When the bells ring… (a 2014 look-ahead)

Honestly, I’m not really a best-of-2013-lists type of guy, I am one of those few who get greater enjoyment out of the articles that tell us what to expect for the new year. So instead of creating some sort of wrap-up of the trophies I’ve won this year and other major moments taekwondo-wise, I’ll give you a heads up: 2014 is going to be the best year yet.

Tomorrow night Team Namchang will, as the tradition goes, walk around the Paldalsan (Paldal mountain), the grandmaster leading the pack. After a complete tour we’ll arrive at the Heunggung (Fortress), where we wait for the gigantic bells to ring in the new year. When I’ll hear that sound, not to make too much drama out of it, I know 365 days of fresh energy are awaiting.

Starting with – what else? – an increase in training intensity. The high school and university students of Namchang Dojang, my training buddies, have all started their one month vacation, so they’ll join me in practically living in the dojang (I mean who needs to rest during their holidays?). The more diehards train together, the harder the training gets. We encourage each other.

This boost comes right on time, as it will be more fun for Stephane Kaas to catch on tape. That’s right, I’m very happy that he is coming back to join me in Kimchi Paradise (sorry, South-Korea) for another week! I’m already keeping my fingers crossed in the hope that we’ll have time to shoot some more show-material like his last masterpiece, winter-style. 

However, by the time I’m performing in Team Namchang’s annual New Year’s Demonstration (January 18) he will already have left. I’ll have to ask someone else to record us breaking enough wood to build a house with, among other things… Last weekend we did a little preview for a befriended master who can’t make it to the actual demo. I posted a video of one of my board kicks on my instagram here.

A demo is nice of course and it forces me to practice keeping my nerves under control, but for me the real deal will start in mid-February, in Germany: the kick-off for a new European Poomsae competition season. Do you get the idea? I – Am – Looking – Forward!

What’s left for me is to wish you all a very happy and joyful new year. Best wishes from cold South-Korea, where I’m figuring out who fits Korean new-years accessories best, me or my tree. See you in 2014!

Kerst SelfieBonsai Kerst

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