Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic TKD from an ATA perspective (at least mine)

I started TKD more than 3 years ago, so I had no reason to watch Olympic TKD the last time around. Now that I've been involved in the sport for a while, it's interesting to watch it on the Olympics, albeit online instead of on TV. (All hail the mighty internet!)

I've been watching the women's 49kg competitions for almost 2 hours now, and I'm still trying to get the hang of it. Okay, so it's 3-2 minute rounds, there's no punching involved, and it's all about the kicking. But I see more "dancing" than kicking. The refs actually have to tell these people to "fight" rather than keep dancing around each other. And I don't see combo kicks or jump kicks. What's with that?

So, I sent an email to the online commentary guy, and he said that punching is allowed, but harder to do. No punches to the face, naturally. And no kicks to the back of the head. (AWWWW!) But definitely lots of kicking. I also notice that they keep their hands down instead of a ready to spar stance like we are taught.

It's certainly interesting to watch and try to understand. The online guy is also explaining the scoring, which has to do with how many corner judges agree in one second if a point is made, and they actually have to see AND hear contact. THe mens' competition started, and now I'm starting to see some action. Some decent combination and jump kicks. Why is it that women are so wimpy in this kind of sport sometimes? I do know women who can be as aggressive as the guys, so why am I not seeing them here at the Olympics? Oh well.

To watch, go to http://www.nbcolympics.com/taekwondo/index.html, and check to see if there's live video. There are matches starting at 9 PM EDT, and they started today. Hey, if you can't watch it on TV, at least it's online!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Motivation

There's something about an exciting sporting event of any kind that motivates people to get up and move. The Olympics are no exception.

I have been sidelined for a few weeks due to my hip injury, and well, general malaise about TKD lately. I was somewhat grateful for the injury, because it allowed me to take a break and step back for a bit.

I just had my 40th birthday two days ago. As much as I would've liked a lot of hoopla for it, it was a pretty toned down day. I had the opportunity to meet up with my TKD buddy, Sandy, to indulge in some ice cream and some craft shopping (our other commonality) the afternoon of my birthday. Sandy's been out with a much bigger injury, and it's such that it looks like it's probably going to permanently sideline her from continuing TKD at this point. But she pointed something out for herself, and I find it true for me too, which is that sometimes I don't like the physical activity, but I definitely miss the social scene of it all. I think for the past couple of months, that's been true, although I was even feeling a little burnout from that too.

I think that's starting to change. While I certainly miss the personalities at my do-jahng, I think I'll be ready to go back in September. Why the change of heart? Well, one that is obvious is that my hip doesn't hurt as much now, so that helps a lot. But I think that watching Olympic swimmer Dara Torres did it for me. As she has for a lot of "older" women, she inspired me to at least keep trying. Granted she's a professional athlete, who even in retirement was more in shape than any of us regular folk. But she's 41, asthmatic, had a baby 2 years ago, and she just won her first individual medal-- a silver, no less-- in her whole career. She didn't win her first individual medal as far back when she was in her "prime"-- she won it NOW. I mean, that's incredible!

Then there's me...just turned 40, asthmatic, with a bad knee and overweight. While I don't think I'll ever be remotely close to anything of Olympic caliber in my lifetime, it doesn't mean that I can try to do my personal best. When watching Dara Torres, or Olympic god Michael Phelps, they weren't out there to just win. They concentrated more on beating their own personal times. And if they won in the process? Then that's peachy. That's what I have to do. I have to get into that mentality. The only person I have to keep up with or compete against is myself.

So starting in September, I will do my best to go in with a renewed spirit. I will relearn my form, relearn and finish learning the first half of my weapons form, and I will get the flexibility and speed of my high kicks back for sparring. If I feel ready in November or December, then I will compete, and just try to place in my new age grouping. If not, I need to just keep challenging myself, and not try to keep up with anyone else.

I really hope that someone posts the TKD matches from the Olympics online. So far, I don't see that there will be any broadcasts on TV (cable or otherwise), so I really hope that something will be online instead. I've been in this sport for 3 years, so I wasn't into watching it during the last Olympics. I'd like to watch at least one sport I actually understand and have played other than volleyball.