Questions and Answers:
Q: Will you be able to compete in the Olympics?
A: No. Teakwon-Do is an event in the summer Olympics; however the governing body that is eligible for the Olympics is completely different from what I do.
I participate in the original ITF Taekwon-do while the Olympics only accepts a North Korea version governed by another federation called WTF. The WTF is an offshoot of the original ITF and was designed basically for the Olympics.
Q: How Often Do You Train?
A: I train 12 months a year with TKD. I do something physical 6-7 days a week whether it’s training at the dojang or strength training on my own or practicing with team sports. The key to success is peaking at the right time. I train harder for the 6 weeks before a tournament and then taper off the week before in order not to get injured. This summer I will be training at least 15 hours a week plus playing competitive soccer.
Q: How can you fit all your other sports in?
A: Cross training works best for me. Every day I participate in some sport which helps develop all muscle groups and prevents over use of one. Soccer helps me with endurance and cardio. Basketball and Volleyball help with quick reflexes and sprints. I go crazy if I’m not active.
Q: Do you like individual sports more than team sports?
A: I love both. Taekwon-do gives me the best of both worlds. I love being completely responsible for my own results. The harder/smarter I train the better I perform in tournaments. Perfecting patterns takes years of repetition! I often film myself so I can make adjustments and corrections. I never need to be encouraged to train since I know I am the only one who will suffer the consequences if I don’t train. I hate to lose. I’m lucky I’ve never been bored with TKD since there is always something to improve on!
Even though sparring is an individual sport I still need to train with other students which make it fun and challenging. I love to train with adults since they also take it as seriously as I do.
Q: Where do you train?
A: I train in Orleans which is a 70km round trip from my house. It’s a long drive but it’s worth it. Before tournaments my Instructor often arranges extra training sessions with other schools in Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Oakville. It’s great to learn from each other and it’s good to get an idea of how well you compare to the other competitors.
Q: How do you keep your marks up with so much training?
A: I am lucky to be young enough that the work load isn’t too heavy yet. I do my homework during lunch/recess and in the car. My teachers are very supportive and help me when necessary.
Q: Do you ever feel like you’re missing out with friends?
A: Sometimes I miss out on parties and just ‘hanging out’ but I still get to spend a lot of time with friends on my teams at practices and this is a decision that I continue to make. I mostly train with adults in Taekwon-do and I enjoy that too.
Q: How has TKD helped you?
A: TKD has helped me in all areas. I know it has taught me how to concentrate, stay focused, be patient and persistent in school. It has helped my confidence in all areas. Because of TKD my body is strong, flexible and has quick reflexes. This really helps in all the other sports that I do. You need so much body/mind coordination in TKD and that takes years of training.
Q: What do you like most about TKD?
A: There is always something to learn and improve on so I’m always challenged. I can work on the same pattern for 5 years and it still needs work. The longer I train in TKD the more i realize I’m just starting. When I go to seminars to train with Masters I’m in awe of what they can do. It’s something I can do for the rest of my life.
Q: What do you NOT like about TKD?
A: It’s so much harder than it looks so unless you’ve tried it, it’s hard for people to really appreciate it as an art/sport. I think that’s why it’s not as popular for spectators as other sports. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but that’s also why I love it.