Training at Queens TKD in New York City

I’ve recently had the pleasure of training with Master Suarez 3 times in Ottawa and I’ve always loved his high energy and different approach to sparring drills.  When I signed up for the IIC (International Instructors Course) in NYC I also asked if I could go a day early so I could train with him at his dojang in Queens, NYC since I knew he had awesome students to train with.  Mr. LeGrow (my instructor), Mrs LeGrow (his mom) and Alex Lapointe-Matta (from Montreal) also trained that night at his dojang.

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Hey, she kicks like a girl too!

I’ve never been to NYC before so I was very excited and just wanted to absorb everything about it.  I felt like I was on a movie set since it felt so different from anywhere I’ve ever been before.  Walking around in the streets was cool since all the street vendors where out on the sidewalks trying to coax you into their stores, everyone was honking their horns, the train was REALLY loud right over your head and the traffic was insane.  The best part of going to tournaments and seminars is to explore and see different parts of the world and meet new people.  Our GPS didn’t work well at all so we kept getting lost!  We even got lost in Harlem.

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The train tracks above you were so loud
It wouldn’t be NYC without the yellow cabs
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Walking around Queens after dinner with guest Masters and Instructors from Columbia, Puerto Rico and Italy
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I was a happy kid just taking everything in and enjoying the experience!

I have been very careful and committed to following a healthy diet for optimum energy and I’ve never felt better.  As I get older I appreciate and value the importance of fueling my body with foods that keep my energy up.  It’s easy to eat properly when you’re at home but travelling is always a challenge.

Before our training with master Suarez we went out in a group for a dinner in plenty of time for it to digest since we knew it was going to be an intense training.  It was a Colombian restaurant and unfortunately I immediately felt really sick after eating since it was more spicy and salty than I’m used to.  I was soooo upset and disappointed since I had looked so forward to this night.  As I started to bounce around I got all clammy, shaky and had a really upset stomach.  It was really awkward since all I wanted to do was train but I just couldn’t. I also felt extremely rude leaving the dojang and coming back in but I really thought I was going to be sick and needed fresh air.

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Doing some light warm up drills with….. As soon as I started to bounce around I felt so sick from my dinner 🙁

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This just reinforces how important proper nutrition is to athletes and it’s one of the hardest things to control when you travel for competitions.  Everyone was so nice to me and helped me with advice on what to eat and drink to settle my stomach.  We found a store so I could buy my regular food for the rest of the weekend which really helped.

At least I was able to stay and watch and still learn from the class. Mr. Perlaza ran the class and I hope to train with him in the summer.  The atmosphere in the school is very unique.  The energy is high and level of sparring is more intense which is awesome.  I wanted so badly to get in and spar with everyone.  I’ve sparred with Julio Carlos in Ottawa and it was awesome to learn from him.  I love how there was a lot of structure in the school.  Everyone knows exactly the routine and there was a huge level of respect towards one another.  It was a real ‘family’ atmosphere.  Every single person shakes everyone’s hand when the leave the school.  It’s nice to see the young kids have the confidence to greet everyone.  We all felt so welcomed into the school.

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We watched one of the kid’s classes before we trained and it was impressive to see how hard they worked

Then it was time for the black belt class….

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It’s always fun to watch Mr. LeGrow spar and he was having a blast.  It’s hard to find new sparring partners so you always want to take advantage when you’re travelling to spar as many different people as possible.  You get too much into a routine if you spar the same people all the time.  You have to be ready for the unexpected!

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Alex Lapointe-Matta from Montreal was so excited to spar Julio again.  Alex is also trying to qualify for the Canadian National Junior team so the more experience he gets the better.

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It was nice to see so many other girls sparring as well.

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After every class at home I always stay a bit later to work on my own strengthening and stretching.  These competitors do the same as well.  They had a chin up bar and everyone takes their turn doing 5 reps of chin ups and then they did some really cool kicking drills with shields while they were still in a chin up position.  It was insane!  It’s these little extra things that you do above and beyond that can be the real difference makers for you.  Always stretch beyond your limits it you want to improve.

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Thank you Master Suarez, Mr. Perlaza and your students for welcoming us into your dojang and I hope to be able to come back and really be able to train.  I was so thankful that I felt completely better by the next morning so I was ready for the IIC.

I will post a blog from every day of the IIC with all the photos that my mom took as soon as the photos are approved by the Grand Masters.  Stay tuned 🙂