IAOMAS Conference 2014 Pre-Conference Report

Working Title: Making Sure the Gathering Down Under is Up There

Description: International Alliance of Martial Arts Schools pulled off tremendously successful martial art conference in Western Australia on Sept 13 2014 - and these are the pre-confernece events we ran in order to do so.

IAOMAS had a fantastic year in the lead up to the National Australian conference held September 13th 2014 in Perth, Western Australia. The organising committee in their aim to pull off a tremendously successful conference and to ensure word of the event would spread, planned to coordinate a series of mini-events all the way up to the conference date.

This extremely ambitious plan started off right in the heart of IAOMAS - squeezing almost 16 people into IAOMAS Coordinator Colin Wee's garage-dojang. This by invite only event in April of 2014 was coordinated so that new member but-fast-becoming-an-IAOMAS-stalwart Sensei Phil McCormack could bring his students up to Colin's place to mix it up. IAOMAS in the previous year had travelled down to Dunsborough (that's three hours south by car) for a cross training session focusing on the fundamentals of hard style training. Continuing from that first training session, this event focused on advanced (read 'painful') kicks and applications.

Taekwondo and Karate mixing it up in a very intimate setting: Joong Do Kwan and Saseryu get together at The Garage.

Sensei Phil McCormack would of course again lead many of his flock back up to Perth to support the conference later in the year, so it was a good opportunity for him to catch up with IAOMAS Treasurer Dragan Malesic, and another of our Conference Instructors Sensei Nigel Farrier.

In May of 2014, Colin and Dragan attended a Health and Wellness seminar to look at material Dragan would present as one of our Conference Presenter. The conference itself would have a mix of five instructional workshops, two presentations during lunch, a sword demo, and displays. For Dragan's session, he wanted to focus on nutritional supplementation and health programs that might benefit high level athletes and martial artists.

2 Conference organisers Colin Wee and Dragan Malesic previewing material for conference presentation.

In June, it was an honour for Colin to facilitate the presentation of Official Karate Magazine's Golden Shuto Award to Shihan Dan Djurdjevic, well known martial art blogger and long time IAOMAS member. Nominated for outstanding scholarship for an online resource, Dan is well known to martial artists the world over for authoring his extensive blog The Way of Least Resistance.

Long time member and Conference Instructor Dan Djurdjevic received Official Karate Magazine's Golden Shuto Award presented by Colin

Dan has had a rough year battling a host of health issues, but as always generous and supportive, he was happy to agree to be a Conference Instructor and led an interesting session focusing on fundamental movements found in Karate and internal martial arts. The pictures above were taken at his dojo before one of his regular Internal Chinese Martial Arts classes.

At the end of June 2014, Colin made a special pilgrimage all the way to IAOMAS Founder Stuart Anslow's dojang at Raynerslane Taekwondo. Colin participated in Stuart's entire class, and share some elbow strike applications from Taekwondo pattern Yul-gok in tandem with Stuart's approach.

You can say there's a certain hand-holding that occurs in IAOMAS! Colin playing around at IAOMAS Founder Stuart Anslow's dojang at Raynerslane in the UK. 

Just so you know, in spite of their longstanding friendship from the very start of IAOMAS, Colin and Stuart don't normally hold hands. What you see from that black and white photo is a parody of historic photo between Gen Choi Hong Hi and North Korea's Kim Jung Il.

While Colin didn't make the trip only to get grilled by Stuart, this is the very essence of what IAOMAS is all about. Such an opportunity to cross train or network would never have been possible without the vision that was put forth by Stuart as Founder of IAOMAS.

In August, Colin and his sole black belt student Niaal Holder (who did a great job as Conference Food and Beverage Manager) took the spirit of IAOMAS and conference promo messages down to Senior Master Peter Wong's Taekwondo Kidokwan located in Riverton, Perth.

Colin shares the passion and pain at Kidokwan Perth

Master Wong runs a respectable, sizeable and family-oriented Taekwondo dojang, and is passionate about Traditional Taekwondo. He has previously mentioned interest in Stuart's Chang Hon Taekwondo Hae Sul book, is welcoming to other practitioners, and is one of the most open-minded high dan Taekwondo black belts we have met. At the Kidokwan dojang, Colin shared the same material on gap closing elbow applications from Yul-gok as he did at Stuart's dojang in the UK.

One last event to mention before we start on the conference - and that is the pre-conference social at Colin's house! This was to cater to instructors and out-of-town guests. That a very different mix of people finally showed is of no concern when there's good food, good company, and where we can freely loop martial arts video clips without being criticised for being a martial arts geek.

The Pre-conference Party for out-of-state visitors. Not having any present didn't dampen our mood.

On grill is conference instructor Ashley Johnson, who would eventually bring the conference to a close with an incredible sword demo, Dragan can be seen posing with an anonymous sponsor and everyone who attended sitting around getting to know each other. On the menu is a mix of hors d'oeuvres, satay sticks and prawns wrapped in prosciutto.

This article was written to highlight pre-conference events leading up to the IAOMAS Conference in Perth held on September 13th 2014, but make no mistake ... these aren't just marketing plugs for the sake of selling some tickets. These smaller events are an important part of the IAOMAS network, and the relationships we build are important to us.

If you can understand the value of the IAOMAS network, and seek to create the same opportunities for yourself and your students, perhaps you might like to think about participating as an IAOMAS member school? With that one little step maybe one day you might be able to take a picture of yourself holding hands with Stuart Anslow!

Related Links

Note: This article was originally published in Totally Taekwondo Issue 71

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