I'm A Champion (1)

On the 12th of August, Island Taekwon-Do Centre sent a cohort of competitors to participate in Zest Martial Art’s ‘I’m a Champion! 2’ Taekwon-Do Championship 2016. Held in Kuala Lumpur (KL), we chose to fly there, forgoing the inevitable traffic jam and accompanying neck trauma that came part and parcel with the overland route to KL. Whilst the flight was no less jarring, the journey gave us the chance to get to know each other in ways that our one-hour-a-week trainings could not. For me, it was through a shared fear of flying, whilst others bonded through simpler forms such as Joe Schooling or the mutual grunts that accompany Pokémon Go.

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We reached KL in good spirits and did our best to have our dinner, shower and unpacked quickly enough to have a good night sleep. Whilst some of us, namely Mark Sir, only had 3 hours of sleep due to terrible flight delays; he showed us all the next day, not only by staying conscious for a greater amount of time than I was able, but by also spending 12 hours judging heated sparring sessions and complex pattern forms.

The tournament, held in Sri KDU International School’s hall, was attended by many Malaysian states, and our Singapore team, with a total of about 500 participants. The categories were for Colour Belt practitioners of all ages, and junior 1st Dan holders (up to 15 years old).

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The competition itself was the usual blur of constant nerves, occasional excitement and a well-earned sense of achievement by all competitors. For me, competitions were always a telling moment for all individuals. In a competitive environment, the internal pressure of nerves and anxiety compound with the external uncertainties associated with competing against a complete stranger. Some hesitate and ball up, allowing the pressure to break their composure whilst others, despite these same pressures, come out of their shell to perform beyond expectations. Whilst I think all in our team displayed these traits, it was especially refreshing to note that our juniors David and Russell Sir especially embodied these qualities.

Overall, our four competitors managed to win a medal each in the respective pattern categories. Gina Lee Mdm won gold, while Russell Seow Sir, David Soh and I achieved bronzes. With Singaporean and Malaysian clubs competing and organizing assistance from Hong Kong, there was plenty of competition for both the young and old. Indeed, these medals and their accompanying achievements are lifelong and nothing to be sniffed at. Even so, I felt that this competition was overridingly defined as a wetting point for most of our competitors, for it was the first competition for many of us. If nothing else, it showed the immense potential for our team to go further and achieve greater things.

The overall champion academy was awarded to Martial Arts Taekwon-Do academy, from Perak, who brought a team of over 100 competitors!

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The next morning we had a picnic at a sky beach and pool, where we also had fun swimming, playing snooker, foosball and watching dramas on the mobile. We then proceeded to 1 Utama mall to have lunch and a bit of shopping before saying goodbye to Malaysia.

In conclusion, I would like to formally thank Zest Martial Arts Academy for hosting ‘I’m a Champion! 2’ Taekwon-Do Championship 2016. The efficient and flexible running of the tournament on the day itself bore testament to the countless hours that the hosts had invested behind the scenes. Alongside this, non-competing ITC members such as Carnation Chai Mdm, Mark Glendinning Sir, Shaun Chua Sir and Joel Mok Sir all deserve thanks. Without their contribution, either through coaching, training, administration or logistics, ‘I’m a Champion! 2’ would not have been half the wonderful experience it was. I would also like to thank Master Sng for arranging, training and giving us the opportunity to attend overseas events such as this.

Jeremy Koh

Written by Mr. Jeremy Koh, 2nd Gup, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2016