May 22, 2013
Day 2 – Nationals – Sparring and Team Selections
Last night the nerves and anxiety sunk in. I was really nervous for this tournament for a few reasons. Not only was I worried about how my elbow would hold up, but I was nervous for the actual competition. Last Nationals and Team Selection in Vancouver, I kind of dug myself a hole and needed to fight my way out. This time around I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. I found an empty room in the hotel and just went by myself to do some footwork and visualization. I also took a pad of paper. I sat there for a few hours and just wrote all my thoughts down on paper while I listened to my favourite music. After I went through my whole little routine I felt much better and had a great sleep. I had worked so hard for this and I had done everything I could have to make myself as prepared as possible. I knew that it was time “let go” and let my body do it’s job.
Mr. LeGrow’s division was first up to compete. It was incredible watching him spar since it was great motivation for me. I was so happy that he won the gold for sparring since I knew how important it was to him. He has put so much time in the sparring training and it paid off.
Then it was my turn and I was ready to go! It was so hard having people say that they were looking forward to my fights. I was touched that people wanted to see my progress, but it made me nervous because no one knew about my arm. I knew I wouldn’t be sparring the same as usual but I had put together a strategy with Mr. LeGrow that didn’t involve my arm.
My plan was to win the first two matches if possible and then maybe even forfeit the 3rd match if I was hurting. Mr. LeGrow knows me so well so he would know if I had had enough or not. I just wanted to qualify and didn’t want to risk more injury. Canada takes the top two competitors in each division. I was nervous in my first round since I just had to trust that my body would do what it needed to do so I could protect my arm. It felt so weird not punching so I had to use my legs more than ever. I did all my blocks with my good arm and turned my body to protect my injured arm. I was so relieved to win the first match. In the second match I actually fell once since the mats were so slippery. My body tucked my arm in to protect it and I landed flat on my side. It hurt and knocked the wind out of me, but it would have been worse if I had landed on my arm. I was able to continue.
After winning the first two rounds I knew I had qualified for Spain and I could have stopped but it never entered my mind to forfeit the 3rd round so I kept going. Fortunately my cardio is good so I was able to do a lot of footwork to get out of the way of my opponent. These girls are amazing fighters. I knew I had to score clean points and keep the distance so I wouldn’t have to use my hands.
I was so happy to win first place since I knew I was taking a huge risk to compete but I also knew that I would have always wondered if I hadn’t tried. I won the silver medal at the last World Championships in New Zealand but this time I am really working to bring home a gold in sparring from Spain.
I could not have gone into the ring without the support of my parents, Mr.LeGrow and the help of my doctors Dr. Aeillo and Dr. Noel De Tilly. Now it’s all about the healing process for the next few weeks/months to get ready for the training for Spain.
Congratulations to everyone who competed, and congratulations to everyone who qualified for the World Championships. The journey begins! Embrace every second and never take anything for granted!!!
Click on the image below for 250 Sparring images. You can download copies of the images for you own site and please share this page!
May 22, 2013
Day 1 National – Patterns and Selections
I am the only 3rd degree junior girl in Canada so I was told I was already selected for the Team Canada.
I have to admit at first it felt very weird receiving a medal when I didn’t actually compete that day but then it was pointed out to me that I have been training extremely hard for my whole life to make the team so it helped. My goal is to be a two time World Champion in Spain as a 3rd degree this time. I won the gold medal at the last World Championships in New Zealand as the 2nd degree.
The day was full of emotions. There has to be a winner and a loser and when there is so much at stake like qualifying for the World Championships the stress levels are extremely high. In the final round robin of 4 athletes, only the top two are selected for the Canadian team. You want to be so happy for those who qualified but then you also feel so bad for the ones who didn’t qualify. Every school and every province wants their students to win. I have friends all across Canada so I found the day very awkward.
On a personal note one of the highlights of the day for me was when one of my students competed in the coloured belt division. We’ve been working together privately for the last month to get him ready. Eight year old, Fritz gave 100% in every training and he improved dramatically. I was so proud of him. He won gold in patterns and the bronze in sparring. Seeing the huge smile on his face was magical for me. He was so proud of himself and he should be!
I was also sooooo happy that Mr. LeGrow won the silver medal in patterns. It just means that our training together over the next 5 months is going to be that much better!
Travelling to events like World Championships is so much more special when you have your good friends and training buddies with you. It’s what makes all the memories that much better. Last time Alex and I were the youngest Juniors and now we can help the new members.
Click on the image below for 350 Patterns images. You can download copies of the images for you own site and please share this page!
May 22, 2013
I was really looking so forward to competing at the Taekwon-do National Championships and the Selections for the National Team as well starting my high school Track season.
Things had been going so well in all my training. My TKD training was at it’s very best and I’d never felt more comfortable sparring and my patterns felt strong and crisp. In track I was consistently throwing the disc 10 metres further than last summer so I couldn’t wait until my first meet. I know my shot put really improved as well. I only had one outside javelin training so I don’t know my distances but I know it was a lot further than last summer.
Three weeks ago at track I was throwing the javelin. Everything was perfect. I wasn’t tired and I was throwing really well! Then I took one throw and I have no idea what happened but half way through a throw I heard a pop and my arm just gave out on me. I immediately went to the ER since I knew something was definitely wrong. I have a high pain tolerance and this was not good! It was such a fluke accident that I was absolutely puzzled.
I had an x-ray and an ultra-sound. Neither showed anything but they suspected a bad strain and a little bit of tearing in the pronator teres since there was so much pain. Only an MRI would determine anything for sure but that can take months to get an appointment.
I met with 3 different doctors hoping I would hear some good news but they all said the same thing and they all told me that I would not be competing at either Nationals or the track season. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.
I called my favourite physiotherapist Dr. Anthony Aiello who has taken care of me over the years and he saw me right away. He knows me well and knows how important these competitions mean to me. We started physio right away. I worked so hard everyday doing exactly what he told me to do. I also met with a sports medicine doctor, Dr. Noel De Tilly since I knew I couldn’t be stupid about things.
After getting all the facts and the risks I agreed that I would not compete in track since I simply can’t do the motions at all so my body made the decision for me. I also agreed that I would not compete at the TKD Nationals. However after a couple days I realized I could not live with the decision. I felt so lost. I was actually sick to my stomach thinking that I would not compete in sparring at the World Championships. I decided to risk it and compete with one arm.
I have worked everyday since the last World Championships preparing for these Nationals. My goal is to bring back a gold in Patterns and a gold in Sparring from Spain. I told Dr. Aiello, Dr. Noel de Tilley and my coach Mr. LeGrow my decision and they all agreed to work with me but I could tell they were nervous. Dr. Aiello did a great job taping my arm, writing letters to the CTFI Umpire Committee for approval of the tape and he kept changing my physio exercises. Dr. Noel De Tilly also made sure that I was ready mentally to get into the ring knowing that I would only have the use of one arm so she understood the dangers as well. Mr. LeGrow has worked on my foot work and strategy for so long with me that he had complete faith in my ability and was always reassuring.
Everyday I got stronger and everyone was surprised by my improvement. Three weeks ago I couldn’t even brush my own hair and getting dressed was a challenge. As time got closer to the Nationals my mom came and held the shields for me really late one night when the dojang was closed so I could see if I was able to punch at all. I wanted to see what I would be able to do in a fight if I had to. It was definitely only about 50% the strength of what it normally is so I knew I couldn’t count on it. I also knew that if I damaged the tears anymore that it might require surgery and I don’t have time to recover from that. I had to count on my kicks and block with only one arm. The other arm was going to have to be completely useless.
I promised my parents that if I didn’t feel good enough on the day of the competition I would not compete but I had to at least train as if I was going so I could stay mentally strong. It’s dangerous getting into the ring if you have doubts.
The hardest thing was not telling anyone about my arm since I didn’t’ want my competitors to know I was injured in case my arm became a target. I also kept getting emails from people asking why I haven’t been at track meets or other trainings but I didn’t want anyone to know.
It killed me missing out on the school track season since it was also my opportunity for OFSSA and I knew I was going to have a great season since the winter training was go good. I still helped coach all the throwers for the school team but I wanted to be throwing with them too. Not only am I disappointed but I also felt like I let my school down as well as my Club (Ottawa Lions Track and Field) coaches down since they put in so many hours all winter coaching me.
Our high school and community also had a huge tragedy last week. A friend (Rowan Stringer) that I’ve gone to school with since elementary school had an accident in rugby. She had a couple concussions within a week of tournaments and ended up in an induced coma and passed away from the head trauma. This also weighed very heavy on my mind and in my heart. I felt so bad for her and her family. We live in a small community where everyone knows everyone so it really affected all of us. At school everyone was so upset and the atmosphere was very somber. No one ever really knows how to deal with something like this. I didn’t want to be disrespectful but I knew I had to remove myself from the school since it was really affecting me. It also just reinforces how serious head injuries are and it’s something we have to think about as athletes especially in contact sports. I couldn’t go to Rowan’s visitation or her funeral since I was in Quebec City but my thoughts were still with my friends and her family back home. I wanted to know everything that was going on but I also knew I had to isolate myself for the weekend. I’m still in shock from it since I haven’t really dealt with it yet. I know it will hit me more when I get back to school and don’t see her.
April 29, 2013
Being the Camp Coordinator with Pujan Thakrar has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding school experiences. Every year John McCrae Secondary School holds a 2.5 day Leadership Camp and it’s organized by two selected grade 11 and 12 students. The camp allows 65 students (grades 9-12) to attend and there is an application process since there is such a demand for this amazing camp. I really think it’s programs like this that helps make our school stand out. The coolest part about the camp is that it is completely run and organized by students with the help and supervision of a few teachers. It’s fascinating being able to run a full camp successfully without that authority of teachers. That’s when you know that the students there are great people!
The application process was long to go through them, but they were absolutely incredible! I was inspired and touched by how much time, effort and creativity everyone put in to making them great. So many of the applications were great representations of who they were. By looking through the applications, we picked who would be delegates and which 10 students in grade 11 or 12 would be the Skill Builders. The applications required them to answer 5 specific questions about leadership.
Skill Builders-Students are the group captains. There are 2 captains for each team. They run the sessions and take care of their won group of 10 delegates.
Delegates: students who is part of each group.
The whole purpose of the camp is to have students work together in a safe, confidential and open environment where we can learn about ourselves and also learn how to work on our team building skills. We want to develop as many leaders (they come in all forms) as possible to make our school the best it can be. These leaders will transfer everything they’ve learned into all areas of their life. I’ve attended the camp for my first 2 years of high school and I loved it, so this was an exciting opportunity to see how to organize a camp.
Pujan and I had our first meeting 9 months ago in the summer to start the planning process since there is so much involved and we both have very busy schedules. I think we were perfect partners since our personalities and strengths are different so we balanced each other out but had things in common so we got along really well. Pujan was such a pleasure to work with!
We had to decide and plan on:
- a theme for the camp – we chose the Olympics theme (I might have been a little passionate about that choice )
- book an overnight location that had enough cabins and the appropriate facilities for our needs
- budget, so we knew where the money was coming from, how much we had and where it was going.
- activities for an Ice Breaker night at the school and then 2 full days/nights of activities
- guest speaker from the City of Ottawa on Youths making a difference in the community
- book bus transportation to/from the camp
- supplies for all activities that we planned
- review all the applications for the camp since we are only allowed to take 65 students and choosing the delegates and skill builders
- assign 5 groups plus their skill builders based on their applications and personality types . Each group represented 1 of the 5 Olympic rings. After they chose a sport for their group. They wore costumes that relate to their team all weekend for team bonding. Keeping people out of their comfort zone also allows them to be more open to participate and grow more as individuals. You have to leave your pride at home, and be willing to be goofy outgoing.
- design and order camp t-shirts for everyone
- create, design and print the booklet for everyone to follow – the booklet is full of quotes, the sessions that everyone will go through, and little quizzes and stories
- lists, lists and more lists…….and meetings, meetings and more meetings!
The first page of our booklets reads…..
LEADERSHIP CAMP 2013
Congratulations on making it as participant in this year’s Leadership Camp! This is your chance to get to know yourself and other students at John McCrae and to become the champion that you truly are! We hope that you keep an open mind and take risks through camp and make the most of this experience. You will learn useful skills over the next few days that you can apply to your everyday life so make the most of this opportunity but more importantly have fun!
As skill builders and delegates, we want you to soak up as much as possible while having fun! Try to recognize the importance, meaning and usefulness of everything you will experience with your group!
Here are some key steps to making your camp experience AWESOME!!
Take risks: Step out of your comfort zone! Try something new! Gooo with the floooow! The best part about camp is experiencing new things and you won’t be going through it alone! You have a whole group to help you out!
Keep an open mind: It’s simple. Don’t judge it. Don’t criticize it. Just try it.
Trust your group members: If you share with them, they will share with you. Have confidence in the Four Wall Rule and the Right to Pass.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: You will always be able to find someone who is willing to help! Just ask!
EAT. CANDY. : It’s pretty straightforward. Your dentist is not here! Neither is your mom!
We are so excited to see you all at camp! Show tons of enthusiasm, have lots of fun and more importantly BE YOURSELF!
Your camp coordinators
Kayla and Puj
The topics of the camp include:
- Communication Skills
- Trust and Taking Risks
- Leadership and Youth Involvement in the Community
- Stress and Time Management
- Problem Solving
- Goal Setting
- How to Implement Everything we Learned at Camp
Ice Breaker Night- The first time we are all together and were divided into the groups. Let the games begin!
The 5 amazing teams of Delegates and their 2 Skill Builders
The games and activities may sound silly or juvenile but they are all designed with a specific lesson and reason to push you out of your comfort zone. The games/challenges force you to trust your team mates. We chose these activities from previous camps that were successful and we also did a lot 0f research finding new activities. I was happy that we were able to include my 5 step goal setting program that I created and use in my own workshops. It always amazes me how open people are to talk about ‘real’ issues in this type of environment. I think being away at a remote location really helps. You really have to come to the camp with an open mind and just be willing to be YOURSELF. That is why there is the selection and application process. We really want to make sure that people are there for the right reasons. Every single person that attends the camp always feels so much better about themselves and their abilities after the camp. There is so much positive reinforcement given to everyone and very close friendships develop that wouldn’t normally happen in the everyday environment. There is no judgement or criticism. All these new relationships just make high school living that much more fun. The positive energy is contagious.
I had so many incredible highlights at camp. I loved every single moment of it. I have to admit, it’s quite stressful even when all the work is done because Pujan and I really wanted the camp to run smoothly. We wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and hopefully not have to deal with any major hick-ups. I had so many moments when the whole group was together, where I got to take a step back and truly realized and appreciate what Pujan and I had created. It was such a cool feeling. The atmosphere was incredible. It was so full of love, life, happiness, growth and warmth in so many ways. It was a place where everyone could feel accepted, appreciated, supported and a place they could be completely themselves. It was magic if you ask me. It’s where I suddenly realized that, wow, this is what it is all about, and THIS is why our school is so incredibly awesome. It’s because of camps and programs like these. It’s hard to describe.
At the end of camp, we do something called warm fuzzies. It’s where you write warm notes to friends and new friends you made at camp. It’s all positive and these messages are to take the time to tell people how beautiful they are, inside and out. I was touched by all the personal notes from everyone on what they thought of the camp and how appreciative they were. The feedback was amazing and it just goes to prove why these camps are important and why they need to happen every year! I STRONGLY urge everyone at JMSS to attend at least one Leadership Camp in their 4 years of high school. I promise it will change your life for the better. Just remember….go with an open mind and leave be willing to challenge yourself.
We couldn’t have had the camp without the help of:
Mr. Schultz for providing the funding for camp and allowing us to make LC 2013 a reality
Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Potter for all the support and guidance. Not to mention all the hours that they put in too
The administration for coordinating all the fees and paperwork
The teachers who came to supervise the camp
Skill Builders for all the time they put in and the dedication to the your delegates
Delegates for coming to camp and opening up to everything the camp had to offer
Gary Frederick at GDF PRO for making the awesome t-shirts
Camp Bonnenfant for allowing us to host LC2013 at your campsite once again
I feel so lucky and privileged to have gotten the opportunity to organize the camp this year. I learned a lot about how much goes into organizing a huge event like this. I have grown a lot from it and I have realized how much I love team building, leadership programs and motivational environments. Who knows, maybe I will get to do more of this type of thing when I am older as a career. I would love to do team building and motivational speaking with either Elite athletes or even corporate companies. Thanks to everyone who was apart of this incredible experience.
“NOW IT IS TIME TO GO OFF INTO THE WORLD AND BE THE BEST LEADER YOU BE! ENJOY EVERY MOMENT FOR WHAT IT IS! YOU ARE ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE AND YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THAT! GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE IN THE FUTURE!”
-KAYLA AND PUJ
A special thanks to everyone who shared pictures with me!
April 28, 2013
As TKD Nationals are quickly approaching next month I really want to step up my sparring training. I’ve been so busy preparing the Leadership Camp but now I can dedicate all my time to Taekwon-Do and Track since I also want to qualify for OFSAA.
Today I trained with a great group of black belts and all we did was spar for three full hours. It was exhausting but so much fun. I am pleased with my cardio and I’m working on some specific footwork. Like most sports….it all starts at the feet and works it’s self up.
It was extra special that my dad trained with us too. I think he loves TKD as much as I do People are always shocked with how quick his reflexes are. He catches people off guard so it’s fun to watch. My grandpa also came and watched the whole training. I am always thankful that he can be a huge part of my life
Thanks again Mr. LeGrow for organizing today. I am so happy that we can work on these sparring drills together. It’s going to be an awesome summer with intense training
April 27, 2013
Nothing gives me more pleasure than coaching a student who really wants to learn. Fritz is an 8 year old red belt who is also competing at Nationals next month. I’ve coached Fritz over the years and there is just something extremely special about him. It’s called ”passion”. He has such an old soul and really wants to be the best he can be.
When I heard that he had registered for Nationals I wanted to help him out since I know how seriously he takes his training. I asked him to come today when the dojang was closed so we could just work alone and critique every movement of his pattern. We went over it several times and filmed it so he could see what he was doing right and what needed correcting. I love how he actually does what I ask him to do. You could see that he was concentrating so hard. When I was Fritz’s age there were two teenage boys (Jonathon Martel and Max Riopelle) who coached me the same way that I’m coaching Fritz. I will always be thankful for the time that the put into my training and now I get to know what it’s like from the coaches point of view. It’s very rewarding.
I didn’t want to overwhelm him with too many details today so after about an hour and a half we called it quits. I would have loved to continue on for hours but I have remember that he is still 8 years old :) It’s better to keep him wanting to come back to train more and feeling proud of his accomplishment than being discouraged. I will continue to spend time with him after each class for the next few weeks. Every night we will work on correcting one more element and reviewing what we have already covered. Hopefully the video tape will be a good review for him on his own time.
I told Fritz he had to cut his hair to compete since he kept flicking his hair after every movement and it was too distracting. Judges like to be able to see the competitors face and eyes. As a good sport he actually let me take the first cut of hair and he is getting the rest cut tomorrow. Now, that’s trust and dedication
Fritz and I have a lot in common and when I learned that he played the guitar I knew we had to have a little jamming session after the training for some fun. I brought my guitar and we both played and sang a few of our favourite songs. It was a great way to end off a fun training session!
Great job today Fritz!
April 26, 2013
Besides all my Taekwon-do training, I’m also a member of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Team. I train about 9 hours a week at the track for javelin, shot put and discus all year round. This training includes weight lifting, med ball and strengthening, foot work and technique, and throwing all three implements. In the winter the training is all done at the indoor dome. Since there is the turf we can’t measure our throwing distances since the indoor javelin has a rubber stopper on it. Now that the weather is warmer we can start to throwing outside. I’m anxious to see how I’ve improved since last summer.
I absolutely LOVE the winter training. The throwing events are so technical and precise so there is always something to tweak and perfect. I never get bored of it all. My two coaches Bill (javelin) and Corey (shot put and discus) are amazing. They are so patient with me and so passionate about their sport. It’s been exciting since the throwing group has really grown in numbers. I appreciate the one-on-one coaching since it is so technical and you can learn more individually but it’s also great to see more interest in the throwing events. It’s nice that there are more girls my age throwing now.
For the last month I’ve also had track practice for the school team three mornings a week. There has already been two exhibition meets but I haven’t been able to go to them since I was either away at a Taekwon-do tournament or Leadership Camp. My first school qualifying meet is May 16th and then I leave right after it to go to Quebec City for the Taekwon-do Nationals and National Team Selections.
Track is very important to me since I’m hoping that I can be on a university track team and hopefully help with some funding. Universities look at the OFSAA results so I want to make sure I do my best this season.
During the summer I will be competing with the Ottawa Lions Track club every week as well as some away meets.
Although Taekwon-Do and Throwing events are extremely different they both require patience, persistence, perseverance, dedication and overall body strength. Both these disciplines peak at an older age so I have lots of time. Since I’m still only 17 years old, I’m in no rush and am very excited about what I’ll be able to do in the upcoming years.
Good luck to one of my throwing team mates Valerie Chartrand who is also throwing Javelin at a meet in Cornell, NY this weekend.
April 18, 2013
Mr. Jeff Wilson is a phenomenal basketball coach. He was actually my coach while I was at Cedarview Middle School. He devotes his life to teaching and to coaching sports of all levels. He is the coach for the AA boys U15 Ottawa Next Level basketball team. I was so excited when he asked me to come in and spend a couple hours helping his boys basketball team prepare for the next couple tournaments before their Provincials. I was also a bit nervous how they would react to a girl coming in who was only a couple years older than them but they were awesome.
Obviously I was not going to help them with any of their basketball skills but the purpose of the night was to give them some new cross training drills, get them outside their comfort zone and get them thinking after about goals, and their progression.
These 15 year old guys are currently playing in an older age group which is great since it’s really challenging for them and it’s the best way to improve. They all take their basketball very seriously and want to be the best they can be.
Practising 3 times a week is a good start and it’s usually the only amount of gym time that teams can get. However, if teams really want to excel they have to put in a lot more work (physically and mentally) if they want to reach the next level. They need to use their precious gym time to work on the specific drills and strategies for basketball with the expertise of their coach, but there is so much more that they can do off the court to step up their game.
The first part of the workshop I gave a few new drills that they could do on their own.
I introduced them to:
- Tabida drills
- different cardio drills
- explosive leg drills
- resistance training
- core strengthening
- shoulder and arm strengthening
- I had them kick and punch shields for their first time
- stretches for the main muscle groups that we worked
- team building exercising where they have to work together as a team to accomplish a goal
The key to being successful athletically, is being strong and coordinated overall. A lot of athletes are one-sided. If you can balance out the strength, you will be so much stronger and also prevent injury. The great part about the drills is that you can do them just about anywhere and you can use the things around you for equipment. You don’t need a fancy or expensive gym membership!
Over the years, I’ve picked up hundreds of drills from different coaches, personal trainers and training partners and made up a few of my own. Mixing up your training also keeps it fun and challenging. Here are some old pictures of the types of drills I do on my own. This is just a very SMALL sample of things that you can do…..
We are all teenagers going through growth spurts and our bodies are constantly changing so it’s so important to stretch properly and be aware of the changes to help prevent injuries. Most people are so inflexible and need to stretch every day.
We discussed nutrition and how hard it is when we travel so much for tournaments. Having the right fuel in our bodies is so important to our athletic performance.
Time management is really hard when we are in high school with a ton of homework and also wanting to be with friends. I discussed the difference of between making the choice to train vs. feeling it’s a sacrifice to train.
The second hour was on goal setting. I went over my five step process. It was interesting for me this time, because not only did I touch on individual goal setting, but team goals as well. Each step of the process has key points, but for this team, the main message was “What are you going to do to reach that next level?” I wanted to get them to think about when they can do as individuals and what they can do as team to improve. I shared what I did/do in each of the five steps to give them some ideas. I gave them each a booklet that we went through and I hope they fill them out on their own after they’ve had some time to digest everything that was covered tonight.
I emphasized the idea of having Swag. They laughed at first, but soon understood that really, Swag is confidence. Swag is feeling worthy of greatness. Stepping onto the court (in their case) and owning it, believing that they are the champions and playing like true champions knowing that they have put in all the work to get to that point. It’s about being proud to wear their team jersey.
We finished off making two team push-ups. Each line had 6 guys and they are all linked together and they had to do one team push up together. It takes team work to find out who has what strength and where they should be in the line-up to make it possible. In order to do the push up everyone had to be part of the link. Everyone has to pull their own weight in order to be able to do a team push-up. One line was able to do it right away and then it was fun to watch them go and advice and cheer on their team mates in the other line. Hopefully they see the symbolism of being on the court together. Jokingly they said they wanted to practice that and go do one in the warm up before every game to psych out the other team lol. If nothing else, they would be remembered Great team spirit!
They seemed really receptive and I hope they were able to even pick up even just one little thing. They have so much potential and I think they can get to the next level, all they have to do is put in the EXTRA work and find their swagger
I look forward to hearing how they do at their next tournament. Good luck guys.
Check out all the pictures from the physical portion of the night. Thank you Mr. LeGrow for lending me all the shields and hand pads for the evening.
April 14, 2013
I have always loved watching Oprah’s interviews since I think she asks great questions and I love her humanitarian work. I think she’s incredible, so when I found out she was coming to Ottawa I really wanted to but I didn’t dare ask since I knew the tickets would be expensive. I was so shocked when my mom surprised me with tickets for the two of us an hour before the show.
15,000 people filled the stadium that night but it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Our seats were really far away and yet, it felt like she was sitting on our couch beside us in our living room. It was like story time of her life and lessons she has learned along the way. She is an incredible story teller. She is comedic, intense, intelligent and extremely well spoken. There was a perfect balance of emotions throughout the night.
She had quite a few concepts that really stood out to me and I thought I would share a few of them.
Her opening question was “why are you here?”
Simple question right? I don’t think we take the time to ask ourselves this question enough. She said that we all have a calling and we need to listen to it. She told a story about when she was little, when she lived with her grandma and they were poor. Her grandma was doing the laundry and said, “keep watching me because one day you will have to know how to do this for yourself”….and Oprah had her moment where she heard her calling. Inside a little voice said, “No, your not! This will not be my life”. She called this feeling inside her an “emotional GPS” guiding her through life, listening and serving her calling. She said that you can’t hear your calling, until you quiet all the noise around you and are in silence with yourself. Then your calling will reveal itself. It is so true! To find the answer of what your true calling is, you need to be able to listen only to the voice inside of you. You won’t find your true calling if you are constantly listening to others and what they want you to do. When you become at peace with yourself, that’s when everything will become clear.
She asked us what our purpose was. Are you living with purpose?
Our purpose is not a goal, or one big moment, its a feeling inside of discovery, of growth. It’s ALL the moments. (it’s all about the experience ) It’s every experience that makes us who we are and it is linked with our calling. I completely agree with this. I even had a rubber bracelet custom made that says “it’s all about the experience” written on it and I have worn it everyday for 2 years (along with my other custom bracelets that mean so much to me). I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the goal but more on the journey. That is also why I started this blog three years ago. I have so many amazing experiences every day and I believe that it’s all the ups and downs during the journey that makes you strong. I never want to forget any of these special moments.
She talked a lot about energy. The energy you put out is the energy that will be returned. You only have control of YOUR energy field, no one else’s.
When she talked about goals, she said there is no such thing as failure, it just means that you are hard headed and its a sign that you should take a new direction. She said, keep the big picture in mind but don’t let it be the main focus. FIND THE NEXT RIGHT MOVE.
The concept of knowing when to stop was also stressed. Stop at your peek, and no matter what you do, stay true to yourself. When it comes to decision making, listen to the little “whispers” giving you guidance. Follow your instincts and don’t ignore them. Many of us do unfortunately. These can be little red flags, arrows pointing you in a certain direction, signs, be open minded to seeing them.
One that really hit me, was talking about goals and things that you want really badly. She said that when you have put the work in, and you are the most prepared you can be…this is when you have to let things go, because really, you have no control. Life works for you, not too you. If something was meant to happen, it will, if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be. It’s fate. There’s no such thing as luck. It is preparation meets opportunity. It hit me because 3 years ago, in that same stadium exactly where Oprah was standing I was training with Grand Master Lan (who was the German National TKD coach) and he told me that same thing. He said that everything is pre-determined so go and embrace the moment for all that it is. I really didn’t understood what he meant, until I stepped into the New Zealand stadium and then I knew what he meant.
When life throws curve balls at you, and things don’t go your way, she said that you are NOT the things that happen to you. You are NOT your divorce, You are NOT your mistakes, you are NOT your disease, NOT etc…..you could feel the energy in the room at that point that so many people were affected by her strong message.The whole concept is being the best FOR the world not just in the world. Striving to be the best possible version of yourself, and then SHARING it with others. Living everyday to the fullest and finding our calling, doing what makes us excited to wake up everyday. I know what gets me excited and I am pretty sure I know what my calling is but I’m just not sure that there are courses in university to help me get there. This is something that is on my mind a lot lately since I will need to start applying soon.
I bet that all 15,000 people would have come out with different messages from the evening. I’ve been so blessed that I have been surrounded by these life lessons my entire life. My family has these conversations daily. That’s one perk of lots of time in the car together going to train I’ve also been very fortunate to have a lifetime of great coaches, TKD instructors and teachers and a few friends who all believe the same things. I think this night was so amazing for me because it was the first time that I really realized that I am already doing what she suggested and I didn’t even know it. All these messages and type of mentality have surrounded me for years and have just become a part of my life. Now I get to share some of my own messages and lessons that I have learned in the past few years. That gets me very excited
The coolest part is that I’m sure if I was to hear all these messages again in a few months I would pick out completely different things since we are always changing and always seeking new answers to our questions. Our perspective changes due to our experiences and stage of our life. I think this is why I found her talk so incredible and why these messages are universal, helpful and timeless. It isn’t always strictly the information given, it is how the information is perceived and applied. I think that having an open mind to REALLY listen to the messages is the first step to growth. Take the time to ask yourself some of the complex and “hard” questions. Take the time to really THINK about who you are, what your purpose is, what you want out of life and what are you passionate about.
Oprah’s wish for us is to continue to evolve and grow and find our own purpose so we wake up everyday and answer the questions…why am I here?
Thank you Oprah for sharing your life lessons and wanting the best for all of us
April 9, 2013
Last weekend was the Canadian Eastern Championships and I had such a great time! Even though my training has been going extremely well I have to admit, I was pretty nervous because it has been a while since I’ve competed. As soon as I walked into the big room, saw the mats, the flags and all the familiar surroundings I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I enjoyed catching up with the Masters and Instructors from the Eastern Provinces. A lot of them knew about the speaking I have been doing on ’goal setting’ so we had lots to talk about and I loved hearing about what they were doing too It was great to see Team Canada team mates as well! We keep in touch, but it can be difficult when we are all so spread out.
I judged for a large portion of the morning which was fun. I was center referee most of the time, and it was all in French so my brain got a good workout trying to remember all the terminology and commands in French :p
In the afternoon, I won 2 gold medals when it was my turn to compete. For patterns, I won my division and then had the chance to have an exhibition match against the winner of the women’s 3rd degree patterns division. Audrey De Ladurantaye has been on Team Canada for several years and has been a medalist multiple times for Team Patterns on the International Stage. Since it was an extra exhibition match for more experience I got the chance to talk to all the judges and got their feedback. This was SO helpful because all I want is to improve and be the best that I can be so I was extremely appreciative of the advice I received. It was also the validation of the things that I am doing properly. I know all these IIC’s, seminars, extra training and tournaments will pay off towards my big goals.
I won my sparring division. I was curious to see how I would spar in a high pressure situation with all the training I have been doing. I have been working on movement and a few new strategies so I was hoping they would come out in competition and they did. Each time I enter the ring, I feel like I am improving even more and breaking down my own walls that hold me back. I still have a lot of work to do, and I am excited to see the progression continue. I always just want to make sure my points are clean with no warnings.
This tournament was great for me to have a bench mark for Nationals next month and to get some more feedback. Nationals is where it all counts since that is also the qualifying tournament for the 2013 National Team. I am excited to meet up with the Western Provinces there as well. I haven’t competed against them since the Pan Am Championships. There will also be more competitors from the East that couldn’t make it to this tournament. It’s very expensive if you have to fly to these sanctioned events. I know what I need to work on, so now it is back to the dojang! I am very excited.
I was so happy for all my friends and team mates who competed. You all did a great job and should be proud of yourselves. It was great watching the high calibre of competitors in the room. It’s inspiring, because I look up to so many of the higher degrees because they are such nice people and extremely talented.
My mom didn’t have a photographers pass so she didn’t have access to all the rings. She is sorry that she doesn’t have pictures of everyone.
Click on the image below to view and download all the images.