Report of High School Training Trip to Korea

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Dear President Asano,

Greetings to you from Minnesota. I am pleased to forward this report to you regarding the successful USJF HS Special Training held in Korea last July 12-21, 2013. I sincerely appreciate the USJF funding this training which was our 9th year of attendance. There were 7 students and 1 coach in attendance this time. Two letters from USJF members are attached regarding their experience, as well as some pictures from the trip.

This program helps a lot of young Judo students--in the past, Colton Brown was an attendee and this year he won the bronze medal in the 2013 Grand Prix; L.A. Smith was an attendee twice and he is going to Junior World Championships in October to represent the US in Slovenia; Matt Dong was an attendee and he's in National top 5 in 60k; and Nicholas Irabli was an attendee and he attended the World Cadet Championship this year in Miami. This USJF project helps support the importance of our special training in Korea. It is a great motivator and helps with overall training for these young people who attend. So looking forward to the future and continued involvement and appreciation by the USJF for this program.

I want to give a special thank you to the parents for their support. The students enthusiasm and conduct are a credit to the students and to their parents.

 

Sincerest Regards,

Joon K. Chi, Chairman of Referee Development and Certification Committee of USJF

 

Dear Sensei Chi,

I apologize for the extreme delay in sending this letter.

I want to thank you for your endless patience, support, guidance, and generosity which you provided us during our stay at Kyungmin High school. I would also like to extend my most profound thanks to the other senseis and officials that were gracious enough to extend their benevolence and charity: Sensei Kim, Sensei Moon, and all the others whose names I regrettably cannot recall. Their efforts and sacrifices are greatly appreciated and did not go unnoticed.

The key element of what made this trip so enjoyable for me was how different the culture was, especially the food. Contrary to how some of my teammates may have felt toward the cuisine we were offered, I thoroughly enjoyed the Korean fare, particularly the duck dishes. The interesting methods of preparing the entrées and exciting new flavors experienced have inspired me to attempt to prepare some examples of my own at home.

I greatly enjoyed talking with the Korean students and their considerably different conversational models, sense of humor, and boundless enthusiasm. The opportunity to interact with such a similar yet distinct culture proved to be a truly rewarding experience. I feel that I have formed lasting friendships with a few of these people. However, I must now learn to read and speak a bit more Korean to be able to understand what they are saying as my Facebook news-feed is now flooded with all their statuses and things that I can’t read.

My absolute favorite parts of the trip would have to be when we visited Gyeonbukgan Palace and the National Folk Museum of Korea. I like to believe in the self-imposed illusion that I am a history savant. History is one of my favorite fields of academic study and I devote more time to it than my other studies. I highly valued and cherished the opportunity to visit a key historical site and study the records of a people that I previously had minimal knowledge of.

The Judo training was top-notch and I definitely left Kyungmin with significantly more knowledge and skill than I had entered with. The Korean judo team was incredibly gracious while wiping the mat with me and very helpful when teaching me how to be less terrible at what I was doing. I enjoyed the greater physical challenges and how the training pushed my skill and conditioning up to and well past my limit. The resistance band that the school sent home with me will doubtlessly prove to become a valuable tool to supplement my judo training. I will also be sharing the techniques and exercises with my Sensei and our Judo club.

This trip was an incredible opportunity and it was an honor to be able to take part in this wonderful experience that I will not soon forget. I would also like to let you know that I will be writing a report for school on my experiences during this trip in Korea. If you would like to use this composition, please let me know and I will forward you a copy once it is completed. If there is a specific deadline for your use of this information, please notify me.
Thank you again Sensei Chi.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Raynovic

Hiatt, Daniel
My trip to Korea
Hello, my name is Daniel Hiatt, and I am one of the student judokas that went on the training trip to Korea with Sensei Joon Chi. It was awesome, right from the beginning!
On the first day all seven of us Americans students gathered together and we got to know each other a lot. Kevin Sensei, Jonathan, Jared, Jackson, Rachael, Tessa, and Cameron...we all became great friends on the first day we met.
We went sightseeing on the second day. We saw a lot of Korean culture and ate a lot of food. I wish we could have seen more. We did many fun things that day, but above all I could not forget the moment when Jackson started up Psy’s “Gangnam-style” song and Chi-sensei started to dance to it. All of us laughed so hard. Pretty much, for the first day, all of us broke the ice and got acquainted.
A typical training schedule for a day at Kyungmin High School:
· Morning practice at 6:00 - In this practice we would run several miles. This included interval training, stair runs, and carrying people on our backs.
· Afternoon practice at 3:00 - consisting of a mix of uchi-komi, tachi-waza randori, and ne-waza randori.
· Evening practice at 8:00 - specifically focused on aerobic training. We would pull a thick surgical rubber tube many times, in sets, with three breaks in between. Each set would focus on a different pulling technique. We would be very tired by the end.
Each practice would last a little over 2 hours.
When we first experienced the morning practice, Jared, Jonathan, Jackson and I all thought we were going to die. We were gasping for air, while all the other Koreans were easily warming up for the next round. This was only a little after the beginning of the practice!
After we (barely) got through this class, we had breakfast, went into our rooms, and just laid there. We could not move since we were so sore! When we were in the locker rooms, we had time to get to know the other Korean Judoka. The high school team was very friendly. They were constantly interested in what we did in America. We would keep our breaks filled with movies, arm wrestling tournaments, and playing poker, so it wasn’t always spent in agony.
After we ate lunch, the afternoon practice came. We were still sore, but we were pumped and ready for class. We began with warm-ups, which consisted of calisthenics and ukemi. When we got to the uchi-komi, I was surprised at how many fit-ins the Koreans did. This was many more than what we did at my home dojo – typically around 30 minutes or so. When tachi-waza randori came up, the US team bowed in with the Koreans, and we began.
To make a long story short: WE GOT OUR BUTTS HANDED TO US ON A PLATTER. Any partner I would go with would be in front of me one moment, then under me the next. I would be on the floor in two seconds flat. But the good thing was that I would learn a little bit more each time I was slammed on the mat. I learned a lot by the end of the week.
After the tachi-waza randori, we moved on to the ground work, ne-waza randori. Jonathan, Jared, and I would cheer after we got a guy smaller than us onto the ground with a pin. But the next moment would see us being overpowered on to the mat by a guy that was the same small size as the prior one.
Like the tachi-waza session, we learned a lot with our backs being on the ground. The afternoon practice taught us to be very humble when working with people from other countries.
After we ate dinner, the evening practice would begin. We were really sore after the first two practices, and we were figuratively crawling to this practice. Practice consisted of pulling a rubber tube about 2 millimeters thick many times for about 2 hours. All of the Koreans would pull this band like it was nothing, but the US team suffered through it, gasping and gulping down water. By the end of this practice, the guys on the US team felt like their arms were about to fall off. We could not feel our bodies afterwards. But even though we were bruised and sore, it felt good. We wanted our American team to keep on going….and that’s exactly what we did throughout the week.
Throughout the week, we tried hard and got through the exercises. We got our butts kicked a LOT. We were taught to be humble when it came to technique. It was hard, really hard. But in the end, we felt like we accomplished something. Korea taught me that there are many different types of judoka out there in the world. There are some types that want to compete and win; and some types that only do it just because they are told to. I honestly did not know what kind of judoka I was when I first landed in Korea. But after I experienced the training, I kind of had a glimpse of what kind I was.
When I was in Korea, the training taught me that, whatever I do now with judo, it will influence the rest of my judo career. Right now, all I have to worry about is becoming the best judoka I can possibly be. I am still a brown belt, and I still have a lot to learn. Being a black belt means you are just an experienced white belt, and you have just begun the learning process. So in order to advance to the next level, I have to make sure right now that I have access to the best training I can get my hands on. The trip to Korea showed me that there is still much to learn.
So, all in all, my future in judo is still a work in progress, and I feel I will never stop developing and learning.

 

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