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Tae Kwon Do/My road to the 2016 Olympics


Hello Sir,
I am a 16 year old girl wanting to go to the 2016 olympics very badly. I train at a tae kwon do school in Cali, and I am almost a 2nd degree black belt. I was wondering if you could Please give me some helpful tips on how to train for the olympics, as in techniques that I would need to know, how to improve on agility, dedication, fitness and nutrition, schools and colleges that specialize in tkd, and any other tips you have. :) I am very serious about this. My current training schedule is about 2 hours a day, and I work on sparring and strenth training. I have my 540 kick and am working on 720. My nutrition is balanced. I eat 3 meals a day, and snack in between, but is there special foods or meals that I should be eating? And also I have to wear a face mask with my headgear due to doctors orders, and previous surgeries, but at my last tournament they said that I could not sparre with head-contact with it. It really upset me because if I cant even sparre at a small tournament with it, how am I going to go to the Olympics?  I do not know what to do! This is my biggest dream, and I cant just give it up. But my parents and doctor said that there is no way I can sparre without it! Do you think the Olympic judges would allow a face-mask? I am not sure. Please give me some advice! Thank You very much!!
         - Steph

Hi Steph!

Thanks for the email.

Unfortunately, the rules governing TKD in the Olympics will not allow you to wear a face mask. If you can not participate without wearing the face mask, the chances are you won't be able to compete in the fighting competition.

You mentioned you are able to execute a 540 spin heel kick. Although this kick is not used in Olympic fighting it is used in forms competitions.

USAT the governing body for TKD in the U.S. has a competition poomse team that travels all over the world competing. This may be an alternative route for you.

Here's a link to the USAT website.

I'm sorry was not able to give you the answer you wanted in regards to competing with a face mask helmet, but there are other alternatives. :)

Good Luck

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Nathan J. Nowak


We can answer any questions pertaining to Olympic Tae Kwon Do sparring. Questions about fitness and nutrition as relating to TKD training and preparation for tournaments and competition. Specific techniques and tactics while training, weight training and agility, mental toughness and visualization exercises and "day of" preparation.


I have been in martial arts for over 26 years. I'm a master instructor (4th Dan) in TKD. I also have a black belt in karate. I've competed in Olympic TKD since '91. As and athlete:(highlights) Winning a silver medal at Jr. Olympic nationals ('92), AATU National champion ('94), over 10 GA State Championship and GA Games medals. Won a bronze medal at the U.S. Open (2000). With drew from the Olympic Qualifier in 2004 from a torn ACL. As a coach: (highlights) I've coached a women's TKD team since '99. With over 30 members spanning the eight year history of the team, we have 7 National Championship Gold medals, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze. The team medals at every state and regional tournament they attend. Several members have been undefeated for several years. Our training covers strength and endurance workouts, tactics and strategy, nutrition and supplementation, mental toughness and visualization, and maintaining weight while leading up to competition. I've been a certified personal trainer since "98 and have worked in the fitness and nutrition arena since '94. The team has their own training center that they share with the gym that I own. Trinity Fitness in Atlanta, GA


Atlanta Sports and Fitness Magazine, CBS46 News Atlanta, FOX's Good Day Atlanta, Atlanta Journal and Constitution and in newspapers across the United States,,,

Personal Training Certificate (School of Fitness and Nutrition) 4th Dan Black Belt (Kukkiwon) USAT Certified Level 2 Coach AAU Certified Coach Former USSSA Certified Coach Member of NSCA

Awards and Honors
Coach of 2001 AS&FM Athlete's of the Year "P.T.S. TKD Team" First runner up 2001 AS&FM Fittest Male of the Year

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