October 30, 2010
My training started really well this week but by Wednesday night the back of my knee/hamstring was bugging me. I’m not sure why since it wasn’t like I did something and then all of a sudden it hurt, I just kind of woke up with it. I went to a message therapist and she told me to rest and ice for the remainder of the week and that I could start back slowly next week. I’m not worried since it is getting better each day but I hate missing my work outs!!! I get so restless I’m also disappointed since I wanted to go to Louiseville, Quebec today to train.
By Monday night I’ll be able to get back to train and I’m sure everything will be fine. I can’t believe 2 weeks tonight I will have finished competing and we will all be at the awards dinner banquet. Can’t wait!
October 23, 2010
Wow, I can’t believe how fast the time is going. The closer to the date, the more I want to train but I also have to listen to my body since I don’t want to get over-tired. So many of the people that I’m training with are getting sick. Not sure if it’s just all the extra hours training or if it’s nerves setting in. This is where I’m lucky that I’m only in high school and don’t have too many distractions All of my training partners have University mid-terms, jobs and other adult responsibilities.
I’ve had some really amazing talks lately with my instructor Mr. LeGrow. Everything is coming together. Suddenly all the advice that Master Kou (Ottawa), Master Lan (Germany), Mr. Kerr (Brazil) and Grand Master Marano (Argentina) gave me all make so much more sense. I think my mentality is changing too. Having all of these opportunities that I’ve been given, I’m finding that the World Championships aren’t just about me wanting to win gold, but it’s an ‘experience’. One that I’ve been wanting to experience since I can remember. No matter how I do on the day of the tournaments, I’ll know that I’ve done everything possible to prepare and I’ll always be proud of that. Writing this blog had been a lot of fun for me and it’s a great keep sake. I’ll be able to look back on it when I’m older and recall all the steps that I’ve taken leading up to the big event. Sometimes so much happens in one week that I don’t really get a chance to take it all in or appreciate it so that’s why I like to write about it. The next six months are going to be even more exciting.
Mr. LeGrow is away in Slovakia this week competing at the European Cup. I wish I was there too All the black belts are taking turns taking over instructing the classes while he is away so the dojang can still run smoothly. After instructing classes I spend my own time working on all the things that Mr. Legrow told me to do while he’s away. I’m having so much fun and I can’t wait for Vancouver. It’s going to be amazing to go on a plane, visit a city that I’ve never been to before, see old friends and compete in the Olympic Skating Oval.
October 23, 2010
October 17th my Instructor Mr. LeGrow pulled the winning ticket for an Apple IPAD. I really want to thank all my friends and neighbours for their donations towards my trips to Nationals and New Zealand. I would not be able to go without everyone’s help!
Marj Ray is the lucky winner! Marj lives in Edmonton but her friends who live on our street will be giving it to her. Marj came to our street garage sale back in September.
October 17, 2010
It was another great week of training. I don`t have any soccer this month so it`s given me so much more time for training. At the Selections next month I`m trying to qualify for Individual Sparring, Individual Patterns and Power Breaking.
Most people specialize in only one event. It`s hard balancing the training time for each event. The are all so completely different that I have to be in the right head space for each of them.
I had a beneficial training day with three other adult competitors who are also going to Nationals and trying to qualify for Individual Patterns. My mom video taped each of us doing the patterns and then together we reviewed them and made modifications. It`s amazing how you think you are doing something different than what the judges will see so it`s a really good way to train. I absolutely hate seeing myself on video but I know I have to do these things to improve There are so many tiny little details to critique. At least there are still a couple weeks left to really make all the adjustments. I`m so glad I have some other competitive people to train with since we can really help each other.
October 17, 2010
For the first time there will be an Anti-Dop control test at the ITF Taekwon-do World Championships in New Zealand. This actually really pleases me!! Several countries pay their athletes for their medals and for some athletes this can be the main source of their family income so they are willing to do whatever it takes to win. They have a lot more at stake if they lose. When I competed in the GTF Taekwon-do World Cup two years ago, I had a long conversation with the organizers about how some of the kids never saw their parents since they were taken away for training. They knew that it might be the only way that they could pay for their education. It really made me think about how lucky I was to live in Canada. Since I’m in the Hyper Weight division for sparring it makes me feel more comfortable knowing that I’m not against someone who is stronger because of the steroids. I just want an equal playing field.
October 11, 2010
I don’t even know where to start since so much happened in just 48 hours. My parents drove me to Laval, Quebec (2 hr drive) for some training at Eclipse Taekwon-do. I slept the whole way there since we left very early. When I woke up I was in a different city but I was ready to go .
I’ve trained with this group of students over the years but I’ve never been to their school before. They train in a huge private high school in their gorgeous gym. It was the first time I’ve met their head instructor, Marie-Claude Messier. I had heard how amazing she is, so I was excited to meet her and maybe get some tips. I have to admit I was really intimated when she yelled out commands in french to me while I was sparring an 18 year old very skilled guy. Once I got over my fear and was actually able to understand what she was saying, her advise was bang-on and I did what she told me to do. Things got easier and her advice made a lot of sense and it really helped. Thank You Mme Messier! I am so glad that I’m in french immersion since hardly any English was spoken all weekend. I also got some good tips from Mr. Nguyen, who invited me to spend Saturday training with him and his crew of students.
Biggest Lesson: Use my long legs to their fullest advantage. I was getting in too close to my opponent. As Ms. Messier said – keep a larger distance. If the opponent starts to get closer, throw my leg out and make sure I cock my knee back so I don’t get jammed. It’s something that I always have to work on and that’s why it’s good to train with different opponents to practice it.
One of my training partners from Blackburn (Miro Mostovac, 20 years old) met us there and he spent the rest of the weekend with me and my parents.
After training for two hours we had a quick lunch and piled back into the car. Miro and I fell asleep immediately after our hard training. Two hours later we woke up in a small quaint town of Louiseville, Quebec. The town was basically closed down to a huge fair and parade. We walked into the next dojang and it was great to see all the girls that I’ve competed with. I find it really interesting to see where everyone trains and lives. I think it tells you a lot about the person. The dojang was really nice with good floor mats. Mr. Nguyen and his group of students also travelled with us from Laval to continue the training. Mr. Richer, and Mr. Nguyen ran the training, and there were only about 12 of us. I was happy since I’ve seen Mr. Richer coach girls (that were always against me) from the sidelines and I always respected his coaching skills. Now he was going to be coaching me for the afternoon too It’s amazing how so much has changed for me over the last few years and how so many doors of opportunity like this have opened. We worked on sparring drills and then free sparred for a while. It was an awesome three hours. There was music in the back ground and it really pumped the training up and made it more fun. I found the training very beneficial and and a great time. One of the things that we talked about was bringing back the fun and game aspect of sparring. People get too uptight and stressed sparring. It`s important to stay relaxed and enjoy sparring. At the end of the training we all sat in a circle and the two instructors gave us all an individual review which was a nice personal touch. They both said that I spar exactly like my instructor Mr. LeGrow so that was a huge compliment!!!
Biggest Lesson: It helps if you make the sparring match more entertaining and enjoyable for the judges. The coaches were making us verbally get excited when we got a point. They got us to call out and make it obvious that you scored a point. There`s a lot of acting in the sparring match. If you can make the judges think twice about if you got a point even if you clearly didn’t, it could win you the fight. It started off really awkward but then it became hilarious.
After the training, Miro and I were starving but we wanted to walk around the fair for a little bit since it was right outside the door of the dojang. It was a nice way to end the visit in that town. The french fries smelt so good but we knew it wouldn’t be a good choice so we just kept going
The village was so beautiful with all the old buildings and everyone seemed to know each other. We were having a lot of fun but we had to find something to eat and then head off for another long 2 hour drive to Quebec City.
Once again I fell asleep and woke up in a different city The day never seemed to end. We ended up at the Hotel of First Nations to meet up with my Instructor Mr. LeGrow and Mr. Lim. They had been training with Grand Master Hector Marano all afternoon for a special 3rd degree and up session. The hotel was the coolest building I’ve ever seen! It was full of traditional native artifacts but put in a really modern building.
Sunday was another exciting day. Grand Master Hector Marano was visiting from Argentina to give a seminar on patterns in memory of Grand Master Tran Trieu Quan who was tragically killed in the Haiti earthquake last February.
The day went by quickly because I was learning so much. We would do one pattern all together, and then Grand Master Marano would take a couple people to come and do their patter step by step in front of everyone. He completely dissected each movement. It was important to hear what he had to say so I knew that I was doing the patterns correctly. I found it crazy how much he knew and how much the things he was saying made sense. We also did some self defense which was really fun. I got to work with one of my buddies that I don’t see that often. All these events, including past seminars with Master Lan and Mr. Kerr have helped me prepare for Nationals and I’m getting really excited about it.
Off to Laval in the morning, then Trois Rivieres in the afternoon and then Quebec City for Training with Grand Master Hector Marano!
October 8, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I am so excited to train in Laval tomorrow morning and in Trois Rivieres in the afternoon. It’s so much fun visiting other dojangs to see how they are. I’m also really looking forward to training with some of my friends that I’ve met at other tournaments and training sessions. Everyone is getting excited and wants to train together. Then it’s off to Quebec City in the evening.
Sunday is going to be great since there is a black belt seminar held by Grand Master Morano from Argentina. Grand Master Hector Marano (9th dan) is the chair of the ITF Technical Instruction Committee. He will be focussing on patterns, free sparring and the ‘Do’ (mind) part of Taekwon-Do. It should be very interesting and I can’t wait to meet him. The last two weekends have been back to back with amazing instructors and opportunities.
It’s going to be a lot of driving from city to city in a short period of time for my parents but we’ll make a fun little road trip out of it. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back
Enjoy some turkey
October 3, 2010
Mr. David Kerr Visits From Brazil
The last three days have been an experience of a life time. We were honored to have Mr. David Kerr visit us from Brazil for a special seminar. Mr. Kerr is the record holder in ITF TKD history for winning the most amount of medals at World Championships in Sparring.
On Friday when I first met him I was so surprised to see how quiet, gentle and humble he was. When he changed into his dobok and started to move, I swear I have never seen anyone move so fast and with such accuracy and grace. He’s so light on his feet. I could watch him spar all day. There was just a small group of us training with him which was very special since we could ask questions and get more guidance. We worked on our side kicks and the precision of them with little games. Then those drills became more complex and detailed with hand counters. It was exhausting but it was a blast. The time went by so fast.
I had the opportunity to go out for dinner along with my coach Mr. LeGrow, one of the National Coaches, Mr Tran, Mr. Kerr and a few other coaches and friends. It was a great to hear all their stories of how they got started and what obstacles they’ve had to overcome. I found it really cool how they would talk about sparring legends and previous fights. They could talk about the type of person they were sparring against and the others knew exactly what person they were talking about without using names. I didn’t want the night to end but I knew I had to be back at the dojang first thing in the morning for the actual seminar.
Saturday was crazy. I was sore every where from the day before but I couldn’t wait to get started. The dojang was packed with serious competitors from Ontario and Quebec. Most of these people will be going to Nationals in Vancouver as well. It was also a good chance for me to train with the National Sparring Coaches, Mr. Tran and Mr. Parent.
It always amazes me how much more there is to learn and that’s why I never get bored. It can be a bit intimidating sparring with instructors with so much more experience but at the same time, I was really excited to step up my game and challenge myself. We are all there to improve.
At the end of the training, we ended early because everyone could tell that we were all exhausted. It’s so tiring both physically but also mentally from all the concentrating and focus. We all sat in a circle together for an hour and just talked. It was a great time to ask questions not only about the techniques but also about the mental training for World Championships. When I looked around the room I realized that more than half of the people there have competed in at least one Worlds. That should give you a good indication of the caliber of students. One thing that was very clear after the discussion as that all of these people have had their fears, insecurities, challenges and injuries. It’s how they dealt with them that got them on the podium. I just sat there taking it all in We ended the night with a nice pasta dinner together.
This morning came so early! Everyone walked in feeling tender and sore from the day before. Today we spent most of the day just free sparring. It was very valuable for me to spar different people (men and women). After watching all the sparring Mr. Kerr gave me some valuable advice for me to work on. I had a amazing time and it was a great experience.
I can’t wait to learn from Mr. Kerr again tomorrow. A special thanks Mr. LeGrow for setting this seminar up and giving so many people an opputunity that many only dream of. Thank you also to Mr. Kerr for coming to Canada and teaching us so many valuable skills. Travel home safely and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.