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TAEKWONDO, a Korean martial art which is characterised by punching and kicking techniques with emphasis on jumping kicks, spinning kicks, high kicks as well vigorous movements, needs a physical environment to optimise the training session.

Master Gunasegaran Manivelloo, who leads the state taekwando team, said he was relieved to have his students back to training at the Penang State Sports Council (MSNPP).

“The students are pretty much excited and I can see them being more energetic ever since they returned to Dewan Silat for training. They had to undergo virtual training prior to the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

“I am happy to conduct ‘face to face’ training sessions for my students which are more effective and crucial to keep their momentum going.

“Since they are on the ground now, their fitness level has improved and I am also able to spend longer time with them in training,” said Gunasegaran during an interview recently.

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Master Guna 

The training is conducted during weekdays and it is divided into two sessions; one is strengthening and coordinating and the other is technique and tactical.

The strength and conditioning sessions are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday whereas the other three days (Monday,Wednesday and Friday)are meant for technique and tactical sessions.

“During virtual lessons, I only did fundamental training sessions to maintain their level of fitness, endurance and motivation. I could not do much with the technical and tactical aspect of taekwando.

“In combat sports like taekwando, the athletes need partners to train unlike some sports where training can take place individually. When there is a partner, it challenges them and therefore the competency increases.

“Practising alone during virtual classes also leads to boredom and it would lower the student’s enthusiasm to learn. Mental strength is also equally important for martial arts,” said Gunasegaran.

For competition, Gunasegaran explained that two disciplines are involved, namely ‘Kyorugi’ which is known as sparring and ‘Poomsae’, which is a set sequence of movements

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The taekwondo athletes practising their skills and techniques 

“I am coaching a total of 16 students including junior development athletes under two main disciplines, ‘Kyorugi ‘ and ‘Poomsae ‘ which are the categories for competition.

“Now, during the physical classes, I am able to rectify their mistakes individually. During the virtual learning I had limited time, thus I was not able to give ‘individual attention’,” added Gunasegaran.

Gunasegaran, who is a black belt instructor (7th DAN ), has been serving as a Sukma coach at the MSNPP since 2000.

“My best achievement as a coach was in the 2004 Sukma in Negri Sembilan where our team achieved our target of two gold, two sliver and two bronze medals.

“As a coach I am definitely proud to say that throughout these years some of the athletes whom I have coached had participated in prestigious tournaments such as the SEA Games, World Championships and Asean Games,” said Gunasegaran.

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Increasing stamina and agility 

Gunasegaran, who also holds a degree in Sports Science, hopes that taekwando would be seen as a sport that helps to heighten one’s physical and mental powers.

“Many parents have the concept that combat sports like taekwando is a rough sport which would end up in getting physical injuries.

“That is not the case when an individual learns taekwando. It is always to their advantage because it will inculcate in them a high level of self-discipline as well as keep them fit,” said Gunasegaran.

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Source: Buletin Mutiara