March Madness!

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:

http://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/7v22/jakestaniszewski?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=Isupport

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.

 

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-Hannah

Until Next Year Europe…

Austria2013It is crazy to think that I have been in Europe for two whole weeks, and I am actually sad that I am going home. I almost wish that I decided to stay for one more week to compete at the German Grand Prix next week. Even though I did not medal at the Paris Grand Slam or in Austria, I don't feel disappointed but eager to get myself out there and to continue to compete more. I have learned so much on this trip and now I know what I have to work on to get to where I want to be.

This trip started out bumpy, our plane in Albany, NY broke down and we had to change all our flight information so we could make it to Paris in time to register. Once we got to Paris, everything happened so fast. One minute I was walking on a plane and the next minute I was walking out to compete in one of the biggest sports arena our sport has to offer. I love competing in France. The atmosphere is amazing, and to see the seats filled with fans makes the whole experience exciting. In Paris I drew Morgane Ribout first round, former World Champion at the -57kg. I fought her well, it was a close match. She scored on me with wazari and I scored on her with a one-handed taio, with 12 seconds left I attempted to do Sode and I touched her pant leg. Now a year ago, touching her pants would not be an issue but since the IJF changed the rules around a little bit- there is absolutely no leg touching- and they gave me a hansokemake ( disqualification) boooo!!!!  I am disappointed but I had a great match against her, and I am hoping next year I can come home with a few wins and even a medal! I have not medaled at a Grand Slam yet and that would be an amazing accomplishment- especially at the French Grand Slam.

Everyone keeps asking me what my opinions are on the new rules. I like the new rule changes. I think they are great for the sport and since the Olympic Committee has decided to take Wrestling out of the Olympics it makes so much more sense to why they changed the rules. We are back to the real sport of Judo. Judo is about throwing, not about winning by penalties. (Even though there was so many shidos given out in Paris) Also the weighing in the night before just makes so much more sense. It is nice to have 10 hours to digest your food rather than 3 hours. I am a smaller 63kg player and don't get as big as the other girls in my division I still appreciate the fact that I get to eat a good meal before bed and I get to have a good night sleep before the day of the competition. I really hope they do not change that rule.

After the tournament my team mates and I moved into the Formula 1 hotel right next to the French Institute of Judo where IMG 0264swe spent 4 days training our asses off with the top people in the world. I had an amazing training camp. It is great to go with the top girls in my division and not feel threatened. This camp really increased my confidence and it also exposed some issues that I need to work on. The one thing I love about sports is that there is always room for improvement. You can perfect something but there is always something else you can do to make it better, it just never stops and that is what makes Judo so exciting. I am always excited about going to practice, I go to judo with a particular goal in mind and a particular thing to work on, and if I don't succeed that day then I come back tomorrow and try again.

While I was in France we brought my friend/team mate Cammi to see "the sights." We got to see the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and the Arch de Triumph. Sometimes I get so caught up in my judo world that I forget that I am in a cool country and that there are places to see. So I am happy that we got to go on an adventure through Paris and see what Paris is all about. We got crepes with nutella, and took a ton of pictures that tourists are supposed to do.

Even staying at the Formula 1 was an adventure. The hotel is like one big dorm room. The room can barely fit two people; we share showers and bathrooms with everyone on our floor. The bathrooms look and smell like airplane bathrooms. The showers are tiny and you just never feel like you actually get really clean when you are showering. Plus you are sharing it with males and females. So it's one big giant unisex bathroom with showers and toilets with a weird airplane smell. It is quite pleasant.

So coming to Austria was a huge improvement. We arrived at our hotel, which is a spa resort and everything just got bigger and better and we only got to spend two days in Austria, and the sad part is I won't be back in Austria until 2015. Next year I will be in Budapest, Hungary.

Competing in Austria was fun; I was looking to medal at this tournament. I was the 6th seeded athlete and had Ukraine first round. I won my first match and lost to a Japanese girl in my second round. The Japanese girl ended up making it to the finals and lost to Miki Tanaka who is ranked #5 in the World.

It is bittersweet to leave Europe. A part of me wants to stay and train and compete longer. But the other part of me wants to get back to working out at the gym and training at my home dojo. I have no regrets on this trip. I leave feeling confident and stronger, and looking forward.

-Hannah

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What’s in my suitcase?

Since I spend about 1/3 of the year traveling and hanging out in other countries, people always ask me if I pack like two weeks in advance. What Do I bring, and all that kind of stuff. So as I get closer to leaving for Paris. (In 5 days) I thought I'd write a fun blog about what really goes in my suitcase.

A lot of my team mates always worry if they over pack or under pack. Where can you find the happy medium? I've learned that it is better to bring a little extra, because you never know what is going to happen when you are in a different country. The funny thing is I mainly pack workout clothes. For this particular trip, I am going to two competitions and attending a training camp in between. So of course I need to bring my two competition gi's which aren't very small. PLUS since I am staying for a camp I need to bring two extra gi's, so I can alternate them. Oh, I already know what you are thinking, 4 sweaty gi's packed in one suitcase is going to smell like one giant stink bomb to the TSA people at the airport. So imagine, 4 gi's on top of a week's worth of workout clothes, factor in two workouts a day and then you got one suitcase of permastink!! I usually bring sneakers with me, and since I am going to be in Europe in the cold winter months I have to make sure I have my warm boots with me, as well as gloves and a hat because since we have no form of transportation when we are on these trips, we are constantly walking- and it is usually uncomfortably cold outside.

I also bring a few "going out" clothes, you know jeans and a few nice tops just in case we decide to go somewhere with a dress code that doesn't include a judo gi or sweat pants.

And the most important part! Snacks!! I always bring a jar of peanut butter. It is my obsession. I love it; eating a spoonful here and there is perfect. I also can't forget to bring an assortment of protein bars because when you are on the road you never know if you are going to have time for food or if you are even going to like the food that they prepare for you. I used to buy just a box of protein bars, all the same flavor and you get sick protein bars really fast that way. Eating a protein bar is like chewing on cardboard- so when you get different flavors you are tricking yourself into eating something that taste almost like chocolate. Let's see so I got my peanut butter, my protein bars, I usually throw in packets of oatmeal. I really like the organic flax seed oatmeal. It has a great flavor and is not as sweet as some of the Quaker oatmeal packets. I usually bring trail mix and tuna. Trail mix is good to snack on, and tuna is a healthy and filling especially when you are close to weight.

I also can't forget to bring my beauty supplies, you know shampoo and conditioner and my hair straighter .Make-up, lotion, razor, hairspray... etc . Remember... even though I am on mission Kick-Ass and spending most of my time competing and working out I still like to feel like a girl.

My carry-on bag is what I call my entertainment bag. I have to make sure I bring a new issue of Cosmopolitan because instead of 101 new sex tips the new issue will have 105! I usually buy US Today and a People Magazine because I never keep up on celebrity gossip. I throw in my laptop, a new book, my iphone. Mascara, eyeliner, protein bar and a toothbrush and am ready to take part in my next adventure.

Then once I arrive at my destination I always find myself crossing my fingers hoping that my suitcase did not get lost on the trip. A few times some of my team mates have lost their belongings on the way to trips. I can only imagine how incredibly annoying that was, even though these items are replaceable I would not feel complete without them!!

-xoxo
Hannah

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013! Only 16 days in and I feel like my head is spinning. I just got back from a training camp in Montreal, Canada. That went really well. It's always a great feeling to beat up your body for a whole week. I always feel like a warrior. I mean I don't put on make-up or wear girlie clothes. I pretty much live in sweat pants all week long. A few times I looked in the mirror and I was like, "Who is that?"


Anyways- just wanted to give you a little Hannah update, I am pretty excited- I am leaving for the Paris Grand Slam in 3 weeks. This will be my third time competing here. It would be great to get a few wins here at this event. The last two times I was eliminated in the first round. My goal coming into this- is to win my first match. It only takes one win to get the ball rolling right? After Paris I am going to train at the Paris Camp then on Valentine 's Day I am going to be making my way over to Austria to compete in their World Cup/Continental Open.


I believe the last few Valentine's I have spent out of the country or in an Airport. How awesome is that? I can't even remember the last time I had a "Valentine". So sad I know. HAHA. Funny thing is I think I bought myself like a whole bag of Chocolates in the airport, and ended up eating the whole thing on the way home. GO ME!!!


So after I come back from Europe, it looks like I am going to be making my way down to South America to compete in Uruguay and Argentina. Then In April I am going to be competing in the Pan American Championships in Costa Rica!

WHEW! I am going to be EVERYWHERE in the next few months. My goal is to try taking a lot of pictures and to blog more about my experiences. I always tell everyone that I keep all my experience in my mental box. But I am getting older, and I have been thrown on my head a few times so I think it's about time I start documenting a little more.

X0

Hannah

2012 Taught me….

It’s always good to put your life on pause for a second and sit and reflect about what is going on around you. It might make me sound weird, but I actually enjoying sitting in my room all by myself and thinking, evaluating, and trying to figure out how to improve the quality of my life. It is not always about the BIG things that we worry about, like money and success. But I like to sometimes focus on my relationships, my small goals, the lil perks of what I am doing in my life, and how I can help motivate others.

2012 has been an interesting year. I have absolutely no complaints, I end the year feeling satisfied with no regrets. My objective this year was to work on my confidence.  2011 was a tough year, especially in the judo world. I moved up to a new weight category and I wasn’t getting any results, I believe I went to 6 or 7 world cups/Grand Slams and went 0-1. My only highlight was winning the US Open and I was almost shocked that I did that since my confidence level was so low. When you travel 10+ hours and then lose your first match it starts to eat away at you. You start to wonder, is it going to be like this for the next 4 years? Am I wasting my time? So I told myself last January, “LOOK, you have been doing judo since you were 8, you have all the skills you need to win tournaments and now you just need to figure out how to use them.” The one thing I realized that I DID NOT have was confidence in my ability to win. I would go to tournaments hoping that I would win a few matches instead of going to tournaments preparing to WIN and KNOWING that I could win.

So that was the goal this year, Confidence. Work on your self-confidence. I needed to learn how to BELIEVE in my own abilities. Believing in yourself opens up your entire world. You never really realize how many opportunities you really have. Life is really what you make it.

The thing that really helps keep me motivated is setting little weekly goals. Yeah, I might sound like a loser but I honestly keep a daily journal. Not the type of “Dear Diary” kind of thing, but a journal where I can record my workouts, and judo goals. If I look at my goals everyday it helps to keep me on track. Yes, I falter sometimes and miss goals all the time, but that just means I have to try again- and trying never hurt right?  Well- maybe sometimes- (i.e. missing box jumps and tearing your skin off your shin True Story)

I am also a huge believer in positive energy. If you think and believe in a positive way, it usually has a good effect on every single person around you- which in turn makes YOU feel better. If people around you believe in you, then it only will push you further. I like to push the limits, see how far I can possibly go- and if you want to succeed you are not allowed to settle. Having passion for what you do, if you don’t have that inner love and desire and want than you won’t make it.

2012 taught me confidence, it taught me how to believe in myself. It taught me how to really appreciate people around me. This year taught me not to settle for anything. Success is hard work, and having a good work ethic really WILL pay off.

YOU- are the creator of your own destiny!!  So have fun with it!!!

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