Martial Arts Gallery: Peter Everett on Camp

August 4, 1994

Dear Fellow TKDists:

I thought I would share my experience of the 1994 WTKDA camp with those of you who could not attend, and anyone else who is interested. For my own personal TKD development, I think this was the best camp yet. I still have the feeling of steady improvement to keep me encouraged. It was also the biggest camp yet, with about 150 attendees.

Summer camp always gives the whole Association an annual boost in spirit, particularly this one. The illness that forced Mr. Son to reduce his schedule earlier in the summer had me and many other people concerned, and not knowing what to expect. Therefore it was not only a pleasure but a relief to see Mr. Son at 5:45 A.M. on Thursday, almost fully recovered, and ready to lead us in Camp #4. This year, there was a small opening ceremony for the camp. With the U.S. and Korean flags hung from the cafeteria building, we sung the American and Korean anthems, led by Bill Pierson.

The practice schedule was the same as ever. Grueling. Mr. Son's apologized for having speech that was a little weak, but it really wasn't a problem. Few people would have noticed it if he hadn't said anything. Nevertheless, he made a few changes to make the camp less demanding on him while he continues to recover. When he led class, he wore a headband with a microphone & FM trasmitter (like a lot of singers do lately) and had an amplifier setup. He also had various fifth dans lead basics and forms for some of the classes. They also wore the microphone, which I have to say made following the class much easier for the people in the back row. The microphone is light & robust enough to wear while doing forms. I think it would be a good thing to use next year.

By now you have probably already heard of the promotions of Jerry Orenstein, Rico DosAngos, and Ralph Rubino to the rank of Master. It was done in a ceremony in the auditorium on Thursday night. It came as a complete surprise, not only to the audience, but to Jerry, Rico and Ralph. Dr. Jack Emmel read each certificate, which had on it the dates of all the black belt tests of the recipient. Each certificate was presented to a standing ovation. Mr. Son said a few words about his decision to certify American Masters. He said that some Korean Masters objected in principle to American Masters. Mr. Son said that he has been in America for 32 years, he has been a citizen for a long time, his students are now Americans, so "Why not American Masters?" He gave the impression not only of the appropriateness of certifying American Masters, but of its inevitability. He also conveyed the message that a good way to not get promoted was to ask about being promoted.

Mr. Son asked each of the new Masters to say a few words to the gathering. Both Jerry and Rico were overcome with emotion while speaking. (I think there were a few choked-up people in the audience too.) Jerry & Ralph pointed out that there are lots of "Masters" out there, and that what matters is from whom the honor is granted. From Mr. Son is where the rank gets its significance.

The Master certificates also list the seven qualities of a WTKDA Master, they are: Integrity, Humility, Honesty, Compassion, Perseverance, Loyalty and Dedication.

The weather for the Camp was hot and humid. All early morning classes were held in the gym, and only one other class was moved inside due to rain. As usual, the floor of the gym got very slick from sweat (mostly from the Swanson brothers).

With Mr. Son's permission, I tied my board holder to a tree and left four plastic, re-breakable boards for people to practice breaking. The plastic boards are nasty, and my concern for people hurting themselves proved justified when Howard Lam raised an enormous goose-egg on his elbow, after I and others warned against using hands & arms on plastic boards. Many people did get to practice breaking on them, so I might still bring the setup next year.

The southwesterners observered the Saturday night barbecue party tradition of wearing Giant-Baggy-Loudly-Colored-Pants, joined by Tom Douglas who also wore a flourescent green hat that said "TOM". I hope the camp tradition of Saturday night party clothes continues and gets even wilder. Pete Michaelson led a toast of Mr. Son and a round of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." Mr. Son stood and thanked us, and again apologized for not being in full voice. Pete shouted, "I doesn't matter Mr. Son!" It was the only time I saw the Grandmaster choke back tears.

There was the usual group photo in the camp t-shirt on Saturday, plus an additional group photo of the 30 people who were at their fourth camp.

Of course there was a lot of socializing and renewing of relationships among the campgoers. As each person's experience of this was unique, there is not that much to say of general interest on the topic. TKD networking was raised to a new level with the large-scale exchange of e-mail addresses. Steve Heller said that he will inititiate a process whereby every TKDist with e-mail will get the address of every other TKDist with e-mail.

'Till next year...

Yours in Mutual Friendship,
Peter C. Everett

P.S. feel free to forward this to other WTKDA people who are interested.

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