Global Hapkido Championships in Michigan, USA
Last month I attended the Global Hapkido Championships in Kalamazoo Michigan.
5 action packed days in my first trip to the United States.
Here's a quick recap of the trip.
Day 0 - Travel
What can I say, 4 Airports, 24hrs in flights, 2.5hrs driving on the wrong side of the road (well, for me - I'd never driving on the opposite side of the road), 1 minor scary whoops moment on the road and we finally arrived 12,000+ klms later at the Korean Martial Arts Hapkido School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.
Day 1 - Chicago
So some of the locals must have thought we were nuts because we decided to drive the 3hrs from Kalamazoo to Chicago for 3-4 hrs just to check it out and drive back again. So off we went through 2 other states.
It's funny driving around Chicago to see how many landmarks, buildings and streets that I recognised from years of movies and television shows set in the Windy City.
The famous Cloud Gate (a.k.a. The Bean).
Driving past White Sox Stadium
Day 3 - Seminars with the Grandmasters
Day 3 saw us relocate from Battlecreek to Kalamazoo, nice hotel room at the Radisson Kalamazoo where the majority of international guests were staying for the event.
6 hours of Seminars and finally Referee catchup before the big event.
One huge night out... but that is another story...
Senior Grandmaster Lee introducing the Seminars.
Instructors and Black Belts getting worked up.
Senior Grandmaster Choi teaching me a lesson in pain, very up close.
Day 3 & 4 - Global Hapkido Championships & Black Tie Dinner
It was an amazing couple of days, for me the most interesting part was being an International Hapkido Referee.
I was lucky enough to Referee or Judge at the Long Jump, Individual & Team demonstration events, and on the Sunday being a Referee for the Sparring Competitions.
Check out the images here on our Facebook Page.
Day 5 - A class at Global Hapkido Association HQ.
Our final day in the USA was a quick day, checking out of the hotel, off to Battle Creek to teach a class with Master Angus at the Dojang.
Then we drove to the Airport and started the 30hr trip back home to Australia.
I honestly felt blessed to be able to attend the event and get to see some old friends, make some new friends and interestingly meet people I had only known online for some time.
As per usual on a trip like this, I was truly exhausted on my return - but humbled by the amazing people I met, trained with, judged and had a meal with. A thank you must go to everyone whom I now call friend.