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 I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 05:43

The President, Nigeria Taekwondo
Federation, George Ashiru, speaks
about the sport in Nigeria in this
interview with ALLWELL OKPI
How did your taekwondo
journey begin?
My initial interest wasn’t
specifically taekwondo. It was
general martial arts. When I was a
kid, there was this television
programme called Kung-Fu. My
parents had not bought television
then. We used to go next door to
watch television – black and white.
I always went to watch Kung-Fu. I
was fascinated by it and as a child I
didn’t realise that it just a movie. I
saw the man doing all sorts of
strange things; using his bare
hands to carry hot pots of water on
TV. A few months later, I followed
my parents to a restaurant and at
the back of the restaurant I saw the
same type of cauldron they used to
boil water in the movie. I said ‘this
is my opportunity to try what I saw
on TV’. I went there, I tried to put
my arms but it was too hot. They
were boiling water for eba. As I was
still standing on the sticks beside
the pot stretching my hands, I
slipped and my both arms went
straight into the hot water. All I
could remember is that I spent six
months at Igbobi Orthopaedic
Hospital. I went through series of
surgeries to get my arms back to
normal shape. And as part of the
rehabilitation process, I had to do
some physiotherapy exercises.
Again it was the same martial arts
exercises that I ended up doing.
That was in 1975. In 1976, I entered
secondary school and my house
master in the school – Ijebu Ode
Grammar School – who was into
martial arts taught me Kung-Fu.
Shortly after, two Americans came
to teach at the school. They were
vast in Korean martial arts. In those
days it was called hapkido or
Korean karate. The word
taekwondo was not popular then.
In late 1976, I and a few other
students started training under
these two Americans. And then in
1978 I travelled to the UK and
continued training there.
Did you do any other sport
besides taekwondo?
I was a sprinter, hurdler and I
played football. I was the captain of
my school team in the UK. I even
played for Hewlett Packard when I
was working for them. I jumped
seven metres when I was 17. I did
short put, javelin and discus. I did
anything sports. But I had to focus
on one.
Have you had any incident
where you had to use
taekwondo for self defence?
In my 39 years of doing taekwondo,
I have never used it outside the
ring. Even when someone pointed
a gun at me and shot at me, I just
stood there as a gentleman and
allowed the whole thing to play
out, and God was in control. At the
end of the day, it is the last resort;
it is not the first instinct. It happens
when you are pushed to the wall
and there is no other way of escape
and then it happens naturally. We
are trained to absorb a lot of
punishment. Somebody will beat
you and you still smile and shake
his hands and say ‘well done, you
got me’. Another factor is that if you
look strong and fit, people
generally don’t fight you. There is a
deterrent factor when people know
you can defend yourself. People
tend to attack the weak.
By your estimation, how much
has taekwondo grown in
Nigeria?
My goal is to have 500, 000 people
practising taekwondo before I step
down as President of the Nigeria
Taekwondo Federation. Currently,
we have about 200,000 to 250,000
practitioners. I believe 500,000 is
very small. Korea has seven million
black belts. Our population is twice
or three times theirs. In Nigeria, our
black belts are not up to 5,000. That
means if Korea goes to war, they
can rely on seven million people to
defend their country. It is very
important for every country to have
citizens who are capable of
defending not just themselves but
also the country. If we keep looking
down on martial arts, we will
always have a weakened youth and
a few violent ones will dominate
the rest. If a 16 year-old girl goes to
the campus and trains in martial
arts once a week for the four years
she spends in the university, when
she graduates she won’t be
worried about a husband who is a
wife-beater. It is also about
discipline. One thing you learn in
martial arts is discipline. You are
like a soldier. There is a sense of
order, structure and responsibility.
The reason you will not find a
taekwondo man fighting in the
street is: once you join the club,
there is a pledge of membership
that you will not misuse
taekwondo. It is written, you have
to sign. Part of the pledge is: ‘I will
defend the honour of my country’;
‘I will respect my seniors.’
In how many tournaments did
you represent Nigeria?
I was a pioneer champion. By the
time taekwondo was recognised as
a sport by the Federal Government,
I was already entering mastership,
at which point I had to retire, even
though I was still young. I only
represented the country twice. One
was in 1987 at the All Africa Games
in Kenya where I won silver. By the
next All Africa Games, I had already
retired. It was my students like
Emmanuel Peters, who went and
won silver at the Barcelona ’92
Olympic Games (taekwondo was
not a medal-scoring event at the
Olympics then). I also represented
Nigeria at the World Taekwondo
Championship in England in 1991 as
a retired athlete. I was living in
England and I went to the venue of
the tournament and the organisers
recognised me and said your
country sent a team but we have
not seen them. So, I decided to
compete for Nigeria.
Which African countries do you
think can stop Nigeria from
qualifying for the taekwondo
event at the Rio Olympics?
They are mainly Ivory Coast and
Egypt. Traditionally, Egypt has been
the best in Africa, they travel a lot
and they host tournaments a lot.
That gives them exposure and
advantage. Another country is
Gabon, which has produced a two-
time world champion.
Olympic bronze medallist, Chika
Chukwumerije is retiring. Do you
see any replacement for him
soon?
Until Chika won bronze in the
Olympics (2008), not many people
knew him. We have a lot of
talented young athletes. The
difference between them and Chika
is that Chika has the financial
capacity to carry out his plans.
When Chika was preparing for the
Olympics, he didn’t get any money
from the Federal Government until
after the Olympics. If he didn’t have
money to go on a six-month
training tour round the world,
would he have won that bronze?
His father (late Senator Uche
Chukwumerije) took care of the
bills. There are young athletes who
have similar talents and coaches
who can help them, but you cannot
train an Olympic medallist in the
village. They need exposure.
Are your children into
taekwondo?
My children are into taekwondo but
they don’t have the same level of
passion that I have. They are
focusing on their academics.
What about your wife?
Incidentally, my wife is a black belt.
She started doing karate as a
student in Queens College. But I
didn’t meet her through martial
arts. I met her socially and then we
discovered we had some things in
common. After we met, she
switched from karate to taekwondo
and trained until she got black belt.
Once we got married she retired
into being a mother.
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 07:16

Butter is not food 4 monkey
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 08:59

Nah so bro
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 09:04

Yes ooo
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 09:10

Do what u know best not copy copy.
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 13:42

I think he survived d injury sa
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 13:42

I think he survive d injury sa
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 13:42

I think he survive d injury sa
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 15:05

Try and join o
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 15:21

@smile2012 wrote:
I think he survive d injury sa
Yes o
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-17, 20:30

He did survive it
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-18, 03:44

Yes
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PostSubject: Re: I ended up at Igbobi first day I practised Kung-Fu — Ashiru   2015-05-18, 04:51

Ok
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