Day 1. We arrived at the competition venue, Stadium MPSJ Serdang Jaya at 8am, where I was given my number tag. Looking around me, I saw many participants warming up and getting ready for their respective events. Their ages ranged from as young as 5 years old to adults above 40. They were all wearing the ITF Dobok. With more than 950 participants, the stadium was filled with people from as many as seven different countries such as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Singapore, Bangladesh and China. The Malaysian contingent was represented by many participants from various states.
We watched as the events started with Colour Belt Patterns, where Shaun Sir and Carnation Ma’am were helping to umpire with. There was a total of 6 competition rings, and the stadium was thronging with activity by participants, umpires, officials, coaches, and supporters!
The Opening Ceremony started at 11am. The opening speech by Master Lau struck a chord with me. He was very encouraging, and told all the participants that during his tenure he hopes to see all of us to grow up to be more successful, and a better person tomorrow.
Together with all the masters and coaches, we all gave a loud cheer of “I’m Champion!” to signal the start of the competition.
Although there were many participants, I was not feeling nervous at first. In fact, I was feeling excited to be part of the competition. Watching the competitors in the Colour Belt Patterns, I was impressed with their precise and accurate movements. I thought that the Team Patterns were the most impressive, where many creative choreography was displayed.
Enjoying some time with my mum at Mines Shopping mall just beside our hotel – Top Holiday Hotel.
Day 2. I was feeling quite nervous as this was the day of my event and I would be competing against other more experienced Black Belt holders. Among the competitors, I could recognise some familiar faces. I remember them because they came to Singapore in March earlier this year, to compete in our ITC Championships.
As soon as I entered the stadium, our age group was called to gather. My heart was in my mouth as I did not expect my competition to start so soon. I didn’t even have time to warm up properly. Thankfully, Carnation Ma’am encouraged me and gave me the confidence that I could do it.
Despite trying to keep myself as calm as possible, I was still extremely nervous and although I started well, I forgot parts of my pattern in the middle of my routine. I was extremely disappointed with my own performance. I was determined to train even harder to prepare more for the future competitions. Carnation Ma’am also reminded me that winning was not everything and it was the experience that mattered the most.
Soon after, there was an announcement from the organisers for participants to join the Sparring competition. I realised that I had another chance to compete. Although I had not sparred for more than 6 months, I wanted to give it a try. After consulting with my coaches and mum, I decided to take part. My sparring coach Shaun Sir gave me a rundown of sparring tips and short practice, then I went straight into the competition.
I tried my best and we fought a good match. I was happy to receive a Bronze medal, and glad to make new friends with my fellow sparring category mates. I am also very grateful to Zest Martial Arts team for lending me a set of sparring gear.
The events in the afternoon were the most exciting to watch, as the adults and Black Belt Sparring competitions drew lots of crowds and cheering. They were displaying a lot of good techniques and different styles, and I learnt a lot from watching them.
We ended the day with a scrumptious Malaysian local dinner with many of my favourite dishes like satay and fried chicken wings at Jalan Alor night market.
The next day, we went shopping at Mid Valley Megamall and had a relaxing lunch with my mum and coaches.
This was an unforgettable experience and I am thankful to have such support from my coaches and my mother. I would also like to thank Master Sng for his encouragement, training and guidance. They really helped me through this whole learning experience.
Thank you Master Sng, Shaun Sir, Carnation Ma’am and my dearest mummy!
Written by Mr. Gabriel Chong, Junior Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2018