Sometimes I talk about my experiences as a former Taekwondo fighter and one competition always comes to my mind. I will now talk about WC-1985 and you might wonder why? Well…first, it was my second ever international tournament and I have so many funny memories about it.
What you might not know is that you have to be a black belt to be able to attend a tournament like this but that didn’t stop us! We had all been training for many years but our Korean master held back with the progress on our belts. (for reasons that I will explain in future articles)
So our instructor just bought all of us brand new black belts and uniforms and we were ready!
Now our team, we had little experience with competitions and how top level Taekwondo fighters did their training so we were lucky that we arrived a couple of weeks earlier to Korea and did some training with a top Korean university team. That was really an eye opening experience! They had speed, skills and endurance! It took about 2-3 days for us to get use to their speed and then I really understood what it meant to be a “top-level Taekwondo fighter”!
Korea 1985 was a great place to travel and when people realized that we were not from the USA then we got really good treatment. The food was really good and there are two things that I will always remember, first our teacher warned us that we shouldn’t drink any alcohol and in Korea they don’t drink at all.
(he was worried because we as Finns had a reputation that sometimes we drink too much)
You can imagine my surprise when I was walking outside on a Friday evening. (I swear this is true!) Everyone I saw outside was more or less drunk!
The Koreans were worse than the Finns! I don’t know if there was some national holiday or if it was just ordinary weekend…
The second thing I still remember is that two of my friends and I, decided to go see the movie Rambo and you can image how we felt when we realized that we were the only westerners at the cinema. Well before the movie started they played the Korean national anthem and everyone stood up and sang along! (That won’t happen in Finland…)
After the movie we returned to the hotel and told the rest of the team that we went to see the movie, of course they wanted to go as well but they made one big mistake…
They went and asked our master if they could go… and they got a very strict NO for an answer! (we didn’t ask permission because we guessed that would happen)
I will continue with this in the next blog post! (I have to go and get some food!)