Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fighting the best of the best

Fighting the best of the best
By Rob Nadler

I wish the parents of all the athletes at Authentic could have seen what Paolo and I saw over the past 12 days. We saw our kids face what was likely their greatest challenge yet. And they excelled.

On March 6, we dropped our kids off at the airport and watched them fly off to Europe as a team – not as children. They flew to Hamburg and had just one day to adjust to the new surroundings and a 6-hour time change before weigh-ins for the German Open. Jetlag and nerves led to a poor night’s sleep, with a couple of the kids getting only 90 minutes sleep before they competed.

At the German Open, Crystal was a superstar. The others all competed well, but Crystal was focused, driven and in the right mindset. She won her first match against the Netherlands before losing a great match against Belarus in the round of 16. And when each athlete’s day came to an end, they spent one-on-one time discussing their matches with Master Farah before writing detailed notes on their accomplishments and setbacks from each match.

Paolo and I then hopped on a flight to Italy to see his family and to let the kids train on their own. They had quite rigorous training sessions daily in Eindhoven, with the Netherlands national team as well as BC and Quebec teams. When we arrived in Eindhoven on Friday, they were all truly ready to compete. Master Farah took every opportunity possible over the week to share his stories, review their videos, watch other taekwondo competition videos and simply prepare them mentally for their next challenge. They learned more about competition preparation than ever before – but he also taught them some incredible life lessons.

The Dutch Open was equally as daunting as the German Open, but our athletes were much more prepared, mentally. They had seen many of the competitors in Hamburg and knew that they were not outclassed. Crystal competed on an ankle she had unfortunately rolled in training and was defeated by the French national team. Andus shined and won his first match against Denmark before losing a hard-fought, high-scoring battle against the French national team in the round of 16. Gianluca fought incredibly well in a very close defeat to Kazakhstan; I don’t think either of his European competitors ever made contact with his head! Dylan had a great day, competing in four matches over nine hours. He beat Italy, Germany and France before losing by one point in the semi-finals to the Netherlands. He won bronze and was proud to wear the Canadian flag over his shoulders on the podium.

We realized that we are at a disadvantage. The Europeans have Open tournaments monthly, where teams are well-funded and compete against competitors from every continent. While traveling abroad and facing foreign competitors is rare to us, it is a regular occurrence for them.  They are pushed to excel, and learn by fighting literally the best in the world on a frequent basis. Despite the disadvantage however, our athletes never looked out of place. They were well prepared, highly skilled and incredibly competitive. They deserved to be there.  I loved seeing that, and wish you all could have seen it as well.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Olympic Taekwondo

WTF President's Letter to MNA Presidents on IOC EB's Decision on 25 Core Sports of 2020 Olympic Games

Dearest taekwondo family members,

I am delighted and extremely proud to announce to you that the International Olympic Committee Executive Board (IOC EB) has decided that taekwondo will remain as a core sport of the 2020 Olympic Programme.

The announcement was made today at a press conference held by the IOC EB in Lausanne, Switzerland, at 12:00 p.m. local time. This recommendation for the Olympic Programme will be brought before the IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September 2013. While process is not complete, the global taekwondo family should be proud of what we have accomplished over the past four years and encouraged that we are continuing to move in the right direction with our sport. I want to thank each member of our family for the important role that you have played in this process.

Together, we ensured an incredibly successful London 2012 Olympic Games, but there is still so much more that we can do. From today, we must strive to make Rio 2016 an even greater milestone for taekwondo. This will not be an easy task, but we have already proven that we can achieve great things when we work together.

I have every confidence that the 2013 WTF World Taekwondo Championships in Puebla, Mexico, will be another crowning event for our sport. This will once again demonstrate how far we have come and the strength of our ambitions for the future. The 4th WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships and the 2013 Swiss Open, which will take place in Lausanne on 8-9 June this year, are two more events that the WTF look forward to this year. Additionally, the Argentina Open will take place at the end of August this year. This will be the first time that an international taekwondo event has taken place in South America. I encourage all of you to participate in these wonderful events.

It is a tremendous privilege that I am able to deliver this wonderful news to you today.. Let us continue to work together to achieve and even more successful Olympic Games for taekwondo in 2016!

With happiness and gratitude,

Chungwon Choue

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Our first TV interview

Our first TV interview was done with Rogers cable. It was 15 minute segment.  Thanks to Andus Crystal and Dylan for participating and showing what Authentic Taekwondo is about.  Here you go!! Enjoy!! Feel free to leave your comments!!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

What is Authentic Taekwondo about?

Recently I've been getting a lot of question about why I dont post our results from Tournaments... for example how many medals we won and so on...

I realize that this would be great marketing strategy and perhaps I should take advantage of it, however, at the same time it puts into question, what Authentic Taekwondo is all about.  Are we all about medals and winning, surely we take great pride in achieving our success but what if we continue to win lots of medals but there is no sense of satisfaction.  I've witnessed on many instances where people are on the podium but there is no satisfaction in the way that they competed.  At the same time, I've seen people lose matches, but depending on their performance they feel as though, they've actually won.  So in theory as well as practice we focus on performance as a club as a coach and as individuals.

For example, when we focus on performing certain drills and we execute them in tournaments, to me that is success.  When a students goes beyond what they thought they were capable of doing, to me that is success.  So going back to our school philosophy, we consider our training and success as character building ... rather than medals.  

Another example of character building was in full display at the Toronto Open on Nov 10-11, 2012. We won many medals, from gold to silver and bronze but the moments that stood out for me as true successes were for example my young color belt student Tiffany, 8 years old.  When Tiffany was first planning on joining Taekwondo, she had no courage to participate in a Taekwondo class.  With her patient parents sitting with her outside the classroom for almost 3 weeks until she finally decided to join the class.  So for a girl who took 3 weeks off just sitting outside class, to coming to one of the biggest Taekwondo events in Ontario and not only win medals but finish matches with determination and focus, speaks volumes of the type of program we run.  We care about our people's development as individuals more so than their success on the podium.  We not only want to help people become Taekwondo champions but also improve their quality of life.

We have instructors that are among world leaders in Taekwondo and other professions.  They have reached great heights in their professional life as well as athletic.  We, the instructors, believe that the lessons in sport are synonomous to challenges we face in the real world.  Although, the lessons are condensed, it very well prepares you to face them all head on.  Nothing is too great or too simple to overlook but with the right people around all you need is timing, planning and executing.

Post Black Belt test speech

"Of those who start Taekwondo training, only about 5% stick to it until they achieve their Black Belt. ”  Congratulations!!  You are a minority of affluence!!

As most of you know I didn’t come to Canada until I was 11.  And before we immigrated to this beautiful land I use to browse through books, magazines and watch movies in the hopes of viewing some cool kicks.  Aside from these things, we had a family album with pictures of my brother Adib, doing Taekwondo, as they used to train Martial arts at some park.  As a requirement for his black belt test I read in his essay, that they were kicked out of the training facilities, which was at his English school.  They were kicked out because the neighbours were complaining that they were yelling too loud.   

Now reflecting back on those pictures it seems that with bare minimum, torn up uniforms and no protective equipment they were practicing with so much intensity and pride.  In either case, I must’ve gone through that album a 1000 times thinking how wonderful was that, and hoping that one day I could be just like that.  I strongly believe it was the combination of little moments like that that allowed and encouraged me to be in Taekwondo… and today it gives me great pride to honor Adib for his 1st degree black belt.

Now in the next phase of my life as an instructor, each one of you remind me the beauty of my job and inspire me to become better day after day and drive the passion in my journey.  Watching you develop has given me moments of pride and satisfaction.  I want to take this moment to mention Rob Nadler, who trains regularly, and puts in 100% every single time.  And his persistence and dedication not only showed today in his test but also during a recent tournament where he delivered the perfect back kick in the finals seconds of his match.  What a great example of understanding the moment, planning and executing what he had practiced for hours, days and months.  He not only sets the example for his children who train and compete but for all of us here at Authentic Taekwondo.  Congratulations Rob on this milestone and thank you for your contributions toward our school.

One of the Joys of this job is watching young individuals grow into responsible people, those who begin to understand their own capabilities and the effects that their actions have on others.  Who understand their leadership in the community and act accordingly.  Jamie continues to the betterment of our school both in his leadership at Trillium Montessori school but also in cadets and Taekwondo.  Congratulations Jamie, a well deserved black belt. 

Speaking of leadership and responsibility, Jesse has been our competitor for a few years now.  He’s training to compete at local and organized levels.  This year he has decided to compete once again at Nationals.  We think that that is a noble cause but also understand that there are tremendous responsibilities with it.  You have a lot of support around you and we are proud of your performance today.  Congratulations.

Watching Emily grow and develop over the years has been a great delight.  Working with these kids has taught me that being serious and dedicated is not a matter of age but of maturity.  Those who work hard reap the rewards of their success and enjoy the fruits of their labor.  When things are just handed to you, you don’t appreciate it as much.  At the same time when you win it becomes a lot harder to stay on top.  But I believe in us and that we can continue the tradition of most sought after Taekwondo school in the country.  Congratulations Emily, you’re on a great journey.  Enjoy every moment of it.

Our people determines the level of success for our club and when I look around me, I see so much talent… for example Damian – I first saw his two older siblings and I thought they were pretty good and fast, then I saw Damian and I thought ok, even though, he’s younger, Julian and Christian have some serious competition.    

Armen, you have come a long way from your tough first days at Authentic and grown into a young confident martial artist.  Continue to push yourself and share your experience with the next generation.

Aaron, this black belt proves that you are no longer a baby, but a young boy capable of doing anything you want.

Zekria, you’ve improved a lot from your days of lazy movements and every instance you make me proud of your accomplishments. 

Naweed, we have a lot in common, we’re both the youngest of our siblings but a lot to prove.  This black belt is a great first step, but understand that real bravery is not in fighting with those around you but deciding to walk away from it.

Cassandra, you are a great student and full of life, take your 2nd poom also as an encouragement to be a leader and share your knowledge. 

Benafsha, you never cease to surprise me with your performances.  Every time when faced with adversity you pull through and not only survive but achieve great results. 
Congratulations to you all.

In the end, you are all the future of this school.  And remember that where ever you go, you represent us, your family and your community and most importantly you represent yourself.  Be the best person you can… and always be yourself.

Thank you!!