Kicking it in Vienna!

Post date: Apr 14, 2011 7:00:18 AM

Back in the early 2000’s, I was spending my time back and forth across the globe in business-related travels. I often found myself in business rooms with strangers or alone in a hotel room. That’s when I heard of CouchSurfing. This was 2005; there were only 15,000 members in little over 400 cities. I decided to give it a try -- what could be so hard about meeting new people when I was surrounded by strangers all the time? Turns out I had an amazing time in Seoul with people from all over the world who were not only amazingly friendly, but also eager to share their perspectives on Korean lifestyle with a newcomer.

Six months ago, I moved to Vienna for the long-term -- a big shift iin both my life and my career. Vienna is an amazing city with an awesome CouchSurfing vibe. It has a very participative online forum community, and the number of activities organized everyday is even more impressive. There’s always something to do, people to meet, places to visit...but something was missing: the opportunity for personal growth, the teach-learn-share aspect that makes CouchSurfing so much more than a traveling website.

I learned that when summer is over, Vienna CouchSurfers don’t have as many opportunities to play outdoor games, or to engage in sports activities for free. It was then that I started asking in the local groups if people wanted to join me for Taekwondo trainings.

I got 20 positive replies in one week, and was ready to move things one step further. We found a place that we could use for free -- the Yong Du Club -- and were able to schedule 1-hour trainings three times a week.

Taewondo Championship

Adrien greets the judge with his warrior smile while Cesar watches nervously

After 5 months of training sessions, we are now a real Taekwondo Team . Our athletes are officially registered in the Austrian Federation, and we have a steady group of a dozen participants with some sporadic visitors. We train with other teams, we attend seminars, we do belt exams and we have fun, a lot of fun.

Everyone that shows up for the trainings is a friend and we welcome new members every day, but, as a teacher, I must praise the regulars and say that some talent was found. It’s nice to see Adrienbecoming a real sportsperson, dedicating himself to his newfound love; Manon is by far the most devoted Taekwondo athlete we have -- she even goes 3 extra times a week to get more practice! These two, along with Jack, Bara and Julien, have improved their physical condition, flexibility and motor coordination. When Lucian -- the most experienced and high-ranking student -- is home from his travels, he helps with the trainings on the days I cannot be there.

Medals

Julien and Adrien, tired and happy after their first Taekwondo tournament

All together we’ve grown as a team and as individuals. This month, we participated in our first tournament, and everyone brought back home a medal and a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

As an instructor, I’m growing so much from their learning process that my teaching skills and motivation to face the daily challenges have increased.

The goal now is to find find CS Taekwondo clubs elsewhere, so that in the future we can set up an international CS Taekwondo Exchange!

Published by CS NEWS