day 2179 – killarney demo team

after long debate, this is the group i brought to walk with the dragon to represent the branch. it is also the first year that killarney students will have their own program separate from the main school. i opted to not wear my uniform to avoid the need to appear on stage. luckily for us, our grandmaster was out of town so we can run this show with a little less stress. it was more of an eye-opener for most as it’s their first time stepping on stage to do any taekwondo demonstration. proud of these kids for having the courage to do so and completing it

day 2136 – arc du triomphe

visiting one of my top paris attraction arc du triomphe. the intersection it stands on is crazy; twelve different routes merging into the roundabout. by now, i have grasped the concept of paris driving – drive aggressively and use all methods to get around obstructions. as i stood before the arc daringly close to the traffic, i never imagined it would tower over me like so. decided not to buy tickets to go up and that was the correct choice because the lineup to the lift is long. i think the point is to view the actual structure and not to look down on the surrounding things from the top

day 2125 – wimbledon tour

i’m ecstatic to have the chance to tour and walk on the same grounds as many of the tennis greats. i get to be in the centre court, practice courts, broadcasting station and press conference rooms where i can freely take photos. it’s definitely one of the top priorities on this trip and will likely be a top highlight when it’s all said and done. i wish i could take my parents to see this lawn tennis centre. the least i could do was take back a souvenir for both. also wished i could spend more time here, but other sightseeing duties call. hope one day i can afford to be a ticket holder of this grand slam

day 1899 – cloudkicks

it was definitely an eye opening and jaw dropping event at flightclub this evening. trickers came from all over north america including calgary, seattle, california, illinois and even hawaii. everyone who came to battle was showcasing how they could defy gravity with triples and quads. though i just went into the clinic to realign my back, i still forced it to attend class and then the special seminars held by loopkicks thereafter. seeing what can be done inspires me with what i can learn

day 1544 Рlord stanley 

i’ve seen lord stanley thousands of times being hoisted on television, but never thought i’d see it in person. it’s fulfilling after watching hockey for almost two decades, to finally touch and take a picture with the real stanley cup itself. standing beside it certainly makes me look quite small. i’d love to one day see the other trophies, my favourite being the hart trophy. i am sure my parents would have loved to come see for themselves if they were in town

my many doubts

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i have been troubled and drowning in my own thoughts which has me staying up late and thinking a lot lately. over the years, taekwondo has given me a lot to look forward to and a lot to be proud of, but that’s not to say it hasn’t given all sorts of pressure and stress. one could say competition has given me a sense of belonging, because it’s also where i found out that i too, could succeed. it’s taken my next to zero confidence and upping that to a level of being confident enough to step out on the mats alone and get things done. somehow, i feel competing is not what it used to be for me. i always felt the pressure leading up to each competition, but never have i felt it so intensely that i’ve become super stressed out and almost numb. is it a sign that i’m not doing it as a passion? is there such thing as a “martial arts block” like a “writer’s block”? sometimes i can’t differentiate if i am fulfilling my job to compete just because i’ve been doing so all along. i’m unsure whether it’s expected of me, or if it’s a self chosen decision. what makes this one different than the ones in the past that gives me so much more undue stress? a lot to be honest. first of all, i’m no longer under the coaches i’m used to, but directly under the watchful eyes of the grandmaster. second, my parents play a big factor. they seemingly have no expectations for my competition game because they have doubted me from the first day i took on taekwondo, but somehow still appears to have so much expectation. they never expected me to get anywhere close to blackbelt and even sought every opportunity¬†to pry me away from the sport. the results at nationals really isn’t my focal point nor the reason i go to nationals. it wasn’t in the past, and this year’s isn’t any different. competing at such a high level is definitely a privilege i don’t take lightly. it’s an eye opener that’s all about the experience and through that i’ve gained so much more. i hope the grandmaster and others see it in the same light, but sometimes i am afraid of those who put a lot more weight in results and standings. i hate not living up to expectations and i hate letting people down; maybe i’ve done it way too much in the past. luckily, i am still able to find bright spots of supportive casts to put everything into perspective and make sure i keep going strong. they let me know that as long as i do everything within my powers and give it everything i got, i should have no regrets. so bottom line is – stop self doubting and stop second guessing, just get my shit together, work my ass off and let the rest play itself out