Educational travel in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, takes students to a city of 14th century churches, the Baroque Toompea Castle, the Tsarist Kadriorg Palace, and a true tale of a mouse that robbed a bank. (A mouse made its home inside an ATM, chewing its way through the Estonian Kroons stored inside!) The other major sights of Tallinn are outlined below.All-linn: The Lower TownA visit to Tallinn on educational travel is a chance to wander through one of the finest medieval towns in Europe, with a wonderful Town Hall square, city walls, towers and an array of old churches. The Church of the Holy Ghost is first attested in written sources in the 14th century. The most striking feature on its whitewashed façade is the 17th century carved clock made by Christian Ackermann, and crow-stepped gables lead up to the octagonal tower. St Olaf’s Church dates to the 13th century and is believed to have been the centre for the city’s old Scandinavian community. What stands there now is rebuilt: the church has burned down three times in its existence. Students visiting on educational travel will probably be excited to learn that its spire was used by the KGB as a radio surveillance point from 1944 to 1991. St Nicholas’ Church, founded in the 13th century by Westphalian merchants from Gotland and restored after Soviet bombing in World War Two, is now home to a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia that focuses primarily on ecclesiastical art dating from the Middle Ages onward.Toompea CastleIn local legend, the whole hill on which Toompea Castle sits was made by the woman Linda, who built it with her own hands, boulder by boulder. The city is even named for her: Lyndanisse. (Tallinn is only one of the city’s names.) Probably one of the first inhabited areas of what became Tallinn, the hill is now home to Toompea Castle, which contains a building built for the parliament of Estonia following its declaration of independence in 1918. Students will be interested to know that it holds the honour of being the only Expressionist parliament building (on the inside). Other structures include the 18th century Baroque additions to older, medieval constructions. The bright pink façade with its orange roof is especially striking.Kadriorg PalaceA study in Tsarist extravagance, Kadriorg Palace is a Petrine Baroque palace built by Peter the Great in 1718-1725 for Catherine I of Russia. Its name means “Catherine’s valley”. It underwent drastic renovations a little over a century later, by Nicholas I of Russia, but the great hall with Catherine’s initials and a profusion of stucco décor still survives. Students visiting Kadriorg Palace on an educational travel trip will be able to enjoy the building’s colourful and column-covered exterior and its monumental interiors, as well as the museum it now hosts: a different branch of the Art Museum of Estonia that collects non-Estonian art from the 16th to 20th centuries.
I went to a party, this was decades ago. I had been an instructor at a Kenpo Karate school, then went to the Kang Duk Won where I had worked for several years to get my black belt.At the party this guy comes up to me and points out a good looking girl across the room. “She says she’ll outlast you, take you down easy.”I looked at the fellow bringing me the terrible news of my impending demise.”She’s taking lessons at the Kenpo school you used to teach at.”Oh, my.She weighed maybe 120 pounds. I weighed 180, and I was at the end of half a dozen years of hard karate training. Further, I used to teach the lessons that she was now taking, and she was going to take me out. Hmmm.Now, tell the truth, I had been guilty of such thoughts when I was beginning Chinese American Kenpo. I thought I was the most dangerous dude in the universe. Then I went to the Kang Duk Won, and learned that I wasn’t.In fact, I was sort of… mediocre. Tolerated by the people who knew what was what at the Korean Karate school until I could grow up a bit.But the point is this… Kenpo was being sold on the basis of what was dangerous. Do this technique, rip his eyes out, disembowel him with this kick, break his neck, SNAP… it’s so easy.And we walked out of the school thinking we were the most dangerous people in the universe.But we never used the stuff on the street, and we didn’t know.At the Kang Duk Won I trained with people who did use it on the street. Man, I received an education, hands on, of what worked and what didn’t.So, what is the most dangerous thing in the Martial arts?Thinking that you know it all.Buying into the hype in your mind.Not only does this open you up for a violent eye opening education on the street, but, here is the crime: it stops you from learning.You are satisfied that you know everything. Satisfied with your education. Think that there is no more to be learned outside your Martial Arts system.I’ll tell you, even though I thought I knew everything when I was studying Kenpo, I found out differently at the Kang Duk Won. And, when I finally left that Korean Karate school, I had learned how to learn, and I had the most serious case of open eyes in the world.And, here is the real deal, even after the Kang Duk Won, when I did learn some serious stuff, I was so interested in learning, and I studied so many arts, that I think that I learned more about the Kang Duk Won after I left than when I was there!I know, it sounds weird, but here’s the thing: learning more martial arts gives you more context, enables you to see what you are doing from more angles, and then you start to understand the whole thing, and not just the viewpoint of the single instructor or two you’ve been working with.So, there is the most serious crime in the martial arts: thinking you know it all, building a mindset wherein you refuse to learn more, and truncating your experiences with only one Martial Arts School.
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