It took some time to contact everyone, but hey! It’s finally out!!!! SingaporeWushu.com will like to thank everyone who participated in this interview series, especially since many were preparing for their upcoming exams. It’s not an easy task, to juggle academic and sports, but when one puts his/her heart into doing something, everything else fades into oblivion. The Singapore IVP Wushu Comp medalists have earned their place through blood and sweat; and every competitor in IVP has taken back experiences to remember. So no matter whether the results are bitter or sweet, always remember that our experiences are worth celebrating and sharing.
SingaporeWushu.com is proud to present the Singapore IVP Wushu Comp Interview Series!
Next in the interview series, we have the wushu team from Singapore Polytechnic!!
Joel Chong – Sparring, Gold
Keith Tham – Sparring, Gold; Traditional Long Weapon Male, Bronze
Choo Siok Hui – Traditional Double Weapon Female, Gold
Tan Xin Hui – Traditional Double Weapon Female, Bronze
Kevan Kong – Traditional Long Weapons Male, Silver
SingaporeWushu.com: Congratulations on your results for the IVP Wushu 2011 Competition!! I’m sure it must have been an exciting experience. How do you feel, being able to achieve what you have done?
Joel: I feel relieved, as it is my final year in Poly and my Dui Lian partner Keith and I managed to retain the Gold medal for Dui Lian. Second consecutive year for us, and 4 consecutive years for SP!
Xin Hui: Haha Thanks.. I feel happy of course and but its not just due to having achievements also that I enjoyed the process of the competition and felt that I have done my best already.
Siok Hui: I feel stunned and surprised. I think it is a gift for the hard work I have put through because it’s really my least confident event.
Keith: I was happy with all of my achievements.
SW: What was the most memorable moment during the competition?
Keith: To receive cheers and support from the crowd from the moment my number tag has been called till the end of my routine.
XH: When we are preparing ourselves I suppose. Since I met my secondary school friend and I get to make new friends.
SH: It was when my parents came down to support me because it is the first time they ever come and watch my competition despite competing many years.
Joel: There were several memorable moments, such as the anticipation when waiting for our turn, during the routine itself when I was extremely focused, and when the judges gave our score.
For my double broadsword routine, it was when I landed my Roundoff Backflip as it was the first time I ever landed it on my feet with the swords. I was even surprised for a moment during the routine! Despite my placing (the lowest score of 7.11), I was satisfied as it was my personal goal since I joined SP Wushu to be able to do flips with double weapons. However, I am aiming to improve!
SW: Any celebrations for your achievements?
SH: We had a team dinner at New York New York right after Ivp and my parents brought me out for dinner on another day as well.
Joel: SP Wushu went for a dinner after the competition and we organized an outing.
Keith: I didn’t have any special celebration for my achievements; all I did was to go and enjoyed a great dinner after the competition which I normally would have after a competition.
XH: Not really celebrations though, we took many photographs and went out for dinner.
SW: You must have gone through intense training in order to get to where you are. How were your training sessions like? What/who motivated you to go through the tough training?
XH: Trainings were hell, especially two weeks before competition. We are expected to attend training daily at night, and we have to attend school in the day. But its just the process of the trainings and the short few minutes that I spend on the carpet during competition.
Joel: Our competition training consisted of practicing segments of our routines, followed by half routines, then full routines and finally two consecutive full routines. This happened progressively across a period of 1 month. Being my last year in Poly motivated me, along with my coaches who have sacrificed much of their time, and partner.
SH: Towards the last two weeks before competition, we practically have training almost every day. It was really mentally and physically challenging. Lucky for me, I have very supportive parents and coaches there to guide me and cheer me on.
Keith: I would normally start preparing myself before any competition news has been announced by learning the routine in advance. When news for the competition arrives, I would try my best to master my routine to the best way that I’m able to do it and the way that I would like to present myself during the competition. I had at least 4 training section per week about 2 months before the IVP 2011. I motivated myself by having a goal in mind of what I would like to achieve and the support from my everyone around me were also part of my motivation which helped me to go through all the tough trainings.
SW: Were there any single incidents that stood out during the training?
Keith: Luckily for me there weren’t any incident that stood during my training for this year IVP.
XH: yeah.. I injured my ligament and ankle during the trainings. So I have to stop for quite a few trainings before I can continue.
SH: I guess it is probably the time when I really broke down and cried because the coaches were really pushing very hard on me and I tried to push myself too but I just couldn’t do it right. I really feel very tired and want to give up very badly but they just won’t stop pushing me.
Joel: Every training had its special moment for us. We try to make our trainings as fun as possible. In the end, it comes down to mindset as to how a training session becomes fun!
SW: Aside from preparing yourself physically, it is important to prepare yourself mentally. How did you prepare yourself mentally?
SH: I think mental strength is very important, I will recall the routine in my mind before I sleep and tell myself that I am prepared and ready for it, it somehow helps to boost confidence in me.
Keith: Yes, it is important to be mentally prepared, as I believe that its take a certain amount of mental strength for anyone to be able to go through any intensive training in order to improve themselves in any martial arts or sports. Being mentally strong would also be beneficial in managing nervousness during a competition.
Joel: By not thinking of the other competitors, running through the routine in my head and getting the feel of the routine. The most important I think is not to think of your competitors as you will get nervous.
XH: Get ample of rest and most importantly, don’t stress yourself.
SW: Did you get nervous before the competition? If so, how did you deal with it?
SH: Ya, I normally start to feel nervous when my event starts. I will jump up and down to warm up and talk to my friends around.
Keith: I do get a little nervous before the competition, I deal with it by trying to keep myself calm by not trying to get to involve with what were my competitors doing and how were they been graded. Before I start my routine on the carpet, I would take about 3 deep breaths to keep myself calm.
XH: Not really nervous, just think that you are practicing normally.
Joel: I was nervous initially, but after being told not to think of the placing and the other competitors, I felt much more confident and excited to compete.
SW: It is important to enjoy what you do in order to achieve great success. What do you enjoy the most about wushu?
SH: I think it is important to enjoy but I feel that achieving great success really need a very strong mind and will. Because the process can sometimes really make whatever you enjoy the most become the one you want to run away from. I enjoy training and the process of improvements but I think the most enjoyable is the company of the teammates.
XH: Hmmm… I think that it’s a sports for me to forget everything and don’t think of those stressing things. I enjoy wushu when everyone are striving hard towards stunts and people joke around during trainings, thought they joke, they are serious about it. Friends also are the reason that I like to go to wushu.
Joel: I enjoy every single aspect of Wushu, from the basic stances to the high-leveled aerial kicks and maneuvers. I feel that one can express themselves through such a display of skill. Most importantly, I enjoy the challenge that it gives me.
Keith: I don’t think there is anything that I enjoy most about wushu as there were many different things I’ve enjoyed and enjoy in wushu. I believe that it was my passion for wushu and the different challenges I’ve found in wushu that make me achieve what I had today.
SW: Do you have a philosophy in wushu or in life?
XH: I don’t know =P
SH: Nope. Not really.
Joel: I quote from a friend ‘What doesn’t kills you, builds you.’
SW: Any final thoughts you will like to share or advice to give?
Keith: I believe that it is important for anyone to know and understand the reason why others have gotten higher score than them instead of complaining or giving excuses why they could not have gotten better result in order to improve themselves.
SH: Sportsmanship and friendship is the real win rather than the medal itself. There is no point winning because the “better” competitors are not there or if they are sick or injured, win because you really deserved to win.
XH: Competition is not about only winning or losing, its about the process and whether you have done your best or not. If you done your best already, you are already a winner, don’t think too much about the result.
Joel:I hope that Wushu will be spread far and wide so that everyone can enjoy it. For people who have just started Wushu, challenge yourselves in every training session! I started Wushu only in my first year of Poly!