Follow World Championships Results

October 14, 2009

Hello everyone! You can follow results as they develop in Copenhagen at this link:

http://www.cph2009.dk/results.asp

So far on the U.S. team, Steven Lopez has won an unprecedented fifth World title in the men’s welterweight division.

Lenn and Dorian compete in coming days…stay tuned!

Time to Go

October 13, 2009

by Dorian
Sunday Oct. 11

Doboks —-> “check”
Gears —> “check”
Training clothes —> “check”
human clothes —> “check”
toothbrush —> “check”
underwear —> “double check!”

This is the day we leave…we couldn’t have made it to this day without everyone’s help. Thank you!
When it’s the 3rd round and we have no strength left of our own…one memory of all u guys supporting us is more than enough to keep us going!

I compete Oct. 16 (featherweight) and Lenn on Oct. 18 (lightweight).

As we say home ” We making ah move dey! We go ketch allyuh wen we come back.”

The Homestretch

October 8, 2009

by Dorian

Last week! For allyuh who doh know, we fly to Copenhagen on Oct. 11.

It’s been long…or has it been short…I can’t really tell anymore but the time is here! We goin to go to de place where we was tryin to go to all de time: World Championships……

It’s the last week, and I have been trying to keep calm.

It’s not a nervousness at all, more like a burning anticipation, the realization that you can finally fulfill a desire. It’s one of those all encompassing feelings that becomes molded into everything you do.

The time for me to build more technique is past. I have been just devoutly trying to develop strategy and master my present capabilities. Speed, timing, distance…sprints, plyometrics, cardio…these are my staple training diet right now.

You would think that I should be getting more rest. But really I am just hyper sensitive–ready to kick on a dime! I kick in my sleep (when i happen to sleep). I kick for breakfast. I kick for lunch….

I see a man passing in the street and I wonder to myself “Ah wonder if ah cud kick him from dis angle?” That’s the all encompassing feeling I am talking about.

The time is near….and we have worked hard. I am proud to be so close, excited to be at a dream, in awe of how far we have come. This is for me! This is my sport! I won’t regret a moment!

One week to go

October 5, 2009

by Lenn

Well we leave in just one week for Denmark.

Basically I’m focusing now more on building my stamina and maintaining good weight for competition. By doing short sprints and countinuous kcking drills I gain both speed and stamina, which i think is crucial the last few days before a tournament. I have to careful of injuries though, so we’re not doing a lot of full contact sparring. I’m also working on loosing the extra pounds by jogging or doing other cardio such as skipping rope.

My diet seems to be the hardest thing for me to work on, since I love food. And being an athlete who is usually at the top of my weight category, I have to pay special attention to what I eat generally. As a result I try to consume less than 2000 calories per day so when I work out i burn more calories than I consume. I’m also training on Sundays to add more time towards my training.

For those of you I haven’t seen in person yet, thanks again for coming out to support us at the Kick-A-Thon last week! It was really inspiring to see so much support from West Side and everyone who travelled from far away to kick with us!

Artwork

October 5, 2009

by Lenn

Hi everybody,

I thought I’d share some of my artwork, since this is an important part of my life. I’ve begun a degree in art at Lehman College.

Kickathon FEVAH!!!

September 30, 2009

by Dorian Alexander

Putting the events of last saturday’s Kick-A-Thon into words is like trying to keep yuh clothes dry in ah hurricane.

Quite impossible.

But I will try.

I think the first thing that touched me was the very first step I took into the dojang. I expected to see a few familiar faces yea, people in doboks warming up sure–but the sheer energy I felt as I walked onto the mat was nothing short of breathtaking. I doubt anyone else could have recognized it as easily because each individual was exuding their own energy, but in that first instance when I was able to observe that energy from a controlled distance…..geeze-an-ages that was amazing! I think just that feeling alone made my day!

The support was not there only in physical form, but also in a familial connection that seemed to exist. Like the entire dojang was supporting itself. I could use words like Amazed, Dumbfounded, Bedazzled, Extravagant…but they all pale in comparison to what was actually in the room.

So instead, I’ll put it in my own words: FEVER!!!!!!!

A fever not for taekwondo, not for fundraising, not even for Team Trinidad…..a Fever for each other. I felt like part of such a strong family, it was like I’d already won the world’s most prestigious taekwondo tournament.

Then we had to do 1000 kicks. I don’t know when we started or when we ended. Everytime I saw the energy in someone falter, I saw about 10 othr people dig deep to rally them on.
I think that if I’d never seen taekwondo a day in my life before Saturday, I would know the true meaning of the togetherness Danguel and the unity in the sport.

Everyday of hard training, everyday of sweat and fatigue was worth it to stand in the dojang with those individuals who make up my taekwondo family. Thank you so much everybody for keeping the FEVER going as our big day gets closer!!!

Saturday Workout

September 23, 2009

by Lenn Hypolite

We had a great workout last saturday. Saturday workouts are always more unique, since there are usually more people than during the weeknights. First, Masters Whang start us off with some pyrometric drills, which gets us warmed up within a few minutes. We then take out kicking pads or put on hogus and continue with basics kicks in sets of five. Eventually we move on to defensive and offensive attack techniques–this is where I start to huff and puff! But it’s not till after that when we get into the real burnout, where we do combination techniques. Later the class ends with sparring. The Masters always train us hard and push us. I always think that they really want us to do more than our best and I feel blessed to have instructors who want nothing less than all my heart when we’re training.

I’ve been recovering from a badly stumped toe, which has impeded me at times in the past from kicking. It’s really amazing how a small extremity of the body can have such a strong effect. But it’s in better shape now and I feel like I can kick anything.

As of now I’m working on my inside game. I want to get shaper on the inside. Also my form is another thing I want to work on along with my overall speed and recovery after I kick.

I plan to take time off from school to go to the World Championships. Sometimes it can be quite a headache balancing my daily life outside of the dojang with my athletic career. Not to mention the busy days when I have a plate full of activities to do from morning to midnight, five days a week. Sometimes I’m up until 1am the next morning. But I always pull it off and it is worth it.

My past coach from Trinidad has been a constant supporter of my efforts, as has everyone else in the Taekwondo Association of Trinidad and Tobago, and I feel great pride knowing that everyone is putting their hopes in me.

Firsts

September 20, 2009

by Lenny

I wanted to say a little more about how I started competing in Taekwondo. When I was growing up back in Trinidad and training with Master Jung, my generation of fighters never really had an official Taekwondo team until the 8th Caribbean Championships. All of our best athletes from different schools came to train with the national coach. We had trained for a few months and I rarely missed a class, even though I was unsure if I would be able to fight in the Championships because of my lack of finances. But then luckily someone contributed the money I needed to compete. I certainly had people who put their hopes in me.

The day of my fight I was excited only about my match with the Aruban fighter. He had defeated me in the Junior Pan am Championships and had become the Gold Medalist. I had always remembered that loss and wanted to defeat him to gain confidence and move on and become stronger. When I did defeat him after an exhilarating sudden death match everyone was really excited for me–and no one seemed happier than Master Jung, who had told me that I would beat him.

I also remember my first workout at West Side. I was nervous, very nervous! I didn’t know anyone, and I was unemployed and stressed from my personal situation at home. But I had been directed to West Side by Master Chinedum Osuji, who competed for Trinidad and Tobago in the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he was coached by Master Whang Jr., so the relationship between Mr. Osuji and Masters Whang left me with some feelings of security. My first encounter with Master Whang Senior and Master Whang Junior was pleasant and inspiring. They seemed to be very welcoming and knowledgeable. Master Christina Park’s charismatic and amiable personality also left an unforgettable impression on me. And there was Master Lim with his strong passion for perfection in taekwondo, and of course his comical side which appeared a few weeks later.

AAU Team Trials and the FEVA!!!

September 16, 2009

by Dorian

I woke up this Monday morning at 7am to take my usual pre-work run, and for some reason I just could not move. I felt like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. I was stiff as a board and had aches in every muscle known to man.

This past weekend was AAU National Team trials in Miami Florida. And we went to represent team West Side! It was also kind of a practice run for myself and Lenn before Worlds.

Let’s just say the tournament was more than we had hoped for. You know that moment in movies when everything slows down and you experience time as a fraction of itself….well that never happens in real life! NEVER. Never…

I won my first match 11 – 4, and felt more disappointed in myself than I have in a longgg time. I felt like I fought beneath my skill level, like I wasn’t at my potential or where I was supposed to be in order to challenge the World. Then after sitting and watching Lenn’s first match, I was definitely jealous. His execution and timing were clean and sharp. He was clearly where he wanted to be. Or so i felt.

My second match was even more disappointing, and I don’t know why. I won 5-2, but I wasn’t sharp, I was too relaxed, and it was almost if I felt the opponent wasn’t worth it. And if he wasn’t worth it I definitely wasn’t worth it either. I could see all his motions, read his fakes, and even still I wouldn’t bother to dodge or move.
“GEEZE-AN-AGES-DORIAN-GET-IT-TOGETHER! YUH-LOSIN-IT AH WA!!!” That’s what I thought as I watched the “world’s slowest narabam” actually hit my hand and score!

After and between my matches I was able to sit and watch Darlin and Lisa’s matches and again I was in awe. Although they’re inexperienced I could see their growth I could see them going outside of their previous realm of skill and developing more. It’s like if life was a game I could see them “leveling up” after their matches even though they lost.

Then there was Lenn.

Man leh me tell allyuh sumtin! I know Lenn since he was a white belt and no good at taekwondo, buh if allyuh see dis boi put don some skills in d tournament allyuh would jump-flip-fly-den cry wid excitemet!!!! [Editor's translation: I've known Lenn since he was new and very bad but believe me, if you could have seen him you'd have been extremely impressed and inspired.] In the two matches he lost he displayed an amazing repertoire of skills, including an AMAZING back-
kick from a clinch that made me fly off the floor nex to d mat screaming at everyone nearby: “OOOOOO U SEE DAT!!!! HE IS MY FRIEND I KNOW HIM!!! I KNOW HIM!!!!”

After seeing displays like that how could I feel positive about my taekwondo? But I still had I the final, and at stake was a spot on the AAU National Team! I should explain that this was a round robin tournament and I was top seed, which means that in the final my opponent had to beat me twice in order to win, where I only had to beat him once.

Coach Chinedum Osuji warmed me up, and he knew there had been something lacking in my previous matches. I can’t say what he did or what he didn’t do, but when he finished speaking to me and warming me up…a fever was burning! And if u guys know me when a fever is buring oooo-boi look out! Trouble coming!

I went out there sharp, clean & calculating.
I felt like i had eyes everywhere.
My skin was tingling soo much my dobok had the shivers!
With my toes I could feel the ridges on the mat beneath my feet…and if u think about it…u NEVER feel the ridges on the mat when you are sparring.

Every zip, every double kick, every off-the-line I was in my elemet…..but I lost 11 – 12.

WAT! Sounds like madness right? I have all these skills and some Johnny-come-lately buss me up! Yeah well scoring is always a debatable thing in taekwondo. But it’s also true that part I where I really felt great was actually only about two minutes and 45 seconds…and a match is 6 min long. So somewhere in the other 3:15, I slipped in my keen senses and sharpness. And I lost.

Man I was vex for about a whole 35 seconds…an when I say vex, I mean I woulda spar with the wind if I’d had a chance! But in spite of that I remembered something much more important to me…

THIS IS FUN!!!! MY GOODNESS I LOVE THIS SPORT!!! The sheer joy of being in the ring, win, lose, knock out or go home missing some teeth, I enjoy every moment of it!!! And instantly i realized: after all that I AM GOING TO FIGHT AGAIN! YESSSS!!!!!

How many pepople ge to lose and fight again! In the same day? Most of the time when you lose you’re finished and you go home. But not today! Man that is sweetttttttttt.

So remember that 2:45 mins I was talking about before? Where I was like batman? Well in the return match it lasted about 4:45 minutes and I got a clear win over my opponent, 9-6. What’s even better, within the match I grew, my skills grew.

You know in the movies when they say time slows down and you experience time as a fraction of itself? That’s a lie it never happens in real life…NEVER.

BUT THIS IS TAEKWONDO BABY!!!! ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!!!! RAWR!!!!!!!

Meet Dorian Alexander

September 11, 2009

Hi my name is Dorian L.A. Alexander (I always keep my middle name a secret!…but Los Angeles is a good place to start…)

I am 25 yrs old and born on the quaint little island of Trinidad & Tobago, not as quaint as it used to be but still pretty sweet! I am the youngest in a family of four, and as far as I can tell I’m the most sane one in my family. When I was a kid we would move houses a lot, but we finally settled in a little borough called Arima. There are three things Arima is associated with in Trinidad:

1. East (location)
2. Rain (always rains)
3. Ghetto (self explanatory)

So a nice summary of my childhood is that I lived far from everything, was always wet and couldn’t speak proper English….exactly like how I am now!

Anyway somehow here I am in Brooklyn, finishing off my last few months in medical school and Taekwondo-ing my life away. You just gotta love life; you never really can tell where you could end up. I live in the hospital housing of Maimonides Medical Center, where I go almost everyday for a ridiculous number of hours. The only other place I can think of that I spend that much time is the dojang….man do I love the dojang…..it’s the kind of place you hate to love but you just love it sooooooo much!!!!

This isn’t my first time in New York City. I was here from 2003-2005, training and working as a paramedic in the 911 system. Yes, a Trinidadian was responding to American emergencies. Talk about outsourcing! New York is nice but I’ll be honest, I don’t like it. The busy lifestyle, with everyone in such a hurry all the time (not like Trinidad where nobody’s in a hurry unless it’s to eat some watermelon) and MOST importantly the TEMPERATURE!!!! I felt like it was summer for what, one month! Then BAM winter is back! I don’t know how people live here! But even on those horribly cold days, and meeting some antagoinzing personalities…..coming to the dojang just soothes everything. It makes everyday a good day no matter what. How can you not love something like that?

I started Taekwondo when I was 6 years old. My dad did it in his younger days and one day he just carried me there with him. I remember my mother describing me “like an ant at a picnic.” I wouldn’t sit still, I was kickin’ wind and loving it! The next thing I recall is waking up one day and telling my Ma, “Hey I’m a black belt in Taekwondo!” Then she spun around and hit me in my head with a pot spoon and yelled to my father, “Lyle, I just hit a Taekwondo-Man in he head!”

Coming to West Side for the first time was nerve-wracking to say the least. It was actually during my first stay here in 2003 or 2004. Masters Whang and Master Lim were expecting me, but I was a fumbling mess, bowing at any and everything in the dojang. But after that those first few clumsy minutes I think I found a Taekwondo home equivalent to and sometimes greater than my original dojang in Trinidad.

Training for World Championships is never ending…I burn with excitement just thinking about it, the chance to be challenged on the world stage in Taekwondo. To fight among the best! It’s awe inspiring (I think my legs are twitching just typing about it). Honestly the fever of Taekwondo burns in me so much sometimes I wake up at night to train so I can get some sleep!

My typical training day would be:
A. Wake up before work and run 20 minutes; motion & reaction drills 20 minutes
B. After work, sprints with more plyometric drills and kicking a tree in the park opposite my apartment (I like kicking the tree ALOT!) I work alot of short sharp inside drills after I sprint to build my explosiveness…
C. Then off to the dojang. Some days are more intense than others but you gotta love it!


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