Can We Come Out and Play?
on MAY. / 21 / 2012 | 0 comments
Master Erica Linthorst
Dateline: February, 2012, NY
They arrived tired AND excited – typical kids on a long journey away from home. With big bags and bigger appetites, they were ready to meet another set of “homestay” families. Having already visited Washington, DC and Philadelphia traveling throughout the East coast they looked spent. The group numbering over 20 lingered in the dojang too tired and feeling somewhat out of place. Almost all had cell phones – the ubiquitous link to the rest of the world.
Grandmaster An, Director of the KTiger Team, looks on patiently while things get organized.
They are reminded by their leaders and elders about homestay responsibilities and respect and finally assignments are made.
Families begin to arrive to pick up the children (7-14 years old) who will be their adopted offspring for the next several days.
The author with her 5 “children”.
With a warm send-off by GrandMaster Byung Min Kim (White Plains) everyone is ready to go home, settle in, and enjoy a meal together!
Who are these extraordinary visitors? They are members of none other than the world-renowned Junior KTiger Demonstration Team from Korea. They are on the last leg of this journey and will perform at GrandMaster Kim’s 8th Annual Invitational Tournament and at 2 other venues in New York. They are uncommon youth having traveled often and most recently to Malaysia. It’s been a long winter school break (actually the school year ends mid-January). It is clear that they operate as an extended family and are close in many supportive ways. There’s not a peep about homesickness – actually, during their off-duty times, they are relaxed, happy, and excited to be exploring the world around them.
Cookies and milk: the universal snack!
They all know when it is time to get down to business – training is an inevitable part of their routines. It may seem fun to some; to others it is hard work!
Most of the homestay families feel that in the “down” time it would be nice to show these young people around – so for some of them, it is off to NYC to explore.
Here’s one group on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after an extensive visit with Master de la Cruz. (Master Linthorst took the photo.)
They had a lot of fun posing inside the museum as well!
No visit to New York would be complete without a good Italian meal = essential carb-loading for performances ahead!
Fun time morphed into demo practice and finally, show time. It is remarkable to think that these young people are highly skilled TaeKwonDo technicians as well as performing artists. Play time over: time to put on their professional best at the tournament and 2 other presentations the same day, the Junior KTiger Team comes out hard and relentless for over one hour.
It was broken into segments that included poomsae , other training forms, and kyuckpa. Then, there were the skits - the visual storytelling and overall outstanding performance. – each with a gripping, dramatic theme evident to all spectators.
Photos by Polly Wright
These youth do not represent the future of TaeKwondo; they represent the here and now in the very best professional fashion. The group provides energy, enthusiam, and commitment to demonstrate the highest techniques in an entertainment arena. It’s been a truly inspirational 5-days!