Warrior Taekwon-Do instructor and member Miss Roisin Giles will be defending her 1st dan individual patterns title at the upcoming ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships. We asked her some questions to find out more about the event, how she was selected and is preparing, and what advice she has for students interested in competing at a higher level in the future.
What is the World Championships and when and where is it being held?
The ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships is the most prestigious ITF Taekwon-Do competition in the world. It's held biannually, with the best athletes from each country around the world coming together to compete in various events such as sparring, patterns, specialty, power, pre-arranged sparring, and team events. The next World Championships is May 26th-31st this year, in Venice, Italy.
How do you get to be in the New Zealand World Championships team?
To make the World Champs team you must first trial to get one of two spots per division. 'Trialing' involves attending multiple training camps and training sessions across several months, before attending a final trial date where the selection committee chooses two athletes per division, from multiple talented candidates. I have been selected to represent New Zealand in individual 1st dan patterns, team patterns, and team power breaking.
You've been to a World Champs before - how does that change how you feel about this one?
It's definitely useful to have previous World Champs experience. This time around I know more accurately what to expect, so I can better mentally prepare myself. However, every World Champs is different, and you need to be prepared for anything and everything. Having performed well at the last World Champs I definitely feel more pressure this time round, but I like to remind myself I'm going to a completely new competition, where nothing is certain and anything is possible. I'm excited for a new experience, and to achieve new, independent goals. While my experience definitely helps, I'm still just as nervous!
How have you been preparing for the event?
I train twice a week with the New Zealand team and twice a week with our club. On top of that I do my own individual training each day, to work specifically on my events and weaknesses. Last week I traveled down to Wellington to train with one of my old coaches, and I plan on heading back to see him in April to work on some specific areas.
What are you most looking forward to?
The atmosphere of World Champs is amazing. There is so much going on that it can be a little overwhelming, but also breathtaking and an unforgettable experience. I'm most looking forward not only to the feelings I'll get from my own achievements, but also to succeed with my team, and to see members in my NZ team who have been working so hard achieve their goals. It's honestly an amazing thing to have your emotions and joy magnified so much by your team around you, who you've trained with for so long and have shared in all your successes and struggles.
What are you least looking forward to?
The craziness of the venue, the long days, and of course the nerves are always tough, but they're definitely out weighed by the benefits. Most difficult is whenever something doesn't go someones way; it is always tough to see your teammates not succeed, so hopefully everyone wins gold! :)
What advice would you give Taekwon-Do students interested in competing at a higher level?
Just start wherever you are now - start entering the local tournaments, and work your way up to Regionals and Nationals. Look into the different competition events to see which ones you're most interested in, and talk to your coaches about specific training in those areas. Once you're training and competing, keep a diary of your progress, so you can track it long term. Most importantly, set goals for yourself, that you want to achieve in your training in 6 months, or at your next competition, or when you're a black belt, and create a plan to get there.
Anyone can compete at a high level as long as they have discipline and the drive to work hard and self improve. Start putting the good habits and hard work into practice now, and you're be unstoppable by the time you're a blue belt, then you can go to the World Cup!
[Ed. Note: The ITF World Cup is an open international event for blue belts and above held on alternate years to the World Championships. The ITF World Championships is for black belts only and there are limited spots on the team].
What expenses are involved to get to the World Championships?
As we're a non funded sport in New Zealand, each athlete pays their own way. To get to the competition in Italy involves paying for 8 training camps, training gear and uniforms, flights, accommodation, entry fees, and training fees, totaling around $7000.
Tell us more about your upcoming fundraisers.
I like running fundraisers where I get to do something with my friends, family and community, where everyone benefits and has a great time!
First up we have a movie night fundraiser hosted at Warrior Training Zone coming up on Friday the 27th of March, starting 6:30pm playing Frozen then 21 Jump Street. This is to fundraise for myself and Miss Jacky Geurts, who is also on the New Zealand team. There will be movies, beanbags, lollies, popcorn, face painting and laughter! Presale tickets are $10 each and include free popcorn. This open to anyone to come along to (you don't have to be a Warrior Taekwon-Do member or even involved in Taekwon-Do)! You can book your tickets here: http://moviefundraiser.weebly.com/
I'm also organising a fun competition for all Warrior Taekwon-Do members, from peewees to adults, to gain experience in sparring, patterns, specialty, and power, in a fun and friendly environment. The competition is on Sunday 12th of April from 8:30am, and the entry fee is $20. Entry is either by filling out the online entry form or in class.