Tag Archives: South Korea

The 4th World Youth Taekwondo Camp


Over the last week I have had the chance to experience some fantastic opportunities. I was invited back to South Korea to speak at the 4th World  Youth Taekwondo Camp. There were approximately 300 people from 30 different countries at the camp. Through out the week I was approached by many youth who had seen my story on television and were inspired. I was part of a special lecture series and had the chance to inspire youth.  I had several encounters with the local media far more than I ever expected. I made friendships with Olympic medalists and trained with Taekwondo Masters from all over.  I was also was reminded of my own limitations despite my determination to succeed. Image

Our, myself and Danielle, travel to the camp was long as we had a 14 hour air flight to Korea and then a three-hour bus ride to our hotel in Muju, South Korea. Upon arrival we went straight to sleep for we had a full day training the next day. The arrangements that we had in Muju were beautiful the view of the mountains from the room was amazing. Since we got in so late, breakfast was our first true opportunity to meet the other participates. We meet a mother and son from Jordan and got to hear her son’s journey to the camp which was not the easiest. I also found out that my story had made a difference in his life.

Before we knew it we had arrived at the training facility and gathered together to train.

Throughout the day I had the opportunity to train with the participates. At times I joined the students and trained within the group this was enjoyable and at other times I assisted with the instruction of the students. We did a stretch and kicking drilling (Kyorugi) together. During the first training day I meet an olympic medalist, Tran Hieu Ngan the silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, she was extremely friendly and we hung out the rest of the week. I was also asked to speak with the press. This was quite the experience as I sat in a room with about ten reporters it was like I was having my own press conference. I was in awe about how my story had impacted so many people all over the world.

The following day we had the special lecture series and had the chance to experience Korean Traditional Culture.


Through the special lecture series I was given the chance to speak to the participates about my story. I was also able to inspire hope and enthusiasm in the youth. As speaker I always try to inspire my audience in finding their inner strength. I spoke about how we all have our own challenges and with those we are all here today. Taekwondo is a sport that gives opportunity to the many and what we learn in Taekwondo we can then take and apply to all the parts of our lives.

It really was an honor to speak at the camp. I feel that I made a difference in the lives of these youth. I hope the media coverage that occurred during my visit helps to inspire and reach many more in South Korea and all over the world.

After the lecture series we were given the chance to experience Korean traditional culture. We went to the cultural center and had a traditional meal. We also had a chance to learn about a traditional wedding and Korean drums. We also had a chance to visit a traditional village called Jeonju Hanok. I really enjoyed seeing this cultural side of South Korea. As we were leaving the village there was a presentation of the lion mask dance. This was great to watch as it included the drumming we were shown at the cultural center. 

The following day we returned to our training. In the morning there was Kyorugi training again and I took this time rest as we have had a busy schedule. In the afternoon we had Poomsae (Forms) training during this time I did a demonstration of a Poomsae to the group and joined the instruction. I really enjoyed the Poomsae part of the training. Unfortunately,  at the end of the Poomsae my knee gave out on me. This stopped me from being involved with the Kyukpa (breaking). We also took a trip to the construction site of Taekwondowon and it was amazing to the models and picture come alive.

In the evening our day of culture continued as we had a K-POP dance performance. Then the youth presented folk costumes and had a talent show from their native country. At the end we the demonstration of the flying pungdeung where we wrote our hopes and dreams and let them fly in the sky.

On our last full day we packed everything up and moved ourselves to Seoul. We were on our way to do a Poomsae and Kyukpa demonstration at the Olympic Park. When we arrived they gave me a new dobok with the sleeves removed. We did a short practice and then were given a break. Things were going well and then my knee gave out and I had lots of pain. It was so bad that I couldn’t bend my knee and barely walk. My friend Danielle was there for me and helped advocate for me. I had managed to do everything else was doing without problem but my body had hit its limit. However, within a few minutes a Mater from Spain was by my side and was massaging and using pressure to help my knee. I was given ice and told to sit. Within five minutes I was standing without pain and was able to join the demonstration of the Poomse.I was glad to be about to join the demonstration. However the knee pain did return and I had to rest at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. It was not a decision that I like , but it was a needed and responsible one. Growing up with a disability I have learned the importance of having support and knowing when to stop. On this trip I had different support people but one stand out my friend Danielle. Danielle was there as a companion and gave so much support without question. She carry things for me so I would last longer and helped me with the smaller things that happen throughout the trip. It was her support that made a difference to me.

We ended the week with a final dinner. During this time I had the chance to talk with the youth from all the different countries. I found out that my story has been published in a magazine called I Love Taekwondo Global Magazine. I had an amazing time on my second trip to South Korea and I look forward to a chance to return again.

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Now a Korean Morning Show

It was about a week after I had returned from S.Korea when Master McCorry looks at me and says there was another call for you are you interested? I looked at him and asked what are they asking to do with me? He then makes a gesture of someone filming. How many days I asked with a little distress. One day he told me. Good I said because if they wanted more I’m not interested. The filming of my documentary was amazing but by the end of three weeks I was good to never be filmed again. He went on to tell me that a woman from a morning show called “Morning Wide” was interested as they were putting together a show on about Tae Kwon Do in America. He said she would be calling back within the week.

A half hour later a get a call from Ashley we talked for a few minutes and we agreed that she would send myself and the school an email about what the segment is about and what they were looking for from us. Over the next few weeks we spoke by phone and email as details changed and to setup the schedule. They were also interested in meeting my friends so I needed to figure out their availability as well. Finally, everything was agreed the filming would happen on March 19, 2012. The crew would meet me at my work at 5 pm from there they would film me going to Tae Kwon Do. We would stay at Tae Kwon Do from 5:30 until 7:30 and then my friends would come to my house for 8:00. At my house I would have an interview with the host and show them around and then my friends would be interviewed. That was the plan!

March 19, 2012 came quickly and before I knew it the film crew was here. I came down the stairs and I saw the crew outside. As soon as I came outside the host came right up to me and starting talking to me like we were old friends it was a little weird but I went along with it. I told her what my plans were for the night and invited her along. Just before leaving a colleague from the courthouse was coming into the building. Him and I talked a bit and they continued to film our conversation after they did a short interview with him. Then we were off to Tae Kwon Do.

Once we got their I changed into my uniform and went to help with the little ninja class. It was sparring tonight so we paired them up and let them spar. I’m not sure if this interaction was caught on film. When I called one of the kids up to spar he looked at me and pulled his hands up to his shoulders and laughed. I was a little surprised as I had never had this type of encounter with any of the kids at the schools in five years. I dealt with as I always would. I asked him if he would like someone to make fun of him and he said no. Then I talked to him about respect. The rest of the class went smoothly I worked with kids of different ages and we did free sparring and three step. Later I worked with one student on his forms. He did really well forgetting only a few things and so we went over them together.

After the children’s class they interviewed Master McCorry and then we got ready for the adult class. The host, Claire, joined in on the warm up which I lead and then we geared up for sparring. They filmed me throughout the class and interviewed some of the other student here or there. After sparring I ended up doing a short introductory session with Claire. This had been something that had been done with the other Tae Kwon Do schools they had visited here in the US. I walk her through how we started a class and then broke down some of the kicks. She did really and before I knew it time at Tae Kwon Do was done and I needed to meet up with my friends at the house.

When I got home two of my friends had already arrived and the filming started up to get the entering transition (LOL). Once in the house I had a few minutes to freshen up while they got the camera and lighting correct. Then it was rather informal conversation with Claire. We talked about my life, friends, family, and Tae Kwon Do. Then we moved on and filmed my friends and I talking. There were some prompted questions to keep us on target. It was pretty easy going. The director knew what she wanted and was sure to get it. When she decided we should sit in the kitchen there was no changing her mind and at times she was more interested in one of friends answers then another. Then it was time for them to go. They did say goodbye almost five times until they got the right shoot.

Overall experience

The filming experience was a little easier. First it was one day instead of three weeks. Second I’m learning how to hold my own. At one point in the arranging they got a bit pushy and I told them if that was there position then they could film someone else. They changed their tune real quick. Third everyone spoke English and spoke English when around me which was nice because I knew what was going on and what was being said the whole time. I have requested a copy and knowledge of when it will air in South Korea which should be before the summer Olympics. Until next time!

Human Documentary

The last month has been a bit of a whirl wind. January 11, 2012 a call came into Bruce McCorry’s Martial Arts from S. Korea and they wanted to speak to me. Later that night I spoke with them and it turns out that there was a coming attractions to a documentary that myself and our school were figured in and people were really interested in my story. They wanted to produce a five part series documentary on my life featuring me here in the United States and then going to visit S.Korea. They were very eager and wanted an answer immediately however I thought it best to think it through and check with other people who would be affected by my choice as well e.i. Friends, family, and work.

The following day I started to speak to work, friends, family and called Andrew. Andrew worked with me on the prior documentary and was friendly and knowledgeable about the system. As soon as I called him he was quick to help I gave him the contact info to the people calling me and he said that he would check into things for me and would be in touch. Meanwhile friends and family were on board and excited for me. I was a bit hesitate as I wanted the full picture before I made a decision either way. Andrew became my agent immediately and had conversation on my behalf so I could truly understand what they wanted from me. In the end I agreed to the filming and they were set to arrive Tuesday night January 17, 2012. At this point I was aware that they wanted to film me doing everyday life with my friends, family, work and Tae Kwon Do. It was not as much detail as I would of like but it was enough for now. We were set to meet with the filming crew Wednesday morning January 18, 2012 to setup a schedule for the next 7-10 days.