger

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Floor #2 at White Tiger

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The Children’s seminar from White Tiger

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The Adults seminar from White Tiger

The next day Master Rondy picks me up for the drive to High Point where we meet Master Holt for lunch. That evening I am on the mats with the local Black Belt group working on Lock Flows, advanced Dan Bong and Kwan Nyom’s technical philosophies. It is a good night and it is decided to start working with the local group towards their official IHA Black Belt recognition next year.

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Black Belt training group

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Cheerwine, a NC local drink, like Dr Pepper with less bubbles & more flavour

During the next day I get another tour of the downtown area, this time it is crowded with the 100,000 extra people that flood the city twice year for the Furniture Market. Basically all the down buildings are quiet for 95% of the year then incredibly busy for the 2 separate furniture events which are the biggest in the US. Lunch was at a local BBQ institution, where they serve the North Carolina style of BBQ which has a vinegar based sauce, this particular restaurant has been here since 1948 and the owner was in the building saying hello to the diners.

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BBQ North Carolina style

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Since 1948

After lunch it was time to get back on the mats for the seminar and this time a focus on the IHA official curriculum. The focus was on Arm Bars (Over and Under), Hand Attacks, and S Locks. The local group worked hard and I can see them picking up the IHA material well. Dinner was a local favourite restaurant of Master Holt’s and it was a great way to wrap up the visit with a good meal.

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High Point Seminar group

Back on the road with a relatively short hop to Philadelphia to meet Grandmaster John Godwin, in the car where 2 of the Godwin Clan and we headed off to collect the third before dinner at “The Outback”, yes I do end up there from time to time. Yes, I was the only Australian thing in there, but the steaks were cooked decently so it was fine. Of course I might need to drag GM Godwin into a Lonestar restaurant when he makes it to Australia.

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Flight #15 Greensboro to Philadelphia – Canadair RJ

I always enjoy catching up with GM “Blue Steel” Godwin as we seem to share a like-minded sense of humour. It is also a very family like visit as I stay at his house with the extended Godwin clan, 3 daughters and 1 son. Monday rolls around and it is time for my next seminar, this time at one of GM Godwin’s Dojangs located in Kennett Square, PA or Mushroom country as it is known for being the biggest Mushroom producing region in the USA. The seminar group is a good one with lots of energy so we have fun with finger locks, punch defence and kick defence.

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KMAI Kennett Square seminar group

The next morning it is time to work with the KMAI instructor team. GM Godwin owns a number of Dojangs and each Tuesday they meet for technical training as well as business notes. I get them for 2 hours to work on Dan Bong techniques which are well received.

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KMAI Instructors Group

After a good morning with the KMAI instructing team it was off to meet Dojunim for a talk about the future of Hapkido. After the training we met up with DJN, Sahmonim and GM MacKenzie for lunch. As always it is good to spend time with DJN, these opportunities are becoming truly rarer and rarer and I try to make the most of them when I can. To wrap up my stay with GM Godwin, we headed into town for a good meal at Fogo De Chao where we met up with GM MacKenzie, GM Janisse, GM (Dr) Fabi and a bunch of the local Masters.

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Roadside BBQ

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BBQ anyone?

The next day I was handed off to Chief Master Heath for my next seminar, this time in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania with his excellent group of students. Dan Bong was on the menu so we worked through some of the basics before exploring the advanced ideas. I always look forward to spending time with CM Heath and I am hopeful he can join us for some of the Mexican fun later in the year.

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Dragon Martial Arts seminar group

The next morning I am handed off to GM Yates (starting to get the idea I get handed around a lot?). This evening I was on his mats for a seminar class in Atco, New Jersey. GM Godwin dropped in, as well as GM MacKenzie and I worked on some different locking concepts. GM MacKenzie and GM Godwin also use this opportunity to present me with the new Sin Moo seniors Dobok; I leave the Gold belt with GM Godwin for embroidery…. The next morning I get a chance to catch up some more with GM MacKenzie before meeting up with DJN in the afternoon. It was good to see him and Sahmonim twice this trip as my chances to see them are separated by the tyranny of distance. It always amazes me the people that live so close to him but yet don’t maximise their chance to spend time with him, especially as he gets older and those chances are becoming less and less frequent. In the evening I check in at a hotel near the airport to save travel time in the morning or my next flight.

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MYMA Atco seminar group

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GM Yates, DJN and GM MacKenzie

The next morning I am grabbing a flight from Philadelphia to Richmond to meet up with Black Belt Brian Ulsh to then drive for another hour to his Dojang in Yorktown, Virginia. I met Brian a couple of years ago at a Hapkido summit and he has since opened a Dojang. It was only a couple of weeks ago while I was in Florida that he checked in about hosting a seminar and I managed to squeeze in the quick visit this weekend. Brian has a beautiful Dojang which he designed; it really does show that it was carefully planned out before it was fitted out. The seminar starts with a couple of hours of Bag Fu and Dan Bong before the children leave and we continue on with some more Dan Bong and misc. techniques.

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Flight #16 Philadelphia to Richmond – Canadair RJ 900 & Flight #17 Richmond to Philadelphia – Canadair RJ

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Wolf Martial Arts Academy

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The Hangul for Hapkido is upside down to represent the Downunda teacher

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Seminar in action

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Wolf Martial Arts seminar group

After the seminar I get a chance to enjoy a fine seafood meal with some of the local seniors and we end up reminiscing about the old school days. The next morning I get a chance to see some of the local tourist attractions before grabbing the evening flight back to Philadelphia. Yorktown is most famous as the site of the siege and subsequent surrender of General Cornwallis to General George Washington and the French Fleet during the American Revolutionary War. So we hit the road to visit the three sites of the Historic Triangle, which include Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg.

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Jamestown Memorial

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Not sure I would want to be on this at sea for 3 months

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Rope techniques

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It seems the locals disagreed with my Combat Sightseeing methods

It was a good first visit to Brian’s Dojang and a good chance to see some more of both US history and Americana. The flight back to Philadelphia goes smoothly and the next morning I am on a train into the centre to catch the Amtrak (long distance trains) to Lancaster, PA.

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Amtrak #1 Philadelphia to Lancaster

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Old school train stations are simply cavernous

SBN Mike meets me at the station and we head back to the Dojang to catch up. I am on the mats for a kids seminar where we do self-defence with the Belt before switching to the adults were I cover more Belt techniques and some Pressure Points. After the seminar wraps it is time to test one of the local students for 1st degree, and I am pleased to welcome CGN Natalie as the newest Kwan Nyom Hapkido 1st degree in the IHA Black Belt family.

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CGN Natalie and the Black Belt team

The next day I am back on the road and after some interesting side trips courtesy of the GPS we finally meet up with Master Terry O’Connell one of our newer IHA representatives in the USA. After some careful arranging we get my luggage into his jeep along with his wife Ava and we head up into the mountains towards Montoursville where his Dojang is. Master Terry has a very nice Dojang and as there is a class running when we get there I get the chance to jump in and have some fun. The next day I get to work with a group during the day on Dan Bong techniques before moving to Bag Fu for the kids and Hook Punch defence for the adults.

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The daytime crew worked on Dan Bong techniques

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Apparently this is a Salad

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IHA Montoursville seminar group

It was an excellent visit to Master Terry’s Dojang, they are a great bunch of hard working Hapkidoists and I am very pleased to be able to work with them this trip as well as planning for future growth, they are a testament to Master Terry’s dedication to Hapkido. Master Terry and I then hit the road as we crossed PA towards my next hand over, this time to Mr Paul Heinselman. Paul is a student under Master LaVoice in Pittsburgh as well as being the publisher of the brand new Hapkido Journal magazine. I recommend all the IHA students grab a subscription of the only truly Hapkido dedicated magazine, issue one features Master Jimmy, a technical article about Dan Bond and Master O’Connell, the cover features DJN Ji. I should have a limited number with me when I get home, so let Donna know if you want to buy one. Mr Heinselman had arranged a nice dinner up on Mt Washington which overlooks the city but the rain cut short chances of getting any clear pictures, however the meal was good and the next morning we hit a similar spot for some better shots.

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The Monongahela Incline built in 1870

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Pittsburgh #1

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Pittsburgh #2

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Pittsburgh #3

The following night it was time to hit the mats in Monaca, PA with our local Representative Grant Miller, on the cars was easy self-defence for the kids and more advanced locking for the adults. Currently the Dojo under Grant features Shotokan and Mr Heinselman teaching TKD. The good news was that Mr Heinselman will be joining Grant as a partnership IHA representative and plans are underway for them to offer a new Hapkido program separately here.

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Monaca seminar group

Saturday morning rolls around and I head north to New Castle, PA for my first seminar visit with BSBN Patsy Zarilla (IHA Affiliate) at his Dojang. A small but hard working group and we work through a number of Kwan Nyom concepts, Hand Attacks, Arm Bars, S Locks and Hook Punch defence, before a good meal with the local students at a nearby Syrian restaurant. That evening I grab a hotel at the PIT, well that’s the airport code for Pittsburgh. My first Pennsylvania Road Trip was a great success and I want to thank all the hosts, and students for being part of the fun. I look forward to returning later in the year to do it in reverse.

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Flight #18 Pittsburgh to Houston – Embraer RJ 140

One of those argh mornings where the hours slept were way too little, still back into the friendly skies with my flight into Houston, TX. All went smoothly and I grabbed the Super Shuttle to my hotel before heading out to Rent a car. Some if not most cities in the US really need you to have wheels, public transport is lacking in a lot of the country. I gave my favourite car rental company a call, they accept Aussie passports as well as being reasonably priced, and they had a Hyundai Accent for around $100 less than the other companies, plus they would pick me up from the hotel and take me to the Rental spot. Now that’s customer service, it was followed up with another bonus, it has half a tank of gas so bring it back with ¼ and that will be fine. Of course having DJN number plates just made it the official Hapkido car for my week in Houston.

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The Hapkido Car Rental – Korean with DJN plates

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After our KO T-Shirt, I had to have a haircut here.

I get a chance to grab lunch with Master Sharpe (7th Degree Tang Soo Do) and it is always refreshing to spend time with genuine martial artists and Master Sharpe is one of those. He has trained extensively in TSD, but also in some Hapkido styles and HDG sword. I am looking forward to visiting his Dojang later in the week.

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Texas BBQ

I catch up with Master Lieder at his purpose built Dojang in Cypress, TX and we head out for a tour of his family business where they roll steel into pipes and high pressure storage tanks. We grab some Texas BBQ for lunch before heading back to the Dojang. One thing about BBQ is that it really changes from state to state as well as some cities, some places have a sweeter sauce, some vinegar based, some dry rubbed, of course being meat it is all good. A coffee on the way and I notice that Starbucks has stolen the idea of a Flat White from Australia, of course it is in no way made nor tastes like a real flat white.

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Now where did they steal the idea of a Flat White from?

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Master Jimmy’s Mexican business

I kick off the Cypress seminars with a class on Dan Bongs for the Instructors, then into a combination class of Bag Fu/Dan Bongs for the open seminar. The seminar class group enjoy hurting each other with the Bags or the Dan Bong Cords. Dinner is at a nearby Bar/Burger place where I notice Master Jimmy’s Mexican business.

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Cypress seminar in Action

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Cypress Seminar Group

The next morning I am met by Master Sharpe and we head out to his Dojang in nearby Spring, TX for the seminar. His Dojang is run a little more traditionally and feels closer to home. With this group I cover Hand Attacks, Hook Punch as well as a group of miscellaneous techniques. Everyone worked hard and it was good to see them picking up the techniques. We wrap up the day with a decent Vietnamese Lunch/Dinner and a chance to chat about the future plans.

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Hmmm, speechless

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Spring Seminar Group

A good visit to Houston, which gave me enough time to catch up on the Trip Report, Black Belt signatures and a host of items off my to-do list, as well as 2 more new seminars. Now it is time to hit the road and sky to head towards Team Mexico.

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Flight #19 Houston to Guadalajara – Airbus A320

A smooth flight into Mexico, I grab my bags, hit the customs button for a Green light out to be met by KJN Hugo, KJN Ernesto and SBN Carlos. We catch up over lunch and as always it is good to be back with my Mexican Hapkido family. After settling in I do notice another love letter from the TSA, it seems this time that they were only interested in a container of vitamins as it was the only item shifted around. For dinner we head to one of my favourite ‘street’ food stalls, it basically is a large kitchen that sits on the street edge (its permanent) and the building across the walkway is the dining area. This way they avoid restaurant setup fees and taxes even though it is a permanent location.

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Real Tacos

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Street Food sort of

Now the next couple of weeks are going to be a whirlwind with week one kicking off with a Instructors Course, then into a Mini Hell Week for the Mexican Hapkido Association, a brief weekend break to see some of the local sights before week two. The second week will feature 2 different groups doing a Mini Hell Week at the same time, one group during the day and a second group during the evening. The final Weekend will feature 2 Black Belt testing groups, one for the MHA and one for Hapki GDL Dojang. Of course in the windows of time between seminars I will be doing some running around the ITS confirming venues, hotel, dinners, etc. So get ready for a blast of photo’s that will cover my Mexican Jumping Bean visit.

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Only the 2nd IHA Instructors Course in Mexico

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The future of Kwan Nyom Hapkido in Guadalajara

The Instructors course went well and we had a good number undertake the challenge with 14 new Instructor Candidates. It is good to see that the local seniors are taking their learning seriously and getting stuck into the IHA Syllabus. The next day I head over to KJN Ernesto’s Dojang and we get the first of 3 Mini Hell Weeks started.

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Team Mexican Hapkido Association

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The fighting fit of the MHA

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The Hell Week survivors from the MHA

The week went well and I covered most of the syllabus in detail through to Blue Belt, on the last day it was Teachers Day in Mexico, which is actually celebrated. After the training the MHA crowded presented both myself and KJN Ernesto with very cool looking vests based on our Dobok designs, that was followed by a IHA cake. Of course I then find out a local custom of the guest taking a bite of the cake before its cut up… Somehow I managed to miss the almost obligatory nudge the cake biter gets whilst doing it.

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A slice of the IHA anyone?

The next morning we hit the road, KJN Hugo, his family and I for the 4ish hour drive to picturesque Guanajuato. The city was established due to mineral deposits, and one of the unique aspects is that you enter the city through an underground road network, not one road but many including crossings and more. Our hotel is located centrally on the leafy main plaza and is what I would call a historic and rustic place with old school charm. In an effort to not waste any time we head out for a walk around before meeting up for an evening tour. Now this tour is a little different to others I have been on, it is more like a roving band of Mariachi that walks us around the city stopping at different parts to sing, the tour group actually numbers over 50 and we head off to see the town. As we leave the main square another group forms following a different group of singing guides.

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Guanajuato @ Night #1

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Guanajuato @ Night #2

The tour goes for a couple of hours and we get to see some of the city, not really a sightseeing tour but more of roving entertainment and the local tour members seem to enjoy the fun, it would help if I Habla more Española. The next morning we head out for a day tour, and this one has more to see as it includes a mine, a priests torture chamber (ala Inquisition period), an old church, the fabled Mummies of Guanajuato, the underground roads, and a view from the stature of Pipila.

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Guanajuato @ Day #1 (Inquisition Collection)

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Guanajuato @ Day #2 (Inquisition Collection)

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Guanajuato @ Day #3 (Behind this was the torture chambers)

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Guanajuato @ Day #4 (Inquisitor GMG and KJN Hugo)

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Guanajuato @ Day #5 (Real gold plating)

The visit to the Mummies display was interesting; they came about due to the large amount of mineral content in the ground. People would be buried and if the payments for the plot weren’t maintained they were dug up so others could use the same space. Of course when they did this they found some of the bodies had mummified from absorbing the local minerals. The queue to get in was quite lengthy and the display a little short, but it showed around 40 mummies from babies through to adults.

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Guanajuato @ Day #6 (Outside the Mummies Display)

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Guanajuato @ Day #7 (Cruising towards the hills)

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Guanajuato @ Day #8 (The city #1)

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Guanajuato @ Day #9 (The city #2)

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Guanajuato @ Day #9 (The city #3)

The view from of the city from the surrounding hills was the highlight of the tour for me. We wrapped up the day by grabbing the car for another drive towards a nearby town San Miguel Allende, which is important for being the first municipality that declared independence of Spanish rule. It is also another nice city which stands out with incredibly clean streets and architecture. In the day light it becomes a shopping destination with lots of local shops selling everything from designer clothing to handicrafts. For sightseeing it didn’t have a lot to offer accept for a church or two.

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San Miguel Allende @ Night (The money is spent on churches)

A brisk drive back to Guadalajara, which was one a rather nice piece of highway, but if you add up the tolls along the way it came to over $60 which is actually very expensive in Mexico, no wonder these roads were decent, but it is a wonder people can afford to drive parts of the country. The next day it was time to hit the mats with the morning crew kicking off at 9am and with a break in the afternoon before the evening group from 6pm. Mexico runs a sleepy clock, what I mean by that is that things like breakfast can run until midday, lunch is into the late afternoon and dinner is late at night.

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Team Day #1

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Team Night #1

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Team Day #2 (All Locked Up)

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Team Night #2 (Ready for Action)

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KJN Hugo checking my coffee was ready

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Team Night #3 (Challenge Time)

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Team Day #3 (Survivors)

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Team Night #4 (Survivors)

During the Hell Weeks I was kept on the go with ITS meetings, and I am happy to say we locked in the training venues, the dinner venue, T-Shirt design, Jacket Design, and most of the supporting logistics. Also I worked with the Instructors Course attendee’s on their technique signatures and during the week I was very proud to recognise and promote the first member of Team IHA to complete their Instructors Signatures. KJN Hugo not only wrapped up the coloured belt material but with his teaching hours was promoted to Chief Instructor!

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IHA Mexico’s First Chief Instructor

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Mexi Ki Do outfit, just one more to go to complete the Challenge

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Now this guy likes his cars

The final weekend in Mexico is upon me and up first is a seminar for the little Hapkidoists, the focus is on Bully Defence and they do very well, of course I get the local Black Belts to volunteer repeatedly as Bullies to make sure the kids ‘learn’ each skill.

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Anti Bully seminar group

After the seminar we head across town to the Mexican Hapkido Association main Dojang for the first of 2 Black Belt tests this week. I will explain the structure of IHA Mexico so it is a little clearer, KJN Hugo is the official IHA Representative and his group Ki Dae Hapkido have an organisational membership, under that banner there is also the Mexican Hapkido Association, Yong Gamhan Hapkido and IKAL Hapkido. Today I am proud to announce the promotions of KJN Ernesto to 6th Degree, SBN Rogelio 4th Degree, BSBN Luis E 3rd Degree, BSBN Luis R 3rd Degree, KSN Cecilia 2nd Degree and 3 new 1st Degree's CGN Erubey, CGN Ricardo and CGN Carlo.

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Black Belt Grading Group

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Congratulations are in order

The next morning it is time for another Black Belt test this time at the Hapki GDL Dojang where we welcome even more Black Belts to the family, Congratulations go to KSN Fernando 2nd Degree as well as 4 new 1st Degree's CGN Frida, CGN Sarah, CGN Alejandra and CGN Leo. With only 1 person failing the test it sets the standard high that Black Belts are to be earned in the IHA.

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More Congratulations are in order

In the evening it is time to enjoy a local BBQ, KJN Hugo takes up the Chef Job and we get to enjoy some good Carne Asada, Chorizo and Guacamole as well as some other side dishes. Monday is a free day so I head to the Dojang for some last minute Instructors Signatures, before I get to try something new in Mexico. KJN drops me at a ‘Shower’ where there is some steam rooms, Sauna, and pool. However the new experience is having one of the local masseuse’s work you over with what looks like a ball of twine (it’s a scrubbing type thing) plus a bar of soap and it’s all done on a tiled concrete table. The Masseuse looked like a hit-man out of a Russian Mafia movie, but the massage was quite good, and somewhere in the middle, so it didn’t hurt or put you to sleep, it is well worth the experience. This wrapped up the Mexican leg of the World Tour, and another 5am wake up sees me finding our my first flight has been cancelled, and that I am now departing at 2:30pm for a later connection as I head back into the USA and towards Minnesota.

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KJN Hugo BBQ Mexican style

It seems I was way too optimistic and throughout the morning I kept getting alerts that my flight was getting later, at the time when I went to check it there was going to be no way to make the connection onto the last flight into Minneapolis for the evening. Time to work some road warrior magic, some discussions later after I convince the check in agent that I need to make it today he has issued me with a coupon to switch airlines, so I am now leaving United to grab 2 flights on US Air that should get me to Minneapolis today. I grab my Bags and head to the US Air check in, of course not being a frequent flyer with them they ask for $40 to check the second bag, so I check how much to upgrade the coupon (which is full economy, not discount economy – it matters) and they come back with $70. So I pay $40 for the bag only or an extra +$30 to go First Class as well which includes the bag. That was a no brainer and after $70, I am in first class where I check about using my limited Qantas Frequent Flyer card to get points and the lady then upgrades my second flight as well. Ah sometimes things come together. Into the air on time with US Air, a smooth flight into Phoenix where clearing US immigration was the easiest ever, there were 0 people in the Foreigners Queue for once. I have a couple of hours to kill in Phoenix before my MN flight so I update the report.

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Flight #20 Guadalajara to Phoenix - Airbus A319 & Flight #21 Phoenix to Minneapolis – Airbus A321

It is a late arrival into Minneapolis, just after Midnight and BSBN Corey meets me for the drive back to Hutchinson, the first thing I notice are the new wheels with the custom plates, hmm now those could work back at home as well.

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The Minnesota CSD HKD Wheels

The next morning comes around way too fast with only 4 hours sleep; still it is time to hit the mats for the Hutchinson Hell Week. Each day I will be working on curriculum material interspersed with some advanced topics from Black Belt or variations. Day #1 of the Hell Week and today the topics covered included all the coloured belt kicks, some kick defence, and how to make White Belt techniques more focused for street defence. The evening included 2 classes for the kids, one on pressure points and the later one on Takedowns.

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Hutchinson Kids Seminar

I find out that some Aussie treats could be found locally, Tim Tams and Darrell Lea Liquorice, so we had to source some Tim Tams so the locals could enjoy the nibble and suck. Strangely enough these are found in the USA version of Target.

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Aussie Liquorice on the shelves in Hutchinson, MN

Day #2 of the Hell Week had Striking on the agenda with the bonus topics including Weapon Defence. We also worked on the curriculum concepts, of Hand Attacks, Arm Bar Over and Arm Bar Under. The day wrapped up with some of the local students collecting their 'now collectable' copies of Issue #1 of The Hapkido Journal!

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The Locals get to enjoy Tim Tams with Coffee!

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Pistachio or Radioactive Muffins


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Hutchinson Hell Week in Action

Of course it wouldn’t be a visit to Hutch without a trip to Tokyo Grill and an attack on the world wide famous (I made that bit up) Sushi Boat. This trip I find out that they have upgraded the boat and now offer 2 larger sizes, of course BSBN Corey and I take that as a challenge to sink the Sushi Titanic.

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The upgraded Sushi Boat version C

Saturday and it is time to not only continue the Hell Week but also run a Black Belt testing in the evening. I take great pleasure in congratulating the 2 newest Kwan Nyom Hapkido Black Belts to join the International Hapkido Alliance family. Welcome CGN Kyle Baysinger and CGN Rick Anderson! Also congratulations BSBN Corey Ninneman on the promotions of your 2 students, as well as thank you to the Black Belt team who helped through the Spirit Test, KSN Tony (Minneapolis, MN), KSN Sherri Gregor Anderson (Hutchinson, MN) and SBN Michael Weisensee (Lancaster, PA)

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Congratulations new IHA 1st Degrees

It was an excellent week on the mats with the IHA students from Hutchinson, MN and Minneapolis, MN. The highlight was the promotion of 2 new Black Belts, but it was also good to see the local students’ progress through their belt material during the week. Congratulations to the Hell Week 'Survivors' who trained for the week. Monday and after sort out some mail logistics, like how to get all the copies of TKD Times home, BSBN and I head out to a local neighbours farm to do some target shooting before the drive into Minneapolis for another seminar, this time with the Minneapolis crew.

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Minnesotan Hell Week Survivors

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Hapki USA style – Clothing Challenge Complete!

After I check in at my Hotel near the Mall of America, BSBN Corey and I head into the mall for a coffee where we see the TKD times for sale. It was cool to see the magazine there but BSBN Corey took it a step further by showing it to the people near the magazine stand and letting them know it was us on the cover, heh. The night’s seminar class was at Boltz's Family Martial Arts and Fitness and the topic was basic Self Defence as well as an intro to Hapkido; everyone liked the basic, easy and practical techniques, with good numbers joining us for the fun.

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On the Shelves!

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Hapkido Intro Seminar Minneapolis

It was another great visit to Minneapolis and before I know it I am heading to the airport for another flight, this time into Denver Colorado for my first seminars there.

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Flight #22 Minneapolis to Denver - - Airbus A319

There was a slight delay but after that the flight into Denver goes smoothly and I meet up with Master Costley (7th Degree) and his wife Heather (2nd Degree) for the 2+ hour drive to Colorado Springs. We arrive just in time for the first seminar with a mix of kids and adults where I work on circular concepts. After a break it was time to get back on the mats for an adults seminar working on S Locks.

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Mixed Seminar Class

The next morning I get a chance to spend some time on the mats with a small group of the adults working on Kick Defences. Grandmaster Hodder (TKD 9th Degree) drops by for the seminar and to catch up, we taught together over 10 years ago as some events in Mississippi. We get a chance to catch up over lunch before he takes the 4+ hour drive home. In the afternoon I get a chance for some sightseeing and to visit the nearby Garden of the Gods, which is a valley of different rock formations located at the base of Pikes Peak. It is an ideal day to see the local sights and the mountain plus rocks is impressive.

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Garden of the Gods #1

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Garden of the Gods #2

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Garden of the Gods #3 + Pikes Peak

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Garden of the Gods #4

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Garden of the Gods #5

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Where else can you find an Olympic Oommittee

After the sightseeing it is time to hit the mats for another mixed seminar, and this time I cover Bag Fu before the evening seminar with the adults with Hook Punch Defence. The local students enjoy the exposure to Kwan Nyom Hapkido, Master Costly and Heather are great hosts which makes my first visit to Colorado Springs a good trip.

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Mixed Seminar Class 2

An early morning and what is the norm for world tours, a drive to the airport for another flight, this one is from Denver to Seattle.

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Flight #23 Denver to Seattle - Airbus A319

An easy flight, a hiccup getting my shuttle into the city as it left without me and when they checked I was apparently on board. Hmm, now that is one power I do not have, so after getting that sorted I headed in to the city to check in and get ready for the evening seminar. SBN Mark picks me up for the 30min drive from Downtown to Issaquah and Karate West.

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The Impressive Karate West Dojo

Tonight the seminar is on basic self-defence skills and an intro to our first couple of Kwan Nyom Concepts. Everyone enjoys the easy approach to getting away and the Circular Concept is a hit, we move onto some Hand Attacks to make sure that everyone takes home a little Hapkido Pain. I grab dinner with SBN Mark and we talk a little about the future plans, both he and KSN Ben will be joining us in Mexico and there is a chance a few more of the local team will join them.

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Intro to Hapkido Self Defence Seminar Group

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Sensei Randy (School owner), SBN Mark, KSN Ben and Sensei Ken

The Next morning SBN Mark and I head out to the school before the seminar to put together the stash of Dan Bongs. The next seminar is just on Dan Bong and everyone enjoys not only the ease of use but also the incredible pain it can give. Some of the locals even volunteer for ‘Pain Faces’. An excellent local photographer grabbed those shots so I am waiting on those to add to the Facebook collection. At the end of the Seminar I get the chance to officially welcome Karate West as a Representative Member of the IHA, SBN Mark and Sensei Ken will be heading up the local leadership. This leads into the next seminar where I work with just the local Hapkido Black Belts on TLC (Torque, Leverage, and Compression) or locking enhancements. I wrap up the day with the Black Belts back at Sensei Ken’s for a BBQ.

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There are WMDs in Seattle

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Dan Bong Seminar Group – Pain Junkies

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Local Hapkido Black Belt team

The next day is free so I put on my tourist hat and head out firstly on the Boeing Factory tour, you would think I had enough of Planes from my travels. Still it is good to see how they are put together and the factory is impressive. It is the largest single building in the world by volumetric space. I am lucky to not only see a Dreamlifter, it is a modified 747 that they use to fly in 787 parts, but I also catch the world’s largest plane taking off from the nearby runway, the Antonov. No cameras or phones are allowed in the Production part of the factory but I have to say it is rather impressive how the put these together and how many they are putting together at once.

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Part of the Boeing display

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A modified 747 the Dreamlifter

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A large number of 787 Dreamliners waiting to be collected

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No politics here, even Airbus models are available in the gift shop

After the tour I grab a seafood lunch near Pikes market which is a well-known tourist destination in Seattle, known for its seafood, other fresh foods, and hand crafted Knick knacks. A pleasant day which at

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A perfect day to be a Tourist

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Tourist Destination #1 in Seattle

That wraps up my Seattle visit and I head to yet another flight, this time number 24 as I head to Vegas for some days off from the Hapkido Seminar road. This time I get to enjoy Alaskan Airlines for the couple of hour hop into Nevada. Of course it was unseasonably warm in Seattle at 27C/80F and Vegas ups those stakes, 36C/97F.

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Flight #24 Seattle to Las Vegas - Airbus A319

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Vegas = Dodge Charger, L’Atelier, MGM Grand, Grand Wok, South Outlets, Heritage Steak, Nobu, Hard Rock, North Outlets, Fremont Experience, Mirage, Sushi Samba, Ramsay Steak, Palazzo, Jay Leno, Bacchanal Buffet, Shibuya, Wolfgang Puck, FIN, Morton’s.

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I wish I had the Mustang, just the Dodge Charger this time

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Part of the Mirage Volcano Show

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Downtown Vegas, Fremont Street

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Just IV your Hangovers away….

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Cruising the Strip in the Charger

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Welcome to Hybrid/Electricity Vehicles and the Charging station

I drop the Charger off and grab my next flight to the last stop on the World Tour, goodbye Vegas, hello Los Angeles.

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Flight #25 Las Vegas to Los Angeles - Boeing 737 800


A smooth drive from the airport to Ventura Beach where I am staying, and I catch up with Master Ali and one of this students Stephen for a nice seafood lunch on a pier in nearby Santa Barbara. I get the chance to taste the California King Crab which is quite good, while we sit on the pier enjoying the view. It looks like Master Ali will be joining us this year at the ITS in Mexico.

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The view from the Restaurant

After lunch I head back to the hotel this time to meet up with GM Les Connard who I last caught up with almost 10 years ago. We head out for dinner and chance to see how life has been treating us. It is good to have a chance to talk with another Hapkido Senior about ideas, techniques and philosophies, it ends up being a later night and we agree to grab breakfast in the morning to continue our talk. I am hoping that GM Connard and some of his Black Belts might join us on the mats in Mexico later this year. The next day I get to do some sightseeing with a visit to the Presidential Library of Ronald Reagan. The thing that sold me on the visit was that one of the older Air Force Ones was being kept there, no pictures were allowed inside but still it was interesting to see.

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President Reagan Library #1 - Hail the President

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President Reagan Library #2 – An Aussie Gift

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President Reagan Library #3 – Air Force One the Boeing 707 version

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President Reagan Library #4 – An Impressive View

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President Reagan Library #5 – Marine One

It is time to say goodbye to Ventura for the drive back to Los Angeles on the way to LAX and my flight home. On the way Master Ali and I get to enjoy an extended stop on the freeway as President Obama flies into LA and halts traffic. We then take a side stop at the California Science Centre where I get a chance to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour. When you see it up close you realise how little really stood between Astronauts and the vastness of space, talk about some Spirit.

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A Blackbird parked out front

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Space Shuttle Endeavour

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Strangely enough the ITS started in 05’

Check in goes well and I get to experience the new Star Alliance lounge that is being run by Air New Zealand. It is considerably larger than the old one and features space for meals, TV, work stations and a dedicated shower area. The World Tour Trip report comes to an end as it is time to board my second last flight of the world tour as I wing towards New Zealand to transit onto my last flight across the Tasman home.

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Flight #26 Los Angeles to Auckland - Boeing 777 300 and Flight #27 Auckland to Sydney - Boeing 767 300

Another World Tour is successfully wrapped up. I look forward to spending a little time at home before the USA-ITS Tour. World Tours only happen with a lot of support from the team at home as well as each host around the world. Of course there is also the behind the scenes team around the world. I want to humbly thank you all for being part of the 2015 tour and for supporting both my efforts but also the growth of our Hapkido. The years of support have truly borne fruit and our international family continues to grow and grow with quality. The ITS this year will be historic for us and all your efforts have helped me do my little part to make this happen. So to those that allow me to do this, thank you!

You all have my utmost respect.

Regards

GM G
Last edited by Grandmaster G on Wed May 06, 2015 4:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:02 am

Updated to include the Korean Martial Arts Festival. 20/4/2015

Regards

GM G

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Adrian Low
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Adrian Low » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:04 pm

Love the stories GMG,

And the expedited service at the gate. "Fix it! He's on this plane" ... that we booked him on :) Amazing.

Be safe.
Adrian

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Chris Berrios
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Chris Berrios » Sun May 03, 2015 5:34 pm

Hi GMG,

I thought it might be a good a idea for you to bring the pink mustang home for students who forget to bring their belts
to class! How was the performace?

Thanks

Chris

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed May 06, 2015 5:46 am

Trip Report Updated 5/5/15 - Happy Cinco De Mayo

Now updated to Houston arrival.

Regards

GM G

PS. I didn't drive the Pink Mustang but the 2015 one did go quite well, not quite as grumpy as mine though ;)

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Dean Evangelista
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Dean Evangelista » Wed May 06, 2015 10:41 pm

Hi GMG,

Thanks for another fun and informative update. How many Hapkido destruction techniques were going through your mind when the locals put you in the wooden pillory? It would be something like, GMG - 1, Pillory - in pieces!!!!

Thanks,
Dean

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Thu May 07, 2015 2:23 pm

Lets just say out of respect for the historical wooden stockades I left them intact....

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed May 13, 2015 3:07 am

Updated 12/5/2015 to include Texas and the start of Mexico!

Regards

GM G

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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue May 26, 2015 2:33 pm

Updated 25/5/2015 to include Mexico!

Regards

GM G

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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:20 pm

Updated 03 June 2015 to include Minnesota and the CGN Fabian Clothing Challenge is complete!

Regards

GM G

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Fabian Patino
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Fabian Patino » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:32 am

GM Geoff,

As promised I will deliver the 500 burpees upon your arrival to Australia. I will take a day of work as I plan to do it within 2 hours and record it.

Have to say it was worth seen you dress up, thank you for taking on the challenge :)

CGN

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 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:50 am

Updated 05 June 2015 to include Colorado.

Regards

GM G

PS. Looking forward to seeing the challenge rewards. ;)

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:51 am

Updated 08 June 2015 to include Seattle, Washington.

Regards

GM G

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Sung Duc
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Sung Duc » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:21 pm

Master Jimmy's expanding business lines...

mjv2.jpg
MJ's liquor business
mjv2.jpg (36.48 KiB) Viewed 5490 times

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2015 - USA/Mexico

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:48 am

Updated to include Vegas. 16 June 2015

It seems M J's empire grows!

Regards

GM G


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