October 30, 2011
When I got an email late last night from Bill Heikkila to have an extra outdoor javelin training session while the ground still wasn’t too hard and the weather wasn’t too cool, I obviously jumped at the opportunity. It’s hard to learn a new sport when there are big training gaps in between the sessions. I’ve been practicing on my own and keeping a training journal so I can ask him questions when we get together. And I’ve been watching the videos that he has sent me which has been a big help. I’m really looking forward to start my training at the dome next week for some indoor winter training. It will give me the opportunity to see if the javelin or other track events is something that I want to pursue more. I’ll never know unless I try and give it my best shot .
We spent over an hour just on foot work before I even threw a javelin. It’s amazing how much detail there is. It’s like learning a new TKD pattern, but these movements are all foreign to me and they don’t feel natural at all! I felt really clumsy and un-coordinated but it did get better as time went on. You just have to repeat it over and over until it feels right. Bill is very good at explaining things which makes it a lot easier. I’m the type of learner that has to understand why I”m doing something so I get a clearer picture in my head.
I have to admit, I was exhausted from the concentration. Who would have thought that some footwork could be so precise. He wondered if I was getting frustrated. I was but only because I wanted to get better, not because I didn’t like it.
Overusing your arm can cause injuries so he showed me drills where I can use a towel hitting the soccer goals to just go through the throwing motion without the stress on your joint. You can also get more ‘throws’ in without always running out to retrieve your javelin I’ve been doing this drill on my own as well but it’s always good to have someone there to critique your movement.
I love how detail oriented Bill is. Every motion is watched carefully.
Finishing off the training with a nice throw was a rewarding way to end the session. Can’t wait to get back at it again next week at the dome and looking forward to seeing Dominque again as well as meeting some other throwers. You know it’s getting colder when the hockey rink boards are put up.
October 29, 2011
Yesterday we had our high school Academic Awards Ceremony. The awards were given for last years marks since they don’t send out our final report cards until after school is over.
I was really happy to get:
Honour Society – Awarded to students who obtain an average of 80% or better in eight subjects
Outstanding Achievement Award – Healthy Active Living 2010-2011
John McCrae Secondary School Bulldog Pride Award – awarded to one student at each grade level who demonstrated the achievement of a goals that are in keeping with the spirit of Bulldog Pride such as exemplary citizenship, academic perseverance, co-operation and commitment.
I was especially proud of these awards since I had to work so hard to keep my marks up as well as all the extra training while I prepared for the World Championships.
It was great to see so many of my friends get their awards too. Our school has such an amazing reputation for their great academic, music and athletic programs. It gives everyone a chance to do what they’re good at.
October 27, 2011
The Seminar was over and most people had either left by car or caught their flights home but we had a few more hours left in Halifax so we wanted to see as much as we could. For details on the seminar look at the two previous posts.
My legs were so sore and tired from the seminar. Walking around was probably the best thing to loosen up the muscles. I had no idea how hilly Halifax was. I’m not sure which was worse – going up or going down the steep hills Everywhere we went there seemed to be stairs too.
I’m studying all the wars in history class so it felt real walking around the fort and imagining what the soldier’s life would have been like back then. It’s so much more powerful to see in person how the soldiers lived than reading about it in a book.
There were tour guides in all the rooms to explain what the living conditions were like.
Seeing all the uniforms and weapons from the Korean War reminded me of my conversation with Master Lajeunesse the night before and how the soldiers would have felt in combat and how each defensive movement in Taekwon-Do was developed and it’s origin.
Seeing all the equipment and gear that was used made me appreciate that fact that I live now and not back then.
For lunch we ended up back downtown but we were right next to a demonstration. These people were camping out and living in the park protesting. They had everything set up with food tents, sleeping tents, entertainment and lots of petitions to make their point.
Good Bye Halifax. It was such a great learning experience not only in the IIC Seminar but also just learning about another Province and meeting so many new people. Thanks Mr. Lim for travelling with my mom and me.
October 26, 2011
In a seminar atmosphere there is a constant question and answer format just like in school. The instructors never make you feel uncomfortable with your questions. They know that we are all there to learn and improve. Chances are someone else in the room has the same question anyway.
The self-defense portion taught by Grand Master Morano was very intense and so much fun since you never get to do this anywhere else. I learned so much! When I learn all these self-defense tips, I feel alot safer.
All the self defense drills that we did were what you would use in real life if you had to protect yourself. It’s not same as you would do in competitive sparring. I was able to work with Mr. Ripley and that was a big high light for me since he is so knowledgeable in that area and showed me extra techniques. As a girl it helps my confidence when I know that I can protect myself if necessary. They kept stressing -You learn to fight, so you don’t have to fight.
There were so many highlights of the seminar and the social parts of the weekend but the last night ended on a high note when a group of us had our last dinner at the Five Fishermans Restaurant. I was so happy to be with friends from Quebec, Connecticut, and Alberta. I was especially excited to sit beside Master Lajeunesse from Quebec who is also a psycho-sociologist and we discussed his latest articles that were published on the impact of how TKD patterns can be a way of communication and a way to realize things about yourself that you didn’t even know. His concepts are really interesting and I wanted to learn more from him. I was able to have an amazing conversation with him and I really enjoyed myself. I still keep thinking about our conversation and how I can apply his concepts.
I didn’t want the night to end. Everyone was so fun and interesting. It was all amazing!
October 26, 2011
I was extremely excited to attend my first IIC Seminar. Grand Master Morano from Argentina, Grand Master Lan from Germany, Master Laquerre from Quebec City and Master Norman from Saskatchewan were the four instructors for the 2 day seminar. There were also 7 other masters from different parts of Canada and the States who participated in the seminar. Wow, you could not ask for more qualified and experienced TKD practitioners in one room. What an honour to be able to train and be instructed by these gentlemen!
Seminars are normally for your own benefit on how to perfect your patterns and teach you different sparring techniques.
The IIC (International Instructor’s Course) is different. It’s like a teacher in teacher’s college. We were taught how to teach things to someone else. We learned how to break things down so beginners don’t get overwhelmed. The drills were taught in a way that when we go back to our own dojangs we can be better instructors and use the new drills to keep things exciting. One of the most important things for me as a competitor is to have the same standards in all schools so the judges can mark fairly and accurately since everyone has the same instruction.
I loved having my seniors watch and critique my patterns. In some ways it’s harder than competition since your pattern is observed from all angles and they have so much experience. There really is no better way to learn. I wasn’t nervous at all.
Master Norman gave so many drills for warm up, cool down, cardio and fitness to use in our own dojangs. Some of them were so hard since I’ve never done them before but I find it so much fun pushing myself. We were all cheering for each other
Hiltz Taekwon-do did an amazing job organizing such a great seminar and they were the perfect host and hostess. Thank you!
October 26, 2011
I went to my first Taekwon-Do IIC (Internatioal Instructors Course) in Halifax. I absolutely love to travel and experience new places and meet new people through different sports. Since it was so far away, my mom, one of my instructors Mr. Lim and I flew to Nova Scotia the day before the seminar started so we could get settled and see some of the sights.
Of course we had to go to Peggy’s Cove. The drive from the airport was beautiful with lots of little inlets of water, colourful houses and fishing boats.
The waves came in so fast it was hard to hold a pose
By the time we left our faces and lips were covered in salt from the ocean spray.
Once we made it back to the hotel several other people had arrived (including my Head Instructor Mr. LeGrow). It was great to see everyone again. A large group of us went downtown for dinner near the waterfront. Most people were extremely tired from either a long drive or flight so we didn’t go to bed too late. We knew we had a huge weekend ahead of us and I wanted to be as rested as possible for it. GREAT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 24, 2011
John McCrae had 4 more straight basketball wins. As a team we were pleased since it meant that we will be going into the playoffs.
However, at last Wednesday’s game I had a heavy heart, since we played against A.Y. Jackson High School. Right before the game was the visitation for one of their students (Jamie Hubley) who had taken his own life because of the combination of bullying and depression.
Hearing of his death personally hit me very hard! I had just met Jamie’s dad, Kanata Councillor Allan Hubley a few weeks back at a BBX Taekwon-Do fundraiser where some of the proceeds went to the Ottawa Mental Health Hospital. The irony of this was too much for me. I just felt numb.
There was a spokesperson at the fundraiser who talked about how important it is to speak openly about Depression and other Mental Illnesses especially for teens since the suicide rate for teens and young adults has rapidly increased. Depression and Mental Illnesses are not only for older people and there should be no shame attached to it.
I keep thinking about the pain that Jamie’s poor parents and family are going through. I never knew Jamie, but I keep remembering how kind Councillor Hubley was at the fundraiser and how important the fundraiser was too him. Families who have lost their children like this need so much support to help them carry on.
The game was so weird. No one on either team wanted to be playing. The girls from A.Y. Jackson were having trouble holding back the tears since they just came from the visitation and some girls on our team knew Jamie as well. There was an eary silence and hush in the gym. No one cheered since it would have been disrespectful for our visiting team. I couldn’t wait for it to be over since my heart was not in it at all. It just didn’t feel right.
I get so upset when I think that life is so bad for some people that they feel the only thing they can do is to take there own life. Although it’s very nice to hear everything good about people after they die, I really think that if we all told people the good things about them while they are alive, then it wouldn’t come to this. Being a teenager myself I know how cruel and hard it can be in school if you don’t feel like you fit in. I know I am very lucky that my sports have given me good self esteem and lots of confidence but everyone still has the same desires of wanting to be accepted and loved.
I challenge everyone to say at least one good, kind and positive thing to someone everyday so everyone feels that life is worth living. Last Thursday we had to wear purple to show our respect for the 7 teen deaths that happened in the last year in Ottawa. Hopefully with all the media about bullying something will actually get done and eventually there will be zero tolerance for it. We can all make a difference.
Check out this great website www.youknowwhoiam.com to see things that can and are being done.
Hopefully with celebraties and athletes like Daniel Alfredsson who help this campaign, people will take more attention.
Please everyone, join my challenge – Let’s make a difference so no other parent has to lose their child or no one has to lose their best friend at a young age. This is just not right!!!
October 8, 2011
I have watched UFC fighters on TV for years with my dad, but I never thought I would ever actually get to train with one, let alone meet one. Today, I met one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, Rich Franklin. He taught a seminar at 100% Martial Arts. I was told about the seminar a couple weeks ago when I was a guest at Black Belt Excellence. I think it’s so important to put yourself in new environments and challenge yourself. You never know who you will meet or what you will learn. I only did the striking portion of the day because the grappling portion doesn’t apply to TKD.
I am always looking for opportunities to grow as a martial artist. I went to this seminar to learn more about striking because my kicks are my strength in sparring and I am always trying to improve with my hand techniques.
You know you’ve made it big when you have your own line of merchandise
It was very surreal shaking hands with such an awesome fighter.
I went with my training buddies, Miro, Alana, and Diego. I love training with these guys! It’s also really nice to have another girl to train with.
Mr. Franklin was very thorough and easy to understand. I have been to many World Class Seminars in the past few years and they all seem to follow the same structure of teaching and showing by example and then we get to have hands on practice
I concentrated really hard since it was the first time I have ever been to anything MMA related and I wanted to make sure I understood.
Seeing all the different ‘fighting’ gear was all new to me.
I had a great time today and I learned a lot. It was such an honour meeting Rich Franklin. I never thought that I would ever get to train with a UFC fighter so it was such a special moment.
Attending different seminars like that has made me think that someday after I have a few more World Championships under my belt I would like to run seminars myself. The idea of traveling all over the world, meeting new people and teaching Taekwon-do, would be incredible. TKD is a sport that brings people all around the world together. I’ve never been to a TKD seminar that was given by a woman so it would be interesting to see if as many people would go or take it as seriously. Who knows, it might open the door for more women to attend. I have so many opportunities in front of me, I am really curious and excited to see what I am going to be doing when I’m older.
October 7, 2011
Monday we played against West Carleton and it was such a fun games. We ended up winning with a 2 point lead but it was so close throughout the whole game. I loved the pressure and I think we played well as a team. It was only our third game together so we are still learning our plays and trying to get some team rhythm.
Wednesday we played Franco Ouest and we lost by 5 points. It was our first loss but we played better in the second half. Having two coaches is great since they both have different approaches to the game so you learn from both of them. Our team has so much fun together. It’s a good mix of experienced club players and some brand new players.
Thursday we played in an exhibition tournament against Div 1 and OFSAA teams. Wow, what a difference! We are a Div 2 team. We got completely dominated It was actually really good for us since we knew we didn’t have a chance so it gave us an opportunity to try new things. Yes, I stress the word ‘ TRY’ new things Since they were exhibition games it didn’t hurt our standings but it was good to get more practice. Our team really improved just by playing against stronger teams. It’s like in TKD when you train with better people, you always improve.
I’ve have never felt so short in all my life. Im the game against Nepean High School my job was to cover one of their tallest players I ended fowling out in the 4th quarter I hardly ever get fouls so it was weird.
These girls just towered over me and there was nothing I could do.
Mr. Wilson from Cedarview Middle School came to watch which was really nice of him. He said he was happy and proud that he had coached most of our team when we were in middle school with them. Thanks for coming out Mr. Wilson.
We played much better in the second game against LDHS even though we didn’t have a break between the two games. It was nice to see some players on the other team that I knew from soccer and other sports. It was a fun tournament and we weren’t upset with the losses. We were just happy to play and get more experience. Next week we only have one game but it’s a game in our league and division. I’m really looking forward to it!
October 2, 2011
I’m so used to being in my comfort zone with Taekwon-do and now that I’m trying a completely new sport I find myself feeling like a White Belt all over again. Everything is new, exciting, awkward, and confusing. I have to start at the very beginning to get a good foundation of the basic movements before I get ahead of myself.
I had the most amazing training morning with Former Olympian Bill Heikkila and 6 time National Champion, Dominique Bilodeau. We started by looking at some of my photos on his computer to look at my form. I had no idea just how technical throwing the Javelin was. Just like in TKD patterns everything has to be precise to be correct. Everything right down to where my eyes should be focused. Thankfully I’m a perfectionist and I love being critiqued since I know that is the only way I’m going to learn. It kept hitting me how lucky I was to be getting this private training with these two amazing athletes when I’m just a beginner !!! How cool is that?
Being in Bill’s home office was so impressive with the Olympian Memorabilia, framed Newspaper articles and Coaching Awards. I am surprised and very thankful they want to coach me. Dominique has trained with Bill for over 10 years so they have a great working relationship.
Dominque is just returning after three years of injuries and surgeries. She was extremely nice and she explained things in a way that I know I will remember. As soon as I told her I spoke french everything seemed easier and her passion for the javelin really came out. I know Javelin is new to me but I think we have a lot in common and we both know what it takes to achieve our goals. She has some big Javelin goals herself so that will help knowing that we are both motivated.
I need to be shown proper technique from where my eyes should be right down to where my feet should be. Throwing the javelin really does use the whole entire body but a strong core is essential. I’m thankful I’ve spent so many years doing millions of situps Bill doesn’t let any small detail go un-noticed.
So many of the movements feel awkward since they aren’t things you do in your everyday life. It’s amazing that I was able to feel the difference between doing it properly or not just after a couple hours.
Dominque was great for really guiding my body to do the correct form. My main goal was to be able to ‘feel’ the proper technique so I can practice on my own. I know I’m going to have a lot of hours praciticing on my own so I just want to make sure I’m practicing things properly.
I had no idea how expensive Javelins are. My school has lent me one to practice with and then Dominque blew me away by lending me two of hers until I see her again. That was so generous of her. I promise I will take good care of them. She has special ‘Training’ javelins. They are softer so when you throw repeatedly it’s not as hard on your arm and joints. I want to take advantage of the next month to train outside. before the ground gets too cold and hard. I also have to get Javelin shoes. I didn’t even know there was such a thing or where to get them. Man I have a lot to learn
Then I tried to do what she did. It was good to have her there since women throw a bit differenly from men since our centre of gravity is different. Our body shape is quite similar too which makes it easier to mirror her.
Bill likes to push me and I thrive when I’m challenged! It’s the best way to coach me. He said “Kayla go throw 30 metres” so I did – well almost It actually pleased me since it was almost what my PB was and I wasn’t sure if that was a one time fluke. I know with their training I will improve.
I didn’t want the session to end. I think they were worried about me getting overwhelmed or tired but to be honest I was just getting warmed up and wanted to do it all day. It’s fun to be challenged like this. I told my mom in the car ride home that I want to win at OFSAA next Spring. It’s nice to have a something to work towards and it would be nice to win it for my high school too!!!
Thanks Bill and Dominique for giving up your Saturday morning to be with me. I loved it! You are both very inspiring!