day 1014 – packing away

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i like going on vacations and i travel out to competitions often, but packing is not one of my favourite things to do. the crew and i are flying out to nationals tomorrow. i had all day to pack, but still never got around to it until night time rolled around. it’s late at night and i am finally struggling to gather the gear and things that i will be needing. let’s hope i can wake up early enough to double check because i am very forgetful

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conquested us world open

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i felt tremendous pressure going into this year’s us world open for so many reasons – definitely tenfolds more than last year’s. last year being the first go had its uncertainties, but because of my successes, it gave me extra stress and pressure this time around to live up to the unwritten expectations. nationals in the summer gave me one of the biggest blows in my competition career. it was one of my worst performances to say the least; it almost made me certain i was going to call it quits for taekwondo competitions. since then, i haven’t willed myself to step onto the mat again to do what i thought i loved. thankfully, my competitiveness fought through to cling onto my competition dreams and didn’t allow me give up on my passion. slowly i left canadian nationals 2015 behind and began training again. it’s almost a year since my last competition experience. the layoff has definitely triggered endless pre-competition jitters. i withdrew from a competition in february due to fear and at times i had the biggest urge to withdraw from this one as well. i knew this year’s division would be even tougher than last because i would be up against two teammates of mine. we’re a team that supports each other but there’s no secret that i’m a competitor at heart. i didn’t want to lose and really wanted to live up to expectations, expectations that i have for myself. for that reason, the pressure really got into my head and i was struggling to concentrate on my game. luckily, i have all the right people around me to give me all the support to guide me through these tough times and bring the best out of me. they gave me the strength to carry on even at my weakest times. days leading up to the competition and even minutes prior to going on deck, my mind replayed all the things that was said to me. i had a lot to prove and i did exactly that. just like last us world open, i was the last to go in my school and last to go in my division. everyone from my team including the grandmaster were crowding around my ring. the long wait for my teammates to finish built up so much tension. to make it worse, the opening ceremony coincidentally started as it was my turn to step on the mat. from the start of division, i was so focused i zoned out everyone and including the demo music; it was my time – nothing but myself. i didn’t dare watch any of my competitors’ poomsaes or scores. in fact, i didn’t even look at my own scores so i had no idea what to expect as the judges announced the medallists. all i knew was i stepped off the mat confidently feeling good about the performance i had put forth. getting silver for individual is the silver lining to this trip and a great way to cap off us world open 2016. i felt my mental game was the strongest it’s ever been heading into a competition and i owe that to a lot of people. i feel some confidence and self belief slowly coming back to me

day 693 – leaving on a jet plane

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time to fly out on yet another red eye flight. montreal, ready or not here i come. flying out this time has a different feeling, i guess it’s because unlike the previous years, there isn’t much of a team bc to go with. it’s definitely a strange feeling but the show must go on regardless. at the airport waiting for my first flight which is delayed. let’s hope this flight doesn’t delay too long cause i have a connecting flight to catch

day 687 – morning physio

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stumbled into the clinic still in half sleeping mode and physio was quick to take note. he figured giving me a bunch of crazy exercise was going to wake me up and increase my alertness. another stint on the muscle stim after a tiring routine, makes me believe that i will be doing muscle stim forever and ever. important visit today because i had messed up my knee and groin and needed to get that fixed heading towards montreal

day 685 – monday grind

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i hate counting down the days remaining, but it’s always in the back of my mind because the big day is getting so close and i feel really stressed out. here on a monday night putting in some training and working on my many poomsae deficencies even though my knee is in need of attention. trying to break into these new fighter uniforms and must admit they feel really good

today is the day

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sixteen days out, i have no time to waste and i lot to gain. today is the day that i get down to business and do whatever is required. i regretfully say that i have been way too slack recently resulting in having back tracked much too far.  i need force myself to get back into both my training and eating regime in a quick hurry, meaning no more junk and cheat meals and no more skipped trainings or gym sessions. but no more setbacks and no more straying allowed because there’s simply no backing down now. everything including my membership, flight, hotel, car, registration are all confirmed, so there’s really only one way to go – through. got my goals set, my days marked and my schedule planned, so now is the time to get into action and not give my plan a chance to falter. the only difference this time from all previous times, and might i add the most daunting thing, is i am going to have to get this done alone. i need all the support in the world and all the luck i can get. it’s now or never

a-game at us world open

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there was no shortage of pressure at us world open with the presence of the grandmaster, team of students and their parents. little was said, but this competition would also determine my path moving forward and going to nationals next month. i went into this competition feeling undertrained because of all my commitments with the sunrun, dodgeball, playoffs, demos and coaching duties; too much time spent coaching the kids i left no time for myself. it was a mixed bag of feelings from being emotionally unstable to psychologically drained cause i knew what was on the line, physically fine for the most part other than coping with a bad groin that won’t heal and battling a week-long cold. the pressure was far beyond anything i’ve ever experienced since all my school’s competitors had already finished their events, leaving me last to go on stage so everybody hovered behind my ring. i am not a fan of spotlight and this certainly a lot more attention than i am comfortable with. what made it even more nerve wrecking is i was queued second last in my division meaning i had to go through the pain of watching and waiting for my fellow competitors. i was so nervous i didn’t dare watch any of my competitors or their results. i zoned out everyone who tried to talk to me and only focused on what i had to do. i went out there and did what i had to do, walked off the mats straight to my coach without even looking at my score. i was greeted by high fives and a “pretty good” which meant the world to me cause rarely does he compliment me. everybody was quick to tell me i secured at least a silver medal based on the scores of those who went before me. i didn’t believe it, but came to realization as the final results were announced. it wasn’t the medal around my neck that brought joy to me, it was beating my biggest rival from my own school and that proved plenty, more than words can say. most importantly i felt good out there doing what i thought was my best poomsae and best performance yet. the silver lining was i later found out the mexican who topped my score was the bronze medallist at this year’s worlds. thankfully i was told after the fact or i would be too psyched out, as if i didn’t have enough pressure