I had the biggest and nicest surprise when I walked into the dojang today. My friend and coach Mr. Clement Goh was visiting from Singapore. I haven’t seen him in almost two years when he moved back to Singapore to join their army, and I’ve missed him so much. He is here for 10 days so I’m really looking forward to training with him as much as possible while he’s here.
Next weekend our dojang is having a tournament and one of the students asked me to help her with her pattern and sparring so she really feels prepared so I went in after the classes were over to give her some individual attention. I remember how important it was when Jonathon Martel and Max Riopelle helped me before tournaments when I was her age. There is so much to think about at tournaments so it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
We started by covering the TKD etiquette of how to approach the judges and other ring policies. I got her to visualize where the judges and the spectators will be sitting are and where to start and stop the patterns. All the little details make you feel more confident so you can actually enjoy the tournament and focus on the more important things.
Timing and rhythm are so important to patterns in competition. You need to show charisma. We talked about how the expression ‘float like a butterfly but sting like a bee’ applies to Taekwon-Do. You have to have the combination of grace plus the strength at the right time.
I was really impressed how hard Katie worked and how focused she was. I did some specific drills to help with certain movements. When I work on a pattern I like to break it up in sections and focus on each part in lots of details and then put it all together at the end.
I love coaching one-on-one to give the individual attention that you just can’t give when you instruct a large class. I like the hands-on approach to help others and that is also how I like to be coached no matter what the sport.
A lot of people get really nervous to spar in tournaments so I feel it’s important to cover the point system so they know what they are working towards. Most people are afraid of hurting someone or they’re afraid of getting hit themselves. I remember when I was Katie’s age I stopped sparring completely for a couple years since I was too afraid but now I love it. It’s all about practice. The more you practice the more confident you become. The more confident you are, the more fun, exciting and challenging sparring is. It’s like a big chess game with so much strategy.
It was also important for Katie to get used to being hit so she realizes that she will be fine. That is also why there is a centre referee so the kids don’t get hurt. We talked a lot about breathing techniques in sparring so when you get kicked or punched in the stomach it doesn’t hurt as much.
I really enjoyed my time today and I hope it will help her next week. I miss competing a lot but at least I feel a part of it if I’m able to help someone else out. My next big tournament is in March in Connecticut and I can’t wait for it.