November 27, 2011
Today’s tournament at Blackburn TKD was a huge success because competitors came from: Trigger’s TKD, Freedom TKD, Winning Circle, Kou’s TKD, ARCAN TKD, Ashbury College TKD, Choquette TKD and Gatineau TKD. For some, it was their first tournament so they were very excited and for others it was a chance to prove to themselves that their training paid off. Having said that, I always hope that the beginners know that they can’t let the decision of 5 judges make them feel good or bad about themselves. They should feel proud how they performed no matter what the judges say. It doesn’t feel good to win if you know you could have done better. And if you lose but know you did your very best, then you should still feel proud. These tournaments are to help build confidence and good sportsmanship so when it comes to larger competitions you are prepared both mentally and physically. It’s all a learning experience!
I missed the morning part of the tournament since I was at soccer practice but I raced to the dojang as soon as I could. Unfortunately the kids that I’ve been instructing had all finished and I was disappointed that I wasn’t there for them. They knew I had to be at soccer but I still felt bad. I was at least glad to see the older kids/adults in the afternoon. It felt weird being there and not competing myself! I miss the adrenaline of competition. I can’t wait for my next big tournament March 31st.
Mr. LeGrow gave one of the students Greg, an award for “Indomitable Spirit”. Greg is 37 years old with Downs Syndrome and earlier this year he lost his dad to cancer and three weeks ago his mom died as well. Greg has never missed a day of work or training this whole time and is a big part of the school.
We always go out to celebrate for dinner as a big group. It’s a great way to get to catch up with everyone from other schools.
It was also great to spend some time with Clement Goh from Singapore. I rolled my ankle last week at soccer so I’ve had to rest it all week and not do any sports at all. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to train with him while he was here but it was still nice just being with him.
As usual it’s always great to spend time with Mr. Lim. I feel like I have this group of big brothers watching out for me. We all have a special bond and history after all the hours we spend training together.
November 19, 2011
I had the biggest and nicest surprise when I walked into the dojang today. My friend and coach Mr. Clement Goh was visiting from Singapore. I haven’t seen him in almost two years when he moved back to Singapore to join their army, and I’ve missed him so much. He is here for 10 days so I’m really looking forward to training with him as much as possible while he’s here.
Next weekend our dojang is having a tournament and one of the students asked me to help her with her pattern and sparring so she really feels prepared so I went in after the classes were over to give her some individual attention. I remember how important it was when Jonathon Martel and Max Riopelle helped me before tournaments when I was her age. There is so much to think about at tournaments so it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
We started by covering the TKD etiquette of how to approach the judges and other ring policies. I got her to visualize where the judges and the spectators will be sitting are and where to start and stop the patterns. All the little details make you feel more confident so you can actually enjoy the tournament and focus on the more important things.
Timing and rhythm are so important to patterns in competition. You need to show charisma. We talked about how the expression ‘float like a butterfly but sting like a bee’ applies to Taekwon-Do. You have to have the combination of grace plus the strength at the right time.
I was really impressed how hard Katie worked and how focused she was. I did some specific drills to help with certain movements. When I work on a pattern I like to break it up in sections and focus on each part in lots of details and then put it all together at the end.
I love coaching one-on-one to give the individual attention that you just can’t give when you instruct a large class. I like the hands-on approach to help others and that is also how I like to be coached no matter what the sport.
A lot of people get really nervous to spar in tournaments so I feel it’s important to cover the point system so they know what they are working towards. Most people are afraid of hurting someone or they’re afraid of getting hit themselves. I remember when I was Katie’s age I stopped sparring completely for a couple years since I was too afraid but now I love it. It’s all about practice. The more you practice the more confident you become. The more confident you are, the more fun, exciting and challenging sparring is. It’s like a big chess game with so much strategy.
It was also important for Katie to get used to being hit so she realizes that she will be fine. That is also why there is a centre referee so the kids don’t get hurt. We talked a lot about breathing techniques in sparring so when you get kicked or punched in the stomach it doesn’t hurt as much.
I really enjoyed my time today and I hope it will help her next week. I miss competing a lot but at least I feel a part of it if I’m able to help someone else out. My next big tournament is in March in Connecticut and I can’t wait for it.
November 17, 2011
Whether I’m working on a new Taekwon-do pattern, a new soccer drill, or a new basketball play, there are times when it gets frustrating since it’s not going the way I want and then all of sudden it hits me………….a EUREKA moment. I had a Eureka moment tonight at the track. I’ve been loving my Javelin training since there is so much to learn and it’s so challenging. At the beginning of the training session I felt that my throwing was off. It was especially disappointing since Bill had sent me videos of these specific drills to watch and I spent a lot of time looking them so I thought I was going to do better. Knowing and doing are two very different things
Then all of a sudden, my coach Bill made some minor tweaking with my arm position and then it happened………..my EUREKA moment. Suddenly everything just felt ‘right’. My throws were instantly feeling better and felt more comfortable. When you throw inside the dome you can’t measure your distance since the javelin has a rubber stopper on the end so it doesn’t stick in so it doesn’t hurt the turf or break the javelin. We do alot of throwing into this huge net, but I can still tell that I was doing better. I just want to focus on the technique and the distance will come. I may not always show my emotions on the outside but I was doing a little ‘happy dance’ in my head
Sometimes people ask me why or how I train so much with all the different sports that I do, and the reason is simple. I live for the rush I get when I break through a challenge and everything ‘clicks’. AHHHH EUREKA!
November 12, 2011
Last week John McCrae played against Mother Theressa in the first game of the playoffs. It was a tough game since we were winning at the end of the first half, tied at the end of the 3rd quarter and then lost 41-38. Just goes to show that anything can happen in basketball. It could have gone either way throughout the game so everyone was pushing really hard. Unfortunately it means that our season is over. I had so most fun with this team even though basketball is definitely not my strongest sport! The girls were all amazing and we all tried our best.
The coaches were so helpful in practices and we learned so much. I liked their different approaches since we got the best of both worlds. Thanks to John Gartley, Kevin Lemenchick and Mr. Toms for volunteering all your time. It was really appreciated by everyone.
It was sad looking up at the final score board. I’m also very sad that our star player and now friend Ally Lemenchick won’t be on the team next year since she will be graduating. It’s good that there were a lot of grade 9 and 10′s on the team to develop even more next year. Thanks everyone for a great season!
November 10, 2011
Well, it’s official…. I signed up with Ottawa Lions Club this week to be coached by Bill Heikkila. I had my first INDOOR training session on Tuesday night andt it was so interesting to be in that environment !!! It was great to see Dominique Biladeau again too. She is the 6 time National Women’s Champion and I think our personalities work well together. Thomas Scholossmacher, a grade 12 student was also there to train. He has a lot of experience and was good at showing me some new drills. It’s great to meet some really nice yet serious athletes who work hard on their skills. Since it’s an individual sport it’s so important that we are all self-disciplined to train and improve but it will be so much more fun when there are others doing the same thing. A lot of the drills work better when you have a partner. I think that circuit training is probably my favourite thing to do no matter what sport/drill I’m doing it for. Plus it’s just fun to motivate each other. It’s very similar to Taekwon-Do in that sense. You get out, when you put into it.
I had a chance to throw the javelin with Bill and if felt great! It’s nice that you don’t have to think about the weather or the wind when you throw indoors. The indoor javelins are really cool with a rubber tip at the end so it doesn’t jab into the turf. There is also the running strip and a huge net that you can throw the javelin into so you can keep your form even in the winter months.
The three of us did a lot of work using weights, disks and medicine balls for core strengthening. They also have stationary bikes and different apparatuses for training. All this strength training is only going to help with all my other sports as well. I love cross training and I truly believe that is what helps keep you injury free!!!!
At the end of the session Bill made me do a standing long jump test. Apparently according to all the research done in Finland there is a direct correlation between how far you can jump and how far you can throw. He will be helping me improve on my jumping to improve my throwing. Bill keeps the most detailed records of everything. He can remember facts and dates like no one else I’ve ever met. He is so passionate about Javelin.
As I looked around the dome I got so excited seeing all the different athletes and what they were doing. Everyone was working so hard and doing really cool stuff. I just wanted to try everything
I went directly to taekwon-do afterwards since it’s right up the street and its a good thing I did! My body needed to do the activities that it was used to again and to also have a really good stretch. We used so many different muscles in the javelin training and I didn’t want to be too sore the next day.
I also did a lot of yoga when I got home at 11:00 pm to help stretch everything out and slow me down so I could sleep.
November 5, 2011
It was off to Carleton University today to do our team physical testing as the first winter training session. The first test was a timed sprint and then the second test was what they call a ‘yo-yo’ test. Basically it’s a series of suicides that keep getting faster and faster similar to the ‘beep’ tests. If you don’t keep up with the timer then you have to stop. It’s the first time I’ve done one and it was a tough challenge, but not horrible. Our team hasn’t had any soccer since the beginning of September so I was really glad that I’ve been continuing with the Taekwon-Do, basketball, and track to keep in shape.
This winter season will be interesting since there are 5 new girls on the team so the dynamics of the team will be different as well as having a new coach. In the Spring there will be another try-out since they will have to cut some girls since they are carrying so many for the winter training. It just means that every practice will be really important so we don’t get cut in the Spring for the real Summer season. We will have lots of soccer games in Montreal over the winter which will be awesome. The team will be working really hard for the next two months to get ready for the Show Case Tournament held in Florida over the Christmas Holidays.
I’ve really missed playing soccer and kicking the ball so it will be fun next week when our actual practices start. I’m so excited and it’s also going to be great getting to know the new players .
November 2, 2011
We finished off our last two games of the season with two more wins leaving us 9-1 in the regular season. This season has been so much fun and I don’t want it to end. We work as a team so well. Maybe it’s because everyone knows that we are all playing our very best and don’t want to let each other down or the coaches and teachers that have given so much of their time. It’s great that there are grade 9′s right up to grade 12′s on the team so it a wide mixture of players. We all take it seriously but at the same time we have a blast. I love this team. We have a great mix of personalities and humour so each game or practice, it’s always an experience. The coaches (Mr. Kevin Lemenchick and Mr. John Gartley) have been awesome and we wouldn’t have had a team without Mr. Toms volunteering his time either. We also had a great student teacher (Jessica) with us all season but she had to go back to Queen’s to continue her schooling. She did promise that she would drive back to visit when/if we’re in the finals.
At today’s away game there was a lot more energy in the gym than usual from the other spectactors and it was tough to stay focussed and not get too rattled with all the yelling and commotion. As the game progressed, I was really impressed with how we were able to settle down and get our composure even as the game got physically rougher. We were able to move the ball quickly and make the right decisions. Our shooting was a lot better too.
We will get in as much practice time as possible before our first playoff game next Thursday. Wish us luck. Go Bulldogs!