Visit to Korea helps local athlete in mind and skill

BY EMILY BEAUCHAMP

If you asked me six months ago what I would be doing on my summer holidays, I would have replied with camping, working at Balmoral Golf Course, helping my grandparents on their acreage, riding my bike, rollerblading, Taekwondo. Instead I went to Korea. This summer wasn’t any normal summer I have ever experienced. Over two weeks I met 40 friends from all over the world, places I never even knew existed. I also learned how to speak, and write Korean, do yoga poses, K-Pop dance, Taekwondo aerobics, taping and last but not least, sparring.

This experience makes me think of the world as a whole new place with no limitations; each one has taught me so many new things about their own country. These people I have met will always be a part of my life, and I know together we can support each other with each of our own Taekwondo goals.

In my mind, yoga classes had nothing to do with Taekwondo, but it surprised me how important yoga is for a Taekwondo athlete. Being able to stay flexible for an athlete is one of the most important components especially for high kicks. Some yoga poses are more difficult than others, and some are very simple, but each one has a huge importance whether it is for your back, legs, arms, neck etc. I am still practicing yoga every morning to relax myself, and to keep myself as flexible as I can.

For those of you who don’t know what K-Pop is, it is a music genre consisting of dance, electronic, hip-hop from South Korea. This music is very upbeat and has catchy lyrics; most of the choruses are in English. This dance class we had was a great amount of fun, it helped everyone to loosen up and get to know the whole team. Not only was it fun and a great way to get to know, the other teammates but it was a good cool down workout.

Taekwondo aerobics is almost like a dance, it uses motions that we use in Taekwondo put to a K-Pop song. We use movements such as kicking, sparring jumping, and hand gestures. This is a great way to workout, or warm up and have fun!

Last but not least, sparring. Sparring classes were the main reason why I came to Korea. Sparring has been my passion since I was eight-years-old, I am 16 now and I love it more than ever. I learned many new techniques, and I was inspired to be faster and more aggressive when I kick. Everyone who participated in sparring got a partner from the KyungHee University team. Our partners were all so different, and so were we, but we all shared the love of sparring which all brought us together into our own little family. I cant wait to share all I have learned with everyone else in Master Rims Taekwondo, I know it will make each of us better and bring out the best in each of our sparring abilities.

I have found a new confidence in myself, and a new love to learn about other things and places around the world. One day I hope I can return to Korea and keep expanding my knowledge of new places, new friends and ultimately Taekwondo.

Emily Beauchamp is a student at Master Rim’s Taekwondo. She, along with three others from Red Deer traveled to Korea to participate in a Taekwondo training camp from July 15- 30th.

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