Across The Ditch

A report on Australian Taekwon-Do

Welcome, by all means welcome, to the Fifth issue of “Across the ditch”. Every edition of TKD Talk will feature this article, highlighting the Australian Taekwon-Do scene and its people.

                                       Exciting news for 2020!!

Ok so as the year draws to a close, ANTAA (The allied association for ITF in Australia) has secured a seminar with one of the greats. Who I hear you ask? GrandMaster Willem Jacob Bos, that’s who!! YES!! Master El-Sheik has been tirelessly organising communications with the man himself, and dates have been confirmed for 4 locations across Australia.

2020 Down Under Tour Dates;

11 July Sydney NSW
12 July Sunshine Coast QLD
16 July Melbourne VIC
18 July Perth WA

19 July Perth WA

Bookings open January 2020

We are, of course, so excited to have a GrandMaster of GM Bos’ capability and experience coming to our shores! Our brothers and sisters in New Zealand are invited to come along and train with one of the greats! Online registration will be live in January, so start planning your trip now!

         Practitioner profile

Each issue we will do a profile on an Australian Taekwon-Do Practitioner. For this article, I have chosen Master Peter Barbour VIII Dan, and President of ANTAA. I have known Master Barbour for over 12 years now, and he is the gentleman personified. Master Barbour has the most level headed approach to interaction within Taekwon-Do that I have ever come across, and it is an absolute honour to share a position on the executive board for ANTAA with him.

Greetings Master Barbour, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for this excellent publication!

1: What was your motivation to begin in the martial arts?

I was drawn to martial arts at the age of 15 because of it’s philosophy. Growing up in a small country town in Victoria during the 70’s was a violent time for me, violence at home, at school and in football – for a timid young boy this was just too much. However, Taekwon-Do was a place of non-violence, a sanctuary for me. Then at the age of 16 my dad passed away when he was only 56, after that Taekwon-Do became my surrogate parent.

2: Who were your idols in the martial arts at that time?

My idols were Bruce Lee and David Carradine from the TV show ‘Kung Fu”. This was because of their dynamic abilities and they first sought resolution without violence.

3: What is your favourite memory to do with your time in Taekwon-Do?

My favourite Taekwon-Do memory is meeting with my wife Julie. We used to train together and it took me 6 months to build up the courage to ask her out. We have a partnership in Taekwon-Do and a partnership in life, we have been married for the past 17 years.

4: What is your favourite technique?

Spot jumping back kick is my favourite technique – it’s great because I can create so much power within a short distance.  I learnt this technique from my association with Master Hee Il Cho. I graded with him in Los Angeles for my 3rd Dan in 1988.

Gerard: Wow!! Hee Il Cho was one of my heroes growing up in TKD!!!

5: What is your favourite element of Taekwon-Do? E.g. sparring, patterns etc?

Patterns are my favourite part of Taekwon-Do. This is where the essence of Taekwon-Do resides and it’s where I go to develop my power. It is also my first choice when I want to relax and meditate. Didn’t you know that you can meditate through movement?

Gerard: Indeed sir! Something I teach at my classes as well!

6: What are your goals in regards to Taekwon-Do, now that you have achieved the rank of Master?

Taekwon-Do is a large part of who I am, I owe a lot to this martial art which has given me my wife, a diverse life and direction for the past four decades. It is important to give back to the art and my main goal is to continue training and teaching for as long as I can. I enjoy the physicality of Taekwon-Do and also the interaction with people. My second objective is to adopt the lessons learnt from our ITFNZ brothers and sisters, that is unity, tolerance and working together on common goals – a great model for the rest of the world.

7: If you could train with any martial artist, alive or deceased, who would it be?

In the past I have been taught by Genera Choi, GM Tran, GM Trajenberg and also the Technical Committee of GM Marano, GM Bos, GM Lan and Master McPhail. It has been and would be a privilege to train with any of these great masters again.

8: When did you begin training in Taekwon-Do and how has it changed since?

I began training in 1976 prior to the implementation of sine wave. It wasn’t until 1993 when I was reintroduced to the ITF that I had to bring sine wave into everything. During an IIC seminar in 1993 with General Choi in Sydney he began the first session by saying ‘Forget everything you have ever learned, this is your first day of training.’ It’s like learning Taekwon-Do twice, General Choi was correct and once I embraced the concept then I become more efficient and powerful.

Thank you so much for your valuable time sir! It is such a pleasure to deal with you, you are a gentleman and a scholar!

Well, that’s it for another riveting issue of Across the ditch! Stay tuned for the next exciting episode, you never know who will feature next!!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, sending all my New Zealand brothers and sisters love and positive energy!

Gerard Kelly VI Dan