My First International Fight - My Family Travels
Dutch Open
Dutch Open

It is the morning of my big day, my first sponsored international tournament.  I eat my breakfast, but I feel uneasy.  What’s wrong with me?  Why does my stomach feel so uneasy; I’ve done this thousands of times and it’s no different than any other tournament?  To my surprise, I throw up; I want to cry because I know that throwing up the morning of a tournament causes you to lose strength.  When I look up, my whole team is watching me.  Embarrassed, I silently clean up and leave. Later, I meet them at the tournament; as I’m walking by, I hear people saying “Are you ok?” and “Don’t be nervous.”  I become angry; angry that everyone could see my weakness, angry that I let myself show weakness, and most of all, angry that everyone noticed. This is my time to shine, to show people I am no longer a scrub; the day people would see me as an international-level fighter.

I start warming up; I feel good, like I didn’t throw up.  I start smiling and gain confidence. Today, I will show everyone that I am one of the strongest on the team, and I will prove to them I’m not some rookie who doesn’t belong on the team.  The coaches gather the team, and we start kicking paddles.  All of them look at me with surprise.  They see that I am kicking strong.

It is my turn to fight; I walk into the arena with my coach and sit down.  I am nervous, my hands begin to sweat, and I feel like I deluded myself into thinking I am the best.  Then, my mom comes up from behind me and reminds me, “Alex, you’re one of the best in the USA.  You can take any of these fighters.”  My muscles loosen. I am ready to win. Walking into the ring, I realize they’re using the new electronic chest-guards.  My heart sinks.  Can I score on these? Will I lose because I am unable to score? My heart races for a minute. I’m scared, but I remind myself I can score to the head. I relax.

In the first round I can’t score on the new chest-guards, and my chances of winning slip away.  Second round, I go to the head more.  I hit him; feeling great, I know I can win the fight.  Amazingly, I win the match. Surprised at my success, I walk back thinking, I proved to everyone that I am no longer an inexperienced fighter: I am an international-caliber fighter!

This experience proved that with enough willpower anything can happen.  It taught me that pushing myself to the limit will make my goals achievable. The inspiration this fight gave me brought me to the 2010 Junior World Championships and still helps me push myself to the limit as a work toward the ultimate goal, the Olympics.  The confidence gained in this fight travels with me as I continue competing in competitions all over the world.


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1 Reply to “My First International Fight”

  • ayow322


    Completed 7 semesters of schooling at Homestead High School.  Courses include AP statistics, AP calculus BC, Honors algebra 2/trig, Honors pre-calculus/Calculus AB, AP and Honors Physics, Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology, 4 years of English, 3 years of social studies, 3.5 years of french

    Cumulative GPA: 4.0, National Honor’s Society member, 7 semesters on high honor roll

    Extra-Curricular Activities:

    • Taekwondo Athlete (1997-present)
    • Member of Champion Taekwondo Academy (2005-present)
    • Asian Culture Club (2009-2010)
    • Club United (2009-2010)
    • Leading Exceptional Alcohol and Drug-free lives (L.E.A.D.) (2010-present)

    Awards and Honors:

    • 2011 AAU Men’s Team Captain 
    • 2011 AAU Senior Male Fin Weigh National Team Member
    • 2010 AAU Youth Leadership Award Recipient
    • 2010 Gold Medalist in Costa Rica Taekwondo Tournament
    • 2010 Illinois State Taekwondo team
    • 2010-11 Member of the National Honor’s Society
    • 2010 A Finalist for Chris Canning Award of Excellence
    • 2010 All American Taekwondo Athlete Award
    • 2010 Junior World USAT National Team Member
    • 2010 and 2009 AAU National Team Member
    • Bronze medalist in AAU nationals 2009
    • Silver medalist in AAU Nationals 2008
    • Third degree black belt in Taekwondo   

    Member of Organizations:

    • Illinois State Taekwondo Association (2008-present)
    • Champion Taekwondo Academy (2006-present)
    • Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) – (2004 to present)
    • USA Taekwondo (USAT) – (1998-present)
    • YMCA (1997 to present)

    Work and Volunteer Experience:

    • Worked as a waiter at Hong Anh Palace (10/10-present)
    • Gathering On The Green (2009-present) – Set-up stage, order chairs, move tables, arrange decorations
    • Champyon Taekwondo (2005-present) – Teaching taekwondo classes(3-4 hrs weekly), judging in tournaments, clean up do-jang

    ·         Illinois State Taekwondo Association (2007-present) – Judge in tournaments, run concession stand, security, selling tickets

    ·         Crossroads Presbyterian Church’s youth group (2005-present) – Participate in group activities, go on mission trips, volunteer in food pantry

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