March 30, 2012
Everyday there was something new and amazing this week !
When I got back to school on Monday I was told that I won the Oscar award for ‘Canada’s Next Gold Medalist’. I missed the red carpet award ceremony on Friday since I was in Trois Rivieres at the TKD Canadian Eastern Championships. It’s basically just a fun event to build school spirit. All the students nominate each other for wacky categories. Some of the categories were as crazy as ‘most likely to be Politician’, ’most likely to be Canada’s Top Model’, ’Best Facial Hair’, ’Most likely to be a millionaire’, ’most likely to be the next Canadian Idol’ and a bunch more.
I applied and was selected to be part of the LINK Crew at JMSS. It’s a program designed to help new grade 9 students as they start high school. All the feeder schools coming to JMSS next year came for a day to see what our school is like. The LINK Crew leaders were all given a group of grade 8 students for the day. We had to give them a tour of the school, we answered all their questions about high school and did a bunch of ‘ice-breaker’ exercises to make them feel more comfortable. In the afternoon they watched the show of our high school play called ‘Back to the 80′s. There will be a lot more work to do with the LINK Crew and if you do a good enough job with them during grade 10 and 11, then you can apply to for credited course in grade 12. This is a good course if you want a career that involves organizing events, counselling and dealing with people. I am so excited about being a part of this program!
BACK TO THE 80′s MUSICAL
I was part of the stage crew. I would have loved to be in the play but the cast has been rehearsing since October for it. I gained so much respect for these guys. They rehearsed and practiced more than most teams do for their sports. Their rehearsal hours and practicing on their own time is insane. I loved being a part of it even if it was in a very small way. I learned so much about what is involved in producing a play and I made some great friends. I was teased by so many people since they weren’t used to seeing me in this type of thing but I really don’t care!!! I had a blast and loved every second. There is a musical side to me that is coming out more and more. I love to play the guitar, write songs and sing. It’s just something that I’ve kept to myself but now I’m feeling more comfortable about performing in public. Our school has been great for that. My guitar teacher Mr. Stoodley is awesome at pushing you out of your comfort zone and my drama teacher Ms.Simards is amazing. We had 4 shows this week so the hours were really long. The cast has a huge amount of talent both in acting and singing. Great job guys!
Everyone did a great job but I have to admit I was so happy and proud of one of my best friends Kelsey Hayes. I was so excited to hang out with her back stage and share the experiene with her. I love seeing her perform. She puts in as many hours with her vocal lessons of all different styles and drama lessons every week all year around as I do with my sports. She pushs herself past her limits and comfort zone and I admire her confidence and presence on stage. She has huge dreams and goals and I know she will be able to achieve them. SHOW THE WORLD KELSEY
Kelsey and I are actually working on a music project together but I’m keeping that a secret until later…… it’s going to be amazing!
More Powerful Words
I’ve actually started to wear another new bracelet too!
‘Difference Maker’ means that you are willing do to all the little things that are sometimes the hardest but those are the things that make the difference in your success. What are you willing to do to make the difference in your desired results? Do them! It’s also important to make a difference in other peoples lives just by being a nice person.
If you’ve done all the training (physically and mentally) and you’ve done all the ‘Diffference Makers’, then you have the confidence to actually enjoy what you do and you want to ‘Show the World’ and be proud of what you can do. It’s NOT a conceited thing at all!!! It’s the ability to enjoy it instead of stressing over it. When you enjoy something, you do it better. When you do things better, you tend to enjoy it more too If you are too stressed at competition then you are paralysed by fear. I learned these concepts while training with the TKD National Team sports psychologist last year and it really affected me. It’s amazing how a few little words can have such a huge impact on how you try to live everyday. Whenever I don’t feel like training I just look at my bracelet and I remember why I’m doing certain things. When ever I hear “show the world” I get a spark and fire in my heart and eyes. I like the colour orange since it’s an energized colour and it makes me happy.
I had a productive javelin training this week. I couldn’t make it to as many sessions as I would have liked since I had to be at the play every night until after 9:00 but I’ll make it up on the weekend. You can feel a difference in the dome these days. Outdoor track season is just around the corner so there are more people and energy is high at the track. I can’t wait to train outside again but the weather got so much colder suddenly so we were back inside. I love it when Bill sends us videos of our throws so we can see our own mistakes and also what we’re doing right. He is teaching us so many things that it’s hard sometimes to adapt to it all at once. Sometimes I feel like I take one step forward and then two steps back but I know it will improve in the long run. I’m just thankful he is patient with me. I’m really trying my best and I’m determined to get this!!!!
Track and Field also started in the mornings before school so that is good extra training time for me too. I will probably do the other throwing events for school track as well. I just hate the early morning practices since I get to bed so late every night.
Then the big event that I’ve been waiting for happened lol….. I learned the first of the three 3rd degree patterns. I was shocked that I learned the whole thing in one hour. Now I just have to spend the next few years perfecting it ( not that a pattern is ever completely perfect lol). I find myself going through the pattern in my head all day and I’ve even caught myself going through some of the motions as I walked down the halls at school. I’m so afraid that I’ll forget it. Mr LeGrow is away for a few days so I won’t be able to train with him again until next week. There is a huge TKD tournament in Connecticut this weekend that I really wanted to compete in but it gets too expensive to travel and compete in every tournament. I know most of the competitors from this tournament will be at the PanAm’s in June as well so I will see them then. Good luck everyone!
Although it’s been hard to balance the time to do everything I knew it was only for a couple weeks. Even though this week was absolutely exhausting… I am so glad I got to be involved with all these things because it’s all about the expereince and I really did enjoy every minute of it! Next week things will be back to normal and I have to get caught up with my actual school work
March 27, 2012
It felt very weird not competing at such a large tournament but since I just received my 3rd degree last week I haven’t learned my new patterns yet. It gave me the opportunity to coach as well as judge more without the pressure of competing that afternoon as well. I love travelling to tournaments and seeing my friends and senior instructors from all parts of Canada. I think it’s really important that we all think of ourselves as Team Canada right now instead of individual provinces since the PanAmerican Championships are right around the corner. The PanAms are going to be huge with countries like the US, Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico and of course Argentina. There is going to be some really good competition from these strong countries.
The Eastern’s were a sanctioned event so the major discussion throughout the entire weekend was the next World Championships. It was announced that the date has been changed from June 2013 to October 2013. This was very upsetting to so many of the juniors (under 18 years old) since it meant that some of them would no longer qualify as a junior and would have to try to qualify in the adult division. Now you have to be under 18 years old on the date of the competition. They also added a new weight category which is good since there is such a huge range. They also reduced the amount of competitors in the junior division and increased the competitors allowed in the senior division. I feel bad for the people that are really affected by these decisions but I’m sure there are good reasons for everything. I just want to wait to see everything in writing so I know it’s official. I’m sure there will be more changes over the next few months so I’m just going to train hard in the meantime and wait for the final word from my instructor.
I judged all morning and then I had fun coaching all afternoon. After I warmed up some of the competitors it made me really want to compete myself.
I had such a nice weekend seeing my friends and being in an environment that I love so much! It makes me really excited for the next few years.
March 22, 2012
Wow, what a great afternoon. I finally got the chance to throw my new javelin outside!!!! This week and next week are extra busy with school activities which hasn’t allowed me to train at all. I have to admit I was exhausted and really sore after my TKD test last weekend so a few days off was probably good for me. I can still hardly hold my pencil to write after all the knife hand breaks and my right foot is still really bruised from the board breaking in my test.
When Bill offered to come to my school during my lunch hour to get in some Javelin training I jumped at the opportunity. It was soooo thoughtful of him since he knew that I couldn’t make it to the evening training sessions this week. It felt really different throwing outside again. Bill had some new warm up and throwing drills for me. I loved the feeling of running fast on my run up and then just letting it go. Controling the speed is the hardest part. It’s probably the most frustrating sport and it takes a lot of patience… I love it I can’t wait until the next time I get to throw. For now, when I am throwing on a field I cant wear my spikes so it feels awkward going back to running shoes.
My dad came to video my training so Bill could critique it. He uses an overlay with a ‘stick man’ so I see if my form is right. I always find that analysing videos is a great way to make corrections.
Thanks again Bill for coming out. I REALLY appreciated it. Once the school play is over at the end of next week I will be back to my regular training sessions. I miss my routine of training Track at school starts next week and I am really excited! I have a few other friends who are going to try javelin this year. It should be lots of fun.
March 18, 2012
Today was the final part of my 3rd degree test. I can honestly say that I’ve never studied so hard for any test in my entire life. I have been studying for weeks and during the March break I never left my room. I just memorized the TKD encyclopedia, went over each movement in all the patterns and researched the history and philosophy of Taekwon-Do. I am one of the youngest 3rd degrees in Canada so I wanted to prove to my seniors and to Mr. LeGrow that I am ready to be a 3rd degree, both physically and mentally. Each degree has it’s own new responsibilities and expectations in and out of the dojang.
I was still really sore from my physical test 48 hours ago. Normally you have a one week break between the two tests but I wanted to get it done during the March break. Today’s written test was about 2 hours long. I felt very ready for the questions but you never know what to expect since there is so much theory that can be asked. At the end of the test there was a long essay question which could have been answered in so many different ways so that was a challenge.
As soon as I finished the written test I started to warm up for my technical test. The first part consisted of doing various fundamental movements and combinations at Mr. LeGrow’s command. I really had to focus and concentrate on what he was asking me to do since the movements were in different sequences than normal. The whole purpose is to show that I know the names and proper application of the movements outside the patterns.
I had to do all the patterns on my own time and then he asked me to do 5 of them by count and stating every movement name and application. I also had to recite the meaning of the pattern, and the number of movements in each one. I was really happy with this portion since I felt very prepared.
Studying for this test was so much better than previous tests since I really took the time to research and understand the meanings of the patterns and different aspects in the encyclopedia instead of just memorizing it. I found everything so interesting so it made if satisfying and things were easier to remember.
That portion took about 2 hours and I was pretty tired at that point but I knew I had to get ready for the sparring portion. Joey Bussat, Tim Roland and Jason Anderson all came to spar with me. I had 7 one minute rounds without any breaks. It was hard but I had a lot of fun. Then I had to have 3 rounds with 2 men against me at the same time. These men are all skilled and bigger than me so it was challenging. I wasn’t scared at all which is half the battle in these kinds of situations.
The final portion was my lesat favourite. Power Breaking. I started with 36 boards and I had to break them all doing different kicks and knife hands. My first kick didn’t go well and it threw me off and it REALLY hurt. I had to shake it off (literally) and continue. My next kick was good and then I was fine to keep going. By the time I was done, all I wanted was ice for my hands and feet!
I feel sore from head to toe and mentally exhausted from this whole experience but I couldn’t be more proud or happy. It was all worth it. Now it’s time to move forward and learn my 3rd degree patterns and get ready for the PanAm Championships in June!
Thank you Mr. LeGrow for giving me such a challenging test and thank you Mr. Lim for always being there for support. It really means a lot to me.
As usual my mom took hundreds of pictures and videos. I’ll put them on a link once I get some sleep I think I need to take a few days off to rest!
March 17, 2012
Yesterday was part 1 of my 3rd degree test. I’ve never done a Taekwon-Do test at an indoor track before but it worked out really well! I train several hours a week at this track so I felt very comfortable and since the test was on a Friday morning, I basically had the whole place to myself.
I was surprised how easy I found the run. I just listened to my favourite music and kept a steady pace. I knew I had to pace myself since I had about 2 hours of straight physical endurance ahead of me.
It was amazing that my friend Kevin Frost showed up to train at the track at the same time. I only met Kevin a year ago right before the World Championships but we keep in touch and follow each others events and training. He is one of the most inspiring and motivational people I know. Kevin is deaf and blind and competes at the National and International level for Long Track Speed Skating, Indoor Rowing and Track. His vision is like looking through a pin hole. Just last week we were talking and he was telling me how excited he was about competing in Germany next week for the Long Track and then in May he is competing in Scotland for the first time ever Blind World Short Track. To find out more about Kevin look at his link. I believe the ‘right’ people come into your life at the ‘right’ time. It felt great to hear him cheer me on. I will certainly be cheering him on next week while he’s in Germany. Go Kevin!
As I watched Kevin race around the track it completely inspired me to do the very best that I could. Once the run was over I immediately started the skipping portion. I’m not sure why, but I absolutely love to skip and I can go forever. My feet were hurting A LOT. I had been pounding on the hard surface for so long and I’m used to the soft mats at the dojang. I had to do 2,000 skips in 25 minutes but I was happy that I finished in 20 minutes.
There were no breaks between each event so your body never got a chance to recuperate.
Sit-ups were next, I do those every day so it wasn’t bad.
At this point in the test I was actually feeling pretty good and then I had to face the dreaded burpees!!!!!! I hate them! First you jump straight up and then land on the ground in a push up position and then jump up again. I really didn’t feel well after those!
After the burpees my arms and legs felt like jello. Everything was tired and shaky from the 8km run, the 2,000 skips, 150 push-ups, 150 sit-ups and the 60 burpees.
By the time I got to the actual Taekwon-Do requirements my body just didn’t want to play anymore I was just happy to be able to finish all the requirements in the time frame. It’s funny how the kicking and punching drills that I do all the time were what I found the hardest.
It was also really special that Dr. Aiello came to watch the last part of my test. He was the one who took care of my ankle all winter and he knew how important this test was to me so it was nice that he could see me complete it. He was very good at keeping my priorities all winter so I would be able to test sooner than later. He works right out of the Pro Physio and Sport Medicine Centre here at the Louis Riel Dome. It was so funny how the staff waved to me every time I ran by their window on the track. These guys are amazing.
I know this is only part 1 of my test but it feels so good to get it over with so I can now focus on the written exam and the technical exam tomorrow. The physical test not only measures your physical endurance but also the mental endurance. Even when I was really tired at the end there was no way that I was going to stop before I had completed every thing in the time allowed. Thanks Mr. LeGrow for giving up your day to test me.
March 14, 2012
I was so happy to see Bill again back at the track. He was away last week teaching a javelin workshop in Pennsylvania for other high school and university students. I trained three times with my training buddies while he was away but I have to admit I really missed having Bill there. We worked on everything that he asked us to do so I think he was happy about that.
Today there were a lot of ‘eureka’ moments for me. First of all, Bill brought back a javelin for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s funny how excited I was about buying a stick!!!! I love it and now I will be able to throw outside whenever I want once the ground thaws.
Secondly it was the first time I wore my new javelin shoes. They felt amazing!!!! I was more confident throwing and my planting foot was a lot more stable. I had to get new indoor shorter spikes since the ones that came with my shoes are for outdoor. I’ve never needed a tool kit with a pair of shoes before I realize how lucky I am that my parents were able to buy these things for me and I really appreciate it. I want to get a job this summer so I can help with all these extra expenses. I’m lucky how supportive they are of all my sports.
We threw for about 2 hours and it really felt good. It was a challenge since Bill had all kinds of new drills from the work shop that he wanted us to try. I started out throwing really well and then he added some new foot work to emphasize certain aspects of the throw into the practice and that completely threw me off. Once I got the hang of it I had one of my best throws ever and it felt INCREDIBLE! Inside I was doing a little happy dance
My mom usually drops me off and then goes to work but I would love it if she could come and take some pictures of the group training since I would like them for my blog.
After javelin I went to taekwon-do to work on my patterns. I’ve realized that I’m stronger now and I have more power in my movements but I also have to make sure that I control all the strength and keep the beauty of the pattern. I love doing all this cross training and I am getting a lot stronger. My TKD training is helping my javelin and my javelin training is helping my TKD. I’m really happy!
It was a GREAT day for training!
March 10, 2012
Last week my parents and I went to the Martial Arts Open to find new people for me to train with. On Thursday I got to train with Mr. Wayne Thompson. He has a company called Core Plus Fitness. He loves to fight. He used to do ITF TKD, but is now doing multiple other types of martial arts including Mui Thai, Kung Fu, Judo and Karate. He is a 3x World Bronze medalist point fighting champion and a 5x Canadian point fighting champion.
I saw him fight at the tournament and was really excited to maybe get the chance to train with him. Mr. LeGrow invited him to come and have a private training session and it was a blast.
I was really impressed how he basically watched me spar for a while before he made any comments. Then he was very encouraging with confirming the things that I did properly and then he showed me drills for the areas that he thought I needed to work on. He was bang on with his assessment and he really knew his stuff. It’s great to have a different perspective from different martial arts. You never know who you’re going to be fighting so it’s important to learn as many different countering and attaching techniques as possible so you’re more prepared entering the ring. I love Wayne’s enthusiasm, humour and passion for sparring. It was contagious.
I felt out of my element in the sense that I wasn’t doing my normal sparring. I was trying to incorporate what he was teaching me so I was concentrating really hard. I’ve learned that I would rather look bad in a training session so I can TRY new things and then be good in competition when it counts!
This is just the beginning of my training and I am sooooo excited to work smart and work hard. I want to learn from as many people as possible since everyone has something of value to bring to the table. Thank you Mr. LeGrow for inviting Wayne and thank you Wayne for coming. I would really like to work with you more and I want one of the STROOPS training belts I am soooo pumped after the training session I can’t wait to do more stuff like this. After my injury, I have to admit it was tough getting back into things but watch out! I am back, motivated and hungry for success. This is going to be a crazy next few years It’s all about the experience!
March 10, 2012
Reading the TKD encyclopedia isn’t exactly ‘light reading’.
My friends (that don’t do TKD) are so surprised that I have to read, study, understand and memorize all the history of TKD. TKD is a ‘Way of Life’ and not just a sport. It’s important to really understand everything behind the art to fully be able to perform every aspect properly. There will be a two hour written portion of my test plus a 5 hour oral test which includes all the technical aspects like performing all the patterns, sparring, special techniques and power breaking, self-defense and step-sparring.
For my third 3rd degree test I have to be able to recite every single movement in every pattern. I have to know the name of the movement, what kind of movement it is, the stance and the motion.
I need to know the meaning behind each pattern, belt level and the philosophy of TKD.
Just holding this encyclopedia makes me appreciate the ‘art’ so much more. It gets you back to the basics and why we even study to be TKD practitioners.
I was so glad that I had the opportunity to meet General Choi (the founder of TKD) when I was only 8 years old right before he passed away. At that age I probably didn’t really appreciate how much his teachings would affect me. I actually have his signed picture hanging in my bedroom.
I’m glad I have this March break to study, read and physically get prepared for my test next weekend. I’ll be glad to get the 2 hour physical test over with first on Friday morning. I’m going to be able to do my 8km run at the indoor track where I train since it’s right beside the dojang and then all the other phyical drills will be done at the dojang right after.
March 9, 2012
Exactly one year ago today, I was on the podium twice with the Canadian flag on my shoulders for the individual events at the World Championships. Where has the year gone? When I look back at the whole journey, I get a warm feeling inside. My past 3 years have been full of absolute joy and love. The experiences I’ve had, the friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done, blow my mind. I never thought that this would all happen. I wake up every morning and am so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had. I could not have done any of it without the support of my family, friends and coaches. I want to take this opportunity to thank absolutely everybody that helped making my dreams come true. I am so appreciative of everything. I especially want to thank my parents. People sometimes wonder why I am always with them but its because they are the ones driving me day in and day out to all my events. I love having them there supporting me. It makes training and competing a lot easier knowing they are right behind me for support, advice, help or even just to give me a smile of wave. They are my best friends and I am so lucky to have the best parents in the world. I know they have made so many sacrifices for me. Without them…I wouldn’t be living the life I am now. I don’t think it’s possible to thank them enough for giving me this life full of….Nope, words can’t even describe it. I hope they know how much I appreciate every single thing they do for me.
These past years have been the best years of my life, but it’s just the beginning. New possibilities are presenting themselves, and these next few years are going to be even better! Who knows what will happen. I am just living life to the fullest and riding the wave. As long as I dream big, dare to be great, and put my heart and soul into everything, I will have incredible life changing experiences.
March 9, 2012
My javeline shoes finally arrived from the States and I can’t wait to try them but I’m going to wait until my coach Bill sees them to make sure I put the spikes in properly. It’s so weird (but it does make sense) that the two shoes are completely different since the planting foot needs more support and the pivoting foot needs more flextiblity. Now I just hope it makes a difference in my throwing ability