PUMA Attendees: Mr Abbott (not pictured), Ms Chipperfield (not pictured), Mr Swain, Mrs Swain, Mr. Doogan, Mr White, Miss Scott, Mr Cacia
Saturday 19th January, myself and some other P.U.M.A. students attended a Special Technique and Breaking seminar. Breaking is not my speciality, in fact it’s one of my weakest areas, and even scares me a little! However, knowing that it’s my area for development I decided to put my name down for the seminar. Besides, being a black belt means imperviousness to darkness and fear (for me that includes breaking and special technique).
The seminar was hosted by Master Lear in Tonbridge, and taught by Mr Brendan Doogan from New Zealand. He’s won many medals across all four disciplines including a gold for individual power at the World Championships in Benidorm, Spain 2013; he is now part of the New Zealand coaching staff as well as still competing. He told us a little about his history as a competitor and throughout the seminar showed us various methods to generate power for each technique currently in the ITF competition rules. He has clearly studied the theory of power and explained about the explosive power needed and the importance of keeping the whole body working, not just your dominant side. The warm-up consisted of a range of techniques finishing off with jumping squats, flying press ups, flying V-sits and flying hyper extensions – we didn’t think they were a thing either, until Mr Doogan demonstrated them!
He spoke about the rules and the importance of using the correct tool, which in a tournament can determine whether you are awarded or not the points for a break. He spoke about the importance of being mentally prepared and explained his training schedule in the lead up to an event, including the years of conditioning required. Breaking boards was only a small part of his regime, and he would protect himself in training by, for example, using his shin pad around his knife hand, for the strike or putting towels in front of the boards.
Some more wisdom he shared was that some parts of the break in the board are weaker than others, and it is vitally important to understand and play by the “rules of the dojang you’re in” – so, knowing what instructors/examiners/referees will accept as good technique.
When it came to teaching special technique, I was pleased he explained the different types of landings and how to support and prevent injury. I thought this was most beneficial as from my experience it’s where I see most injuries occur out of all the competition events. He spoke about the techniques that successful competitors use and how he’s seen veterans change the technique to make it achievable for some of them.
He provided lots of advice for gaining height for special techniques and it was great fun practising and landing on crash mats! When it came to our time to break boards (after lots of practice on pads) he insisted that we all wore protection. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and feel more confident to practise breaking and special technique too. It was an honour to go and train not only with Mr Doogan, but also my P.U.M.A. family. It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and as always, make new ones.
Mrs Jenny Swain, 4th Dan, P.U.M.A.Bournemouth, England