April 3, 2013 - What a crazy month it is has been! I don't even know where to begin. I am happy that I get a moment to sit down and reflect on the last month. I actually first want to start off with a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has supported me in the past few months with donations and words of support- even if it's a simple "Good Luck" it really means a lot to me and it always keeps me motivated.
I started out the month doing a Seminar at Pai's Tae Kwon Do. The instructors invited me to their dojo (I am not sure what the actual name is for their dojo since TKD is Korean) at first I was a little nervous- I wasn't sure how I was going to do a clinic for TKD kids when judo has nothing to do with punching or kicking. The reason they invited me was to talk about my journey, and what it takes to get to the Olympic Games. I felt extremely honored to be asked to talk to them since I have not yet been to the Olympics. Over 100 people showed up to listen to my story and it was a truly humbling experience to see all the support. Sometimes I get so caught up in my little world that I never actually realize that what I am doing is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And my journey touches and motivates everyone around me. Most people do not get to do and see what I am doing, so to share my stories made me realize that I should have no regrets. I will probably look back at this and wish I could relive this moment forever and ever. It was funny- I walked into their changing room to change into my gi, and someone goes, "Are you THEE Hannah Martin?" I probably looked behind me to find the Hannah Martin she was talking about and then I realized, WOW- I guess I am thee Hannah Martin?! Everyone is here to see me! ::Gulp::
After my motivational seminar almost every single child asked for a picture with me, and even for my autograph. Not going to lie I loved every minute of it. It almost made me feel like a little celebrity, and of course I liked the attention. What girl doesn't like being center of attention right? It was great to have all that support from the TKD community- they even had a donation box for me to help me for my trip to South America. So I want to Thank Pai's Tae Kwon Do- and I hope I made a difference and motivated them to work towards their dreams!
A few days after my motivational seminar, my team mate Tony Sangimino and the rest of TEAM USA and I embarked on a two week adventure to Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina to compete in two world cups or now they are called "Continental Opens". I was super excited to leave upstate New York and to be down south in the warm and sunny weather. WRONG!!! It was actually kind of cold and rainy in Uruguay. I would run by the beach everyday- in the rain. Not like I am complaining- I was just hoping to come back to New York with a pretty tan to show off to everyone. I think I got to wear my bathing suit one time, and I still didn't get any color.
I ended up placing third at this tournament, I had a bye into the quarter final, and lost to COL- luckily I was able to beat Brazil in the Repechage and then fight another Brazilian again for the bronze medal. It wasn't a pretty bronze medal fight I basically won off of penalties. But I'll take it. The bronze medal gave me enough points to improve my world ranking from #28 to #24!
I really enjoyed being in Montevideo. The area we were staying in was very romantic. The river/beach was only two minutes away and there was a little café that I got espresso and the best pizza place was even closer. We spent about 5 days in Montevideo. There was a little camp where we did judo and the girl's also did Judo on the beach which I thought was pretty hilarious.
Our next stop was Argentina. I was in Argentina last summer. I was the ONLY person from the USA team there when I first went. The trip was successful though I ended up picking up a Silver Medal and hanging out with my Canadian Friends. This year was nice because there was over 20 of us there competing, and the funny thing is I ended up being in the Final again with the same girl I was in the Final with last year, and the same girl I beat the weekend before in my bronze medal match; Katherine Campos from Brazil. I was hoping to come out with a Gold Medal this time, but I lost by penalties and I ended up settling for a silver medal. After my South American tour I am now ranked #23 in the World! Looking back at where I started last year- In May at the USA Miami World Cup my world ranking was 112- sometimes it is hard to believe that I have climbed all my way up to the top 25!
I have been home for about a week, and time is going by so fast. This weekend I will be doing a clinic in Long Island at Combat Judo. It is a fundraiser event for a little boy named Jake. He is 15 months and was diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer. Nick Kossor, Brad Bolen, Tony Sangimino and I will be showing judo to anyone that decides to come. All the money that we make will go to the little boy's family. I am so happy that my team mates and I decided to do this. I want to support the Judo community anyway I can, and I believe this is one of the best ways to do it. The Fundraiser is called Judo For Jake- and if you are interested in donating to the family you can visit this site:
The Following week I will be competing in the Senior National Championships in Virginia Beach and a few days after I will be flying to Costa Rica for my first Pan American Championships! So the few days that I am spending at home I am working, working out and of course doing judo!
I am busy but I love every second of it.