Normally you come out of a seminar feeling completely exhausted physically! This weekend’s seminar with Master Lajeunesse was very unique because you came out feeling completely exhausted mentally! The seminar was completely in French so I had to concentrate since there was so much description and terminology. I really wanted to understand everything that he was saying. Master Lajeunesse is a Social Psychologist, M.A. To read more about his research and thesis click on this link.
I was so excited when Mr. Charlebois invited me to attend this seminar. I trained in his dojang in Mt. Tremblant last February and I felt so welcomed. I couldn’t wait to see him and his students again. When you get the opportunity to spend time with someone like Master Lajeunesse, you jump on the opportunity since you know you are going to learn so much. Personally I love all the psychology behind TKD so I could talk about it for DAYS with him. So many practitioners really don’t appreciate it enough and I think it’s because it isn’t talked about as much as it should be. I hope we never lose the ‘Do’ of Taekwon-do.
One of Master Lajeunesse’s views, is that we need to become more in touch with our bodies. We don’t spend enough time alone with ourselves. When we do patterns, it’s important to be there in the moment and in that moment only. A the beginning, we did quite a few breathing exercises and focused on certain muscles and chakra’s. Then, we did some patterns, but we focused on the emotions behind them. Patterns aren’t simply movements, but a way of expressing ourselves and a release of energy. I have always thought of patterns this way and when I do patterns, it’s my way of expressing myself. It is very therapeutic.
5 years ago one of my grandmothers lived with us for 9 months while she was dying of terminal cancer. Our house was like a hospital. It was filled with grief, anxiety, fear, frustration and sadness. I found the pain unbearable and my only escape was my training. I put all my feelings into my patterns. It was my therapy and it was the only thing that gave me comfort. At the time I had a key to a dojang and I would just go train by the hour all by myself when the dojang was closed. I was only 11 years old but I knew what my body needed to cope. It was a way to let out all my pain and fear through my body instead of words. There is something completely magical about patterns that you just can’t describe. I guess it’s similar to how musicians feel when they play their instruments or how dancers feel when they get lost in their movements. I know when I do my patterns, I feel free and nothing can touch me. Nothing else matters. I think since I’ve done the patterns millions of times I no longer concentrate on what I’m doing but more on how I am feeling and how much energy I release. After a pattern, I feel incredible.
In competition you can see who is ‘thinking’ too much in their movements. Their eyes are looking in the wrong place and their movements look mechanical or forced. Having charisma is something rare. Having charisma comes from not just performing the pattern, but completely giving yourself to the pattern and letting it take you on a journey. It’s letting your body tell a story through the pattern. Having charisma let’s others feel your passion and energy, not just see it.
Another aspect he touched on, was relating to the story of each pattern on a personal level. Each pattern represents a person in history and a story of the development of Korea and of TKD. Usually we just remember the meaning of each pattern, but what’s the point? We can truly understand and appreciate the history in TKD when we can understand it, and relate it to our personal lives.
After going through the psychological aspect of patterns, we looked at the practical side of patterns, which moved into self defense. Patterns are a series of set movements against imaginary opponents. It was really interesting to go through the patterns and look at how it would be if people were actually attacking you.
Master Lejeunesse was also explaining to the group the importance of competing in TKD. It’s important to learn how to cope with stress and pressure. You learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person. I actually find I perform my patterns much better under a stressful situation. Even though competing isn’t a huge section of the TKD encyclopedia, it’s actually very important. When you go to tournaments, you get a new perspective, a new experience and develop a new community of friends from around the world.
He asked me to tell about my experiences of how the World Championships has affected me and he also asked his son Etienne to tell about his personal experience of competing at the World Cup last month in England. We both had very different experiences but we both felt that we couldn’t wait to do it again 🙂 Competing means different things to different people.
As Master Lajeunesse was talking about his views and opinions, it was great reassurance, because I think the same way.
I love travelling to different cities to meet and train with new people – it’s all part of the experience. I love sharing our own personal tips with each other on what has worked in the past and how we want to improve in the future. We can always learn! Thank you again Mr. Charlebois and Master Lajeunesse. It was also very kind of Mr. Charlebois’ mom and sister to come and help out with the registration and feed us healthy snacks.