It has been more than a year since I last posted some photographs, and that has been mainly due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. First Tae Kwon Do training has been interrupted due to the public health situation, but we are starting to see something of a return to normality.
At the beginning of 2020, little was out of the ordinary. Although we were aware of the threat of COVID-19, it was still a remote issue; something that China and other countries were actively dealing with, but not yet at our shores. First Tae Kwon Do summer training continued much as it had in previous years.
Master Low and Chief Instructor O’Brien visited in February 2020 to teach, and then again the following month for a grading examination. Promotions in First Tae Kwon Do are not just in technical rank (as reflected in belts), but also through instructor ranks. In the third picture below, a 1st Dan Assistant Instructor was appointed as an Instructor by Master Low.
Subsequently, COVID-19 restrictions were announced, and all formal training stopped for several months. In August 2020, First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia held its first major event since March, with instructors, black belt members, and senior coloured belt members coming together for a few hours of training.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Master Low and Chief Instructor O’Brien were unable to travel to Western Australia from headquarters in Adelaide, but training picked up in pace. In November 2020, Master Low announced the promotion of Western Australian Chief Instructor Dane Meade to the rank of 5th Dan black belt, as shown in the third picture below. This was the very first 5th Dan promotion in First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia.
In December 2020, First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia saw its first black belt promotions since the beginning of the year, including several instructors advancing from 1st Dan to 2nd Dan rank.
In early 2021, training was in full swing, and the first grading examination of the year saw First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia’s first 3rd Dan promotion in many years. In the second picture below, the then candidate is about to execute a knife-hand strike through a stack of eight roof tiles.
Training continued through autumn and winter. First Tae Kwon Do South Australia was significantly affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, but First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia fared somewhat better. In June 2021, Master Low promoted Chief Instructor O’Brien to the rank of 6th Dan black belt in Adelaide. This was the very first 6th Dan promotion in First Tae Kwon Do.
Last week, instructors, black belt members, and senior coloured belt members trained together, with selected members preparing for their black belt grading examinations to be held later this year.
Despite the disruptions of the past 18 months, First Tae Kwon Do Western Australia’s members have largely picked up their training well, and particular recognition is due to those members who have persevered and gone on to pass their black belt grading examinations.