Canadian champion Sam Zakutney rings routine
Being the Camp Coordinator with Pujan Thakrar has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding school experiences. Every year John McCrae Secondary School holds a 2.5 day Leadership Camp and it’s organized by two selected grade 11 and 12 students. The camp allows 65 students (grades 9-12) to attend and there is an application process since there is such a demand for this amazing camp. I really think it’s programs like this that helps make our school stand out. The coolest part about the camp is that it is completely run and organized by students with the help and supervision of a few teachers. It’s fascinating being able to run a full camp successfully without that authority of teachers. That’s when you know that the students there are great people!
The application process was long to go through them, but they were absolutely incredible! I was inspired and touched by how much time, effort and creativity everyone put in to making them great. So many of the applications were great representations of who they were. By looking through the applications, we picked who would be delegates and which 10 students in grade 11 or 12 would be the Skill Builders. The applications required them to answer 5 specific questions about leadership.
Skill Builders-Students are the group captains. There are 2 captains for each team. They run the sessions and take care of their won group of 10 delegates.
Delegates: students who is part of each group.
The whole purpose of the camp is to have students work together in a safe, confidential and open environment where we can learn about ourselves and also learn how to work on our team building skills. We want to develop as many leaders (they come in all forms) as possible to make our school the best it can be. These leaders will transfer everything they’ve learned into all areas of their life. I’ve attended the camp for my first 2 years of high school and I loved it, so this was an exciting opportunity to see how to organize a camp.
Pujan and I had our first meeting 9 months ago in the summer to start the planning process since there is so much involved and we both have very busy schedules. We wanted to get a head start and make sure it would be the best camp we could organize. It was extra stressful because up until last month we weren’t even sure it was going to happen with the Provincial wide ban of extra curricular activities but we kept planning as if it was going to happen and we are so thankful we did. Once the ban was lifted we had to work in overdrive to finish things up. I think we were perfect partners since our personalities and strengths are different so we balanced each other out but had things in common so we got along really well. Pujan was such a pleasure to work with!
We had to decide and plan on:
The first page of our booklets reads…..LEADERSHIP CAMP 2013
Congratulations on making it as participant in this year’s Leadership Camp! This is your chance to get to know yourself and other students at John McCrae and to become the champion that you truly are! We hope that you keep an open mind and take risks through camp and make the most of this experience. You will learn useful skills over the next few days that you can apply to your everyday life so make the most of this opportunity but more importantly have fun!
As skill builders and delegates, we want you to soak up as much as possible while having fun! Try to recognize the importance, meaning and usefulness of everything you will experience with your group!
Here are some key steps to making your camp experience AWESOME!!
Take risks: Step out of your comfort zone! Try something new! Gooo with the floooow! The best part about camp is experiencing new things and you won’t be going through it alone! You have a whole group to help you out!
Keep an open mind: It’s simple. Don’t judge it. Don’t criticize it. Just try it.
Trust your group members: If you share with them, they will share with you. Have confidence in the Four Wall Rule and the Right to Pass.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: You will always be able to find someone who is willing to help! Just ask!
EAT. CANDY. : It’s pretty straightforward. Your dentist is not here! Neither is your mom!
We are so excited to see you all at camp! Show tons of enthusiasm, have lots of fun and more importantly BE YOURSELF!
Your camp coordinators
Kayla and Puj
The topics of the camp include:
Ice Breaker Night- The first time we are all together and were divided into the groups. Let the games begin!
The 5 amazing teams of Delegates and their 2 Skill Builders
The games and activities may sound silly or juvenile but they are all designed with a specific lesson and reason to push you out of your comfort zone. The games/challenges force you to trust your team mates. We chose these activities from previous camps that were successful and we also did a lot 0f research finding new activities. I was happy that we were able to include my 5 step goal setting program that I created and use in my own workshops. It always amazes me how open people are to talk about ‘real’ issues in this type of environment. I think being away at a remote location really helps. You really have to come to the camp with an open mind and just be willing to be YOURSELF. That is why there is the selection and application process. We really want to make sure that people are there for the right reasons. Every single person that attends the camp always feels so much better about themselves and their abilities after the camp. There is so much positive reinforcement given to everyone and very close friendships develop that wouldn’t normally happen in the everyday environment. There is no judgement or criticism. All these new relationships just make high school living that much more fun. The positive energy is contagious.
I had so many incredible highlights at camp. I loved every single moment of it. I have to admit, it’s quite stressful even when all the work is done because Pujan and I really wanted the camp to run smoothly. We wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and hopefully not have to deal with any major hick-ups. I had so many moments when the whole group was together, where I got to take a step back and truly realized and appreciate what Pujan and I had created. It was such a cool feeling. The atmosphere was incredible. It was so full of love, life, happiness, growth and warmth in so many ways. It was a place where everyone could feel accepted, appreciated, supported and a place they could be completely themselves. It was magic if you ask me. It’s where I suddenly realized that, wow, this is what it is all about, and THIS is why our school is so incredibly awesome. It’s because of camps and programs like these. It’s hard to describe.
At the end of camp, we do something called warm fuzzies. It’s where you write warm notes to friends and new friends you made at camp. It’s all positive and these messages are to take the time to tell people how beautiful they are, inside and out. I was touched by all the personal notes from everyone on what they thought of the camp and how appreciative they were. The feedback was amazing and it just goes to prove why these camps are important and why they need to happen every year! I STRONGLY urge everyone at JMSS to attend at least one Leadership Camp in their 4 years of high school. I promise it will change your life for the better. Just remember….go with an open mind and leave be willing to challenge yourself.
We couldn’t have had the camp without the help of:
I feel so lucky and privileged to have gotten the opportunity to organize the camp this year. I learned a lot about how much goes into organizing a huge event like this. I have grown a lot from it and I have realized how much I love team building, leadership programs and motivational environments. Who knows, maybe I will get to do more of this type of thing when I am older as a career. I would love to do team building and motivational speaking with either Elite athletes or even corporate companies. Thanks to everyone who was apart of this incredible experience.
“NOW IT IS TIME TO GO OFF INTO THE WORLD AND BE THE BEST LEADER YOU BE! ENJOY EVERY MOMENT FOR WHAT IT IS! YOU ARE ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE AND YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THAT! GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE IN THE FUTURE!”
-KAYLA AND PUJ
A special thanks to everyone who shared pictures with me![Show as slideshow] 12►
As TKD Nationals are quickly approaching next month I really want to step up my sparring training. I’ve been so busy preparing the Leadership Camp but now I can dedicate all my time to Taekwon-Do and Track since I also want to qualify for OFSAA.
Today I trained with a great group of black belts and all we did was spar for three full hours. It was exhausting but so much fun. I am pleased with my cardio and I’m working on some specific footwork. Like most sports….it all starts at the feet and works it’s self up.
It was extra special that my dad trained with us too. I think he loves TKD as much as I do People are always shocked with how quick his reflexes are. He catches people off guard so it’s fun to watch. My grandpa also came and watched the whole training. I am always thankful that he can be a huge part of my life
Thanks again Mr. LeGrow for organizing today. I am so happy that we can work on these sparring drills together. It’s going to be an awesome summer with intense training[Show as slideshow]
Nothing gives me more pleasure than coaching a student who really wants to learn. Fritz is an 8 year old red belt who is also competing at Nationals next month. I’ve coached Fritz over the years and there is just something extremely special about him. It’s called ”passion”. He has such an old soul and really wants to be the best he can be.
When I heard that he had registered for Nationals I wanted to help him out since I know how seriously he takes his training. I asked him to come today when the dojang was closed so we could just work alone and critique every movement of his pattern. We went over it several times and filmed it so he could see what he was doing right and what needed correcting. I love how he actually does what I ask him to do. You could see that he was concentrating so hard. When I was Fritz’s age there were two teenage boys (Jonathon Martel and Max Riopelle) who coached me the same way that I’m coaching Fritz. I will always be thankful for the time that the put into my training and now I get to know what it’s like from the coaches point of view. It’s very rewarding.
I didn’t want to overwhelm him with too many details today so after about an hour and a half we called it quits. I would have loved to continue on for hours but I have remember that he is still 8 years old :) It’s better to keep him wanting to come back to train more and feeling proud of his accomplishment than being discouraged. I will continue to spend time with him after each class for the next few weeks. Every night we will work on correcting one more element and reviewing what we have already covered. Hopefully the video tape will be a good review for him on his own time.
I told Fritz he had to cut his hair to compete since he kept flicking his hair after every movement and it was too distracting. Judges like to be able to see the competitors face and eyes. As a good sport he actually let me take the first cut of hair and he is getting the rest cut tomorrow. Now, that’s trust and dedication
Fritz and I have a lot in common and when I learned that he played the guitar I knew we had to have a little jamming session after the training for some fun. I brought my guitar and we both played and sang a few of our favourite songs. It was a great way to end off a fun training session!
Great job today Fritz!
Besides all my Taekwon-do training, I’m also a member of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Team. I train about 9 hours a week at the track for javelin, shot put and discus all year round. This training includes weight lifting, med ball and strengthening, foot work and technique, and throwing all three implements. In the winter the training is all done at the indoor dome. Since there is the turf we can’t measure our throwing distances since the indoor javelin has a rubber stopper on it. Now that the weather is warmer we can start to throwing outside. I’m anxious to see how I’ve improved since last summer.
I absolutely LOVE the winter training. The throwing events are so technical and precise so there is always something to tweak and perfect. I never get bored of it all. My two coaches Bill (javelin) and Corey (shot put and discus) are amazing. They are so patient with me and so passionate about their sport. It’s been exciting since the throwing group has really grown in numbers. I appreciate the one-on-one coaching since it is so technical and you can learn more individually but it’s also great to see more interest in the throwing events. It’s nice that there are more girls my age throwing now.
For the last month I’ve also had track practice for the school team three mornings a week. There has already been two exhibition meets but I haven’t been able to go to them since I was either away at a Taekwon-do tournament or Leadership Camp. My first school qualifying meet is May 16th and then I leave right after it to go to Quebec City for the Taekwon-do Nationals and National Team Selections.
Track is very important to me since I’m hoping that I can be on a university track team and hopefully help with some funding. Universities look at the OFSAA results so I want to make sure I do my best this season.
During the summer I will be competing with the Ottawa Lions Track club every week as well as some away meets.
Although Taekwon-Do and Throwing events are extremely different they both require patience, persistence, perseverance, dedication and overall body strength. Both these disciplines peak at an older age so I have lots of time. Since I’m still only 17 years old, I’m in no rush and am very excited about what I’ll be able to do in the upcoming years.
Good luck to one of my throwing team mates Valerie Chartrand who is also throwing Javelin at a meet in Cornell, NY this weekend.
Mr. Jeff Wilson is a phenomenal basketball coach. He was actually my coach while I was at Cedarview Middle School. He devotes his life to teaching and to coaching sports of all levels. He is the coach for the AA boys U15 Ottawa Next Level basketball team. I was so excited when he asked me to come in and spend a couple hours helping his boys basketball team prepare for the next couple tournaments before their Provincials. I was also a bit nervous how they would react to a girl coming in who was only a couple years older than them but they were awesome.
Obviously I was not going to help them with any of their basketball skills but the purpose of the night was to give them some new cross training drills, get them outside their comfort zone and get them thinking after about goals, and their progression.
These 15 year old guys are currently playing in an older age group which is great since it’s really challenging for them and it’s the best way to improve. They all take their basketball very seriously and want to be the best they can be.
Practising 3 times a week is a good start and it’s usually the only amount of gym time that teams can get. However, if teams really want to excel they have to put in a lot more work (physically and mentally) if they want to reach the next level. They need to use their precious gym time to work on the specific drills and strategies for basketball with the expertise of their coach, but there is so much more that they can do off the court to step up their game.
The first part of the workshop I gave a few new drills that they could do on their own.
I introduced them to:
The key to being successful athletically, is being strong and coordinated overall. A lot of athletes are one-sided. If you can balance out the strength, you will be so much stronger and also prevent injury. The great part about the drills is that you can do them just about anywhere and you can use the things around you for equipment. You don’t need a fancy or expensive gym membership!
Over the years, I’ve picked up hundreds of drills from different coaches, personal trainers and training partners and made up a few of my own. Mixing up your training also keeps it fun and challenging. Here are some old pictures of the types of drills I do on my own. This is just a very SMALL sample of things that you can do…..
We are all teenagers going through growth spurts and our bodies are constantly changing so it’s so important to stretch properly and be aware of the changes to help prevent injuries. Most people are so inflexible and need to stretch every day.
We discussed nutrition and how hard it is when we travel so much for tournaments. Having the right fuel in our bodies is so important to our athletic performance.
Time management is really hard when we are in high school with a ton of homework and also wanting to be with friends. I discussed the difference of between making the choice to train vs. feeling it’s a sacrifice to train.
The second hour was on goal setting. I went over my five step process. It was interesting for me this time, because not only did I touch on individual goal setting, but team goals as well. Each step of the process has key points, but for this team, the main message was “What are you going to do to reach that next level?” I wanted to get them to think about when they can do as individuals and what they can do as team to improve. I shared what I did/do in each of the five steps to give them some ideas. I gave them each a booklet that we went through and I hope they fill them out on their own after they’ve had some time to digest everything that was covered tonight.
I emphasized the idea of having Swag. They laughed at first, but soon understood that really, Swag is confidence. Swag is feeling worthy of greatness. Stepping onto the court (in their case) and owning it, believing that they are the champions and playing like true champions knowing that they have put in all the work to get to that point. It’s about being proud to wear their team jersey.
We finished off making two team push-ups. Each line had 6 guys and they are all linked together and they had to do one team push up together. It takes team work to find out who has what strength and where they should be in the line-up to make it possible. In order to do the push up everyone had to be part of the link. Everyone has to pull their own weight in order to be able to do a team push-up. One line was able to do it right away and then it was fun to watch them go and advice and cheer on their team mates in the other line. Hopefully they see the symbolism of being on the court together. Jokingly they said they wanted to practice that and go do one in the warm up before every game to psych out the other team lol. If nothing else, they would be remembered Great team spirit!
They seemed really receptive and I hope they were able to even pick up even just one little thing. They have so much potential and I think they can get to the next level, all they have to do is put in the EXTRA work and find their swagger
I look forward to hearing how they do at their next tournament. Good luck guys.
Check out all the pictures from the physical portion of the night. Thank you Mr. LeGrow for lending me all the shields and hand pads for the evening.[Show as slideshow] 12►
I have always loved watching Oprah’s interviews since I think she asks great questions and I love her humanitarian work. I think she’s incredible, so when I found out she was coming to Ottawa I really wanted to but I didn’t dare ask since I knew the tickets would be expensive. I was so shocked when my mom surprised me with tickets for the two of us an hour before the show.
15,000 people filled the stadium that night but it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Our seats were really far away and yet, it felt like she was sitting on our couch beside us in our living room. It was like story time of her life and lessons she has learned along the way. She is an incredible story teller. She is comedic, intense, intelligent and extremely well spoken. There was a perfect balance of emotions throughout the night.
She had quite a few concepts that really stood out to me and I thought I would share a few of them.
Her opening question was “why are you here?”
Simple question right? I don’t think we take the time to ask ourselves this question enough. She said that we all have a calling and we need to listen to it. She told a story about when she was little, when she lived with her grandma and they were poor. Her grandma was doing the laundry and said, “keep watching me because one day you will have to know how to do this for yourself”….and Oprah had her moment where she heard her calling. Inside a little voice said, “No, your not! This will not be my life”. She called this feeling inside her an “emotional GPS” guiding her through life, listening and serving her calling. She said that you can’t hear your calling, until you quiet all the noise around you and are in silence with yourself. Then your calling will reveal itself. It is so true! To find the answer of what your true calling is, you need to be able to listen only to the voice inside of you. You won’t find your true calling if you are constantly listening to others and what they want you to do. When you become at peace with yourself, that’s when everything will become clear.
She asked us what our purpose was. Are you living with purpose?
Our purpose is not a goal, or one big moment, its a feeling inside of discovery, of growth. It’s ALL the moments. (it’s all about the experience ) It’s every experience that makes us who we are and it is linked with our calling. I completely agree with this. I even had a rubber bracelet custom made that says “it’s all about the experience” written on it and I have worn it everyday for 2 years (along with my other custom bracelets that mean so much to me). I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the goal but more on the journey. That is also why I started this blog three years ago. I have so many amazing experiences every day and I believe that it’s all the ups and downs during the journey that makes you strong. I never want to forget any of these special moments.
She talked a lot about energy. The energy you put out is the energy that will be returned. You only have control of YOUR energy field, no one else’s.
When she talked about goals, she said there is no such thing as failure, it just means that you are hard headed and its a sign that you should take a new direction. She said, keep the big picture in mind but don’t let it be the main focus. FIND THE NEXT RIGHT MOVE.
The concept of knowing when to stop was also stressed. Stop at your peek, and no matter what you do, stay true to yourself. When it comes to decision making, listen to the little “whispers” giving you guidance. Follow your instincts and don’t ignore them. Many of us do unfortunately. These can be little red flags, arrows pointing you in a certain direction, signs, be open minded to seeing them.
One that really hit me, was talking about goals and things that you want really badly. She said that when you have put the work in, and you are the most prepared you can be…this is when you have to let things go, because really, you have no control. Life works for you, not too you. If something was meant to happen, it will, if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be. It’s fate. There’s no such thing as luck. It is preparation meets opportunity. It hit me because 3 years ago, in that same stadium exactly where Oprah was standing I was training with Grand Master Lan (who was the German National TKD coach) and he told me that same thing. He said that everything is pre-determined so go and embrace the moment for all that it is. I really didn’t understood what he meant, until I stepped into the New Zealand stadium and then I knew what he meant.
When life throws curve balls at you, and things don’t go your way, she said that you are NOT the things that happen to you. You are NOT your divorce, You are NOT your mistakes, you are NOT your disease, NOT etc…..you could feel the energy in the room at that point that so many people were affected by her strong message.The whole concept is being the best FOR the world not just in the world. Striving to be the best possible version of yourself, and then SHARING it with others. Living everyday to the fullest and finding our calling, doing what makes us excited to wake up everyday. I know what gets me excited and I am pretty sure I know what my calling is but I’m just not sure that there are courses in university to help me get there. This is something that is on my mind a lot lately since I will need to start applying soon.
I bet that all 15,000 people would have come out with different messages from the evening. I’ve been so blessed that I have been surrounded by these life lessons my entire life. My family has these conversations daily. That’s one perk of lots of time in the car together going to train I’ve also been very fortunate to have a lifetime of great coaches, TKD instructors and teachers and a few friends who all believe the same things. I think this night was so amazing for me because it was the first time that I really realized that I am already doing what she suggested and I didn’t even know it. All these messages and type of mentality have surrounded me for years and have just become a part of my life. Now I get to share some of my own messages and lessons that I have learned in the past few years. That gets me very excited
The coolest part is that I’m sure if I was to hear all these messages again in a few months I would pick out completely different things since we are always changing and always seeking new answers to our questions. Our perspective changes due to our experiences and stage of our life. I think this is why I found her talk so incredible and why these messages are universal, helpful and timeless. It isn’t always strictly the information given, it is how the information is perceived and applied. I think that having an open mind to REALLY listen to the messages is the first step to growth. Take the time to ask yourself some of the complex and “hard” questions. Take the time to really THINK about who you are, what your purpose is, what you want out of life and what are you passionate about.
Oprah’s wish for us is to continue to evolve and grow and find our own purpose so we wake up everyday and answer the questions…why am I here?
Thank you Oprah for sharing your life lessons and wanting the best for all of us
Last weekend was the Canadian Eastern Championships and I had such a great time! Even though my training has been going extremely well I have to admit, I was pretty nervous because it has been a while since I’ve competed. As soon as I walked into the big room, saw the mats, the flags and all the familiar surroundings I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I enjoyed catching up with the Masters and Instructors from the Eastern Provinces. A lot of them knew about the speaking I have been doing on ’goal setting’ so we had lots to talk about and I loved hearing about what they were doing too It was great to see Team Canada team mates as well! We keep in touch, but it can be difficult when we are all so spread out.
I judged for a large portion of the morning which was fun. I was center referee most of the time, and it was all in French so my brain got a good workout trying to remember all the terminology and commands in French :p
In the afternoon, I won 2 gold medals when it was my turn to compete. For patterns, I won my division and then had the chance to have an exhibition match against the winner of the women’s 3rd degree patterns division. Audrey De Ladurantaye has been on Team Canada for several years and has been a medalist multiple times for Team Patterns on the International Stage. Since it was an extra exhibition match for more experience I got the chance to talk to all the judges and got their feedback. This was SO helpful because all I want is to improve and be the best that I can be so I was extremely appreciative of the advice I received. It was also the validation of the things that I am doing properly. I know all these IIC’s, seminars, extra training and tournaments will pay off towards my big goals.
I won my sparring division. I was curious to see how I would spar in a high pressure situation with all the training I have been doing. I have been working on movement and a few new strategies so I was hoping they would come out in competition and they did. Each time I enter the ring, I feel like I am improving even more and breaking down my own walls that hold me back. I still have a lot of work to do, and I am excited to see the progression continue. I always just want to make sure my points are clean with no warnings.
This tournament was great for me to have a bench mark for Nationals next month and to get some more feedback. Nationals is where it all counts since that is also the qualifying tournament for the 2013 National Team. I am excited to meet up with the Western Provinces there as well. I haven’t competed against them since the Pan Am Championships. There will also be more competitors from the East that couldn’t make it to this tournament. It’s very expensive if you have to fly to these sanctioned events. I know what I need to work on, so now it is back to the dojang! I am very excited.
I was so happy for all my friends and team mates who competed. You all did a great job and should be proud of yourselves. It was great watching the high calibre of competitors in the room. It’s inspiring, because I look up to so many of the higher degrees because they are such nice people and extremely talented.
My mom didn’t have a photographers pass so she didn’t have access to all the rings. She is sorry that she doesn’t have pictures of everyone.
Click on the image below to view and download all the images.
Everyone prepares for competition in their own ways We all have our little routines and rituals. Since the Canadian Easterns (Provinces from Ontario to the East Coast) are this weekend I had my last hard training last weekend. This is not the week to get injured by over-doing something. I will definitely be hydrating! Since the weigh-ins are on Friday night I am leaving for Montreal in the afternoon. I am so fortunate that I never have to worry about cutting weight since I’m in the hyper-weight division. I see how stressed my friends get when they have to cut a lot of weight in order to be able to compete. I can only imagine how hard it is on their bodies let alone the psychological aspect of it. There is such a science on how to cut weight safely and still have the optimum strength to compete but it takes so much discipline. I will make sure that I have my cooler of food with me that I know works well with my body. I’ve been ‘Eating Clean’ and loving it. Proper nutrition is so important, especially this week. It will be extremely important on competition day since I have little meals every three hours. You never really know what time you’re competing so it’s hard to know when and what to eat so you aren’t competing either too hungry or full and sluggish. It’s also a challenge when you are also a judge since you can’t just stop to eat when you want or need to.
This will be a very light week of training for me:
Every night I will be visualizing my patterns and different sparring situations. Music is also a huge factor for me!!!! I listen to all my favourite songs that relax me and/or pump me up.
I don’t know who I’ll be competing against this weekend but Grand Master Lan drilled one thing into my head……Never Underestimate Your Opponent! Every day is a new day and every competition is a new competition. You just have to believe in yourself and all your hard work.
I prepare for every tournament the same way I do for International Competition since it’s good practice to perfect YOUR OWN routine. That way when it really counts you know what you have to do mentally and physically.
This week is extremely busy with school work. I am also organizing the Leadership Camp for my high school which is only a few weeks away so we are finalizing everything and rushing around in meetings when I’m not in class. I am just going to get through the week, and then I am leaving a bit earlier on Friday to clear my head from school work and stress. I can then turn on my switch, put the game face on and embrace the competition environment I may not have a strict routine for the week, but I have set routines during my trainings and for when I arrive in Montreal. It’s all about finding the things that help you perform the best you can.
The Canadian Western Championships are going to be held April 13th in Regina. That includes competitors from the provinces of Manitoba to BC. That’s when you realize how big Canada is as a country. Then we all meet for Nationals in May in Quebec City. Both the Eastern and Western Championships are sanctioned events for points towards your seeding position in the final round robin at Nationals. The top two placements at Nationals in the round robin are the qualifiers for the National team and will have the honour of representing Canada at the World Championships in Spain October 2013.
HERE. WE. GO. :p
The post The Week Leading up to the TKD Eastern Canadian Championships appeared first on Kayla Maduk.
Thank you Master Suarez from Queens TKD for hosting such a successful 80th IIC (International Instructor’s Course) in NYC. Over 130 black belts (including 10 Masters) entered into the Queens College gym looking forward to gain more knowledge from Grand Master Marano (Argentina), Grand Master Lan (Germany) and Grand Master Bos (Italy). There were people from all over the States, Spain, Peurto Rico, Italy, Paraguay, Jamaica and there was a large group of us from Canada. It was wonderful to be with so many Masters and Instructors to learn from. We were honoured to have the President of the ITF TKD, Grand Master Trajtenberg join us for the entire weekend.
Click on this link to view all 800 pictures of the IIC http://sdrv.ms/10bvbFw
This is my second IIC that I’ve attended. Although the format is pretty similar at every IIC there is always so much to learn since every time you attend a seminar you are looking for different answers and you’re at a different stage of your life so you pick up on different aspects. This is especially true when they discuss the philosophy or the ‘Do’ part of Taekwon-Do. I was especially interested since I was a 2nd degree at the last IIC and now I wanted some clarification on the 3rd degree patterns. It’s also always good to learn new sparring drills to practice when we get home to our own dojangs. I especially learned a lot with step sparring and self defense.
The Grand Masters divided us into two groups (up to 3rd degree and then 4th degree and up) and each Grand Master focused on their own specialty. This is a great method since it keeps things interesting. Each Grand Master has their own style and personality which is great since you learn so much from each one of them. I’ve had the pleasure of training with Grand Master Lan on several occasions so I was really excited to see him again. I’ve attended 4 seminars with Grand Master Marano and I love how technical he is with his critiquing. This was my first time meeting Grand Master Bos and I was so impressed with his knowledge, high energy levels and his sense of humour it was inspiring.
I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to do Eui-Am with Grand Master Bos since it just reinforced everything that I’ve been doing in my training. Throughout the seminar, people would volunteer to go up. This can be quite intimidating to volunteer and be picked apart in front of your peers and seniors. I look at it as an opportunity to learn from the absolute best. Grand Master Bos broke down every movement, stance, block, kick and punch. My biggest mistake was wearing my rubber bracelets The rubber bracelets are all my own custom made bands with my own positive and motivational words written on them. The words inspire me to train hard and be the best person that I can be every day. They are my version of a ‘tattoo’ since they are just a part of me now. I promise Grand Master Bos I will remove them when I compete
I also had fun doing Juche in a ‘mock’ tournament style with two gentlemen. I love having the pressure of a tournament. Grand Master Lan was sitting directly in front of me along with 7 other judges so it was fun.
This was a two day seminar for up to 3rd degrees. On the first evening, there was a formal dinner banquet at a beautiful marina andI had a great time. I got the chance to mingle and talk with new people. This made the second day more fun in the sense that I knew more people, and I really found my comfort zone.
The third day was only for 4th degrees and up. Since they are school instructors they cover the business side of things as well as running successful dojangs. It’s also one of the only opportunity that they get for critiquing their higher patterns so they need more time alone.
I left the seminar with new friends from all around the world. It’s amazes me how something like TKD can pull so many people together sharing the same passion. That is how you know that TKD is not just a sport and art but truly ‘a way of life’.
I was one of the younger people at the seminar and I was impressed looking around the room and seeing people train who were 60+ in age. It’s inspiring to see that TKD can lead to healthy lifestyle for my entire life.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
To view all 800 photos that my mom took click on the image below. She took pictures of everyone and of all the different parts of the seminar. I find looking back at the pictures a good review of what we learned. Hope you enjoy them too.
To share these pictures click on this link http://sdrv.ms/10bvbFw
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then it was time for the black belt class….
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!
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.
It was nice to see so many other girls sparring as well.
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.
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
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On March 8th and 9th, Alana & Diego Cabanas of ARCAN Taekwon-Do invited Master Clint Norman, 8th degree to Ottawa to host a technical seminar focusing on patterns and sparring. Master Norman teaches out of Regina, Saskatchewan. He is currently a Vice President of the ITF and the President of Canada’s NGB the Canadian Taekwon-Do Federation International.
I looked so forward to the seminar since I know I’ll always learn new drills for training and also drills that I can pass on to the students in our dojang. It was great to see many familiar faces, and to meet a few more people. The room was filled with Masters, Instructors and students from Ottawa, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskeatchewan, and New York.
The patterns portion was great because Master Norman really picked apart each movement. Master Suarez from Queens NY TKD and Master Phil from Ottawa’s Black Belt Excellence also attended the seminar, so it was amazing to have so much knowledge in one room. It was like a mini IIC.
The afternoon portion was an incredible workout! We did cardio drills, technical but tiring drills, and timing drills all for sparring. I could see the faces of everyone getting more and more red as the afternoon went on. I really enjoyed it! Master Norman has such great energy and enthusiasm it makes you want to work harder. He also incorporated some games to help break things up. You concentrate so hard during the seminar since you are not only working physically but you are also working hard mentally. I LOVE how recharged you feel after these seminars!
Seminars like these are great for a few different reasons.
I am going to my second IIC (international Instructors Course) next weekend in New York City and I am so excited! It’s going to be great.
Since I usually train late at night and compete out of town my Grandpa doesn’t get to see me train so I was really happy that he was able to come and watch. He loves it so much and really gets into the drills and understands what’s going on.
Thank you Arcan TKD for organizing such an amazing seminar and a special thank you to Master Norman for coming to Ottawa to share your wisdom and your positive energy.
To view all 200 action packed photos of the seminar, click on the photo below. Thanks mom for taking all the pictures. These photos will be great memories for years to come
Master Ruben Suarez 8th degree black belt from Queens New York, USA, was here for Master Norman’s Seminar.
Master Suarez was extremely generous and gave a unique sparring training on the Sunday for the women that were in town for the seminar. It’s so hard to find girls to train and spar with and it’s so important because women move and spar differently than men. I have to say…The dojang smelt a lot better.!!! Same amount of sweat, just NO BAD SMELL
The training was all on foot work, counter attacks and combinations. We focused on two main types of movement that day.
First we worked on the foot work
Then we added a counter attack to it.
After we were comfortable with it, we moved to practicing on a shield.
Finally, we practiced with a partner.
I loved how Master Suarez ran the training. Every drill was timed, so we pushed for a minute or two, and then had 20 seconds off for recovery. I am really excited about some of the things that I was able to pick up. I was absolutely exhausted from all the training, but It was totally worth it!!
Next week at the IIC, I am going a few days earlier so I will get to train at his TKD school for a night. The more people I can spar the better right now.
I have a new training partner!! Her name is Lisa Perry. Lisa is 27 years old and is a 2nd degree. Lisa has been to 3 World Championships, took a break to focus on school and work and now is back training again. She’s great and is making her big come back. ! She works really hard, has the same drive as me and we can really push each other. We get along really well too, so it’s great to have another girl in the dojang to train hard with.
Before the Women’s Only portion Master Suarez went through some of Mr. LeGrows patterns with him. It was incredible to watch such skilled patterns and it was awesome to see the unity. Great job Mr. LeGrow.
Thanks again Mr. LeGrow for organizing this and thank you Master Saurez for your time. I look forward to seeing you again next week
My good friend Alex from Samguk TKD in Montreal also came to Master Norman’s seminar. He came into town a day early so we could train together during the day since he was on March break. We shared the new drills we each have been working on in the past little while. It’s so helpful to share our experiences since we have different instructors and training partners. Alex was also on the National Team with me in New Zealand and we are both working towards qualifying for Spain this year for the upcoming World Championships. I love training with him since he takes it as seriously as I do. These training sessions are so much fun since we are alone and we we can pump up the music and just work-out as hard as we can and try new things. Thank you Mr. LeGrow for allowing us to use the dojang all day
This year is going to full of adventures, ups and downs so I am glad we will have each other to go through the process with. Most of the other Juniors have moved into the Adult division so we need to stick together . It’s always easier when there’s someone else close to you going through the exact same thing. It’s hard for our friends to sometimes understand or relate to everything that we are doing. The best part of World Championships is all the little experiences like this leading up to it. We will be seeing a lot of each other at different trainings, seminars and tournaments so I am really excited.
After our own training Alex and I had the opportunity to spend some time giving one-on-one training with two of the students in our dojang. I’ve never seen these students work so hard. They wanted to take advantage of some corrections and I think they liked the special attention. When you put some of the drills into games they don’t realize that they are actually working on sparring foot work, cardio and strengthening. Everyone had a great time.
Last weekend, CTFI President, Master Norman from Saskatchewan came to Ottawa to give a Taekwon-Do Seminar. There were guests from all over Ottawa, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New York. Arcan TKD were the hosts of the seminar.
Mr. Ripley is someone I hold dear to my heart. I really look up to him since he is such an inspiration. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. It’s funny how some people just make you feel good by being around them. He arrived on Thursday, so he joined our regular classes that night. It was great to be in a class situation instead of always in seminars or tournaments together.
After the classes we had fun just doing more fitness drills. It’s great to learn from everyone around you!
Before the TKD training Mr. Ripley came to the indoor track where I train for my javelin, discus and shot put. I think he was really impressed with the facility and he seemed interested in the track since I am always talking about it too.
Thanks for your company Mr. Ripley and I look forward to seeing you again at Canadian Easterns
Today I competed in my first indoor track meet. I was only able to throw shot put since they can’t measure javelin or discus events. I’m working on a new throwing technique that will be ready by the summer but I’m still tweaking all the details. I had 6 throws. I was really happy that I didn’t foul (step out of the circle) and that all the distances were really consistent. Each throw was missing a little something for the ‘perfect’ throw. I felt a little diconnected. As I tweaked a mistake in one throw I found I had to tweak something else in the next throw. I guess it could be considered frustrating but I am excited that I’m figuring these things out on my own so I know what I have to do next. There is such a huge learning curve with throwing events. I was throwing with men and women who have been throwing for years so it’s always great to see experienced and talented throwers.
Last year in the regular season, I threw the 3kg and this year I have been throwing the 4kg. This meet was a good bench mark for the upcoming season and I have a lot of work to do but I am looking forward to it. I feel a lot stronger this year than last and I find I am improving at a pretty fast pace which is awesome. I have been enjoying the winter season so much and am really pumped to see what will happen this year.
It’s great to see some friends compete as well. I go to school with Shelani Fernando and she is an amazing runner.
I’ve just added this picture to my Motivational Posters Product Line… See the link for more posters.
This picture was taken at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia back in 2011 when I travelled there for an IIC (International Instructor’s Course).
Standing on the rocks with the power of the waves and the wind was an incredible feeling. I felt very ‘free’ since all my senses were stimulated. It was truly the perfect place to visualize.
I love to travel to different parts of Canada and the world for Taekwon-Do. These pictures are great memories of breath taking moments.
What an INCREDIBLE 12 hours!!!!!
My TKD instructor Mr. LeGrow, invited me to join him along with another student (Pierce Rogers) from the dojang to go on the Day Time Talk Ottawa TV show on Rogers Cable. The whole interview was only about 8 minutes long and it went so fast. It was frustrating when they asked me questions because I could have talked for hours to explain things more but it’s hard to know what to say in a few short minutes. We will be getting a copy of the recording and when I do I will post it.
Mr. LeGrow teaches a fitness boot camp during the lunch hour a couple times a week at the Scotia Bank Place (Home of the Senators Hockey Team). Since we were together anyway I went with him and Pierce. I’ve done it a couple times with him before and it’s always a blast. The boot camp is for staff, management and even some of the wives/girlfriends of the Senators Hockey players. The energy is always high and it’s fun to work out with different people. Hopefully they can get a little taste of some of the drills that we do in TKD. I wish my high school was closer so I could join them on my lunch hour.
I love the feeling I get when I am in a huge empty stadium like the Scotia Bank Place. This building holds 18,000 fans. Two years ago I spent time visualizing in this very building with Grand Master Lan from Germany before the 2011 World Championships. Today I took a few minutes to just be in the bowl by myself and relive the feeling I had in New Zealand. It was the best feeling in the world. It affects all my senses. I can relive the feeling, the sounds, the sights and even the smells. I don’t get nervous at all. I just get excited. I like to visualize myself doing patterns down on the centre ring. I like to feel the rush you get when you know you’ve done the best you can. I also like to visualize sparring and hearing all the excitement in the crowds.
Then I had to race back for 1 hour of school before I had to leave for my 3 hour track practice. Weight training was awesome. My javelin throwing felt a lot better than it did on Tuesday night so that made me very happy. Shot Put and Discus also went really well. We were throwing with different weighted implements so it’s always a challenge. Next Saturday is my first indoor track meet.
Sorry no pictures of throwing practice.
To end this perfect day I went back to the dojang for another training session. I helped Mr. LeGrow with sparring drills for the coloured belts and then I had a chance to do my own training with patterns.
Thankfully with my new ‘Eating Clean’ diet I have the energy to keep going and I feel AWESOME!!!! I also know I couldn’t have amazing days like this without the help and support of my parents.
Friday night is Sparring night for me Everything was going really well until the sole of my foot made contact with a very sharp elbow of the person I was about to kick. Let’s just say it didn’t feel good but that’s all part of the deal. You have to be ready for anything when you enter the ring. Fortunately it’s just a bruise and nothing that some ice can’t take care of.
Saturday morning I was at the track bright and early to have a special javelin session with Bill. There was also a university thrower who was in town visiting for the long weekend. I had met him one other time before and it’s so cool to watch him throw. I love being around some really good throwers since it’s very motivating and it’s a good chance for me to see how it ‘actually’ should be done Thanks Bill for including me in the training.
Then I was excited when my friend Steph Boivin from Montreal came to picked me up at the track and she finally got the chance to see a bit of the training and meet Bill since she’s heard so much about him.
Steph came to run a 10km race Sunday morning. We always have a blast together since we have so much in common. Steph is training to compete in the Ironman this August in Mt. Tremblant so this was the kick-off to her competitive season. She is such an inspiration and her positive zest for life and training motivates not only me, but everyone around her. I am so proud of her!!!
We got up at 5:45 am Sunday morning so we could make her a power breakfast and head off for the 8:30 race. It was -25C so you can imagine how cold it was. You couldn’t take your mittens off for more than a few seconds. The wind by the parkway was crazy!
I felt so bad for all the runners since there were hardly any spectators since it was sooooo cold! I was cheering my lungs out and clapping like crazy for everyone mostly to keep warm . I was freaking out when I saw her coming down the finish line since I knew she was the first woman but she didn’t. Each division wore a different coloured bib so you could tell who was running which distance. She was running so fast I couldn’t get my phone out fast enough to take good pictures. She said the freezing cold made her lungs really hurt but she pushed through it.
I love all my training sessions but sometimes you a have a workout that is just a bit better than others. Today was one of those awesome training sessions.
Right after school I ate one of my ‘little’ meals in the car on the way to track practice. Bill put me through a great weight training session for about 45 minutes. We did sets of front squats, bench press, cleans, straight arm pull overs and snatch pulls. We are doing decreasing pyramids so it is all about explosion! Then I threw javelin for about 30 minutes. I am making real progress and am feeling really good about the winter season thus far. I think Bill is pleased too. I’m also really happy with how my weight lifting is progressing and I am feeling a lot stronger! I love it!
Right after javelin was finished I started to train with Corey. We did a few more weight lifting exercises, ab-work, med ball exercises and worked on our glides and foot work. Then we went right into throwing shot put and then discus. I am really looking forward to an indoor meet March 2nd for shot put so I want to get as many throws in as possible just for my own comfort.
Time for another ‘little’ meal in the car and then I went directly to taekwon-do. I spent the first class instructing the colour belts in sparring and their ring management. We worked on their angles. It’s so rewarding when you see them really understand what you’re trying to teach them. There was some immediate improvement and they left happy and satisfied. It was great how they digested the info and immediately put it to use. Great job guys
Then I had an amazing one-on-one training alone with Mr. LeGrow where we went through all my 18 patterns in slow motion holding light weights. (5 pounds) Sounds easy right? Not so much!!! We were both dying by the time we reached the higher patterns but we kept pushing through it and it felt amazing to know we didn’t give up. It was so hard to keep the perfect form when your arms feel like they weigh a ton This is an amazing drill for overall strengthening and improving arm speed. I know I’m going to feel it tomorrow!
Finally back in the car around 10:00 having a protein shake I just felt so happy and fortunate to be able to do what I love so much. I guess my true love on Valentines day is actually training
Thanks Bill, Corey and Mr. LeGrow – Happy Valentines Day!