On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

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Grandmaster G
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On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:05 am

2016 To Europe/UK and Beyond

“Chapter One – The 2016 World Tour a On the Road Story.”

It was all quiet in the vale of Moorebank, when the morning peace was interrupted by the harsh call of the Alarm Clock bird. Ok you get the idea, my alarm rings in day #1 of the 2016 World Tour, time to grab my bags (all 47kg – 103pounds) and head for my too often friend Sydney International Airport. Dean helps out with the ride to the airport, some traffic but it goes smoothly and I check in with time to spare. This will be the first flight with my new passport (my last trusty friend got filled up), now most of the departures are through automated smart gates which makes it quite quick. A quick stop in the Air NZ lounge where my Air NZ app beeps on the way in to let me know I can order a coffee from the barista, just one of those little extra perks that makes your travelling a touch better. Onto the venerable 747-400 with Thai Airways for my first flight into Thailand, I get settled and find out my screen doesn’t work, a seat shift later the same problem, so I get the nod and escorted up to a seat in First Class, I am guessing that my Frequent Flyer status helped get me shifted into the lounge seat of first class.

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Flight #1 Sydney – Bangkok (I will be turning the flight legs red, trains blue and drives green as I take them)

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Thai First Class – Seat 3A

*Side Note* RTW – Round the World tickets. As part of the world tour I use both a combination of a RTW and a bunch of numerous extra tickets. What most people aren’t aware of is that RTW tickets are capped at a maximum of 15 flight segments as well as distance which ranges from 47,000KM up to 63,000km. With a Star Alliance RTW ticket you get access to all the partner airlines (28 of them). Using an Alliance allows for better and more streamlined connections and smother luggage movement. Of course if you hold frequent flyer status on a member of the Alliance those benefits are also used across the participating airlines.

The stop in Thailand gives me a chance to get up to date on the Technical Video signatures, for those who are unaware I personally review each of the techniques for all IHA Black Belts regardless of country, add to that those doing the Instructor course and it adds up. Throw into the mix the world tour and a bunch of students wanting to be ready for testing or wrap up an Instructor level and it gets busy. My current record for videos reviewed in one day is 594. Of course during my stop I get a chance to visit my 2 favourite restaurants, funnily enough at each end of the spectrum. Chef Bar is run by Aussie Chef Roland and serves amazing Burgers and Meat Pies all handmade (he even makes the Tomato sauce/relish), my other favourite is L’Atelier under the guidance of Chef Robuchon the chef with the most Michelin Stars in the world. Of course there are photos for those foodies following along. I also get the chance to catch up with Master Ali (over an excellent Peking Duck) who is in town visiting from the USA. The 4 days go by quickly and I am again looking to log some more Frequent Flyer points, to give you an idea once I land in Europe I will already be just 1 Air NZ flight away from earning Gold status for this year.

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Tuk Tuk racing

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L’Atelier – Duck Salad

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L’Atelier – Hokkaido Scallops

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L’Atelier – Black Cod

I collect only my 2nd stamp in my new passport, and enjoy a break in the Thai Airways lounge before taking the Lufthansa 747-4 into Frankfurt, Germany. With a 5am arrival and 3 hours to kill, I search out the lounge to get some coffee and grab a shower (probably the best lounge benefit). Back onto to Lufthansa for the couple of hours flying into Seville, Spain. With my 3rd passport stamp tucked away I grab my luggage and head out to be met by BSBN Jose (3rd Degree), KSN Alex (2nd degree) and CGN Eloy (1st Degree). BSBN Jose announces a surprise and that he has arrange a mystery guest to join the fun, and who do we find in the airport café, KJN Hugo (5th Degree) from Mexico who is on holidays in Spain. Into CGN Eloy’s car for the drive to Alcala del Rio, about 25 minutes, we get to enjoy AC/DC on the drive, CGN Eloy is a fan.

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Flight #2 & #3 Bangkok – Frankfurt - Seville

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The Old Dojang location, now just a Gym

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The New Dojang

We stop by the old Dojang location which is now just used as a Gym where BSBN Jose has arranged a special lunch. His brother is chef and through his contacts he as arranged to get a leg of Iberico Ham (This would cost well over $1000 outside Spain), he also has the skills to cut the ham off in the wafer thin strips that it should be enjoyed as. Iberico is one of those special foods that can only be prepared in regions of Spain. The pigs are a special breed that is only fed acorns giving the ham a unique flavour. So I can say that this was a special meal, it is not often you get to have almost unlimited Iberico Ham.

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Iberico Ham – One of those special foods

After the delectable lunch it is time for the first seminars, and first up 2 hours with the local children. With around 60 of them we split the group into 2 and KJN Hugo takes half and we swap at the 1 hour mark. The topic of choice is Bag Fu before I get the adults for just over 2 hours of White Belt Circles, Extensions and Street versions. So this morning I was effectively in Thailand, grabbed 2 flights, lots of Ham and then taught for 4.5 hours. Sleep beckoned, but no the local time schedule is a somewhat different and we head off to Dinner which wraps up at 1:30am.

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Kids group

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Adults group

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Churros – 3 Ways

Breakfast rolls around way to quickly and this time we head to a nearby town for Churros which are normally eaten at breakfast. I get to try 3 different types including one made purely of potato. The dipping chocolate is excellent and the churros tasty, not sure I could have it for breakfast too much though. Today’s the seminars start with the Teens for 90 minutes (Bag Fu) and then 2 more hours with the kids (Easy Self Defence escapes + Pressure Points) a break for lunch before just on 4 hours with the adults (Dan Bong). Of course the day ends up with a dinner that ticks over into the early hours, it is common to have breakfast until midday, lunch at 4-5pm and dinner 10:30/11 or later.

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Teens group

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Kids group finished

The next day is Monday so we have some free time during the day and head into Seville to do the tourist tango. Seville is a quiet picturesque city with the focus like a lot of Spanish cities being the ornate church and architecture. Of course amongst all this old world charm there are always the odd or newly designed buildings like what I have termed the Mushroom. Seville is a known for Oranges and the city and surrounds are literally orange tree infested.

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A standard local breakfast

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Seville 1

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Seville 2

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Seville 3

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Seville 4

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Seville 5 – Ham anyone?

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Seville 6 - Mushroom

Back to Alcala for the evenings seminar and tonight we are at a different location for the Teens (Kicking + Drills) and Adults (Hand Attacks + Ground Defence) 4 more hours on the mats with the local students and everyone is still excited to be working on the different material.

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Teens group finished

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Adults ready for action

Tuesday allows for a little more sightseeing and this time we hit the road for a couple of hours to visit Cordoba. This time to visit the Cathedral which was a Church first then replaced with a Mosque and then reconverted to a Church so it shares some interesting designs. The surrounding town is also very picturesque with narrow cobble streets, lots of small artisanal shops all sitting on a nearby river. We also take the time to stop and enjoy some Tea at a special “Te Salon”.

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Cordoba 1 - Cathedral

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Cordoba 2 - Cathedral

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Cordoba 3 - Cathedral

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Cordoba 4 - Cathedral

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Cordoba 5 - Cathedral

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Cordoba 6 – The river’s edge

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Cordoba 7 – Tea anyone

Back in Alcala and the final seminar is with the adults at the main Dojang. Tonight I introduce Turbo topics and we work on a varied group of techniques including knife defence, chokes, escape from rear grabs, and more. BSBN Jose wraps up the evening in an interesting way asking each of the local participants to give 2-3 words highlighting what the seminar series meant to them. After the class we enjoy dinner in the Dojang as the local students all brought in some different Spanish dishes.

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Adults group finished

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Jean Reno trains Hapkido?

The next morning the local seniors drop me at the train station so I can catch the high speed Renfe train into Madrid to connect with my 2 flights of the day. I really enjoy the fast long distance trains in Europe, comfortable seats, quiet, power points, food and on most Wi-Fi. A perfect place to get the trip report up to date! The train is smooth and on time, I then meet up with a friend of BSBN Jose in Madrid for the drive to the airport and check in for my 2 flights to Zagreb. Thank you for BSBN Jose for being a good host and for KJN Hugo for his assistance.

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Train #1 Seville - Madrid then Flight #4 & #5 Madrid – Zurich - Zagreb

Seminar Stop #1 Complete – Mat Hours = 19

Onto Swiss Airlines for the first of todays 2 flights, I have to say that the inflight service was great and the ‘snack’ provided was excellent. I have to also comment on how the clean the A320 was as well. Of course you can’t go wrong with Swiss chocolate served with the coffee. I arrive into Zurich and grab a seat in the new Swiss lounge before my last flight into Croatia, this time on a smaller Q400 with Croatian Airlines. When I board I am in a seat next to another larger guy and the flight attendant actually moves 2 people from seats a row behind then offers it to me. I guess they weren’t supposed to be there, when the other flight attendant questioned him his reply whilst in Croatian did mention my Star Alliance Gold status, so who knows maybe it came into play this time around to get a more comfortable seat. Vlado meets me at the airport for the short drive into the city and my return to the Zig Zag apartments.

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The Swiss Airlines in flight Snack

The next morning first up I seek out a nearby coffee place and then catch up with Vlado for lunch. As normal it is welcome to Meat land and today we head to an Istrian restaurant which seems to be a combination of Croatian and Italian food. Still there is lots of meat on the menu.

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Coffee!

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Who can refuse Bacon flavoured Chips

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Istrian Sausage and Sauerkraut

In the evening I get a chance to jump on the mats with the local students during a regular class and work on a few grading preparation tips. Also the Zagreb Newspaper sent in a reporter to take some pictures and ask some questions for the next day’s news. There is a buzz in the Centre as tomorrow night is the 3rd Anniversary celebrations and 10 different styles will be on the mats demonstrating as well as the local Hapkido crew. As today is my birthday Vlado and Martina take me to yet another local restaurant for a special dish, octopus cooked in a special clay oven, it is quite nice if large (like most dishes here). They also gave me a rather special gift, a Penkala Pen. Penkala is known for his development of both the mechanical pencil and solid ink fountain pen. The factory itself is now closed but somehow they managed to track down one of the last remaining Pens from around 2006, complete with certificate of authenticity, now that was a nice gift, thank you!

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Octopus

Friday I have some time during the day free so I go for a little wander around the town, grab a decent coffee at a Vienna café before heading back to catch up with Vlado for another meat filled lunch, this time Cevapi at one our regular restaurants that we visit each time I am here. Not only is the Cevapi nice, but the bread it comes wrapped in is fresh, and tasty.

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Zagreb #1

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Zagreb #2

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Cevapi

The night rolls around and it is time for the celebrations, the MC opens the evening and both I as well as a long time Judo instructor get to say a few words before the 10 styles hit the mats for demonstrations. The styles on display are Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Judo, European Medieval Martial Arts, Nan Budo, Kyokushin Karate, TKD, Kali and Hapkido. Of course I am biased and think that the Hapkido team do the best job, but in all honesty I think the crowd agreed with me as well.

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Some of the Demo Teams

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In the News

The next day is day #1 of the seminars and I am on the mats for 7 hours with a focus on White Belt self-defence three ways, normal, street and pain. Then I do some Kick and Punch defence as well as some Pressure Points. Of course the evening is filled with another meat filled feast and this time I also get to experience some of the local music as this restaurant has a group playing local music. I can’t believe I am saying this but I decide that the next day has to be meat free.

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One of the Dojang Displays

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Seminar Day #1

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Meat anyone?

Sunday is my last day on the mats and again we have around 7 hours of seminars with today’s topics being S Lock, Penkido, ways to overcome strength and miscellaneous techniques. The group has worked hard over the weekend and after a brief break some 15 of them are back on the mat for grading. I am impressed with the improvement in quality since last year and am happy to say all passed, 2 brown, 2 blue, 1 green, 1 yellow and the rest orange. It is good to see the growth of the school and it looks good for the future with lots of interest from other style instructors interested in learning Hapkido.

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Seminar Day #2

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Grading Time

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Successful Students

Yes I did stay true to my words and stuck with some clear soup and salad for lunch, dinner was a coffee and protein shake. Just in time to head to the land of Schnitzels and Pork in Austria. It has been a good visit as well to Croatia, Vlado and Martina are doing a great job and the family here are growing in a good strong way.

Seminar Stop #2 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 34

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Drive #1 Zagreb – Graz via Slovenia

We hit the road in the morning and head towards Slovenia for a coffee stop and catch up with one of the local Kickboxing instructors, then onwards to Graz and GM Perry’s Dojang where we meet up with him for the hand over. I am on the mats for 3 hours each evening over the next 3 days teaching a range of topics including: Hook Punch Defence, White Belt Circles (3 Ways), White Belt Evasion (5 ways), Dan Bong, Cane, Knife Defence and Kick Defence. During the days I get a chance to spend some time with GM Zmugg as well as enjoy both the local picturesque town of Graz and the excellent food. A schnitzel is a must if you are in Austria, also try the Pumpkin Seed Oil on your Salad; of course the local coffee is top notch as well. GM Perry and I agree that we will work together in the future on some projects in Europe, it will be good to have him involved with some our exciting future plans here.


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Simply Graz

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No comment

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Breakfast in the Bakery

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One of the evening Groups

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The scenic mountains of Graz

It is an early morning with a 4am wake up to head to the airport to grab my 2 flights today to Warsaw, Poland. Polish Airlines only departs at 6am so I am on the road when it is still dark to enjoy 2 reasonably quick flights with a lightning connection to arrive into Warsaw before 9am. All goes smoothly and I meet up with CGN Grzegorz at the airport for the quick ride into the city.

Seminar Stop #3 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 44

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Flight #6 & #7 Graz – Vienna – Warsaw

The afternoon is free so we meet up with CGN Ernest, Marta one of the local students is also with us as the team translator. First stop some coffee and then over to the Dojang to spend some time with the 2 local Black Belts helping them to polish some last minute techniques before their testing on Sunday. It is then time to seek out a laundry, one of those things you overlook but with 4 months on the road you need to plan stops as some countries can be hard to get it done easily in. We head to one of the largest shopping centres where there is one and to grab lunch at the same time. Of course this is where we encounter the Laundry Nazi, same day laundry actually means tomorrow after 2pm no exclusions, I think at one point CGN Grzegorz was thinking of a flying side kick over the counter, but the Laundry Nazi gets her way and we plan a more informal class the next day as I will be sans Dobok. The afternoon is free and a chance to do some city exploring with my local guides.

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Palace of Culture and Science

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Warsaw view #1

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Warsaw view #2

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At the freezing top of the tower, deckchairs make sense

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A marker that might be the centre of Europe

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The streets on the way to the Old Town

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Kopi Luwak, it is better than it sounds

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Duck for dinner

The next day there is a grading preparation class for the local IHA members, I teach informally as the Laundry Nazi has still not released my clothing from hostage. In the afternoon we are finally able to negotiate the release of my Dobok and in the evening I am on the mats with the local students for some more training. For dinner I head out with SBN Jaakko and we enjoy a good steak to celebrate our 15th years of Hapkido together. The next day is the official seminar and it is time to hit the mats with some Knife Defence, Bat Defence, Rolling Hands, and Takedowns. SBN Jaakko jumps in for some of the teaching as well and for lunch we get a chance to enjoy a home cooked meal with CGN Grzegorz and his family. The day is a successful one and for dinner we enjoy some meat at a Czech themed restaurant.

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The seminar in action

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Polish Seminar Group

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Czech Restaurant

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There are ribs under that sauce

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Golonka! It is well over 1kg of crispy pork goodness

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72% Alcohol and it isn’t the strongest you can get

Test day in Poland, Marcin picks me up and we find a decent coffee on the way (happy examiner = happy examiner, not easy grading). First up are the coloured belts with a bunch going for Orange through to Blue Belts, then Anna for Red and Marcin for Provisional. Not everyone is totally successful but in all it was a good grading and the local students have improved quite a lot from my next visit. After the coloured Belts it is time for the local seniors to be under pressure with CGN Grzegorz and CGN Ernest testing for 2nd Degree. They do a good job and I am happy to welcome 2 brand new 2nd Degree’s into the IHA Black Belt family, the first Black Belt certifications in Poland.

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Coloured Belt Test Group

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Congratulations new Kyosah Nims

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The Grading panel getting it done!

In the evening SBN Jaakko and I enjoy a nice dinner with newly promoted Marcin (Provisional) and his girlfriend Magdalena at their place. This wraps up another excellent visit to Poland and a night’s sleep before heading to the airport for 2 flights onto Helsinki and the 15th Anniversary Hell Week and Black Belt Testing.

Seminar Stop #4 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 58

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Flight #8 & #9 Warsaw – Copenhagen - Helsinki

The flights into go smoothly and I connect through Copenhagen into Helsinki to meet up with BSBN Kim at the airport for the quick ride into town. I am returning to Hotelli Finn where I have stayed before, comfortable, central and affordable. I grab dinner with BSBN Kim and we catch up on plans for this visit. It is a special one for a number of reasons, firstly the local students are celebrating the 15th anniversary of joining the IHA, it is also the largest group of local Black Belts testing and as normal I have a surprise tucked away for the celebration evening.

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Mini Starbucks – Copenhagen airport

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Welcome to cool Helsinki

Day #1 on the mats with topics including Hapkido Striking, Rolling Strikes, Striking defence, Drills and Block/Strike combinations, the Black Belts also get Destruction blocks and Offensive Motion. Each day also includes 30 minutes of signature time at the end for those completing testing requirements or for those students who want to be tested by the boss. The group testing for promotions includes 4 for 1st Degree, 6 for 2nd Degree, 1 for 3rd Degree and an incredible 6 for 4th Degree. This adds a lot of nervous energy to the floor. In the evening we head out for more training this time at Jarvenpaa Dojang where the focus is weaponry.

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The team testing for 1st through 4th degree

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The view from HMAC, its way hotter inside

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On the mats ready for action!

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Action in Helsinki

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HMAC seminar group

Day #2 on the mats with topics including Choking (standing and ground), Defence against Chokes, Rear Grab defence, Kicking combinations, Black Belt kicking and lots of kicking applications. I get a free night so I grab a meal at one of the current leading restaurants in Helsinki, Olo, where I get to enjoy a incredible 16 or so courses, including an aptly named wine.

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Helsinki at Night

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Dining in Helsinki #1

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Dining in Helsinki #2

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Dining in Helsinki #3

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Dining in Helsinki #4

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Dining in Helsinki #5 – Appropriate wine?

Day #3, and 4 are similar to the beginning with lots of material including: ABC of locking, Lock Flows, Dan Bong, Advanced Dan Bong, Multiple opponent strategies and defence, ground defence, and syllabus review. Phew lots of sweat on the mats in Helsinki. SBN Ron and CGN Lisette from IHA Netherlands are also on the mats with us, CGN Lisette for the week and SBN Ron for the last couple of days. It is good to have some more mixing of Team Europe during this visit. Day 5 also includes a Black Belt Physical challenge, Black Belt Technical Review, open Seminar with a focus on Street applications and a IHA Spirit Test (talk about a Hapkido junkies dream day) with 4 candidates prepared to take the steps to earn their Kwan Nyom 1st Degree.

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The calm before the Spirit Test

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The calm after the Spirit Test

The testing goes very smoothly and we welcome 4 new CGN’s to the Black Belt family: CGN’s Jyrki, Kari, Lauri and Eero. With the testing buzz still in the air it is time to head into the city for the 15th Anniversary celebration dinner. BSBN Kim takes up the role of MC and shows some photos from over the years along with some stories to cover the history of Hapkido and joining the IHA. It is then my chance to say a few words and give out the grading results for those Black Belts who have been testing this week. The 15 years in Finland has gone by incredibly quickly, at least by my perspective and to see the incredible development of quality which was highlighted this visit by all those testing was amazing. I congratulate 6 new 2nd Degrees, KSN’s Antti, Marko, Janne, Elina, Jani and Risto, 1 new 3rd Degree BSBN Hans, and welcome 6 new 4th Degrees SBN’s Kim, Markus, Janne, Daniel, Teemu and Pauli.

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25th Anniversary Celebrations

To wrap up my part of the evening I also get a chance to share my surprise with the local students, Team Finland can celebrate the promotion of it’s first Kwan Nyom Master with KJN Tapio being recognised with that title. Master Tapio is only the 3rd member of the IHA to earn that title and the first in Europe. It is an incredible achievement and an excellent way to cap 15th years of quality Hapkido in Finland. I am also honoured with some gifts from the local students with a book showcasing the history of all the Finnish Black Belts and their testing, a commemorative plaque and a one of a kind handmade axe, made from the Finnish forests.

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Hand Made Finnish Goodness

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Master Tapio!

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Hmm some signs don’t work

Day #6 and the final seminar day, also the first day the new SBN’s get to wear their shiny new Doboks. Today I get each of the new seniors to join the fun and we work through Arresting and the TLC of locking. It has been a good visit to Finland, not only celebrating the 15th anniversary but seeing the progression amongst the students and Black Belts. The future for Kwan Nyom Hapkido looks strong here.

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Sunday Seminar Ready

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Sunday Seminar Group

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Is there a SBN in the house?

SBN Janne grabs me from the hotel and we cruise out the airport where I find a change to flights means I have missed mine, so with some loud ranting, well actually not, it was calm worry (that works far better) and carefully mentioning my frequent flyer status I manage to get some flights with Lufthansa via Frankfurt. The flight arrives a little late but we are told it will make the connection ok.

Seminar Stop #5 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 94

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Flight #10 & #11 Helsinki – Frankfurt - Amsterdam

The changed flights go smoothly and I agree with luggage into Amsterdam. I decide to try Uber here as it has been a success in some of the other cities and head out to meet the driver and his brand new Jaguar XE (Now that’s an Uber! Car)

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Interesting advertising at Schiphol airport

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Hmm it must be cold

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Uber Car please

The drive in is fast and I check in to my castle, I mean hotel for a couple of free nights. I have spun my Expedia points into a rather cheap stay at this hotel so it is a chance to enjoy some luxury along with a Nespresso machine in each room. Of course everything in the mini bar is free with the room, now that is an interesting perk. Of course with a couple of days free I go in search of laundry which actually was rather easy in Amsterdam and then some fine meals, well those don’t go together but after the Laundry Nazi affair in Poland I thought I would get up to date in a more laundry happy city. Oh and there are a bunch of incredible restaurants here too.

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Castle or Hotel

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Amsterdam Dining #1

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Amsterdam Dining #2

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Amsterdam Dining #3

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Amsterdam by Day

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Amsterdam Dining #4

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Amsterdam Dining #5
So a couple of days to catch up on technique videos the trip report and some very nice meals and I am back on the road, this time with the smooth rail system out to Rotterdam. I meet up with KSN Henk and Master Roddy for the cruise to my hotel where I get a strange gift, it seems that somehow last year I overpaid and this year they are giving me a refund… Hmm happy to get it, but why did it take a year. We then meet up with Master Henry and head off for a decent steak lunch/dinner before the evening’s black belt test. Tonight we are grading 2 candidates for 1st degree and I am happy to welcome both to the IHA Black Belt family, good work CGN Michel and CGN Tim.

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Congratulations new Black Belts

The next day we meet up for a meeting about future plans for The Netherlands, it is the 10th anniversary next year. At as normal we have to visit the Water Town restaurant, or loosely called the Never ending Buffet where they charge you by the amount of hours you plan to eat. SBN Ron joins the group with some of his Black Belts and we organise for some regular events over the next 12 months towards what should be a record Black Belt testing at the Dutch 10th Anniversary in 2017. In the evening we hit the mats firstly for an Instructors Course and then for Sun Bae training where I cover Kicking, Advanced Dan Bong and some miscellaneous ideas. I also get a chance to work with the seniors on their 4th Degree material.

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You pay by the amount of hours you eat

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Team Sun Bae

The next morning we hit the road for the 90 minute drive to SBN Ron’s Dojang for the first seminar day. I will have leave out a snide comment about the local food delicacy I had to try at a local bakery. Needless to say that cold, semi cooked worstenbroodjes weren’t a delicacy. However the seminar went very well with a focus on the junior belt curriculum as well as the Angry White Belt and Painful White Belt techniques thrown into the mix. At the end of the seminar I presented the certificates of Degree for those Black Belts who tested last year as well as announcing the promotion of CGN Marcel to IHA Instructor after he recently completed the requirements. Dinner was a nearby Schnitzel house before heading back to my hotel.

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A visit to SBN Ron’s Dojang

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The Seminar group at SBN Ron’s Dojang

The next morning and it is Seminar Day 2, this time at Master Henrie’s Dojang in Hoogvliet. There is a good crowd and the topics include Kick Defence, Knife Defence and some Ground defence ideas. Everyone worked hard including those guests from other Hapkido groups and styles. I also get the chance to recognise 2 more local Black Belts for completing the IHA Instructors Course, congratulations CGN Andre and BSBN Sascha. At the end of the seminar we head to the now traditional Wok restaurant for dinner where I get asked by Master Zingel (one of the Hapkido guests) if I can return to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks to both teach a seminar and be honoured at his special event. It is time to look at some travel magic and see if I can sneak in the extra channel crossings.

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The Hoogvliet Seminar Group

It was a good visit to The Netherlands with the testing and instructor promotions and it bodes well for an excellent 10th anniversary year next year. The local team is also working hard to representing strongly at the ITS in Australia so that is good to see. The morning and I am back on the trains for Amsterdam for an overnight stay before catching my next flight to the UK.

Seminar Stop #6 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 110

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Flight #12 Amsterdam - London

The flight into the UK is a fast one, just over 45 minutes and I spend just as much time clearing the airport where Master Nick meets me for the drive into Purley where I am staying. We grab a coffee and catch up on what is news since ITS Mexico. The next day it is finally time to enjoy a meal at the Fat Duck restaurant, for those turning in late, I have tried for 5 years to get a booking at what is one of the most iconic restaurants there is. This year I managed to get a couple of seats and Dave and I head out for our Dining experience. And it is that, simply an experience, each course has a story, some magic be it lighting, sound, or more. It would be a shame to reveal all the secrets but the food is excellent and the story you follow simply makes it an incredible evening. We not only get to enjoy the 15/16 courses but at the end of dinner we get a kitchen tour and goodie bag to take with us. That is one big check off the List! For serious foodies this is a must do, in my opinion on just the food, Ramsay is still king for London.

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Simply the Fat Duck

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One of the many delicious Fat Duck Courses

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The Fat Duck kitchen where the magic happens

As we head into Easter it is time to get back on the mats with a Easter Saturday class with Master Nick and his students. This time around I focus on Hook Punch defence and make sure everyone earns their bruises. Master Nick’s Dojang is located in the city called Catford and of course the locals have a sign that reflects the name.

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Team Moo Sool Academy

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Catford, UK

After the seminar Master Nick and I head into London for some wandering sightseeing and a very good Brazilian mean at Gaucho in Piccadilly.

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Is the Queen in?

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London by Day

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London by Night

I get to grab a break and catch up with my friend Dave over Easter, a couple of relaxing meals and movies to recharge the batteries in what is a sunny day one day and then cold and raining the next.

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Would you put that plate on a Bentley?

During the week I head over to Wembley to spend some time with Omar and his students where I work on basic coloured belt techniques as they are currently testing through the curriculum. I do have to admit that the Tube makes life so much easier when it comes to getting around London, and the Oyster system just works. During the week I am happy to announce that Master Nick has decided to become an official representative of the IHA and straight away we are on the mats for a couple of days working through the syllabus for his instructor training.

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Sometimes Signage just fails, what is served here?

And then it is time to yet again jump on a plane as I head back to The Netherlands for the weekend Hall of Fame events. I grab a British Airways flight across and one of the local organisers picks me up for the drive to the venue, Hotel De Schildkamp located in the idyllic little town of Asperen. The Hotel contains a large open training space as well as banquet facilities so it is ideal for the entire weekends event. The first night is a meet and greet followed by a day of seminars for the approximately 200 people attending. The floor is broken up into 6 mat areas with different topics/instructors. Each main instructor gets 2 sessions during the day, I choose to do Hook Punch Defence and Hand Attacks to keep it simple. When one of the GM’s doesn’t appear I get tagged to take a 3rd session and throw into some Rolling Hand Techniques into locks. One of the Instructors teaching is a Dutch icon kickboxer Semmy Schilt who is an absolute Giant, have a look at his picture standing with Master Henrie and KSN Henk to get an idea.

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One of my seminar groups

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Semmy Schilt makes KSN Henk look small

In the evening it is time to get dressed up for the Hall of Fame, and the first time that Master’s Roddy and Henrie have worn Bow Ties! At least Team Kwan Nyom look the part and the Men in Black head in for the celebrations. Both Masters were inducted into the Gold Section of the Hall of Fame, congratulations!

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Kwan Nyom Men in Black

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Flight #13 & #14 London - Amsterdam - London

Seminar Stop #7 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 115

Again Master Nick grabs me from the airport and we head firstly back to his Dojang so he can wrap up some more instructors techniques, then onto Neasden for my final seminar this trip in the UK. This time on the mats I cover White Belt done with one motion striking and then with added spice, followed by some Knife Defence. So let us take a closer look at a Hapkido Road Warrior weekend. Fly London – Amsterdam Friday night then have meetings, teach Saturday, Saturday night Hall of Fame, then an early morning drive and flight back to London, straight to a Dojang for some signatures and then onto an afternoon seminar… I had to admit I was feeling the fatigue at the end of that.

It has been a good visit to the UK with the seminars, a new representative, some coloured belt promotions and of course the Fat Duck. Yet another early morning and I am on my way to Heathrow for my Atlantic crossing, a thank you to Master Nick for helping greatly with the Taxi duties. I am also happy to announce that during my visit to the UK we had 2 more excellent pieces of IHA news with the launch of the ETS – European Training Seminar being held in August in Croatia, and the official welcome of our first Representatives in Spain with BSBN Jose who had visited with us at the Mexican ITS and hosted my first seminars this trip. With those great pieces of news I wrap up the 2016 European part of the World Tour and head for United’s friendly skies on my way to the US!

Seminar Stop #8 Complete – Total Mat Hours = 135

Nothing to see here, move on to the USA + Canada + Mexico Report!

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Nathan McDonald
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Nathan McDonald » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:08 pm

Yummy, Ham......

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:27 pm

Updated to Include Austria - 4/3/2016

Regards

GM G

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Dean Evangelista
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Dean Evangelista » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:19 pm

Hi Sir, must have been a hard decision on what to have for breakfast in the bakery considering the large selection, it all looked tasty! Were all the breads and cakes made in-house?

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:32 am

Everything made on the premises and better than it looks, the smell along will make you drool. I actually had a protein shake and coffee at this one, but GM Perry enjoyed the delights for breakfast.

In Europe the breads are meals by themselves.

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:13 pm

Updated to Include Finland - 15/3/2016

Regards

GM G

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:53 pm

Updated to Include The Netherlands - 21/3/2016

Regards

GM G

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:39 am

Updated to Include The UK - 5/4/2016

Regards

GM G

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Sung Duc
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Sung Duc » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:11 pm

How many ways can one have iberico ham? :D

Fat Duck looked awesome. Glad to hear its been crossed of the list now sir!

Philipe French Dip sandwiches. They are some tasty sandwiches.

Quick question sir, do you use AirBnB during your travels?

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Grandmaster G
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2016 - Europe + UK

Postby Grandmaster G » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:57 pm

I have used AirBnB in Helsinki last year, but this year I didn't see anything that stood out where/when I was in places.


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