Work toward the world championship

Most competitors only dream of making it to the National U.S Taekwondo Team and competing at World Championships. For junior Vincent Jodjana, however, that dream has become a reality.

Jodjana was introduced to taekwondo at the age of eight when his parents decided it would allow him to be more active.

“When I was little, I had a lot of energy. My parents wanted me to be disciplined and found a taekwondo studio in Diamond Bar,” Jodjana said. “The masters told me that I was talented, so my parents kept me in martial arts. Eventually, it became something I enjoyed.”

Through the years of practicing, Jodjana’s passion for the sport drove him to set higher goals for himself in competitions.  Although taekwondo is considered a sport by many, to Jodjana, it’s an art that allows him to express himself through his performances.

“I did not want to quit just because [I got] my black belt. I wanted to get a higher achievement than just getting a black belt. I wanted to become the best at the National Championships and thought what would it be like to get that gold medal at Worlds,” Jodjana said.

As the competitions became more intense, Jodjana’s coach continued to push him to do his best. His coach did not only train his students, but also competed with them in the tournaments they attend to prove that he’s skilled and qualified.

“Through competing and training with us, [my master] is able to share our pain and suffering during our training, and our joy and glory when we win,” Jodjana said.

Jodjana first joined the National Team in 2014 and competed Aguascalientes, Mexico for the 2014 World Championships, finishing second. He has also competed in the 2015 Pan-American Open. This year is his second year competing as a member of the U.S. National Team.

Taekwondo has helped him grown mentally and emotionally. This year at National Team trials, Jodjana did not qualify to compete in the individual event. However, he persevered and still qualified for the paired event.

“When hardship was thrown in my direction, I was always angered and felt depressed and questioned ‘why do bad things happen?’” Jodjana said. “Anything can happen during taekwondo competitions, whether good or bad, and you get used to occasional surprising results.”

Now, Jodjana looks forward to his second year competing in World Championships at Lima, Peru. He will be performing poomsae, simulating combat, in which he is scored based on accuracy and presentation.

“I have gained a passion for taekwondo by just loving not just the sport but also for the martial art itself. What [many] misunderstand is that taekwondo is mainly a martial art: it is a fight,” Jodjana said. “By embracing the sport is one thing, but one must also embrace the martial art itself in order to  achieve a passion. Treating it as a fight changes the perspective in competing rather than treating it as a sport.”

By Albert Law, Feature editor
Photo by Jeffrey Tran