The Greenquist Assocaition was once again given the opportunity and privilege of accompanying Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun on a training trip to South Korea. The trip was orchestrated by Chang Moo Kwan Jr. Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun, and captained by Grandmaster Eric Greenquist, with Grandmaster Eugene Marquart also participating. Alliance founder Master Linda Catalano, as well as Alliance instructor Devon Waldron and assistant instructor Paige McDaniel, and Alliance alumni Charles Smith and Kyle Sanford, all had the honor of being selected for the overseas training team.
The trip was nine straight days of training, and each day had the same basic format: get up at 4AM, be out in the parking lot of the hotel, ready to train, by 4:45AM. Train for two and a half hours. Eat breakfast. Go across the city of Seoul, and train Hapkido with Grandmaster Sang Ki Lee. No lunch. Go somewhere else and do something like dance, sword, massage, hike up a mountain, or visit a temple. Eat an amazing dinner. Take notes/practice back at the hotel. Go to sleep. Repeat.
The diet was constructed specifically by Great Grandmaster Yun to fuel the training. Breakfast was the same every morning.
Lots of eggs for high protein, a serving of meat for amino acids, a starch to increase carbs, and juice to drink for sugars and additional vitamins. Lunch was skipped, but energy bars were consumed between training destinations. Each dinner was intended to provide enough resources to replenish the resources that were used during the day, and give the team a taste of traditional Korean cuisine at the same time. There were some fantastic dinners, including Kalbi, Chun Chung Dak Kalbi, and Sam Gyup Sal.
At times, the team was divided into two groups – those who had never been part of a previous Korea training trip, and those who had prior experience in Korea with Great Grandmaster Yun. The latter group would frequently separate from the former so the
experienced crew could do something they hadn’t done on a previous trip. The first-timers’ group would go climb a mountain; the experienced group would go climb a different mountain. The first-timers’ group would go to one part of a museum, while the experienced group would check out a different part of the museum. The first-timers’ group would go to a temple; the experienced group would go hang out at a high security perimeter fortress on the border of North Korea, where trees had bullet holes.
Aside from training, some highlights of the trip included meeting the president of the Kukkiwon, Won Sik Kang.
President Won Sik Kang has been a master for over 40 years and was personally appointed as president of the Song Moo Kwan by the Song Moo Kwan founder, Byung Jick Ro, and was elected in 2010 to the office of Kukkiwon president unanimously. Additionally, the team was received by the president of the Chang Moo Kwan, Dr. Joong Young Kim, in his personal office where Grandmaster Greenquist’s training brother, Grandmaster Eugene Marquart, was appointed as the head of the Chang Moo Kwan Union in North America. Each member of the team received commemorative pins and a book of poomsae (forms) from Dr. Joong Young Kim.
In the tradition of the Hwarang, the training branched out from the purely martial into other areas such as modern Korean sports dance, and eastern/western fusion massage technique provided by the Seoul Sports Graduate School, of which Dr. Joong Young Kim is president.
There were testings. The entire team tested in Hapkido, so there were a number of testings to get through, including two fourth dan tests and two sixth dan tests; Grandmaster Greenquist tested for his 6th Dan in Hapkido, and Master Catalano tested for her 4th Dan. Near the end of the trip, the team had the privilege of being in attendance as Grandmasters Greenquist and Marquart underwent the exam for 8th degree grandmaster, under the scrutiny of two Chang Moo Kwan 9th degree grandmasters, who told Grandmaster Greenquist after the test that his patterns were “beautiful.”
The final day of the trip was relaxed and fun, the new group getting to summit Dok Ba Wi, a mountain overlooking Seoul, while the experienced group got to slice bundles of rice straw with a traditional Korean sword (jingum) worth $4K.
The trip home was shorter than the trip over, and went by in a flash. In less than twenty-four hours, the team went from waking up in a hotel in Seoul, to meeting friends and family at the airport on the other side of the world.