Time Invested and Lessons Learned – 2013 US Open TKD Tournament

US Open Taekwondo Tournament 2013I’m back home from my first US Open Championship held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

All I can say is WOW… what an experience.

Over seventy countries from around the world participated in this year’s event totaling over 2,400 athletes and coaches.

It was amazing, a real learning experience to see the different cultures and countries that were represented.

It was a surreal experience for myself as I took a step of faith and was able to compete along side current Olympic champions and world-class athletes.

Being at this event allowed me to be in the same class as these champions. I’m able to watch my dream come true right before my eyes as I am enjoying the journey to compete in the Olympics.

Now I know you may be wondering, what was the outcome?

How did I do?

I lost my first fight. While that is challenging for me to admit, I also know that it is just another stepping-stone towards my dream. Had I not taken that opportunity in Vegas I would still be hoping that one day I might be good enough to compete at the US Open. If I waited, that day for me to compete may never come.

Make a decision…

I have learned you need to make the decision to be at an event, or for whatever it may be you desire, and the how you get there will fall into place. It’s funny how once the decision is made and you become truly committed, everything else just seems to work itself out.

Some people may think that traveling from Michigan to Las Vegas may have been a waste of time because I didn’t win. Well, the truth is I gained so much more from the experience that it’s hard to describe.

What I got was priceless…

TKD UniformThe knowledge and experience I gained from the three and a half days spent in Vegas is worth its weight in gold.

I was able to see weak spots in my game, that I can now work on in my trainings.

I was able to watch world class athletes fight in other weight divisions and to learn from them, what worked and didn’t work. I also gained much needed mental training to help improve my game.

So, as you can see I didn’t lose – in the way some may see it.

I gained more knowledge and experience to help move me closer to my dream of competing in the 2016 Olympics!

I have become a better fighter because of my experience and now I find myself much stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually.

This is my favorite line…it really says it all.

I love the line, “Failing forward”, because success isn’t built on winning all the time.

The greatest athletes in sports like Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth built their success on putting themselves out there in a big way. Michael took more jump shots and Babe swung at more pitches…and they missed a lot more than they made.

But guess what?

In the end no one remembers them for missing all those three point shots or striking out more than anyone in the baseball league. Michael Jordan is remembered for two three-peat championships and “The Babe” is remembered for his unbelievable home run record.

While I may not have won the gold this time. I have become a better fighter because of this experience. Challenges, losses, problems or bumps in the road (whatever you like to call them) happens to all of us in life. By overcoming these obstacles is how we all learn to be better at what we do.

In any competition or dream you are working on to achieve, it is important to always keep a good attitude and stay focused on your dream. As you travel your path to your dream, keep learning, growing and always improving yourself and one day we will all reach our dreams and desires.

Here’s a video from the highlights of my competition in Las Vegas. I’m wearing red…

Remember this…

Keep moving forward and Live the Impossible.

2013 US Open TKD Tournament Las VegasThere were twelve rings set up with people competing all day
long and into the evening.

Steven LopezHere I am with Steven Lopez, a 2000 and 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and
a 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist and 4th Dan in Taekwondo.
Steven is the first Taekwondo fighter to win 5 World Championships.

Servet TazegulHere I am with Servet Tazegul a world, Olympic and European
champion from Turkey. Servet won the gold medal in the
2012 Summer Olympics.

LVH Hotel

Las Vegas Hotel – formally the Las Vegas Hilton…

Sir and David

Me and Sir (my coach)…

David Warming UpMe warming up before the fight…

Road to Rio – 2016 Olympics
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