American soldier, wounded in Afghanistan, triumphs at Hanmadang 2013
Cristofer Blauvelt, wounded in a bomb attempt in Afghanistan: “I’m very happy, I feel like crying”.
Last year’s Hanmadang offered great life stories such as Sheila A. Rdaziewicz (33 years old) one, who was born without arms. “Taekwondo is a practice that helps you growing as a person and makes you believe in yourself”, stated Sheila, who taught everyone a lesson with her words.
So Daejeon Hanmadang 2013 could not be less. Last 28th of August, a white man with strong constitution attracted everyone’s attention during the breaking boards for foreigners competition: the American Christopher Blauvelt, who became the new champion of the Senior III category.
This good-looking 66 year-old American lost his right leg after being seriously wounded during a bomb attempt in Afghanistan, a fact that didn’t impede him to keep practicing his passion: Taekwondo.
Last 28th of August, Blauvelt competed among other athletes of sound mind in the Senior III category of the board breaking modality for foreigners, managing to break no less than 14 bricks.
After winning the gold medal, Blauvelt stated that he felt “a little nervous for such a great result”. “I’ve had to face lots of difficulties to keep practicing Taekwondo, some of them almost unbearable, but now I’m happy, so much effort was worth it”, declared with teards of happiness.
Blauvelt did also want to send a message of hope and encouragement to all wounded soldiers and other people who’ve suffered any kind of similar incidents.
He was Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps when he suffered the unlucky incident that changed his life back in 2010.
During a routine operation, the vehicle he was travelling with got hit by a land-mine, hurting his neck bones, hip, intestines, hands… and forcing him to get rid of his right leg. He was hospitalized for more than 1 year to completely recover from all these problems. “It’s a miracle to be alive, breathing for real… i don’t want to think about that times, to be honest”, says Blauvelt.
When he was told that he had to lose his right leg, Blauvelt felt his lifetime dream was over. He couldn’t find a motivation to live for, and the days were passing by like that. But one day, he remembered how he practiced Taekwondo when he was a kid and his life completely turned around: He signed up his little son in a gym to practice our sport and that ended up being an incentive for him to finally obtain the black belt he had always dreamt about.
This radical change in his lifestyle ecnouraged the rest of his family members (his wife Bernadette -1970-, his older daughter Mia -2002-, his second daughter Joe -2005- and his son Zachary -2007-) to join him and practice Taekwondo as well.
Passing the black belt exam with prosthesis in his right leg was not an easy challenge at all… he had to practice a lot, put a tremendous effort daily and overcome many difficulties and frustration tears.
“There were very tough moments, it is difficult to do all the moves that the black belt exam demands with the prosthesis”, states Blauvelt. “I want to become a Master and share the values of Taekwondo with all my pupils. I want my experience to serve them as an example, nowadays I am living a second happy life thanks to Taekwondo, I am even thinking of developing my own breaking techniques”.
This is the story of a veteran soldier who got serioulsy wounded by a bomb, who lost part of his body after the incident, but who thanks to a lot of effort and motivation has managed to stand out among other competitors without any physical handicap. Next year we will see him again with his familiy in the World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2014.
Source: Yang Taek Jin (TKDNEWS.COM)