PUMA Squad 5 July [Review]
By Mr Jon Bradburn (2nd Degree, Basingstoke TKD)
Before we had to endure the COVID lock-down, I had never attended a PUMA squad training session. There were many reasons (excuses…) for this absence, but the main ones were the travelling and time away from the family on precious days off over the weekend – which I’m sure is the same situation for many people.
Since lock-down started though, I have become a seasoned veteran – attending all of the Squad sessions to-date via the Zoom platform. I feel proud and honoured to have witnessed, and been part of the metamorphosis from the very first session back at the beginning of May where both the coaches & students were all feeling our way through this new method of training, up to this latest session – which is what this review is actually about!
The Technical session started promptly at 10:00 with the participants being separated into groups of similar grades using the ‘break-out’ room facility in Zoom. I was lucky enough to be added to the ‘2nd Degree and up’ group taken by Mr Swain. The focus of this session was everybody’s favourite 2nd Degree pattern ‘Juche’. (For those of you who don’t know ‘Juche’, to put this into context the patterns contains multiple slow motion & jumping kicks, plus you need some space the size of a football pitch to complete it – so doing it in a confined space means much shuffling about! To see how it’s supposed to be done, watch Mrs Swain smash it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igRNUYgRmg4). We stepped through the pattern with the guidance and expert knowledge of Mr Swain, and then we were let loose on it ourselves with Mr Swain providing tips and feedback through-out.
As always, time was against us and on the conclusion of the Technical session, we came back together into a single group for the Sparring session – which this time was run by Mr Swain. We covered lots of techniques, such as making sure you have a fast chamber for your side kick, how and why to use a (strong) front leg side kick instead a turning kick, before moving onto some technical sparring drills. I really enjoy this type of sparring sessions, as it allows me to feel my way into the techniques, building in speed and confidence as I go – knowing I am not going to get bashed about whilst I am trying them!
After a very physical Sparring session, we were in luck that Mr Lammin decided to take it easy on us with the fitness session…! I think the words ‘get a towel & a drink, as you’re going to need them’ set the scene for what was to come! The session consisted of 5 x 3-minute rounds of shadow sparring, with a minute active recovery in-between. If that wasn’t hard enough, on Mr Lamin’s command we had to do a selection of exercises, such as press-ups, burpees, etc. and then carry on with the sparring. To be honest, it was as awesome as it was exhausting!
We then had time to catch our breath, and have a good stretch whilst all of the Coaches shared their advice for how to continue training in these challenging times, and how the International competitors can make sure they keep their edge so they don’t have a mountain to climb when they can complete again.
We in PUMA are extremely fortunate to have such experienced and knowledgeable Coaches who are willing to give up their precious time to help us to improve our Taekwon-Do, and ultimately ourselves. I would recommend to any PUMA member that they should grab this training opportunity with both hands!
I am looking forward to being able to get into a Dojang to train with everyone face-to-face, but until then I will continue to be an online participant.
A huge thank you from me to all of the Coaches.
There will be a few weeks break until the next week session as online PUMA Summer Camp will be taking place in 3 weeks time. Summer camp will be a great opportunity to train with a number of PUMA’s senior grades with 8 training seminars spread over the weekend of 25th/26th of July and we would highly recommend that you sign up! All 4 of PUMA’s squad coaches will be taking seminars as well as the Masters so don’t miss out. Please speak to your instructor for more information and registration forms.