2016 Korean Martial Art Festival. What a weekend!
On Thursday, April 21, I woke up at 3:00 a.m., two hours after I’d gotten home and gone to bed after working security for a Luke Bryan concert, to catch my early morning flight to Crestview, Florida. Three flights later, I was there, and it was more than worth it.
I was one of the instructors at the 10th Annual Korean Martial Art Festival, hosted by CM Thomas Gordon. This year, the Korean Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame, and event founded by GM Rudy Timmerman, was also being held at the same place and weekend. I was honored to be asked to be the Master of Ceremonies for this prestigious event.
Arriving Thursday night allowed me time to visit with both CM Thomas Gordon and GM Rudy Timmerman at dinner, as well as see some old friends and meet some new friends too.
2016 Korean Martial Art Festival Day 1 (Friday)
Friday evening the KMAF began. The first day’s events were held at Gordon Martial Arts, and we had the place packed. GM Romines started the event with his session that included ways to teach kicking easier, and some tips on throwing techniques. After this opening session, GM Kevin Janisse and Master Calvin Longton had concurrent sessions, followed by two concurrent sessions by GM Troy Trudeau and Master Bradley Lord. The worst thing about the weekend was when you had to choose which session to attend. I attended the sessions by Masters Longton and Lord because I enjoy volunteering to assist them demonstrate the techniques they teach. Both sessions were a lot of fun and there will be video posted from them too.
Groups went different directions for Friday dinner. I had the pleasure of dining with a small group that included GM Hwang and his daughter Jade. I really enjoyed visiting with them and others into the evening.
2016 Korean Martial Art Festival Day 2 (Saturday)
Saturday started early and included sessions by GM K.S. Hwang and his daughter Jade Munroe (Hwang) on the Sine Wave and other aspects of Taekwondo; Dr. He Young Kimm on breathing techniques and other aspects of studying martial arts; GM Ken MacKenzie teaching blocks, kicks, strikes, locks and throws (different combinations of these); GM Rudy Timmerman on breaking on other aspects of martial arts from his over 60 years of studying, training and teaching; GM Jimm McMurry on knife and belt techniques; and the final presenter of the day, GM Geoff Booth who worked on various defenses for the hook punch and bar room brawl overhand right. (GM Booth is another who I always enjoy jumping up and volunteering to help out.)
All of these sessions were fun, especially when training with friends like Calvin Longton, John Ellis and others. When we aren’t teaching, we enjoy getting out there and learning from others.
During the day, martial art photographer, Stace Sanchez, was set up to take pictures. It was good seeing and working with him again. I must also give a shout out and a big thank you to Corey Ninneman, who helped me with the photo shoot. (And he had the hard part, so I am very grateful. Cory is a great guy and martial artist who trains with GM Booth regularly.)
Check out Stace at KickPics!
2016 Korean Martial Art Masters Hall of Fame
We had a short break to get back to our rooms, clean up, and come back for the evening banquet. This year the banquet was special, as it included the Korean Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame ceremony. The KMAM Hall of Fame was founded by GM Rudy Timmerman, and this year he was joined by last year’s host GM Ken MacKenzie, and this year’s host CM Thomas Gordon, along with special ambassadors to pull the event together. (And of course, the three that GM Booth affectionately calls the Charlies Angels: Barbara, Mary and Amanda. They really were unsung heroes of the night.)
This was a bigger deal for me personally, because as the Master of Ceremonies, I had to help keep things going smoothly. This role was an honor for me, and one that fits my speaking skill set. I greatly appreciated the compliments I received, but my main goal was to insure those martial artists being inducted to the Hall of Fame were honored appropriately.
This is a unique Hall of Fame as none of the inductees paid a dime to be there, and you had to be present to receive the honor. (With only a few exceptions.) It was quite an honor to be on the stage with these distinguished martial artists. I especially enjoyed seeing Dr. Kimm again this weekend, because I hadn’t seen him in around 13 years or so. I finally have the third book of his, Philosophy of Masters, that I’ve wanted to join the others of his on my bookshelf.
2016 Hall of Fame inductees honored on stage were:
GM Kimm He Young – Living Legend Award
KJN Harold “Hawk” Hawkins – Trailblazer Award
Ms. Dana Hee – Competitor Award
KJN Chris Dufour – Competitor Award
KJN Wesley Wing – Competitor Award
Mr. Stace Sanchez – Contributor Award
The HOF awards banquet also included a feature demonstration by CM Marlin Sims.
The event went well and was a lot of fun. It gave people an opportunity to dress up and honor some outstanding martial artists for their accomplishments and contributions to the arts while sharing a meal, a drink, and a lot of stories and laughter.
While some took the party elsewhere after we closed down Warrior Hall at 10:30, I personally chose to retire to get a little work done and prepare for my morning session on Sunday.
2016 Korean Martial Art Festival Day 3 (Sunday)
Sunday morning started off with a session by GM Inwan Kim where he taught a number of takedowns and discussed various aspects of training. This was followed by my session concurrent with GM Steve Kincade’s session. (Remember what I said about not liking having to miss sessions, this was one of those times.)
I taught some principles, illustrated with a couple of techniques, and then some joint lock flow drills. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we ran out of locks to flow to. But that is common too. No one ever has enough time during this event. There is just so much great information and instruction packed into the time allowed.
A bad thing about living in Montana is the limited flights in and out. A good thing is because of the limited flights, I come early and leave late so I don’t miss anything. This allowed me some extra time with GM Hwang, Jade Munroe, GM Booth, CM Gordon, and GM McKenzie. You can’t really put a price on this. While I love the training time on the mats during the Korean Martial Art Festival weekend, the private times with people like these to learn, share stories and just be with outstanding people, is worth more than you can put a price tag on.
This continued Monday morning, and then I had to take my flights home to Montana.
2016 Korean Martial Art Festival Camaraderie
Camaraderie is the word of the weekend. While this account of the 2016 Korean Martial Art Festival is my personal account of the weekend, I will bet that just about everyone who was there is sharing a similar story. They might not be writing it out on a blog, but they are telling their friends and discussing the weekend with those martial artists they know that missed out.
My instructors are in Korea and I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. So, I’m glad I’ve found the KMAF and have been welcomed in by such an outstanding group of martial artists. I am sincerely thankful to be part of this group, and look forward to seeing everyone again.
A last special Thank You to CM Thomas Gordon for his hosting of this event and his friendship.
Click here to learn more about the 2016 Korean Martial Art Festival and this annual event: KMAF