day 1312 – team competitors 

competition day in portland came really quickly. i had low expectations going in because of what happened recently and the luck of poomsae draw didn’t help either. practice was sparse cause of the lack of time and the timing of injuries. i admit at times i didn’t try to make time to practice and even wanted to withdraw so i won’t disappoint anyone. i pulled together a gutsy performance today and took a gold and a satisfying bronze. i’m glad i was there to prove myself

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day 981 – news worthy

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it’s a pleasant surprise our results made it onto the local newspaper. so proud of my students and their achievements. this justifies that all the time i invested in them while trying to train myself simultaneously was worth the stress. they all practiced very hard for this event and i’ve watched each and every one of them improve before my eyes. it’s a great reminder for myself as to why i love coaching and why i am still involved in taekwondo. i hope they continue to work hard so i can eventually coach them to the national stage during my time

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 976 – big day

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time to take it out on the mats in oregon. competing in three events at this year’s us world open and no matter how many competition i have been to, i am still feeling the pre-competition jitters. it was a long and tiring day at the competition with a super early start. started off well for my pairs showing, followed by a disastrous effort for team, but capped it off nicely with a strong performance for individual. at the end of my third event, i can finally rest easy and chill a little with my mentee. i can only afford to relax knowing i gave it my everything and left everything on the mat. i dare say i am content with my performance and can head home feeling a little proud of myself as well

day 975 – portland highways

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driving south of the border on our way to portland hotel. started our drive so early just to beat out rush hour traffic. the border wait was minimal and the drive was smooth until we hit the affernoon traffic at downtown portland. when i see weaving stacked highways, i always think of portland and los angeles. getting to portland was half the battle, preparing myself for the big day tomorrow is the other half. sleeping earlier tonight would definitely do me good

day 973 – packing ahead

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unlike all the previous times i travel out for competition, i am getting a head start on packing. packing light has never been an easy task for me cause i always end up bringing way more than i require. i am portland bound for the second straigt year. the feeling is far different this time. i feel like i am a whole new me because i have people by my side prepping and reassuring me. they make sure i am mentally sound and prepared to take on this battle, and always reminding me the mindset i carry onto the stage is what sets me apart. my mental game is definitely stronger than the last; i know i just got to go out there and perform at my best and everything will take care of itself

day 914 – leaf through

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came across this as i was leafing through my phone album for a kickass picture request. going through these pictures bring back so much memories, the times when i seemed to have a better grasp of competition. deep down i know i miss competition and really want to be back in the game, but knowing i will not return until i can step up my game. it’s been far too long since i last competed. the longer i’m away from the competition stage, the more scared i feel. i hope i’m able to control and improve not only my game, but my state of mind