Sunday, July 2, 2017

CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '17, Part I

Martial art black belts traveling Norway & Sweden in tie dye shirts

It was June 15th  . . . I stopped the dusty, fully loaded U-Haul for a moment and thought about all the things that just happened during the previous two weeks . . . we had had the Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo XXXIII on June 2 - 4, at the Keystone Ski Resort . . .  the Expo went exceedingly well, and now we had just finished up one of the finest Camp MSK's of all time . . .

I thought about how hard our students, instructors and special guests worked during those two major events . . . from Great Grandmaster Shin to our newest white belts, everyone had success through good old-fashioned hard work . . . could we keep it up?

As I was turning right, out of the Snow Mountain Ranch entrance, it occurred to me that I wouldn't be this far west for a long time, geographically speaking that is  . . .  everything was headed east for awhile . . . it was time to "keep pushing" to the next set of adventures - and it was going to take us halfway around the world! . . .  could we do it? . . .  is there anyway this could the best World Tour just like Expo and Camp? . . .  is everyone still energized, in shape and in-focus?  . . .  could the larger size of the group cause problems? 

Yes. Yes. Yes. and No! 

CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '17 was made up of 43 Moo Sul Kwan black belts and 35 family members, friends and lower belts.  Seventy-eight people of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes.  This 8th leg of our World Tour was to Sweden and Norway in June, and was one to always remember!

Our group made its way to Stockholm, Sweden, through Heathrow Airport in London.  When landing in Stockholm, our exclusive CTI World Tour travel guide, Almar, was waiting for us.   Almar was our guide on CTIBBTWT2K'11 and we requested his expertise on this trip too.  We boarded the two big buses and headed to downtown Stockholm and the Scandic Sjofartshotellet where we would stay four fantastic nights!

There were so many experiences we had during our stay in Stockholm.  Make sure you speak with people that were on the trip, and ask them about it.  Here is but a short list:

We checked into our rooms and had time for our first group dinner.   Then it was off to bed to get ready for what was to come.  The next day was the longest day of the year, and we took full advantage of it (just like each and everyday of the journey)! 

We started off with a workout at at 6:30 AM.  Everyone was ready to go!  We took off jogging along the waterfront making our way to a nice park hidden in the trees.  It even came with an outside amphitheater that we used to our advantage.   After returning and having the first of the many wonderful breakfasts on the trip, we headed to the City Hall of Stockholm where we would board our ship for our ride to Birka!

Birka is Sweden's first city and Viking stronghold, is in the middle of Lake Malaren.  Birka was settled in the 750's and is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.  The two hour ride to Birka was fun!  The weather was great (as it would be the entire trip), and the group got the chance to see the magnificient scenery.  We made some small stops along the way enjoying the cruise.  A very nice walking tour followed with a period-dressed guide who took us around the island.  He provided us with the interesting stories, facts and history of the Vikings who settled and lived here.   When the very full day to Birka was over, we sailed back to Stockholm.  The group was split into smaller groups and everyone explored different interesting places for dinner in this city made up of seventeen islands.

The next morning began at 6:00 AM with our second workout in Sweden!  Before we got started, some black belt promotions took place.  We then ran to our favorite workout spot in Scandinavia, and after a good warm-up, basics and poomse, we worked with our parents who came that morning to exercise with us!

Another fine breakfast and we headed off to the Vasa Ship Museum.  This world-class museum was incredible.  This ship sunk in 1628 and was raised 333 years later.  It's the only 17th century perserved ship in the world and was sight to see!  When the Vasa tour was over, there was a little frisbee tossing for the locals.  Then everyone went to lunch at different spots in Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm a preserved medieval city center and where Stockholm was founded in 1252.

After lunch,  it was time for our first bike tour of the trip!  We divided up into four different groups and explored different parts of the city.  Dinner was at Blasieholmens Akvarium Restaurang and everyone had a great time, especially with the suprise dessert! 

Again, there was so much more that happened during these first couple of days . . . ask a trip member about their experiences, and look for more in Part II.

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