Tafisa World Congress

Just as in 2022 Master Annick Van Driessche is representing the International Taekwon-Do Federation during the yearly Tafisa World Congress, this time being organised in Germany, Düsseldorf November 1st-5th.

Tafisa is the organisation uniting international and national sports organisations, ngo’s, universities etc. under the motto ‘Sports for All’; ITF is one of the international member organisations.

November 1st one of the most important (for ITF) events took place, the 2nd Meeting with International Federations. It’s an ideal moment for networking, to get in contact with other sports organisations, but it’s also a forum to hear how other organisations deal with issues, to address certain common problems, to hear what new things are available etc.

During the next days there will be more possibilities to get in contact with other organisations, there will be more events like e.g. workshops and plenary sessions, and on November 3rd the Tafisa General Assembly will take place, where ITF is one of the members with voting rights.

Initiation lessons Taekwon-Do for people with psychological vulnerabilities

Report by Master Eddy Van Damme:

On Saturday 09/09/2023, I gave an initiation lesson Taekwon-Do in Sportshall Driebeek in Gentbrugge. It was for about 15 people with Autism during 1,5h. The question came from the Flemish Organization ‘Sterkmakers in Autisme’, who regularly organize sport activities for people with Autism. Because I already did some volunteering work for the ‘Flemish Autism Association’, and they knew about my thesis “Opportunities in Taekwon-Do for people with Autism”, they asked me to give this course.

I explained some history, the oath and the greeting, then we did some warming-up exercises, individual basic movements and pre-pattern-movement exercises. Some easy punches and kicks for a start, and to give them an idea about the movements. Then I performed Yon-Gae tul in a demonstrative way, in order to give them an impression about what a pattern looks like. Then we did some basic sparring exercises on pads, a few easy breaking moves, ending with a cooling down and a small meditation.

I explained them that I am also on the Autism Spectrum, and that I was as nervous as they were, and that was a catalysator to make things easier and to make a better connection. On the other hand, my 33 years of experience in Taekwon-Do reassured them that they were in safe hands. I illustrated the opportunities for balance, proprioception and body awareness with some simple exercises, then I explained the psychological, mental and social chances of this Martial Art with my own perseverance throughout the years. In that way, I could pass through a few of my own life experiences to them by example. Despite the level of performance, these beginners were very enthusiastic and interested by asking many questions afterwards. They quickly felt safe to do that. It was a positive exchange for everybody.

On Thursday 28/09/2023 in the afternoon, I gave more or less the same introduction lesson for a group of 12 internees in a forensic-psychiatric hospital in Zelzate.

There I started to explain that we were not going to fight today, because I wanted to show them the strength of Taekwon-Do on moral level (to win over oneself), instead of the physical level (a lot of people struggle with an aggression problem). So the meaning of self-control in daily life as a central part of their problems, was an issue that was very important to talk about, before we started with about the same initiation program.

The emphasis was put on pleasure in movement, without any physical contact because of safety reasons. Afterwards, everybody seemed to be happy and relaxed, and they came to me to ask some more questions about Martial Arts.

Safe Sport Symposium

October 3-4 the belgian gymnastics federation organized a Safe Sport Symposium together with ICES, in Antwerp, during the World Championships gymnastics.

ICES invited Master Annick Van Driessche to take part.

During 2 days there were very interesting talks, workshops and testimonies. On the first day the topic was safeguarding, while on the second day it was all about mental well-being in sports.

Of course there was also some time for networking.

International Adapted Course in Belgium

The second International Adapted Course (IAC) within Europe, conducted by the chairman of the ITF Inclusion Committee Master Leonardo Oros Duek, in an organization of ITF Brussels and Samjok-O and with full support of ITF-Belgium, started on Friday evening June 9th with a BBQ in Woluwe. The organizers invited all foreign participants (e.g. Master John McIlvaney, chairman of the AETF Inclusion Committee and member of the ITF Inclusion Committee), with special guest GrandMaster Lan Ung Kim and in presence of GrandMaster Frank Vanberghen and Master Annick Van Driessche, to Woluwe for a nice gathering. Many thanks to Master Virginia Dionisi, Gonzalo Escribano and the organizing team ITF Brussels.

The IAC took place in Ottignies, June 10th-11th, with participants from Belgium, GD Luxemburg, Scotland, Spain and Romania. On the first day both GrandMaster Lan Ung Kim and GrandMaster Frank Vanberghen where present to support the event. Three Masters participated at the course: Master Annick Van Driessche (president ITF-Belgium and ITF Board Member), Master Virginia Dionisi (vice-president AETF) and Master Eddy Van Damme. Both Master Leo Oros Duek and Master John McIlvaney conducted sessions, practical with games and exercises, but also moments where the participants could experience what it is to have a disability and/or how to conduct classes to members with a disability, and theoretical sessions. Items such as ADHD, autism, hyperactivity, Down syndrome, teaching to members that are blind or deaf or to members in a wheelchair etc. where covered.

The sessions were very interactive and participants could also share some of their stories.

The first day ended with a guided tour around Louvain-La-Neuve and a banquet.

Also the members of the iTF-Belgium Inclusion Committee attended the seminar, so we’re looking forward to their plans in the (near) future.