I’m very glad of being able to bring you this new Taekwondo Passion episode.
The main purpose from the start of the podcast was to bring you inspiration interviewing outstanding human beings involved in taekwondo.
And this interview can not be described in another way.
Victoria Stambaugh’s taekwondo journey has been amazing.
She qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last March, after a long career pursuing the Olympic dream. To achieve that Victoria has had to overcome countless injuries and 6 knee surgeries.
Victoria recently opened Believe Commit Achieve, an amazing Taekwondo and Parkour facility in The Woodlands, where people can learn the important qualities of discipline, self-control, mental toughness, and perseverance while gaining physical knowledge of movement mastery through Taekwondo and Parkour.
Victoria is compromised with the taekwondo community and with sharing her experience hoping to inspire others. She conducts 1-on-1 and group training sessions, leads seminars and gives motivational speeches.
She kindly talked with us about her career, what she has done to overcome injuries and surgeries, how she modified her approach to training prioritizing mental training, the importance of surrendering to the outcome, and how she’d like to see taekwondo competition after the lockdown.
Combat sports family tradition.
Victoria’s father and grandfather were professional boxers. So, as she grew up she learned basic aspects of boxing that later helped her in taekwondo, like footwork and head moves.
But Victoria’s family didn’t want her to participate in a sport as violent as boxing. So, first she started Karate and then looking for a place where she can be more competitive started in Olympic Taekwondo.
Victoria had a multisport youth, as is common in successful athletes. She played soccer, basketball and track. She decided to specialize in taekwondo when she realized that she could make big things there.
How to overcome injuries.
Victoria’s career has been constantly marked by injuries, so her will and spirit have been constantly challenged.
Is not easy to overcome one knee surgery, imagine how hard it has been to do it with six.
Her first big injury was when she was just before her first World Championships, in Copenhague. She hadn’t the obligation to compete injured, but she felt a big compromise to do it.
And even that she could barely walk she managed to have a very even match.
After that World Championships she had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction in 2010. After it meniscus and ACL reconstruction in 2012, two reconstruction ACL surgeries in 2013, and two meniscectomies in 2018 and 2019.
While she was asleep on her last surgery, after the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, the doctor realized that Victoria’s knee was worse than what he expected. Talked with her parents and together decided to do what was the best for her.
That resulted in taking out a big part of the meniscus, leaving her knee with only 20 to 30 percent of it. When she woke up after surgery, and she was told the outcome she couldn’t believe it.
She thought that all of her abilities had been taken from her.
Victoria thought it would be impossible to make it to the Olympics in that way. But she did it. How? She shared it with us in the most beautiful part of the interview.
Surrender the outcome
Victoria thought that she was done, thinking of competing again sounded crazy for her, she doubted that she could ever be an athletic person.
The only reason why she continued was that she surrendered to Christ and prayed. She said “If this is gonna happen, it’s gonna be because of you. I’m mentally and physically exhausted, I can go on anymore unless you open the doors for me”.
So, for her, the most important thing was letting go of any control. Releasing every thought of control and releasing everything to God.
Releasing control in training, visualization and Olympic qualifiers.
Victoria even stopped training for a while, and when she got back she didn’t train like before. Two or three trainings per day five or six times a week.
Training a lot is also a way of trying to control the outcome. So, she stopped doing it. Just trained once a day, three days of the week for taekwondo and two days for weight and physical training.
The rest of the time she dedicated to strengthen her will, her mental toughness and to prepare mentally for her fights.
Every day she was studying her rivals, watching videos of other fighters to come up with ideas, visualizing. That was the difference for her, to surrender the outcome.
Along with her boyfriend and his best friend. Victoria had the dream of a place where they can contribute to the community helping people to build skills like discipline but also physical skills.
The only obstacle was that she was 100% focused on the Olympics. During the lockdown with the Olympics postponed they decided that was the moment.
So in Summer 2020 they opened “Believe Commit Achieve” academy. A training facility in The Woodlands where people can learn Taekwondo and Parkour, to gain abilities to control their bodies and minds.
If you live in The Woodlands area and want to train with experts. You have a world class option on BCA.
Thanks for reading. Links to the full interview below. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube and Overcast.
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