Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2nd International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies

now after participating as an oral presenter for the scientific congress on martial art and combat sports and recently coming back from my poster presentation at the national athletic trainer's association symposia, i am back for more!

just before my trip to viseu i found information for the 2nd International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies to be held in conjunction with the 2009 taekwondo world championships. after speaking with a friend (willy pieter) who has clearly made his mark on research in taekwondo, i was encouraged to attend.

currently an international group of sports and the management of concussion have encouraged international governing bodies of sport to adopt concussion safety standards. attending the ISTS in copenhagen would be a great opportunity to present crucial information to an international group of tkd researchers.

i just submitted an abstract to be presented as an oral presentation and will wait for the results. kyung hee university (경희대학교) will be the organizing institute and will hold the symposia at the university of copenhagen.

i look forward to presenting with willy again since our first presentations together in viseu went very well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Martial Arts and Combat Sports Congress: Report

it has now been just about three weeks (may 14-18) since my trip and presentation in viseu, portugal at the 2009 scientific congress on martial arts and combat sports. i have been finishing up projects and papers for the spring semester and now have a bit of time to make a repot on my trip to portugal.

my flight, from philadelphia, was at 6:30pm. i left newark with another doctoral student who was on his way to interview for a faculty position at a west coast school. once i arrived to the airport i easily got my e-ticket and made my way through security with no hiccups. just hours before leaving newark i developed a bit of a head ache and wasn't looking forward to 12 hour trip across the atlantic with that on hand. as i was walking through the terminal and spotted a small massage setup and threw down "a few bucks" for a massage which proved successful. i also grabbed a quick bite from an italian joint in the terminal. i boarded the plane on time but ended up waiting in the plane on the run way for clearance to take off. i think our official take off time was around 7pm.

my first landing to the european land was in barcelona. it was around 8am when we landed to barcelona and i had a bit of time to kill so i took the time to explore a inner terminal mini mart. at the mart a bought a pack of chocolate cookies called "filipinos" and some spanish coca cola. the flips were good and the coke washed things done just right. before going through security there, i scarfed down the cola as much as i could and packed the cookies in my cary on bag.

while waiting for my TAP (portuguese airline) i enjoyed watching the people and listening to the different languages. it was interesting to be around spaniards as well as portuguese at the same time since i hadn't heard portuguese before and my preconceptions were that they were similar. they are, but the portuguese language sounds a bit slavic. while waiting for the plane i was listening to a group of guys chatting away. i was confused since i thought they were russians and didn't understand the reason for russians to head off to portugal. i was thinking that maybe there were good business relations between the countries and that might be the reason for their trip. i soon found out that they were in fact portuguese as they spoke the same language to the flight stuardists.

the last landing of that day was in porto international airport. we landed on time, maybe early, around 11:30 am. since i had already landed into spain, customs in portugal was nothing much. i was questioned by one official just before exiting the baggage claim as to where i was headed. i informed him of the congress and he let me pass with no stamp or anything to that sort. after coming out into the main gait i was looking for a sign marked "gabriel fife". nothing to that make was around so i spent about 30 minutes or so walking around like a foreigner wondering how i was to get to viseu. i called the director of the congress and he informed me to look for a man near a cafe in the airport and that i would go along with a few other attendees of the congress. i was greeted by a man who did not speak english. he was the driver and was quiet throughout the drive to viseu. the other attendees were two from belgium and one lady from spain. i was pretty tired but maintained constant conversation with the group all the way to viseu except for about 10 minutes of shut eye.

once we got into viseu we were driven to the hotel where we checked in painlessly. after putting my bags in my room i met the two belgians and spanish professor in the lobby where we continued to a restaurant across the street. at the restaurant we met professor abel figuerierdo and professor willy pieter. willy has been a researcher whos research i have been following for the past 7 years. it was a pleasure to finally meet him and our trip served as a great time to discuss future directions of tkd research. at the restaurant i enjoyed a grilled salmon steak with bread, olives, potatoes and cola. the salmon was great and the potatoes were also a great compliment to the meal.

after dinner, my crew (marc, one belgian doctoral student, and marquel from spain) explored viseu. we took pictures and enjoyed the scenes and crashed back at the hotel.

i woke up early the next morning after setting my alarm for 5am when i meant to set it for 6am. for about 3 hours after waking up i was confused as to why no one was ready when i was. my reason for waking up early was to get out into viseu and take pictures. the city is gorgeous and i look forward for the time to go back again. i wandered around for about an hour and enjoyed the city with no crowded streets or traffic. after taking pictures i made my way back to the hotel where i enjoyed a wonderful breakfast by myself (remember i was an hour early!). my breakfast that morning (and the day after that) was of cereal, bread, cold cut ham, cheese, milk, juice, fruit and coffee. this was the meal included in the nightly rate and i would probably not bother to find another hotel if i went back again. although the hotel itself was not the cleanest (brown bath water), for a place to sleep and enjoy a good morning meal, i wouldn't pay a buck anywhere else. after my lone breakfast i went back to my room and made notes for my presentation that day. after i made sense of time, i made for round two of my breakfast where i joined willy, marc and the other belgian (phD student). around 9:30 we all boarded a van going to the polytechnic institute of viseu.

the school seemed small but we didn't get a full tour so it was hard to tell the size. the day and day after that (sunday) was spent by listening to presentations, asking questions during the open debate (of which i was continually for initiating productive discussions). there were coffee breaks in between each session and i enjoyed one of these. the coffee break i did enjoy was with two portuguese national wrestling athletes who are not professors, as well as a frenchman who was a judo athlete. we had great discussions about the education systems as well as research ideas. one big cultural impact i got from the coffee breaks was the way they drink coffee beverages. they drink a thing called "cafe" which is just a shot of espresso with a shot of sugar. i pretty much drink it everyday like that now since i have my own espresso machine.

my presentation was quite fine. i think i delivered fine and was presented with some important questions by audience members.