How often do we get the chance to train under someone with 48 years Martial Arts experience, someone who trained in Taekwon-Do since day one in Ireland, a TRUE pioneer of the Art. Last night students of North Dublins Elite Taekwon-Do Academy had the opportunity to learn from the man responsible for introducing Taekwon-Do to Cork and Kerry in the early 1970s Mr Aidan Walsh 6th Dan.
Mr Walsh focused the class on practical Taekwon-Do applications and self-defence and took us back to a time before tournaments, before “safety” equipment, before juniors. Students were impressed not just with Mr Walsh’ excellent technical ability and physical condition at 64 but with his relaxed teaching style and fascinating details of training in the early days.We learnt how a group of Shotokan Karate students became the first Taekwon-Do students in Ireland, of training only for self-defence, of 4 two hour sessions per week.
An impressive part of the class was Mr Walsh’ applications of various elbow strikes which were both practical and devastating. Perhaps controversially Mr Walsh believes that patterns aren’t practical in self-defence training but rather develop attributes that contribute to a martial artists make-up such as timing, concentration, balance, and agility.
Time was spent on some often overlooked aspects of training such as basic stepping, body shifting, and low line kicking. Nobody was left in any doubt as to the importance of these “basics”. Its interesting to me to note that the more experienced the instructor the more time they spend working on basics. As Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha taught “without basics there is nothing.”