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Feature Article


Coming From Australia To Train With
Grand Master Benko

by
Master Michael Wallace


I and three of my school instructors travelled from Australia to the International Tae Kwon Do Association World Training Headquarters located in Lapeer, Michigan, USA, in order to train with and test directly under ITA president and founder, Grand Master James S. Benko. I registered myself as head instructor along with my school and students with the ITA, thus establishing the Southern Cross TaeKwon-Do school in Sydney, NSW, Australia as representative members of the ITA.

ITA Vice-President, Grand Master John McDowell, Master Joan McDowell, and Master David McDowell were on vacation in Australia and while there visited my Southern Cross TaeKwon-Do School. They trained with my students and instructors and passed on advanced training and teaching techniques. The impact of this visit prompted me and my instructional staff to later travel to the ITA World Training Headquarters, to receive advanced training, and test.

Upon our arrival at ITA headquarters, we received two days of training preparing us for our test. Conducting the training was Grand Master John McDowell with the assistance of several other ITA Masters and black belts. None of us had ever personally met Grand Master Benko until the day of the test. This was done in part so that we would not be so nervous. We were able to ask questions about techniques and polish our patterns in preparation for the big day.

Grand Master Benko conducted the test which lasted several hours and everyone passed. After the test we were able to personally meet Grand Master Benko. He commented on our performances and extended his personal congratulations to all of us. Later that evening Grand Master Benko took everyone out to dinner and got to know each of us on a more personal basis.

The next two days consisted of advanced training with Grand Master Benko along with ITA Masters and black belts. It was a great learning experience and an honor to be taught by this Tae Kwon Do legend. He explained each pattern in great detail and how we teach the original Chang-Hun patterns as opposed to others who have changed movements in the patterns for finacial gain or for political reasons. "They have lost their Way", he said.

He was extremly patient as he corrected any errors in our movements or technques. He exposed us to concepts relating to body movement, footwork, and how to control an aggressor with little effort on our part. We asked questions about Tae Kwon Do history, origins, and its future. This exchange of knowledge and information was both refreshing and illuminating.

We retuned to Australia looking forward to the time we will again be able to travel to the United States to train with Grand Master Benko at ITA World Training Headquarters.

Front row - left to right - Master Ron Jovanovitz, Master Joan McDowell, Master Susan Whitman, Grandmaster Benko (suit), Master Michael Wallace, Grand Master John McDowell (suit), Bradley Ellison, Peter Hannigan, Master David McDowell.
Back row - left to right - Master Greg McDowell, Jordan Peter, Justin Culibao, Master Joseph McDowell, Jerry Neale, Lawrence Bebout, Ryan Ball.


From left to right - Peter Hannigan, Bradley Ellison, Grand Master John McDowell, Grandmaster Benko, Master Michael Wallace, Justin Culibao.

 

Master Wallace applying control technique to Master David McDowell

 
Bradley Ellison looks on as Peter Hannigan and Justin Culibao work on their patterns.

From left to right - Bradley Ellison, Peter Hannigan, ITA President and Founder Grandmaster James S. Benko, Master Michael Wallace, Justin Culibao.



 

Justin Culibao and Peter Hannigan performing a pattern during their promotional examination.

 
Peter Hannigan, Justin Culibao and Bradley Ellison preparing to demonstrate a pattern during their promotional examination.


 

Master Wallace applying a kwan jyel sul technique to Lawrence Bebout.

 
Bradley Ellison applies an immobilization technique against Lawrence Bebout.

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