AMHERST, N.S. – In sport, and life, timing is often the difference between winning and losing.
“When she uses her size, and times it well, she’s tough to stop,” said Jim Ripley, instructor at JC’s TaeKwon-Do in Amherst.
Susan Smith hopes to be tough to stop when she competes in sparring at the 2019 ITF TaeKwon-Do World Championships in Inzell, Germany, from April 24 to 28.
“I’m good at reading people and anticipating my opponent,” said Smith, a second-degree black belt.
She also has a few good kicks.
“I have a couple favourite kicks I like to use once in a while if I can pull it off.”
The 31-year-old competes in 18 to 35-Hyperweight Division, and qualified for the world championships at the national championships in Calgary in November.
How many opponents she will face in Germany depends on the number of people in her division.
Each bout last for two, two-minute rounds, giving her little time to strategize.
“I try to play with them at the start and figure out what they want to do, and then I decide what I have to do,” said Smith.
Smith has been training at JC’s TaeKwon-Do for eight years, and Ripley says Smith has a wealth of training and knowledge to draw from.
“You can have the most perfect plan in the world but if your opponent doesn’t co-operate, then your plans disappear real fast,” said Ripley. “So, you need to be quick on your feet and, sometimes, change from what you want to do to what you have to do, and Sue is good at that.”
Staying calm is also important.
“I usually do patterns before I spar. That usually clears my head for sparring,” said Smith. “But I’m not competing in patterns in Germany. Maybe I’ll just go for a run.”
In preparation for the world championships, Smith has been taking extra taekwondo classes and going to the gym.
“I lift weights, go on the treadmill and do plyometrics.”
The JC’s TaeKwon-Do team are also taking part in multiple fundraisers, which includes board-breaking at Dayle’s Grand Market on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Keep your eyes open,” said Ripley. “We will have fundraisers on a constant basis.”