It’s gold for New Zealand again at the World Hapkido Championships

From the Whitby Newsbrief – September 2017

Dominic and Yasmin Chan of Whitby have recently returned from the World Hapkido Festival and Championships in Korea, where they joined over 1000 other competitors.

The 1Oth Busan Mayor’s Cup World Hapkido Festival and Championships was held in Yangsan, just north of Busan Metropolis. A total of 55 Dojangs (schools) from 12 countries attended and the tournament was hosted by the Mayor of Busan, Byoung-Soo Suh, and was presided over by Grandmaster In-Sun Seo, head of the World Kido Federation and the Hanminjkok Hapkido Association – the largest Hapkido organisation in Korea where the martial art was founded.
Many of the competitors were school students. Nearly all South Korean school children study martial arts as a result of their decades long truce with North Korea, but only those who are likely to become full-time or part-time instructors generally carry on as an adult.

In the adult divisions, there were roughly equal proportions of international competitors and local Koreans with representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Panama, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the USA. The largest international contingent was from Spain who sent 28 delegates to the tournament.
The New Zealand delegation of eight people included three competitors – Yasmin Chan and her older brother Dominic Chan along with sole adult competitor Sean Harvey – two NZ instructors David Ollivier and NZ Federation bead Master Callum Forbes, plus family supporters. Both the Whitby teenagers participated in the self-defence demonstrations performed by the NZ delegation at the opening ceremony. Master Forbes was one of the international judges for many events which was an exhausting task given the number of competitors. David Ollivier served as a second for the NZ competitors given Master Forbes’ judging commitments.

The events on the first day of the tournament were the Nakbub (falling), Balchagi (high kicks), Mooki (weapons forms) and Danchae Yeonmu (team forms). The second day of competition saw the Hyung (unarmed forms), Hosinsul (self-defence) and Daeryun (sparring) events.

Dominic and Yasmin both competed in the weapons forms event on the first day of competition and the unarmed forms, self-defence and sparring events on the second day, both in the middle school divisions.

In the girl’s middleweight sparring competition, Yasmin’s nerves saw her concede two points in the early seconds of her first bout. However, she came back and dominated the second half of her fight eventually losing narrowly on points.

Dominic had better luck. Competing in the boy’s middle school heavyweight sparring competition, his Korean opponents appeared to be intimidated by his confident and relaxed demeanour and his opponents in the semi-final and final had to take standing eight counts from kicks he landed to the ribs or head.

In the end, he ended up winning the final on points, becoming NZ’s first youth Gold medallist at the World Champs. Upper Hutt’s Sean Harvey also performed well in the weapons and unarmed forms events but missed out on a top three finish in either event. Overall, the NZ ream did very well to gain one gold medal from just three representatives especially considering the size of other teams.

While the NZ team were in Korea, the Upper Hutt Hapkido Academy signed a sister school agreement with Master Choi from Changwon who serves as a local police martial arts instructor. Master Choi gave a demonstration of his martial arts mastery when breaking three sets of four wooden boards with his hands within the space of a couple of seconds. It is hoped that Master Choi may be able to attend next year’s 2nd Oceania Hapkido Championships, when Dominic will defend his title as the inaugural Oceania Cup champion.

Dominic and Yasmin appreciated the assistance provided by the Whitby Co-Op Kitchen and Bar and other supporters including Nonsuch Consulting whose combined support enabled them to obtain protective equipment and new formal black doboks (Korean uniforms) for the championships.