Report from Summer Camp in Greece
By Mr. John Moffitt.
A group of INTA members from IFSC and Rush taekwon-do club recently attended the annual taekwon-do summer camp in Olympos, Greece which was hosted by Master Vasilis Alexandris 8th degree.
We flew into Thessaloniki in the northern Greece region of Macedonia and arrived Monday evening at the Olympos camp site on the beautiful Aegean coast on the edge of Mount Olympos where reputedly the Ancient Greek Gods resided.
Training commenced Tuesday morning at 7.45am (which is 5.45am Irish time) so there were a few sleepy heads but all our members arrived on time and fortunately Master Alexandris started with a light class of fundamental techniques to warm us up for the gruelling week ahead.
As well as Ireland there were participants from Australia, England, Cyprus, Italy, Bulgaria, Holland, France, Albania, Belgium, Netherlands and of course Greece.
Training was outdoors twice a day at 7.45am and 7.45 pm and usually lasted an hour and a half or more. We had most of the day to recover, eat, swim , sit on the beach or sightseeing including an excursion to the beautiful waterfalls on Mount Olympos.
The food at the camp was fabulous and meal times provided ample opportunity to meet new friends and chat.
And on one occasion Master Alexandris regaled me with stories of past competitions including the renowned Crystal Palace competition where he competed alongside our own Master O’Toole.
The training covered all aspects of taekwon-do. Master Alexandris' passion and knowledge of taekwon-do shone through in every class and he demonstrated every technique himself perfectly.
The camp concluded on Sunday morning with an instructor’s class and in the evening a patterns and team sparring competition to celebrate Master Alexandris' teaching taekwon-do for 40 years where three of our black belts participated and did us proud. The standard of the competition was very high with a lot of tough and experienced black belts from various countries taking part.
There was a high technical standard in patterns and the sparring was very intense which made for exciting viewing for the spectators.
There were many Masters present for the celebration including Master Kosmiglou, World Champion in 1984 and who was a member of the historic 1980 ITF demonstration team that first went to North Korea.
After the tournament Sunday night there was an amazing fireworks display and party on the beach to continue the celebrations with beer and souvlaki provided by the hosts.
On departure Master Alexandris asked us to send on his greetings to Master O’Toole, Master Martin and Master Douglas.
On behalf of those of us who went I would like to thank Master Alexandris and Mike Mouratidis (5th degree) for their hospitality, kindness and the organising of an excellent camp. We are looking forward to returning again next year.