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Interview with Jan Chaloupka

Interview with Jan Chaloupka
Martin Svitek, 2.9.2013 – Trying to be informed about czech results during this year´s Worlds, I was aware about our first individual medal being won by Jan Chaloupka (3rd place, male senior patterns III. Degree). And I knew in that moment that he is the next person I want to question thoroughly. Here I share result of our email conversation.

1/ Jan, first of all, congratulation to your success on Worlds. Bronze medal on such a level of competition is great. How do you feel about it? Satisfied or you saw yourself even higher?

Thank you. I am terribly happy for breaking ill-luck I had on all Worlds I took part in. I always lost with 2:3 result – in Slovenia, Russia, Korea and also this year´s Bulgaria. When korean competitor forgot his pattern this year I was thinking about possibility of final for me. Especially after defeating great japanese competitor and knowing that I was able to beat russian on Euro 5:0. But after a moment of sadness I got very happy.

2/ And who beat you? Is it more about opinion of referees or you saw (maybe on videorecord) some major mistake you should work on?

I lost in semi-final with russian competitor. As one is getting closer to medal positions he is more and more tied. I felt it on myself when competing with japanese competitor. I wasn´t able to relax, my practice was constrained. Despite of this I won that round. In semifinal I felt much better, being able to relax, but it was not enough.
Subjective feeling is always in game during patterns competition. No referee can avoid it. But it is really easy to see that referees from different regions prefers different aspects of patterns. European referees are more interested in display of correct techniques, asians focus more on sharpness, power and speed of techniques. And than it is really hard to impress at least 3 of them to win closely. But despite of this there is always what to work on. Noone is able to have perfect technique.

3/ Mentioning Russians, what is your opinion on their way of practicing patterns and possibility of defeating them? What to change in training, what to focus on?

This is kind of trappy question. My opinion is that there are few individuals in russian national team who practice with top level form. Rest of them just focus on „cruel“ power of techniques. Our grandmaster would not enjoy their performance in aspect of understanding of techniques. And speaking about defeating them – everyone can be defeated. There is just so many factors – especially referees.

4/ How long are you in Taekwon-do and how did you start?

I practice since 1997. We were moving to suburb of České Budějovice and I also start to attend local school. There were many leisure activities available so daddy (I keep this warm expression intentionally as I believe it show relationship Jan has to have with his father) and me decided to try something. We tried one training of TKD and stick to that till today.

5/ Do you have any role model or person(s) who influenced you the most in your tkd career?

There is no question about it – the most influencing person was my father who helped me from white belt. Kind of healthy rivalry pressed me to try harder and harder. I have to mention that he had by 2 points higher score on our first grading… :-D And then I was influenced by everyone who taught me – in home dojang, talented youth organization or national team.

6/ Your pattern skills are in my point of view special. You combine czech quality of techniques and russian sharpness and power. What path led to this – is it some special training routines, something we creepy patterns practicioning mortals doesn´t do or you were just born that way and credit goes to your parents? (also practicing taekwondists!) (correcting this interview before putting it online I see that my question sounds like – do you have secret training or is it just nature given pure talent? It was not meant this way as I am sure that 16 years of intensive training are the root of Jan´s success and quality – Martin Svitek)

It is hard to answer this. I believe my level of practice is mainly credit of my daddy. Since first competition where I lost in second round I wanted to got medal. And then wanted to got more and more.
From the beggining there were always someone who defeated me so I wanted revenge after I had improved. I don´t think I have some special training routine.

7/ It is about a year of existence of your new tkd school – Nomo. What led you to this and how are you doing nowadays?

We were motivated to open new school by more things that commonly lead to doing new things. And we are doing well I think. People got to know about us in this small town we are training. We have about 40 children practicing and we hope to also recruit some older students as we plan enrollment for them for this year´s autumn.

8/ And who lead this tkd school?

Our whole family does, so me and daddy, my mother and Renča (sister) and moreover experienced taekwondist Láďa Klomfar. I have to mention that on Sunday June 4, 2013 Láďa and my sister passed their I. Dan exams so we now have 5 experinced black belts in our dojang. We are trying to lead training to make them worth to attend and also enjoyable.

9/ And why did you choose name „Noomo“? Is there any deeper meaning or you just like the word.

Meaning of Noomo chagi is to overcome some distance with technique of TKD. And that is the way we are trying to present our martial art. We are trying to overcome some distances people have in their mind about our martial art. We want to present it to as many people as possible regardless of age.

10/ Back to you, Jan. What are your future plans? Are there any other sport goals you want to achieve? Where do you see yourself in Taekwon-do in five years.

One has to still put some new goals in front of him to keep motivated. I would enjoy being in World´s final, but it is long journey. I am not sure what will happen in two years (time til next Wordls) not to think about five. But I want to continue teaching people and would be really happy if someone from our dojang manage to become member of national team. But there is hard work before it may happen.

11/ How does your training look like nowadays? Do you get most of your form on national team training camps or….?

I am also trying to practice on my own, sometimes after training of kids or during warm-up of beginners. But I used to have more time. So it is true that one got the most skill through national team camps. Both for individua lor team competition. There is plenty of time and experienced people who helps me with technique. And I am deeply thankful to them for it.

12/ Are patterns part of Taekwon-do you enjoy the most o rit is just coincidence that you are so succesful in them are regularly nominated for European and World championship?

Colourfulness is what I enjoy the most on Taekwon-do. I like everything from patterns to power breaking and especially self-defence. I cannot say I enjoy patterns the most, but is true that for first few years you are allowed to compete only in patterns and one wants to win (on Czech competitions you are allowed to compete in patterns from yellow belt and in sparring from blue belt).

13/ And is there any part of Taekwon-do you really don´t enjoy?

Hard to reply. There are times I don´t enjoy anything and times I love every aspect of TKD.

Jan, thank you for your time and I wish you success not only with competing and your dojang.

I also thank you.

Few informations about Jan Chaloupka:
Name: Jan Chaloupka
Age: 25 for a while
Height: around 174 cm
Weight: 63 kg
Occupation: everlasting student + helping with family company interested in trade
University: University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice – Business venture
Hobby: nearly all sports (inline skating, cycling, skiing, volyball….), travelling
International successes:
7x 1. place Euros (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)
1x 2. place Euros (2005)
1x 3. place Euros (2008)
1x 3. place World championship (2013)

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