Elliott Callahan's WTF fighting chance report
Elliott Callahan's WTF fighting chance report
G.B Taekwondo Boot Camp 2016
On Saturday the 17th December at 7.00am my parents dropped me off at the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester to begin a 4 day boot camp as part of the Fighting Chance program. After a brief introduction to the coach, Gareth Brown, the 33 athletes from different martial arts were thrown straight into a 2 hour intense technical session. This session contained many intense kicking drills combining close quarters kicks with speed and accuracy. Some athletes dropped out due to injuries. A prehab session followed, in which we were taught how to prepare our bodies for training using a series of warm up exercises, which would be useful for the tough sessions to come. In the afternoon we were taken trough to the state of the art gym facility, where we were lead through a 1hour 30 min strength and condition session consisting of testing circuit training exercises. The session comprised of press ups, squats, leg control and kicks. Towards the end of the session, we also had to perform a core strength work out. At the end of the session the group walked to the hotel for a well-earned rest until the evening meal at 7:30.
On Sunday after a goodnights sleep, the athletes met for breakfast at 8:30. Next, we took the short walk back to the training centre for the weigh in; I stepped onto the scales and weighed in at 49kg (my natural weight). The first session of the day was a 2 hour tactical conditioning session starting at 10:00. In this session, we were paired up and put into situations in which we had to pressure the opponent and not allow them to escape from the corner of the ring. We also had to practice counter attacking and defending against kicks. This session tested both our mental and physical conditioning. This session had left every one hungry, so we headed to the kitchen for some lunch. After lunch, we were given our opponents for some WTF test matches. I was matched up against two heavier and taller opponents. I won the first match against a 60kg TAGB fighter, but unfortunately lost the second spar. There were plenty of athletes hobbling about and nursing injuries after their challenging spars. The coaches who watched the spars congratulated everyone for their hard work, and then it was back to the hotel for the evening.
On the Monday it was an early start as the first technical session commenced at 7:30. After 2 hours of hard kicking and leg strength exercises it was time for our nutrition session. We learnt how to make smoothies, waffles and oats which were useful for quick energy snacks before training. We indulged in these homemade snacks for our lunch prior to the afternoon’s strength and conditioning session. The session was mainly stretching based; to relax our bodies for the hard upcoming session and test matches on Tuesday. This session helped to ease our aching muscles for the final day of training.
The first session on the Tuesday proved to be the hardest of them all. The group was first worn out with pad work and combinations of kicks. Then we were put against a wall in groups of 5, in which we had to defend ourselves against an onslaught of kicks from our group members. After several rounds of tiring defensive and evasive work and kicking we finally had to spar against opponents in different situations. We had to try and comeback from a losing position and also maintain a lead. This session was certainly the toughest one yet. The next session was a 40 minute psychology session in which we were educated about how the different part of the human brain worked and its natural instincts. This session allowed us to understand how our mind was working during a spar. The final session of the boot camp was the remaining test matches. Once again, I was matched up against two heavier and taller opponents. I was not able to win my spars but I was pleased with how I performed and with the points that I scored.
The boot camp was a great experience which was very challenging but enjoyable at the same time. It was interesting to see the differences between WTF Taekwondo and ITF Taekwon-Do, and also the other martial arts, which included kickboxing and Tang Soo Do. The majority of the 33 athletes already trained and competed in WTF Taekwondo. It was a fantastic learning curve which I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of.
I would like to thank my instructors, Mr Bonfield and Master Horan for their encouragement and support in all of my training.