Hello taekwondo lovers.
I feel really happy and thankful for being back with you again and with an interview with a top athlete that kindly shared with us his story.
A story of passion for taekwondo, a story from which we can all learn.
Our today’s guest is a fighter who always has fun and likes to make taekwondo sparring a pleasure for the eye.
Damian Villa @damianvilla58 raised in Los Angeles, moved to Puebla to fight for an opportunity on Mexico’s National Team.
And he made it really quickly, three weeks after arriving in the country he won the nationals and his right to belong to the national team and to train and live in the Olympic Committee.
Soon he started to be one of the bests at -58kg. Winning several times to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Champion Guillermo Perez and having an amazing Olympic cycle towards London 2012.
He was silver medalist at the Copenhagen 2009 World Championships, Silver at the Pan Am Games and he won the quote for Mexico at the pan american Olympic Games qualification tournament.
He had the best cycle of -58kg in Mexico, but still he was not selected to compete in London.
I think many people would give up after something like this. But not Damian.
He went as part of the team to London. And one year later in Puebla 2013 World Championships he won the bronze medal.
Three years ago Damian made a new big change in his life moving again to Los Angeles to train in a different way.
He accumulated many years experience and he decided to take charge of his training and pursue new goals.
He also started to represent the USA again.
Now he is training, teaching taekwondo at Villas Taekwondo @villastaekwondo and recently he is sharing his experience with other athletes and coaches via Expert Method Taekwondo. @xpertmethodtkd
A new project developed by him and Rene Lizarraga @renelizarragamx for the taekwondo community.
Beside his outstanding career, I want to say that although Damian has the fighter personality, he is also very humble and a person that is willing to help the taekwondo community.
I think he has the character for being a great teacher and coach and surely we’ll be hearing of Damian Villa for many years.
One of the secrets to be father and taekwondo Master
Damian’s father, Master Octavio Villa was also his instructor.
He was also a great mexican taekwondo athlete who was World Cup Bronze medalist and was near to compete at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.
Many Master’s and instructors struggle to teach their sons and daughters.
If you have a bad day, it must be difficult to leave things at the dojang and not bring them home.
Damian says that Master Octavio’s secret was to keep a balance and to treat his sons in the same way as his students.
Master’s Octavio children were not asked to make more efforts than the rest of his students.
Neither were they allowed to make less efforts.
Damian and his siblings were treated fairly.
Compromise with your beliefs
Damian is a person that is compromised with his ideals and beliefs.
During the interview, it is clear that he loves sparring. And even though he has always loved it, when he was a child he went to a tournament and he didn’t spar because his father told him that he had to compete in poomsae and sparring.
And he didn’t want to make poomsae.
His father told him that if he didn’t do poomsae he would not compete. And he didn’t compete.
He went to the tournament, stayed all day there and didn’t compete.
This shows us how strong the will of young Damian was and that his father respected his decision.
Damian and the pressure
Another characteristic of Damian is that he is constantly challenging himself.
When he was a new face at -58kg in Mexico national team and before team trials for World Championships he was suggested by some of his coaches to move to the lower weight class -54kg to avoid fighting Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Champion.
He didn’t, although Guillermo Perez had won the Olympics less than a year before.
When I asked him why he didn’t he told me in a very honest and natural way that he loves pressure.
It is important to say that to have this attitude is good but you have to endorse it with hard work and results.
For example, when Damian refused to change weight class he had already sparred with Guillermo Perez before, many times in training and he felt good.
Even he detected that Guillermo Perez avoided fighting with him in a Korean open. So, his attitude was endorsed by his previous work.
The Expert Method
I’ve been told by one of Mexico’s best coaches, Master Julio Alvarez, that Damian enjoys helping and teaching to others.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Damian moved back to Los Angeles to continue training but also because he had some other goals that he could not meet by being part of the Mexico National team.
And one of his goals was to give back to taekwondo and share his experiences with other athletes and coaches.
With world medalist Rene Lizarraga, Damian recently launched Xpert Method Taekwondo. A sport training system for taekwondo.
If you are looking to improve your sparring, you should check The Xpert Method.