Wellington Regional Summer Camp, El Rancho

Aashif Sacha, 9th Gup, Legacy.


To help others to develop and succeed in life is a reward itself and only has value when nothing is expected in return”. These words were spoken by General Choi and were embodied at the 2018 Wellington Regional Summer Camp at El Rancho, Waikanae. We were treated to first class training from Wellington’s amazing Black belts, who selflessly gave their time and energy to us over the weekend.

The drive to camp was stunning yet rushed, after a slightly late start leaving home. The sun was shining, promising  a glorious weekend ahead. My two boys and I were excited and a little nervous, not knowing what to expect as we made our way up the coast. We had no idea what we were in store for… my thighs were still complaining a week later.

When we reached El Rancho, we hurried over and were greeted by Mr Jake Pearson, who signed off our names before instructing us to get ready for our first session. Before we knew it, we were lined up in our rows in front of our senior, Master Graham Patterson, waiting for our first instruction. We played a range of introductory games and broke off in groups by rank for different activities. There was belt fitness, defence against sticks, extinguishing candles, rolling on mats and tile breaking. Each group had an opportunity to take part in these activities over two days as well as participating in camp activities such as kayaking, escape chapel, go-karting, water slide and rock climbing.

We ended the first day with a traditional War game based on the 3 Kingdoms of Ancient Korea. Many great sparring matches took place and with no surprise, the black belts came out victorious.

All the activities required teamwork, participation and communication. What really struck me that first day was the conduct and character of all the participants. There were many different clubs from around the Wellington region with a range of rankings, and yet, everyone was respectful and welcoming to one another.

Expert instruction from Master Patterson


The next morning was a 7:30am start. Our instruction was “bring a towel, wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet, and wear running shoes”. Mr Pearson led us to a calm river just outside El Rancho, for a morning run through a track. During our run we stopped and did some exercises which woke up our sleepy muscles. Then we returned back to the lake and the real fun began. All hot and sweaty, we plunged into the river and did pushups and situps in the water. Legacy came out on top with the most amount of reps per group.

Refreshed and exhausted, we headed back to camp for breakfast, before gearing up in our doboks for our final training session. Too soon, it was time to farewell everyone and head back into town. Although the camp was just a day and a half, we managed to pack in a whole host of experiences, including challenging our bodies, minds and spirits, and meeting some great people. Thank you to all those who contributed to making this a great event. A special thank you for all our seniors who took time out to teach us and stretch us to our limits. It was great meeting people from other clubs, benefiting from all the expertise present at the campsite, and training hard.


Photo credits: Natasha Larsen and Nick Lourantos