a training session with Master Alex Edwin taekwondo 4th Dan
'Hi. My name's Alex. And it's my privilege to to train with you here in Sydney'.
In front of us stands an athlete radiating health from every pore. His presence is calm, gentle and relaxed. Yet Master Alex Edwin is immensely strong and self-assured. He has a lovely smile.
And he has our attention.
'I don't know you. So let me know if I get things wrong.' Fair enough.
'And let me know if I get them right'. Fair enough.
'And the thing I really want from you all is Spirit. That means passionate key-ups and 100% effort.' Absolutely fair enough!
We love training under different taekwondo masters. We always learn something new. Something to add to our knowledge. And another way of doing things.
Today proves to be no exception.
Master Alex Edwin is a Winston Churchill Fellow 2009
In 2009 Master Alex Edwin is a winner of the Winston Churchill Fellow award. The winners get an international, educational trip. And when they get home from their travels they share the information gained with their local community. And in this way lots of people benefit.
So in July 2009 Master Alex and his brother Cliff Edwin (3rd Dan taekwondo) set out on their international tour. Their first stop is South Korea.
They train in taekwondo with Grand Master Lee (Ky Hyun, Lee) 9th Dan, tkd and hapkido with Master Park Kil-Jun and Kumdo (swordsmanship) with Grand Master Oh (8th Dan).
The next leg of their tour is Australia. And that's how we get to meet them. You can follow Master Alex and Cliff's tour blog here.
the message is simple...take time to learn good technique
First Master Alex focuses on basic kicking technique. He asks us to kick slowly. Paying attention to every little detail. He gives us clear and precise demos of exactly what he wants.
We start with just the knee action then progress to the whole kick. And we test our strength by holding each technique out for several seconds.
Master Alex's message was clear.
'If you can do slow kicks well it shows you have good technique. And good basics and good technique are the building blocks of your taekwondo'
He suggests that when you are holding a kick out you keep all the tension in your foot. And relax your leg muscles. We find it hard to do this at first but once we get the idea we find this tip it really helps.
Master Alex Edwin emphasizes the importance of side kick. He says that in Korea a good side kick is very highly thought of. Korean taekwondo masters feel that if you take the time and trouble to nail a good side kick it suggests you must work hard on your taekwondo. And it's likely that your other techniques are also good.
We love Master Alex's line for your foot position in side kick.
'big toe up little toes down!'
self defense is about looking after yourself not high kicks
'Kicks are strongest below the waist.'
Master Alex Edwin is very clear on this. He explains that self defense is not about head kicks. That to the attackers legs are faster, stronger and more effective than high kicks. And that if you aim for the thigh, there's a nerve in every main muscle mass. So you're sure to hit one!
We do some great drills working on moving to the side out of the way of an attack. Master Alex makes it clear that movement is the first basic of any self-defense program. And he explains how all great fighters show great foot work.
Master Alex also places great emphasis on being out of the way of the attack. He discusses ways to walk away from an aggressor. He explains that if you don't try to walk away then you've lost. Even if you win any resulting physical contest.
Our training finishes with partner blocking with our feet interlocked. It is great fun and good for building soft, relaxed blocking techniques.
At the end of the session we are all smiling. Great training. And great new friends.
Master Alex Edwin's club is New Wave taekwondo academy in London.