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 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.
April 2, 2013
Everyone prepares for competition in their own ways We all have our little routines and rituals. Since the Canadian Easterns (Provinces from Ontario to the East Coast) are this weekend I had my last hard training last weekend. This is not the week to get injured by over-doing something. I will definitely be hydrating! Since the weigh-ins are on Friday night I am leaving for Montreal in the afternoon. I am so fortunate that I never have to worry about cutting weight since I’m in the hyper-weight division. I see how stressed my friends get when they have to cut a lot of weight in order to be able to compete. I can only imagine how hard it is on their bodies let alone the psychological aspect of it. There is such a science on how to cut weight safely and still have the optimum strength to compete but it takes so much discipline. I will make sure that I have my cooler of food with me that I know works well with my body. I’ve been ‘Eating Clean’ and loving it. Proper nutrition is so important, especially this week. It will be extremely important on competition day since I have little meals every three hours. You never really know what time you’re competing so it’s hard to know when and what to eat so you aren’t competing either too hungry or full and sluggish. It’s also a challenge when you are also a judge since you can’t just stop to eat when you want or need to.
This will be a very light week of training for me:
- Easter Monday (everything was closed)
- No TKD or Shot Put or Discus
- 2 hours light sparring and patterns at the dojang
- No javelin or weight training this week. I have to finish homework for the week.
- 1 hour school track practice in the morning before school (circuit fitness training)
- Stretching at night
- 2 hour club track practice (shot put and discus)
- No javelin or heavy weight lifting this week
- 2 hours at the dojang including a great stretch and some yoga
- 1 hour school track practice in the morning before school (circuit fitness training)
- leave for Montreal for the weigh-ins at noon
- find a place for some stretching and a gentle run-through of patterns before bed – early night!
- Competition Day
Every night I will be visualizing my patterns and different sparring situations. Music is also a huge factor for me!!!! I listen to all my favourite songs that relax me and/or pump me up.
I don’t know who I’ll be competing against this weekend but Grand Master Lan drilled one thing into my head……Never Underestimate Your Opponent! Every day is a new day and every competition is a new competition. You just have to believe in yourself and all your hard work.
I prepare for every tournament the same way I do for International Competition since it’s good practice to perfect YOUR OWN routine. That way when it really counts you know what you have to do mentally and physically.
This week is extremely busy with school work. I am also organizing the Leadership Camp for my high school which is only a few weeks away so we are finalizing everything and rushing around in meetings when I’m not in class. I am just going to get through the week, and then I am leaving a bit earlier on Friday to clear my head from school work and stress. I can then turn on my switch, put the game face on and embrace the competition environment I may not have a strict routine for the week, but I have set routines during my trainings and for when I arrive in Montreal. It’s all about finding the things that help you perform the best you can.
The Canadian Western Championships are going to be held April 13th in Regina. That includes competitors from the provinces of Manitoba to BC. That’s when you realize how big Canada is as a country. Then we all meet for Nationals in May in Quebec City. Both the Eastern and Western Championships are sanctioned events for points towards your seeding position in the final round robin at Nationals. The top two placements at Nationals in the round robin are the qualifiers for the National team and will have the honour of representing Canada at the World Championships in Spain October 2013.
HERE. WE. GO. :p
March 3, 2013
Today I competed in my first indoor track meet. I was only able to throw shot put since they can’t measure javelin or discus events. I’m working on a new throwing technique that will be ready by the summer but I’m still tweaking all the details. I had 6 throws. I was really happy that I didn’t foul (step out of the circle) and that all the distances were really consistent. Each throw was missing a little something for the ‘perfect’ throw. I felt a little diconnected. As I tweaked a mistake in one throw I found I had to tweak something else in the next throw. I guess it could be considered frustrating but I am excited that I’m figuring these things out on my own so I know what I have to do next. There is such a huge learning curve with throwing events. I was throwing with men and women who have been throwing for years so it’s always great to see experienced and talented throwers.
Last year in the regular season, I threw the 3kg and this year I have been throwing the 4kg. This meet was a good bench mark for the upcoming season and I have a lot of work to do but I am looking forward to it. I feel a lot stronger this year than last and I find I am improving at a pretty fast pace which is awesome. I have been enjoying the winter season so much and am really pumped to see what will happen this year.
It’s great to see some friends compete as well. I go to school with Shelani Fernando and she is an amazing runner.
January 8, 2013
I have 9 months before the next Taekwon-Do World Championships in Spain so I am definitely DRIVEN to train. LET’S GO!
November 30, 2012
I competitively throw Javelin, Shot Put and Discus for the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club as well as for John McCrae High School. Last year was my first winter and I only trained for javelin but after having so much fun last summer I decided to train for all three events this winter. They are all so different and I like each one for different reasons. Winter training is done at an indoor dome and the main focus is on strength training and technique. Summer is all about competing These events are very seasonal here in Canada.
On Mondays, Cory coaches me in shot put and discus. Tuesday nights Bill coaches me in javelin and on Thursdays I either do a combination of all three throws or rotate between the three events depending who is there. I’m lucky that both coaches want to work together to make sure that my training program doesn’t conflict with each other. I’m the only thrower with the club that does all three events so I have to balance between them.
Each training session is about 2-3 hours long. After the track I go directly to taekwon-do and train there for another couple hours.
I’m very excited since there are a few new recruits this winter. It’s good to have lots of throwers since you feed off each other’s energy and we learn from each other but I also love having one-on-one coaching for the fine tuning.
I have my own personal short term and long term goals for each event. Not only do I have measurement distances as my goals, I also have technical goals. I know that if my technical goals are reached then the distances will come soon enough. There is a certain ‘feeling’ I want to reach for each event. I want to feel more confident as I go up to the throw in competition. That will only come by practice and repetition. Sounds easy right?….. not so much. Throwing is very hard on the entire body! Since each throw is so explosive you can only do so many throws before your body gets exhausted. That is why the conditioning, strength training and using the proper technique is so important.
Welcome to my indoor playground!
Taekwon-do – 2013 is going to be a huge year for me. I have to place in the the top two at the Taekwon-Do Eastern Canadians in March and also at the Canadian Nationals in May. My main focus will be on my training for the next World Championships in October that will be held in Spain. Being on the National team is a huge honour and commitment not only to the team but to myself. I want to come home with double gold! (patterns and sparring) My TKD training will definitely get more intense as I get closer to competition season.
Track – 2013 is also a huge year for throwing for me too. I recently received a letter from a university showing interest about my track results and although I’m only in grade 11 I have to start thinking about it seriously now. I want to do the best I can at OFSAA this Spring as well as during the summer for the Track Club since all my stats will be recorded with Athletics Canada. I also want to keep my honour role status for my school marks to help with scholarships. I’ve decided I want to go into Marketing at university with a minor in Psychology so I need to look at what universities are a good fit.
BRING IT ON!!!
November 19, 2012
Saturday was the Blackburn TKD tournament and then on Sunday we were lucky to have a sparring seminar with Master Suarez and Mr. Julio Carlos, from the United States. It was perfect for competitors from out of town to stay for the seminar. Mr. Carlos is a multiple time World Champion and has such a distinct, original and incredible style of sparring. He is known all around the world, talked about and emulated by TKD athletes globally. He is fast, skilled, and his movement in the ring is inspiring. Master Suarez is an amazing coach and Instructor. He teaches sparring in a positive and unique way. He focuses a lot on foot work and movement. I love his seminars and was really looking forward to it!
I was able to pick up so many drills not only for myself but students in our dojang as well. I love finding new drills and different ways of approaching sparring concepts. I am definitely going to practice all of Master Suarez’s drills, because they are effective and I am a big fan of them. The first hour was a long warm up full of games and drills to get ready for sparring. They were all new and exciting. Then, we spent a full hour simply on movement and foot work. This is Mr. Carlos specialty so it was really cool to watch him demonstrate while we tried to emulate him. Movement is so incredibly important in sparring for setting up combinations, defending (you can’t get scored on if you are never hit) and attacking. Then we did kicking drills, still using the foot work.
The last portion of the seminar was the coolest…. Mr. Carlos agreed to spar every single person that attended the seminar for 1 minute each. Now that doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you are sparring someone as skilled as he is, it’s long, tiring and FUN! I absolutely loved sparring him. I had so much fun. He’s entertaining to watch, but sparring him is stressful because your mind races and you have to be fully engaged and ready for anything.
Seminars like this are really interesting too because half of the room was filled with black belts, World Champions, National Team members, Instructors, and then the other half was full of young kids, color belts and aspiring champions. Some day down the road, those color belts will really appreciate what they got to experience. In a room full of people like that, the atmosphere is different. It’s more intense, but positive and fun. Everyone is working and pushing themselves with positive re-inforcement. It’s a really cool environment.
I love training more than anything, and that environment is my favorite. Even though, I wasn’t in top shape with my foot and not training for a few months, mentally I was back to where I feel my best and where I feel most like myself. This weekend was exactly what I needed to get me back to feeling like myself and lighting the fire in my eyes and heart again. I am more motivated than ever and I am ready for a great year.
Thank you Mr. LeGrow and Mr. Cabanas for organizing the Tournament plus this seminar and thank you Master Suarez and Mr. Carlos for sharing your knowledge and experience.
To view all 400 photos that were taken at the seminar click on the photo below. There are pictures of everyone who attended the seminar
November 18, 2012
This weekend was all about Taekwon-Do!!! Yesterday we started with the Annual Blackburn TKD Challenge and today was the Sparring Seminar with Master Suarez and Julio Carlos from New York City.
For me the highlight of the tournament was watching all the colour belts compete. For several of them it was their first time competing so there was a lot of emotions going around the room. Competing is completely different from class so it’s really important for the students to be prepared. They need to understand the scoring system so they know how to earn points and know how they are being judged. They need to be taught the proper ring etiquette (how to enter the ring, when to bow etc). Most importantly they need to learn how to deal with winning and losing. There is always going to be a winner and a loser, and learning how to move forward and learn from it, is what is important.
I always like to give some extra help to the younger kids competing beforehand so they know what to expect and feel more confident and prepared going into a tournament. That way, hopefully they can enjoy the experience of a tournament no matter what their results. It’s all about their expectations and what they want to accomplish. It’s also very important for the parents to understand how tournaments work so they can help their child along the way.
I spent the whole morning running from ring to ring coaching the students from our dojang but I also coached students from other schools if they looked like they needed a bit of help.
In the afternoon the black belts competed. Although it was a friendship tournament 3 out of the 6 women in my division were on the National Team and one of them just competed at the World Cup so the calibre was very high. They entered me into the U35 Age group.
I’ve been injured for two months and just got the go ahead from the doctor to compete on Friday. I have to admit I was quite anxious competing again, but this was a great opportunity to get back into things psychologically.
I was even more nervous for the sparring. I really haven’t sparred much since Pan-Ams, especially with the injury and trying to recover. My first competitor was someone who went to the World Championships with me so I really respect her. She has a wicked kick that always appears out of nowhere. I wasn’t able to have the same speed and movement in the ring as I usually do, so I tried my best to control the ring, and stick to my game plan. My coach, Mr. LeGrow was really helpful. It was nice having him behind me. I feel like each time I spar, I learn and feel an improvement or notice something that I need to change or get better at.
It really meant a lot that my brother Greg came to watch with his girlfriend. I don’t often get to compete in Ottawa.
To see all the photos that my mom took of the tournament click here.
I will write about today’s seminar and post those photos tomorrow but right now I need SLEEP!
September 22, 2012
It`s been almost two weeks since I’ve written a post and I’ve had a lot to think about….Sorry but I neet to rant. I consider myself a very positive person but I’m human and sometimes things get me down too.
Next week my friends, coaches and fellow competitors are going to England for the ITF Taekwon-Do World Cup. For those of you who don`t know, there is a World Cup every two years and on the alternate year there is a World Championships.
World Cups are open to everyone, even for the higher color belts. There is also a pee-wee black belt division (ages 9-13). These tournaments are usually quite large since anyone can compete and there are more divisions.
World Championships are only for the top two competitors in every division. There is a whole competition and seletion process to qualify to be on the National Team. You must compete in the sanctioned tournaments and place in the top two at Nationals. The World Chamionships is only for black belts starting at age 14. It is such a huge honour to be part of the Canadian Delegation. You travel, train and compete as a team and compete for your Country. It also makes it easier for Sponsorship since it’s a World Championship. It was at the last World Championships that I competed in in New Zealand.
Both competitions are amazing and very different from one another. I have my heart set on competing in Spain next year for the next World Championships. I had to make a decision about either going to England now or Spain later. Unfortunately it`s very expensive and since I`m still 16 I want my parents with me when I compete overseas. It wouldn’t be the same without them there. I`m looking for a part time job to help with some of the expenses but it`s hard with my heavy training schedule and school.
I’ve been training with my buddies who are going to England. It`s been great since we’ve pushed each other and I got in good shape through the process. Suddenly as the date gets closer reality has set in and I am pretty depressed about not going to England. I want everyone to do well and enjoy their whole experience. I have to admit I really wish I was going too! You make so many new memories and experiences at these tournaments. It’s funny how my circle of friends are from all around the world now and there are some people that I really want to see again. I’ll just have to wait to see them in Spain.
School – New Bill 115 - It`s also back to school time and I have a really heavy work load. School marks are so important this year since these are the marks that universities will look at next year when I put my applications in. With the new Bill 115, the teachers have banned all extra activities. I completely understand why they are holding their grounds but the whole school atmosphere is different. I’ve been working with the Link Crew and love it, so I just hope we can keep it going since it`s basically run by students for the most part. I`m also organizing the Leadership Camp for the Spring but I`m not sure it will even take place now. There just seems to be so much up in the air but I`m proceeding like everything will happen just in case it does. I also worry about things like OFSAA not happening this year and that affects hopes of universities noticing you for scholarships. I can tell the teachers are upset about their ban but this really proves how involved teachers are in all areas school life NOT just the class rooms. Without the teachers all these extra activities can`t happen.
Music - Last June, my music teacher challenged me to write 12 songs over the summer. He knows how much I love challenges lol. I wrote 8 new ones, not including the ones I have written before. I was looking forward to recording them at school this Fall. I was so disappointed when it was considered an `extra` curricular activity. I find writing lyrics very therapeutic. Needless to say I’ve written a another song this week! I play the guitar every night before I go to bed. It`s a great balance in my life and clears my mind. Someday, you will hear my songs
Health – For the last two weeks my foot has been in a lot of pain. I had a bone scan at the begining of the week and I got the results yesterday. NO STRESS FRACTURE!! Yes! It’s such a relief. I do, however have a lot of swelling in my foot, so I will need to take some time off and maybe get some physio. I`ve already missed almost three days of schools because of different doctor`s appointments. In some ways I`m relieved I`m not going to England since I`m not sure I would be able to compete anyway.
Tournament in NY City - I was supposed to be competing in a TKD tournament tomorrow in New York City but that is definitely out of the question with my foot. We would have left yesterday and I really wanted to see NY City too and it would have been a great way to spend my Mom’s birthday. Sorry mom I hope I`ll be ready for a tournament in Washington at the end of October. I NEED to compete!!! I haven’t been able to do any real training for two weeks now and let’s just say…I get a bit cranky. I miss my training and I don’t feel like myself – hence this rant
Track and Field – The other big reason I need to get my foot better is so I can start the Winter training season with the Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club. We are having our physical test any day now. Fortunately the test was cancelled last week due to a bad storm. As much as I wanted to do the tests, I knew my foot would give me a lot of trouble so I was a bit relieved for the delay. I’ve been working hard on explosive drills this summer hoping that it will improve my test results so I want to be pain free with my foot.
There are so many things out of my control right now so I just need to focus on the things that I can control and adapt to the things that I can`t control. All these road blocks are just part of being an athlete It’s how we deal with the road blocks that count!
August 9, 2012
I was soooo happy to have my P.B. in Javelin at this final Twilight track meet tonight. It was an extra bonus since all throws were almost the same distance so I know I’m ready for another big jump. I threw 36.91 and my goal was 37 metres since 37m is the National Standard. I have been consistently improving in all throwing events every week this summer so I find that really exciting. I have to admit it’s a slower improvement than I expected and hoped for but that is also what makes the P.B.’s that much more satisfying. For me, it was just such a great way to finish off the season because I have worked hard all summer and tonight, it all paid off. I’ve been working with a group of ladies and we are all trying so hard but somehow tonight was different. We all just wanted to have fun and enjoy the last meet.
At the beginning of the summer I made a goal to qualify for all three throws (javelin, shot put and discus) so I could go to Nationals. I qualified for Shot Put and I was told by the coaches that I could probably compete in the other events since I am just shy of the National Standards for javelin and discus. I have decided not to go to Nationals. Since I will still be a Youth again next summer I know I will do much better with another year of training under my belt. I don’t want to go to Nationals until I feel like I can go and be as competitive as I want to be. I can’t wait for an intense winter program for strengthening and technique so I’ll be completely ready for next summer. This summer has been a blast so it was also a bit sad tonight since it was my last meet until next Spring.
So much happens on at the track that I miss since the throwing events are off to the side of the track. I couldn’t help notice that there was a lot going on with all the announcements on the P.A. system.
It’s cool to see the athlese that are competing in the para olympics in London later this month. I see them train all the time but it’s nice to see them in competition. Good luck to you all in London!
The CTV news crew was there to cover the victory of Jody Graham. Jody was a soccer player who was in a bad car accident 6 years ago and she suffered severe brain damage and was left unable to walk. They didn’t even expect her to live. Tonight she walked with her walker the full 100 metres distance. Her mom was right there with her. Everyone was going crazy cheering her on. I wanted to get closer and watch but I was just about to compete so I couldn’t leave. Her next big goals are to be able to talk and eat on her own. It was so touching. Everywhere I look at the track I see so many inspiring athletes and that is why I love being there.
I am going to take a couple weeks off from track so I can focus more on my Taekwon-Do. I am looking forward to train with the 6 time Taekwon-do World Champion (Julia Cross) from Scotland this month and then competing in New York City in September. I really need to spar against new competitors as much as possible so I can keep improving for Spain. With the throwing events I can keep improving since I have a distance to measure against. It can be hard at times balancing all the different sports but it’s definitely worth it.