My name is George Gabrielides and I’m an International Taekwon-Do Federation-certified instructor and examiner. I’m also the head sabum at Jung Tong International Taekwon-Do. This is the story of my dojang.
In 2001, I decided it was time to associate myself with the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). The founder of Rhee Taekwon-Do, Master Rhee, did not approve. I had to make an unavoidable choice. I gave my students the opportunity to stay with the Rhee Taekwon-Do organisation I was leaving or follow me in my vision to continue training under General Choi’s teachings. The name ‘Jun Tong’ was selected by the senior Black Belts after a few minutes of negotiations. The idea came from the insistence that our dojo is pursuing the traditional form of Taekwon-Do. Back then, the Granville Dojo was our only venue and we still train there to this day. It was a challenge to shift from our original training techniques to the traditional ITF proficiencies. The patterns and sparring felt similar, however, ITF is nuanced and more technical; it’s also incredibly dynamic in the way it demands continuous progress in both learning and teaching, from White Belt to Master.
In 2002, we founded our main International Taekwon-Do Federation dojo. After working with the Australian International Taekwon-Do Federation (AITF) in 2003, we decided to join that organisation, too. From here, we competed in a couple of local tournaments with great success. Continuing to learn about the ITF principles of ‘sine wave’ and ‘theory of power’, Jun Tong progressed into attending the national championships. Our dojo had even greater success when sisters Grace and Isobel Spur won their individual divisions in sparring and patterns. They joined the Australian team at the Junior ITF World Championships at Rimini, Italy in 2004 and scored medals in their team events. I had the pleasure of managing the Australian contenders and was part of the coaching team.
In 2006, Jun Tong expanded in West Pennant Hills and North Ryde. Our expansion and success didn’t end there, though. Grace, Isobel and Fouad Faddoul represented our club in the Australian team at the 2007 Junior and Senior ITF World Championships in Quebec City, Canada. Once again, I had the pleasure of managing the Australian contenders and was part of the coaching team.
In 2009, at the Junior and Senior ITF World Championships in Buenos Ares, Argentina, Samantha Faddoul and Ashley Thornton represented Jun Tong School in the Australian team.
In 2011, we enjoyed further success at the Junior and Senior ITF World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, when Michael McPherson reached the semi-final in the Male Hyper Weight Sparring Division, as did Ashley Thornton in the 1st Dan Pattern Division, while Samantha Faddoul achieved a bronze medal in the Junior Female Lightweight Division. To put our club’s achievement into perspective, Samantha is the first female in 10 years to win a medal for Australia! I was incredibly proud to be part of the coaching team this year, too.
In 2013, Samantha Faddoul and Gillian Thornton represented Jon Tung in the Australian team for the Junior and Senior ITF World Championships in Benidorm, Spain. Once more, I had the privilege of being part of the coaching team. Currently, Gillian and Ashley Thornton are training for the 2015 Junior and Senior ITF World Championships in Jesolo, Italy.
Jun Tong has achieved its ambitious goals by scoring fantastic results in local, regional, state, national and international tournaments and championships. Our success aside, our methods and belief of teaching what we believe to be the real form of Taekwon-Do has rewarded us with incredible life achievements. All of our members continue to improve in their studies and all of our young Black Belt members are currently attending university, while the older ones return to study and achieve a higher-education diploma or have started their own businesses. Such is the impact of Jun Tong on the lives of my students.
Progress at Jun Tong ITF is a big part of all of our lives.