Taek a bow, Team VJC Taekwondo; you’ve done our school so, so proud.
The 2018 National Inter-school Taekwondo Championships organised by the Singapore Taekwondo Federation took place last Friday, on the 20th of April. The VJC Taekwondo Team has put their best foot forward – quite literally as much as figuratively – and has done the college proud by managing to clinch incredible achievements.
Listed below are the outstanding results that the VJC Taekwondo team managed to attain:
- Yellow tip Boys-3rd
- Yellow tip Girls-4th
- Yellow Girls-2nd
- Green tip Girls-8th
- Green Girls-7th
- Blue tip Girls-3rd
- Blue tip Boys-4th
- Red tip Girls-6th
- Red Girls-5th
- Koryo Boys-2nd
Green Tip Category
Blue Tip Category
- Pierce -4th
Red Tip Category
- Xuan Wei-6th
To get a better understanding of the perspectives, thoughts and feelings of some of the competitors of the VJC Taekwondo Team – who also happen to be my teammates – during the competition, I, Gwyneth Low of 18A13, had sat down with seven of my teammates, all of varying belts – Carl Song of 18S53 and Maheshwaran Windersalam of 17S32 (Black Belt), Jade Woo of 17S63 (Red Belt), Alanna Foo of 18S38, Sophia Wong of 18S62 and Tessa Teo of 18S31 (Yellow Belt) and Chong Huai Zhi of 18S49 (White-Yellow Belt) – and posed to them 5 questions each to answer.
- How did you feel about your individual performance?
Carl – I had participated in the black belt poomsae category (Individual)
I felt that my performance was rather disappointing; I really could have done better on the kicks. They were too low and I hadn’t put enough power into them.
Maheshwaran – I had participated in the black belt poomsae category. (Individual)
This is my second time participating in this category. Although I felt rather disheartened at the fact that I hadn’t placed amongst the top 8, I was still glad that I didn’t come in last – 5th from the last isn’t too bad, I’ll say!
Jade – I had participated in the red belt poomsae category (Individual and Team)
I actually did a lot better than I had expected from myself; I really had not expected that I would get into the top 8 – 7th place to be precise! However, I feel that I was lacking in the amount of power I was putting into the arm movements in the pattern, in both the individual and the team event. I feel that I’m not as good as the rest of my team when it comes to this aspect; I just don’t exactly have the innate ability for this. However, I am proud to say that I had trained hard and done my best to overcome this weakness – thus, I would say that I have done the best that I could and have no regrets.
Tessa – I had participated in the yellow belt poomsae category (Individual and Team)
I was really overwhelmed by the results, in utter disbelief – I had clinched first place in the yellow belt individual category! I am just so thankful for all the support, from the coach and my teammates, and am so proud that everyone had done their best to attain remarkable results!
Sophia – I had participated in the yellow belt poomsae category (Individual and Team)
I felt incredibly overwhelmed to have gotten into the finals and was really happy to see that the improvements I had made to my own performance over several training sessions had been recognised in my final performance. I am also really proud of both my yellow belt team category teammates to have clinched medals for their outstanding respective placings!
Alanna – I had participated in the yellow belt poomsae category (Individual and Team)
I really wasn’t expecting anything much and couldn’t believe it when I realised that I had gotten into the finals and clinched third placing in the yellow belt individual category! I am so incredibly grateful for the support and help of the coach and the seniors; without them, I really think that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this stellar result.
Huai Zhi – I had participated in the white-yellow belt poomsae category (Individual and Team)
This is the first time that I am participating in a taekwondo competition. As I was preparing for my performance during training, the coach had gave me the feedback that my movements were rather stiff. It was this advice that had motivated me to try my best to correct this flaw – because, even if a flaw like this goes unnoticed during training, it would be particularly glaring in competition and end up preventing you from attaining achievements that could have been clinched had such a flaw been revised and corrected earlier. I am proud to say that I had tried and done the best that I could have this time, and would undoubtedly continue learning from my mistakes.
- What were some sacrifices that you had to make and challenges that you had faced in working towards your individual performance?
Carl – Well, time to hang out and spend with friends definitely had to be sacrificed since additional trainings often lasted until 8pm plus in school. For the challenges that I had faced in working towards my individual performance, I would say that flexibility is the key factor; I don’t feel that I am flexible enough and didn’t really get enough stretching done. Since points are given with the height of the kicks executed taken into consideration, I would say that this weakness of mine has perhaps cost me some points. In order to overcome this weakness, I would definitely have to devote more time into stretching exercises, such as splits… or at least, attempt at splits…
Maheshwaran – Time spent for leisure activities was definitely a major sacrifice as a result of additional training; moreover, I also train externally for about two hours, resulting in having even less time to myself. A challenge for me would be the fact that I am rather lacking in flexibility and power in my movements, but mainly flexibility. In order to overcome this, I feel that I should practise variations of side kicks more often since side kicks are linked to flexibility; I really feel that they are good and helpful ways to improve one’s flexibility and mobility.
Jade – Well, training can be incredibly draining – both physically and mentally. I just wouldn’t feel like doing any work at all when I got home. Although I won’t deny the fact that the additional training times had sort of taken a bit of a toll on my studies, I can confidently say that it’s nothing that I cannot catch up on; I mean, competition season is only lasts for this period of time, so once it is over, I can carry on catching up with my work and ensure that I do not fall behind. Besides, I love taekwondo; I honestly don’t mind travelling to the external training venue to do additional training. After all, it’s only just for a period of time and that’s all – also did I mention already that I love taekwondo?
Tessa – Additional training – especially those at external venues – are definitely a big time sacrifice that I had to factor in. But really; it’s all worth it.
Huai Zhi – There are definitely sacrifices to be made – for us J1s, we have MYEs, promos and progress tests to worry about – yes, MYEs and promos may sound a little far-fetched from now, but they still matter and consistent studying is important; as we have learnt in economics, it’s really an opportunity cost since the time that I could have used to spend on studying had been factored instead for additional training.
- What was it like preparing for the team performance? What were some difficulties that you had faced?
Jade – Synchronisation is extremely important; every move, every kick has to match. However, I would say that my kicks were not as good as the rest of my team initially as I couldn’t quite reach up to the height, standard and power of their kicks. However, after much effort and 3 to 4 times of team event practice a week, I am happy to say that I have improved tremendously and the team’s performance had definitely grown stronger as compared to before that.
However, I would also like to point out another challenge – the fact that judging in competition is actually rather subjective. Different coaches focus on different aspects of performance that may or may not be what the judges in competition are looking out for; for example, while some coaches focus on power and accuracy, the judges in the competition may actually be looking out for the height of the kicks. Under such instances, while competitors may express great accuracy and power, but are rather lacking in the quality of kicks, they may still end up losing out since the judges are looking out more for the kicks than power and accuracy.
Alanna, Tessa and Sophia – We couldn’t coordinate initially and all of us went at different timings – our kicks were really not quite up to standard and our punches weren’t strong enough, lacking of power. Confidence issues were also a big factor since we are all new to the sport. Hence, we were devoted to practise even harder; we would stand in one line and perform kick after kick to ensure careful coordination under the helpful advice and guidance of the coach.
Huai Zhi – We were all quite new to taekwondo and I didn’t know initially what to expect from my teammates. However, we all learnt to work together and ensure that we are cooperative with each other and coordinated in our movements. It is really important to ensure that you are able to work well with your teammates – if you do things like being overly commanding and demanding, the bond between the team members would definitely deteriorate. Hence, it is extremely important to get to know each other and work hand in hand to overcome challenges together.
- What can you say about your experience at competitions this year? Does it shape your discipline, sense of teamwork etc. In your persona?
Maheshwaran – It is honestly very different in competitions as compared to trainings – even if you can execute your routine perfectly and flawlessly during training sessions, it is but behind closed doors and would remain unnoticed and unacknowledged – the real deal is really the competitions. But sometimes it’s just really difficult to execute your routine in competitions the way you are able to do it in training, in a safe, familiar and enclosed environment – in competition, you’re being thrown into an arena with many pairs of eyes carefully watching and scrutinising your every move; there’s really a lot of nervousness and pressure. Hence, I would say that it is very important that one is able to stay steadfast and calm at the competition – this is something that I would definitely remind myself the next time that I participate.
Carl – This is the first time in 6 years that I am doing poomsae again; though I didn’t feel the pressure and wasn’t very nervous initially, it all changed quite a bit the moment that I stepped onto the mat. I feel that I ended up screwing up quite a bit and that the chance was honestly a little wasted. I am, however, set to train even harder as compared to before.
Jade – Discipline and a sense of teamwork was definitely gained from this experience. When working as a team, everything must be in sync and accuracy must be attained together. You are really forced to work harder than ever in order to be on par with your teammates; the training of discipline and resilience to hard work is really incorporated.
Alanna – The experience was really rewarding and it has honestly helped me grown a lot as a person – the results have shown me that I am indeed capable of the goals that I have set for myself, the ones that I wish to achieve and have definitely driven me to become more determined than ever in further pursuits.
Tessa – This experience really made me step out of my comfort zone since I hadn’t taken part in many competitions before that; it really taught me to learn to believe in myself, and that anything is possible with hard work. If I hadn’t worked hard, the final result would never have happened.
Huai Zhi – I wouldn’t exactly say that I have learned much from the competition – rather, I would say that I have learnt much more from training. It is during training in which teamwork is cultivated and developed; it is during competitions when this cultivated and developed teamwork is showcased and presented. I also gained discipline from training that really kept me in check during the competition – although I had not placed in my individual event at 9am, discipline reminded me not to be disheartened and instead channel my focus on the 2.30pm team event that I would be participating in as well. It was this discipline that had allowed me to recover and perform in the teams event even better than I had in the individual event, enabling my team to clinch bronze. I am quite proud that I had been able to divert my frustration from my individual event and instead convert it into focusing on my team event – after all, 过去了就过去了；没有办法！(What has passed has passed; there is no way to change it!)
- Has your passion for taekwondo been driven even more than ever? What ambitions and goals do you hold for yourself and your progress in the sport in future?
Carl – I feel like my passion for taekwondo would always be there; I honestly don’t think that the day that it fades away would ever come. For hopes and ambitions, I hope that both my teammates and myself would focus better on our movements and be mindful of its execution, taking every single action into account and putting the best amount of power that we can into them, while knowing how to relax throughout at the same time.
Also I do hope for more equipment such as more mats and a taekwondo room – if possible.
Maheshwaran – After participating in the competition I have really realised the importance of staying cool and being calm and collected throughout the entire performance – it is really this aspect that I hope to work more on since this is truly the key to victory and great feats.
Jade – A goal for taekwondo for myself that I’d set is to continue on until I get black belt!
Sophia – I would always continue supporting the sport.
Alanna and Tessa – We’re both happy with the current pace that we’re going and just wish to go with the flow – just see where our experiences in future in the CCA would bring us.
Huai Zhi – Well, I aim to get a black belt eventually but I would say that I’m aiming for either a blue or a red belt by the end of my time in the CCA. Although I had not placed in the individual event this time, I would definitely learn from my mistakes and train even harder than ever. I aim to work hand in hand with the coach, train poomsae patterns and hopefully achieve splits soon – I really do strive to excel in the sport one day.
And a bonus question for the J2 seniors that I had interviewed:
- How do you hope this batch of taekwondo team members would continue the legacy and name of VJC taekwondo? Any advice for future prospective members of the CCA?
Maheshwaran – I hope the 2018 batch can maintain the standard that the seniors have set, and if possible, bring it even higher. They should never be complacent in upholding the standard of the CCA and should consistently work hard to improve.
Jade – I really feel that the 2018 batch have a lot more potential than us thus should strive even harder to uphold the name of the CCA. This year’s J1 taekwondo trials were a lot harder and more competitive before, given the increase in intake this year. Given the intense competition, I feel that the J1s this year have really proved themselves to be capable and promising members of the team. Coupled with consistent hard work, I am confident that they can really succeed in the strive for excellence.
Gwyneth Low Xiao Fern, 18A13