September 29, 2011
Ever since last Spring when Mrs. Rusch my school phys-ed teach and track coach introduced it to me something just felt right. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I really don’t know enough about it to make any big decisions but I do know that I enjoy the technical side of javelin and the fact that it’s easy to measure your improvement. I am very curious about what I could do if i did have a coach that could show me even more. It was fun breaking a javelin record last spring at the West Conference Meet. I love the track and field atmosphere. I love the fact that my results are a direct result of what I put into the training.
Everything changed for me two weeks ago when I met Bill Heikkila. Bill is a former Olympian Javelin thrower who also has 40 years coaching experience who agreed to meet me at my school. He was awesome! Before we even did or said anything he checked my shoulder flexabitly and a few other things to see if I even had the right body mechanics or it would be a waste of both of our time. He said he felt I had potential not only physically but also the mental aspects of all my TKD training. Believe it or not Javelin and TKD patterns actually have a lot of similarities.
Bill was so helpful and got me very excited about taking up javelin. He sends me videos with techniques to practice on my own. I’m a very visual person so videos are great so I can visualize them over and over in my head. It’s the best way for me to learn proper technique. He is away for a bit and he doesn’t want me to train on my own yet to form bad habits but I will keep watching the videos to get a solid image in my mind. He is also arranging for me to meet and train with a 6 time National Champion, Dominque Bilodeau. I’m flattered that he is doing all this. This is all so new and exciting.
I have been putting so much pressure on myself lately to choose the right ‘big goal’. After spending time with Grand Master Lan last week things were put in perspective for me. I have to ‘feel’ things more instead of ‘overthink’ or ‘force’ them. Things will fall into place if I keep an open mind and heart. It’s always worked for me int the past. Everything is lining up for the winter. I’m going to continue with my TKD as normal since that is very flexible and the best cross training ever. I am going to play on the regional soccer team and get great coaching with a new coach Audra. It will be amazing to keep the touch on the ball and compete in some games in Montreal over the winter. I’m also going to train with Javelin to see if it’s something that I can see myself committing to more. I’m also playing on the school basketball varisty team. I love basketball but have never had the time to take it up seriously and I don’t have the height for it. Basketball has a huge history in our family with my grandpa, uncle and cousins but I think I missed that height pool For right now, its just lots of fun and great cardio. The schedule will work out perfectly since the season will be over by the time soccer starts up again in November.
September 29, 2011
I haven’t played basketball in two years and I’ve really missed it. I just didn’t have time last year with my other training. I was pleased to make the John McCrae High School Varsity team. We had our first two games this week and we won both of them. Since the team was only made last week we need to work on our plays quickly. It’s awsome that not only do we have Mr. Toms but we have two club coaches as well so we will really get some good instruction. I feel like I’m starting all over again but I’m sure it will come back quickly. The only bad thing is that I couldn’t get my lucky number 23. I wear #23 in all my sports and it’s been a good luck family number for all sports for three generations!
It’s a great group of girls and we have lots of fun. I was surprised that we will play at least 10 games before November 1st plus one or two practices a week. It’s good that the season will be over by the time the winter soccer season starts so there won’t be any conflict. It will be a good way to keep my cardio for soccer in November. I was surprised how many people came out to cheer us on. Thanks guys. It feels good to be able to play on some of the school teams.
When I’m competing in Taekwon-Do I always feel huge but on the basketball court I feel really short. It’s a nice change
September 29, 2011
We had three soccer tryouts this week for the winter season. I think there were over 50 girls trying out and there were a lot of new faces from other clubs that I’ve never seen before. As nerve racking as tryouts can be it’s good to have new faces so that you push yourself harder.
I’m really looking forward to a great winter training season and getting some amazing coaching from a new coach, Audra. I loved having Kwame as my coach for the last 2 years. I learned so much from him but unfortunately the club changes coaches every two years. It’s good to have different coaching styles since you learn more that way. I will definitely miss Kwame as my coach – thanks for everything Kwame!
$25,000 raised for CHEO, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Hospital and the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre by Black Belt Excellence
September 25, 2011
Mr Phil Nguyen (owner of Black Belt Excellence in Kanata) did an incredible job with his HUGE fundraiser for three very important charities. The day was a celebration of:
- 25 Years of Excellence
- 250-Person Taekwon-Do Demonstration
- 2,500 Kicks for Charity and Board Break-a-Thon
- $25,000 for Charity
- 250,000 Acts of Kindness
There were several VIP’s and politicians invited to celebrate the day as well as be acknowledged for their generous sponsorship/donations.
The demonstration started off with a very cool dragon dance. I loved how they moved around and the beat of the drums.
TKD is great for building confidence in young kids. The money that was raised today will help with the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The spokesperson did a very good job making sure that the kids in the crowd are encouraged to speak to an adult, teacher, parent, coach if they have any issues of depression or anxiety or if they have friends that do. There are way too many child suicides and we need to make it acceptable to talk openly about mental illnesses at any age.
It was nice to be invited to participate in the demonstration with Mr LeGrow and Mr. Lim
Mr Nguyen demonstrated the last TKD pattern. It’s so hard to perform patterns on the cement wearing shoes in a parking lot. There were so many kids there and everyone was sitting attentively and behaving with respect.
He then continued with a Bow Staff weapon demonstration. I used to train with the Bow Staff and it’s a lot of fun. It’s amazing what you can do with it as a weapon.
Mr. Nguyen broke 25 boards in 25 seconds. Very impressive!
The mob dance was lead by Julia Gutsik – she was incredible
I always like to be with Mr. Lim. It was nice to see guest instructors and students from other schools support
Black Belt Excellence.
Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa broke his first board!
It was nice to visit with Ms. Trigger and other Instructors. It’s amazing how you can go to any dojang but it’s just one big TKD family. We all understand that TKD is not just a sport but a ‘way of life’.
There were so many things for kids to do with different games, bb-q, great music and of course the board break-a-thon!
The day was a HUGE success and I was so impressed with all the organizing and details that took place. Congratulations Mr. Nguyen and your whole school on your success on reaching your fundraising goals, improving the spirit in the community and on 25 years of Exellence.
September 18, 2011
It was another very early morning start but I couldn’t wait to get started. I didn’t want to waste any time. It’s so much fun when you’re surrounded by motivated people. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to wake up when you’re excited about what you’re going to do that day?
We started off with more pattern work. Grand Master Lan is so detail oriented and it’s cool to hear how he describes the moves and the reasoning behind it. You learn things better when you understand why you’re learning them. The more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. It’s very humbling being in a room with such senior TKD practitioners. Everyone still has questions and needs to be corrected on things. We were all there with open minds to learn! It dosen’t matter what age, degree, titles or belt level you are as long as you share the passion for TKD.
Grand Master Lan says you have to have 10 eyes and 10 ears when you spar:
- You need to be able to hear and see your opponent, your centre referee, your coach, your opponent’s coach and the judges.
- In order to be able to have all these senses you have to be calm.
- In order to be calm you have to be confident.
- In order to be confident you have to be prepared.
- In order to be prepared you have to do the training beforehand.
- In order to do the training you have to have the passion.
I learned this from him last year and I try to live by it because I know it’s true. Knowing and doing can be very different things.
I had to leave this part of the training so I could rush out to my final soccer game of the season. I’m sorry that I couldn’t’ say good-bye to everyone that were leaving at noon. As my mom was driving me to the soccer game I felt so good and prepared. I was excited for the game but at the same time I knew it was the last game of the season and possibly the last time that we play together as a team and with Kwame as our coach. It was bitter sweet. I felt rude leaving Grand Master Lan but he knew I had to go, and I felt rushed to get to my team mates but I had made arrangements with my coach.
Once again I played my hardest for the full 90 minutes but unfortunately we lost. I guess in soccer we need more than 10 eyes and 10 ears since there are more players on the field. We were officially relegated to the Regional Level which was very upsetting. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that if one door closes, another one will open. We just don’t always know when or how.
After the game I raced back to the dojang to spend a few more hours with Grand Master Lan. The seminar was over but everyone wanted to work a bit more on patterns. It was the best therapy for me after the disappointing game. Patterns always help me clear my mind.
Stetching today has never felt better. I was so sore and exhausted from the weekend that it was nice to relax my body and mind.
I didn’t want to see him go but at least I know that I will see him again at the end of October in Halifax for the IIC Seminar.
It was great that my Grandpa got to see Grand Master Lan again. They met last year and my Grandpa wanted to thank him for all his advice. Grand Master Lan is so proud of his 5 month old grand daughter so I guess they have something in common
Once again I would like to thank Mr. LeGrow for arranging and making all the arrangements for Grand Master Lan to be here for the weekend.
September 17, 2011
As I looked around the room I was excited to see the National coaches from Canada and the States, head instructors, school owners from all over, and other competitors that I met in New Zealand or at other competitions over the years. We all came for the same reason….to get the best and most current TKD knowledge from Grand Master Lan. You could feel the excitement. For some people it was the first time meeting him so they had no idea what a treat they were going to get and for those of us who know him, we couldn’t wait to get started.
I think of Grand Master Lan not only as the Guru of Taekwon-Do but also a Life Coach. I wish so badly that all my friends and team mates from other sports that I play could spend time with him since everything he teaches can be applied in all areas of life or any other sport. The sport psychology aspect is amazing.
The morning session focused on the finer details of patterns. He always emphasises the importance of your breathing. No matter what level you are in TKD you can ALWAYS improve your patterns. That is what makes it so challenging and rewarding. Charisma is another huge important part of patterns. I think some people just naturally have more charisma than others but you can certainly work on improving certain things like eye contact, body language, breathing and sign wave. Confidence and charisma are almost the same thing.
While everyone had a lunch break I had to leave for a very important soccer game. I know some of my soccer team mates didn’t like me at the training session in the morning since they thought that I might be too tired or not focussing on the game but nothing could be further from the truth. To put it in perspective for them…training with Grand Master Lan is like training with David Beckham or Rinaldo
I left the seminar so motivated and energized.
We ended up losing the game 1-0. It was such a hard loss since it meant that our chances of staying up at the Ontario Youth Soccer League were extremely low. I felt so disappointed and upset since there were so many consequences of the loss. We still have another game tomorrow so it depends on that game and how the other teams do now.
It was hard to pull myself together to go back to the seminar for the rest of the afternoon but it was probably the best thing for me. I played my hardest for the full 90 minutes and there wasn’t anything more I feel I could have done. It was hard to lose by only one goal but we had to win this game to stay up at the Ontario level, not just tie.
The afternoon session was all about sparring and it felt amazing. Grand Master Lan says there are 5 things you can’t have to spar properly:
3. not prepared well enough
The seminar didn’t finish until almost 6:00 and then it was off for a fun night out with everyone for dinner.
September 16, 2011
After an exceptional day of private training with Grand Master Lan and Mr. Morris I looked forward to a fun night to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Blackburn TKD. Although I have only been training with Mr. LeGrow for 3 years my family has known him for over 12 years. Congratulations Mr. LeGrow on your dojang.
September 16, 2011
When you start your day by having breakfast with Grand Master Lan (9th degree) from Germany you know it’s going to be an experience of a lifetime.
One of the first questions he asked me was……”Kayla, what is your new big goal?” I was shocked that he knew exactly what was going on in my mind. When I was preparing for the World Championships I trained intensely with Grand Master Lan for about a week. His coaching and guidance made such a huge impact on my results in New Zealand. He helped me with the ‘Do’ (mind) part of Taekwon-Do. I was a sponge and took everything he said to heart and tried to apply everything. After the first time we met he said that he thought I had the potential to be World Champion and he has no idea how much confidence that gave me.
This meeting was different since the training wasn’t geared for a specific tournament or goal. Although his conversations are about TKD everything he says can be applied to all areas of your life. It’s like having your own personal Life Coach. I know I apply what he says to my school, my other sports and my friendships.
Today I had the privilege to train with Grand Master Lan and Mr. Jason Morris for the whole morning and afternoon. Mr. Morris is the US National TKD coach and has a huge school in California. The one-on-one coaching was top notch. I missed the day at school but you don’t give up these private training opportunities. I didn’t want to waste one minute. Thank you Mr. LeGrow for making this opportunity possible.
I was very happy that Grand Master Lan focused so much on proper stretching to prevent injuries. Stretching the wrong way can actually cause more harm and damage. When I cross train with all the different sports I need to make sure I have a good balance in the different muscles. We talked about how when you exercise properly it gives you energy instead of making you tired and how you have to ‘feel’ things more than ‘think’ things. I remember when I was at the World Championships he walked up to me between my sparring matches and said ‘Kayla, you have done your preparation and training. Don’t think too much. Feel what you need to do.” I did, and it worked
September 11, 2011
Ms. Trigger was extremely kind to me while I was training for the World Championships. She allowed me to use her dojang whenever I wanted since she knew I needed time alone to work on my patterns. She also coached me with my Power Breaking. Her students always made me feel very welcome and were super supportive.
I had fun being a part of her annual family bar-b-q today. It was nice to go and say hi to familiar faces. There were lots of games and activities for everyone and lots food. Thank you for including me in your special day.
Apparently I left just before the water fights and the pie throwing contests. I’d say I have pretty good timing but I’m sure it was a lot of fun Thanks again.
September 11, 2011
Today our soccer team had our best game so far. Instead of having normal practices this week, we played exibition games against other OSU teams. At this point in the season with so few games left, the best thing to do is just play.
We played against Burlington today, and they are in first place. We knew going into the game that it was going to a battle. When our team keeps the ball moving, stays positive and has fun playing, we are unstoppable. That’s exactly what happened today. Although we didn’t win, we only lost 1-0. It was a very even game and we gave that team a lot of difficulty. I had no complaints of the game and had so much fun.
Next week, we have two games that we have to win. If we play like we did today, there is no doubt in my mind that we can do it! At the end of the game, Coach Kwame was really happy. We have all grown as a team, and as individuals during this past season, and now in our final games, it’s time to prove that we belong in the OYSL League.
I’m really excited for the next week to see what happens. Let’s go ladies!!!!!