2017 AAU Taekwondo National Team Training Camp
The weekend of January 12-16 (MLK Weekend) provided the AAU Taekwondo Program with its annual ‘Parade of Stars’ also known as the Annual National Team Training Camp. And once again, this fantastic event was hosted in Coppell, TX at NTA Taekwondo - home of National Coach Sang Cha.
National Coaching staff were all in attendance and included Masters Greg Tubb (National Head Coach), Sang Cha, Arlene Limas, Luciano Medina and newly appointed national coach, Master Dennis Kim. Joining this outstanding group were Regional Coaches, Masters John Noyes and Gianni Giambi and recently appointed Masters Thac Nguyen and Nigel Chai Chong. ”I cannot say enough of this coaching staff, ” says Master Friello, National Sport Chair, ”They are without a doubt the very best this country has to offer.”
Fifty (50) National Team Members made the trek from throughout the country to Dallas to participate in this event, including the entire Cadet Team, all but two Junior Team Members as well as five Pre-Cadets and seven Senior Team Members. Pre-Cadet and Senior Teams are not funded by the Program and their members participate fully at their own expense.
The weekend training began on Friday early evening and continued non-stop throughout late Sunday afternoon. An annual feature of this gathering also included a Team Dinner on Saturday night for 111 attendees - including parents and individual coaches of the attending Team Members.
Friday’s session began with introductions of the staff and a general outline of the camp schedule, then we jumped right in with warm-ups, paddle and speed drills. Saturday’s training started at 9:00 AM and ran through 4:00 PM consisting of several one hour rotations. National coaches partnered with a regional coach covering different concepts in each group - topics included:
- Different distances need a different technique and different approach.
- Working in and out of the clinch with the new pushing rule taken into account.
- Disguising the front leg with tempo changes, angles and footwork.
One of the biggest highlights for all who attended, was when we received a surprise visit from the 2016 US Olympic Bronze Medalist, Ms. Jackie Galloway. Jackie was most gracious in sharing her time and story reminding all that it was just three (3) years ago when she, herself sat on the mats exactly where these Team Members were now, preparing for an International Team Trip to Germany as a member of that year’s National AAU Taekwondo Team! What a treat!
At 4:00 PM all athletes were given a well-deserved break to return to their rooms and get themselves ready for the evening’s dinner party and what a party it was. One hundred and eleven athletes, coaches, parents and supporters gathered at Ferrari’s Restaurant in Coppell and were treated to a sumptuous dinner courtesy of AAU Taekwondo. The evening wrapped up around 10:00 PM when the athletes returned to our headquarters hotels to rest up for the final day.
Sunday’s training again began at 9:00 AM with warm-ups. The team then divided up into small groups to participate in twenty (20) minute sessions with each national coach, partnered with a regional coach. They discussed stress, expectations surrounding the international trip and approaches to that ever so important "first fight," followed by almost four (4) straight hours of non-stop sparring. Approximately fifty (50) non-team member Taekwondo players from throughout the Dallas area took full advantage of the invite to come in and take a crack at facing off against our National team members. Sunday’s sparring was some of the best witnessed by all in years!
The National Teams will most likely be traveling to Acapulco, Mexico in April to participate in the PATU Open Championship. “After more than a decade of competing at various ETU Open Championships (German, Dutch and Spanish) we felt it was necessary to bring the Teams closer to home supporting our PATU friends,” says Master Friello. It is important for us to develop much closer ties with those NGB’s within our home UNION.
We look forward to spending more time and supporting PATU under Master Choi.