Well, here we are. The Friday before one of Graham's biggest weekends thus far. On Sunday (yes, Mother's Day) he will be competing in the national qualifier for the Junior Olympics. This is his last opportunity to qualify to compete in sparring and I can already tell you by looking at the competition that he has his work cut out for him.
I love Graham and he has all of the makings to excel in Tae Kwon Do but this year the competition is truly an uphill battle. He is at the bottom of his age group and, God love him, he just hasn't really developed that aggressive side. He wants the medals that loom at the end of the journey for the top 3 competitors but I don't know if he truly realizes that he must go out there and take them for his own. That mental switch is always slow to flip. At every tournament Graham eventually figures this out. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to come until the second round. He has developed a pattern of loosing the first round handily, waking up and then coming back to dominate the second round. The question always is: did he do enough to make up for the deficit? At this level of competition, the answer will almost always be no. In order to qualify, Graham will have to come out fighting in the first round. We will see if we can get his mind wrapped around that.
I would be severely remiss if I did not also mention that Sydney will be competing as well. Thankfully she qualified for the USA Tae Kwon Do Junior Olympics with her performance at the Texas State Championships. However, a good performance here will help her with seeding at the big event in Orlando. For her, the challenge is always overcoming her fears. She has the mental skill set to win. If she can channel some aggressiveness she should fair well.
Both have the opportunity to medal in forms. We are grooming them to medal at the Junior Olympics so this will be a good test of their progress. Both have the skills to win. It all comes down to mastering their nerves and focusing. We will see if they can control their demons.
I love it. Tae Kwon Do is such an excellent tool for learning self awareness. Regardless of what happens, they will come out with some incredible experience and they will learn a lot about themselves.
They are learning to master their own purpose.