Call me world champ
He seems like a regular kid. He goes to school. He watches TV. He messes around with his friends. But 17-year-olds aren’t winners of the World Taekwondo poomsae-that’s “form” if you don’t speak Korean- championships, hosted by the World Taekwondo Federation.
“I grew up with [taekwondo] and it’s impacted me a lot. I got really serious about it in the last four years, and I made it my goal to make it to the world stage for competing,” senior Kyle Ng said.
Ng grew serious about taekwondo after a six month hiatus that was a result of a conflict he had with his dojo. He went back to practicing when his master opened up a new dojo, simply called “Taekwondo” located in Diamond Bar.
“I realized that without taekwondo, I was pretty boring. I spent so much time there, I was just used to going. It really hit me how important taekwondo was for me. So I decided that if I really like something, might as well get good at it,” Ng Said.
It was after he returned to the sport when he decided he would try to compete on the national stage. In his first two competitions he placed fifth and seventh in the US Open and the National Team Trials, respectively.
“It was a lot of hard work because for so many years I never paid attention to what I was doing, I was just doing it. Like I wasn’t focusing on what I should actually be doing with my feet and hands and all the little things. Sometimes I got angry because I knew I wouldn’t have to work as hard now if I had tried before,” Ng said.
Ng originally took an interest in the sport as he watched his older brothers practice during his childhood and started training at age six. He found motivation to match his brother’s success.
“My older brother was good. I felt pressure to live up to him. He made it to the international stage and would’ve competed if a situation didn’t come up. So I thought, ‘Okay, let me at least make it,’” Ng said.
Recently, Ng traveled to Mexico to represent the United States in the junior national team for form in taekwondo from Oct.30 to Nov. 2. He and two teammates competed against teams from 50 countries and outperformed Taipei to take home the world title.
“Me and my two partners, and the three people from Chinese Taipei approached the screen where they were showing the scores. When I saw that our score was higher than theirs, I just jumped at that moment,” Ng said.
The glory of reigning as a poomsae world champion comes with a price. While preparing to compete on the international stage Ng trained at the dojo six times a week. During the week he trained for three hours a day, and during weekends he trained from four to five hours. During vacations, he practiced every day.
“Practice is practice, but there is a personal enjoyment where it’s not only you that’s there but also your teammates. It’s not only you that’s committed; that’s the best part,” Ng said.
Even after winning a world championship in the junior division, Ng hopes to continue to improve in Taekwondo and represent USA on the senior level.
“It was amazing, not a lot of people get the chance to represent their country in anything. It’s very competitive to be in the position that I achieved. Overall it was very incredible and I’m truly happy with being able to represent USA,” Ng said.
By Shahar Syed, Staff writer