It’s not every day you get to interview a World Champion and today was our lucky day!
We met up with Ryan Simpson, 18 years old from Dorset who recently won Gold in the sparing category of the Taekwondo World Championships in the Netherlands. For us speaking to Ryan was like meeting a famous celebrity and even then those don’t have the title of World Champion underneath them. We wanted to find out from Ryan all the in’s and outs of holding this title and congratulate him on this amazing success within the Taekwondo world.
For those of you unfamiliar with Taekwondo it is an ancient sport originating from South Korea, it is the art of self-defence combined with the skill and power of martial arts. It is characterised by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kick with fast kicking techniques all controlled within the elements of Taekwondo. Taekwondo means TAE (Foot), Kwon (Hand) and Do (Art). It is now a recognised sport within the Olympics.
Interview with Ryan Simpson
Hi Ryan, Congratulations again on winning the World Championships in Taekwondo in the Sparing category!
Has it sunk in yet that you have a title of WORLD CHAMPION?
I think it finally has!!
I still find it amazing that I came away from that competition with a Gold medal!! I put a lot of effort into the preparation for the event and a lot of hours were spent in and out of lessons trying to perfect my fighting skills – as well as my muscular endurance in kicking and punching and from it all, I achieved Gold and this title.
At what age did you start training Ryan and how often do you have to train?
I started when I was 6 years old and I am now 18. I train in Taekwondo and kickboxing with my coach Malcolm Jones from Integrity Martial Arts on Monday (7 pm-9 pm) and on Wednesday (6:45 pm – 9:15 pm) – as well as muscular development and aerobic development out of training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The reason for this is so I can have two consecutive days off on Saturday and Sunday allowing for my muscles to recover from the week of training and still have weekends with my friends and family.
So what inspired you to learn Taekwondo and what did you especially like about Taekwondo to stick at it for so long?
I started Taekwondo because I was a bit of a fruit-loop at my Junior School (not the cereal type of fruit loop just a bit crazy)! My parents encouraged me to try Taekwondo and to stick with it. It helped me focus a lot better at school and gain control of things. I am glad I have stuck with the sport as it concentrates upon focus; determination and self-control, which are qualities I have applied to my everyday life.
Do you partake in any other sports? What else do you enjoy doing with your time?
I train in kickboxing and Ghost Elusive combat training – which I feel aids my Taekwondo development. I am now a brown belt in Kickboxing so I am working my way further in this. Apart from that, I was never really interested in other sports, I found the concept of kicking a ball about quite boring. Of course, like any other 18-year old I enjoy time with my friends doing stuff but Taekwondo, kickboxing and Ghost Elusive are my main focus.
So what happens now you have the title of World Champion? Where do you see yourself in the next few years? Olympics?
I am in the last months of completing my A levels so right now that is my main focus, once my A-Levels are completed my next big competition will be in South Korea!
As for competing in the Olympics, I would love to if given the chance.
So in terms of your training what is your warm-up/cool-down routine prior to a Taekwondo tournament? How do you keep your muscles and joints strong and stable?
Before a competition, I will do light joint mobility exercises and then I will increase the intensity to light aerobic activity to get the blood pumping around the muscles that will be working in a sparring match. I will then develop the warm-up more by increasing the range of motion in my legs – doing front and lateral dynamic leg rises (in preparation for the high section kicks that awards the most points in a fight.) I also like to use a foam roller to massage my muscles so that they do not feel as stiff before a fight.
As for a cool-down, I always need to make sure that I stretch all of my muscles, 20 seconds per side, in order for my muscles to feel better the next day and so that the likelihood of injury is prevented due to them not being as tense. I also, of course, apply some the Emu balm to aid in my muscle repair and relieve any muscular pain.
Do you have to stick to any particular diet whilst competing in a tournament?
In the lead up to a competition I do a lot of carbohydrate loading in order to increase the amount of glycogen stored in my muscles – so I can work more intensely for longer periods during my rounds so that I have an edge over my opponent. Additionally, I need to make sure that I drink plenty of water and fruit. After my fights, I will have a handful of almonds and an isotonic drink to help in the recovery process of my muscles and to replenish energy lost from the fight before the next one.
Ryan, it’s incredible to hear the amount of training and effort along with the structure that goes into the build-up for competitions.
Have you had to adapt your style of training as you have got older?
My training has got a hell of a lot more intense as I have got older. This is mainly because I have now realised that you can only really improve if you push yourself to the maxim
um level of exertion in each session. I’ve had to work my muscles and body harder but also learnt to look after my body so as not to cause damage or injury.
As proud sponsors of you here at Lorem we were excited to follow your progress and hear of your winning news, how did you find using the Emu Balm throughout the tournament? Do you think it helped you and in what way?
I have used lots of creams in my life and Lorem by far has been the most effective for muscle fatigue relief. Applying the cream after the tournament helped
a lot because I massaged it into my bruised and fatigued legs where I felt a lot of muscle stiffness. The day after I felt a lot more relieved and in no way near as much discomfort.
Would you recommend the Emu Balm to other sports users and why?
I would definitely recommend Emu Balm to other sportspeople, it has helped a lot in the recovery process and during training sessions in a more efficient way than if I did not use it. The balm is easy to apply and works deep into my muscles so allows deeper movement and is 100% natural I know I am not doing any harm to my body.
Thank you, Ryan, I feel privileged talking to a World Champion, we would like to thank you for your time and congratulations again on your success.
Lorem looks forward to following your future progress, supporting you in South Korea and who know maybe one day the Olympics!!
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