Mr. Charlebois from TKD -Tremblant invited me to his dojang to lead some training sessions for patterns, sparring and a talk to share my World Championship experience to help prepare his students for tournaments. I jumped at the opportunity because this is something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. Tournament season is starting and if I can motivate someone to train harder, inspire someone to compete or just share my passion for the sport so they enjoy taekwon-do for their own pleasure then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
Being in such a beautiful setting was amazing and I felt so happy and calm.
I was so impressed with all the students at his school. They were all really disciplined and determined to do their best. I wasn’t nervous at all about instructing but I knew it was going to be a challenge to entirely speak in french for the two days. I was also nervous about my ankle holding up for the two days.
The first session of day 1 was for coloured belts under the age of 12. I think it’s so important that coloured belts get all the same training opportunities as black belts. First of all it keeps them motivated and if they are challenged they will want to continue. Since most of the kids have never competed at a tournament we did a ‘mock’ tournament so they know what to expect. I competed in my first tournament at the age of 5 and I remember being overwhelmed with all the protocols and what was happening around me. I think it’s important that both the kids and the parents know the ediquette of a the ring so they can just concentrate on competing instead of worrying about when and how to bow and all the other protocols. I have written a little booklet of ‘What You Need to Know Before Your First Tournament”. Mr. Charlebois is going to translate it for me and pass it on to his students.
Mr. Charlebois wanted me to tell them about my experience and the journey leading up to New Zealand. I was shocked by the amount of really good questions they asked. They asked questions about my diet before competing, how many hours I trained, what was the hardest thing for me to learn, what my biggest fears were and what I wanted to do next. My heart melted when the last question was “when are you going to come back?” It made me feel soooo good.
The second pattern session was for adults. My objective was to explain the importance of having ‘charisma’ while doing their patterns. Everyone works so hard on the technical aspect of the patterns but the ‘feeling’ part of the pattern is so important as well. I know that I always ‘feel’ better after I’ve done my patterns. When you are competeting you want to have so much charisma that the judges are compelled to watch you and get engrossed in your pattern with you. Charisma is a taking outsiders on a journy with you while doing your patterns, it can also be a way of communicating your feelings.
I had the adults do their patterns with their eyes closed. They were shocked how much harder it was, not only for their balance but it was hard to remember where they were in the pattern. It forces you to ‘feel’ your pattern and not just become a robot. If you can do that, doing patterns will be that much more satisfying.
Mr. Charlebois took me and my mom to the top of Mount Tremblant on the gondola and out for lunch.
Mr. Charlebois led his Little Dragons class for the 3-5 yr old. The kids were adorable! I have to say that I was extremely impressed with how Mr. Charlebois runs his program. I started TKD in a similar program at 3 years old and it’s so important to enforce the respect, discipline and order in the young kids. That way by the time they graduate to the 5 yr old TKD they already know what is expected of them. I’ve never seen such a large group follow instructions so well and take so much pride in what they are doing. They have their own student oath that is geared for their age and they were so excited to tell what they did to help around the house and school during the day. Great job Mr. Charlebois!
The last session was my favorite session since it was sparring. My main focus was to have people think of sparring like a game. One that requires anitipation, strategy and creativity. I showed some of my favourite cardio drills while I was preparing for New Zealand.
I was pleased when they asked to stay longer to spar some more after the session was over. We sparred until they had to close the gym. It was a great way to end the day.
Unfortunately it was time to go home but I had so much fun with this amazing group of people. Mr. Charlebois has done a great job running his school and his assistant Tamy is so friendly and good with the kids. Thanks again for this great opportunity Mr. Charlebois and making me and my mom so comfortable. It was so nice meeting Mrs. Charlebois and the rest of your family. Hopefully I will see some of my new friends at the upcoming tournaments. There is so much potential in all of them. Good luck guys and please keep in touch.
For more pictures on the two days click the images below to open up the gallery…