Author: Divya Rajkumar
The Physeek Cafe is proud to meet Mr. Wahemgbam Rajeswor Meiti, the Taekwondo Master at WRM academy in Victoria Layout Bangalore. He has participated in many international competitions and has won the silver medal in Common Wealth Championships organized in 2011.
In this interview, he speaks about his journey, preparation for international competitions, the importance of women learning martial arts, and what is lagging in Indian sports to compete at a global level at the Olympics.
Please tell us about your interest in Taekwondo and your journey?
When I was young, I used to watch Jackie chan movies. Watching those movies, I got interested in learning martial arts. By God’s grace, I got a master Athokpam Indrakumar Singh, who bought Taekwondo to Manipur. I joined his classes in the year 1983.
What title do the masters have in Taekwondo?
We call Grand Master the one who completes six, eight dans and above. The Taekwondo recognizes students who have completed four dans and above as masters.
If the person who has crossed age 50 should wear a yellow top and black bottom.
I have completed six dans in the black belt, and I am also an international referee in Poomsae. I am running the WRM Taekwondo academy in Bengaluru since 2017.
Can you tell us about your experience representing India in the Commonwealth championship in 2011?
I represented India in the 2011 Commonwealth Championship organized in Chennai, India. I won the silver medal under the individual category under 40 age. I also took part in the World Championship in Bali, Indonesia. I was ranked sixteenth in the World and defeated six other country contestants of my age category. In Korea, the Taekwondo association organized the Huang festival, and I won the gold medal there.
What kind of preparations are there for championships?
In Taekwondo, there are two forms – sparring session and the Poomsae. Not all students who are learning Taekwondo can be a fighter. Some students don’t want to hurt others. For this specific reason, the World Taekwondo Federation has started Poomsae. Students can practice and participate in either sparring or Poomsae championships.
Is there any special diet recommended for martial art students participating in championships?
For typical day to day practice, we don’t recommend any particular diet. Participants representing India in championships need training for four sessions a day. The student needs a lot of calories to support his training. This routine needs them to eat dry fruits, chicken, meat, fiber, and carbohydrate-rich foods to gain more calories. For protein, the diet we need to drink half or one-liter milk according to their physique. A dietician is required to guide students according to their body weight.
As our ancestors have emphasized, health is wealth. Fitness is as essential as knowledge. Without good health, no one can achieve anything. We should be physically strong to achieve our goals.
Will martial arts strengthen abilities, both mentally and physically?
Any student who joins martial arts should first learn how to be disciplined, develop leadership qualities, and enhance his martial arts profile. In any martial art fields, they will first learn how to bow and respect the master.
Ancestors used to think learning martial arts makes a person rough, but it’s a wrong conception. In my opinion, the person who learns martial arts should not use his skills outside the academy to fight on the streets. Martial art is their weapon to protect themselves and society. Students should use martial art skills only in competitions. If a person takes martial art as a game, he will develop a positive attitude towards life.
Many children’s parents complain about their children’s shyness and loneliness. This sport cannot change children to change their attitude in two or three months, but definitely, it helps in the long term.
In a current generation or situation, is self-defense required?
In India, we treat women with high respect. Nowadays, we still see women are disrespected, molested, harassed. Every girl or boy should learn martial arts such as Karate, judo, Taekwondo, boxing, kungfu, fencing, kickboxing, and many more. During the learning period, they gain confidence. Martial art helps them to stand for themselves and fight in a difficult situation.
For example, girls who play hockey, football, badminton, volleyball, basketball have confidence and fight back in a difficult situation. They won’t fear in such cases as they will be physically healthy.
Can you tell us the differences in martial art forms?
I will tell you about Karate and Taekwondo. Both are forms of Martial Arts, while Karate is originated in Japan which focuses primarily on hand techniques and Taekwondo is a form of Martial art from South Korea, and it is the art of legs movement for kicks.
Karate is mostly hand techniques, more than the leg. Based on their nature of martial art forms, they have different rules. Both are good, in my opinion.
Taekwondo’s significant difference is that the rules are standard globally, and it is regulated centrally. That is the reason why it is now part of the Olympics and Asian games.
To qualify for a Kukki Certificate by the World Headquarters, the student should complete one dan and get a Black belt.Master can only issue belts and not certificates. At present, Taekwondo is more popular than other forms of martial arts.
How do you compare Indian athletes with global athletes?
I cannot tell you why do Indian athletes lag when compared to other countries. But I can speak about Taekwondo and why other countries more potential than us.
In India, students don’t practice much to compete with other countries. We also lack the support system to be highly competitive.
As an Internal Referee, I have observed that most countries use electronic protective gear. We don’t use them.
Internationally, many Sports federations support small clubs. We can see kids under 12 years know how to play using electronic gear. They also enter G1, G2, G3, and Olympic games.
In India, we only lack support but not the energy and strength compared to other countries. India is the second-largest populated country; why should we lack support?
I struggled when I was an Indian coach from 2003 to 2005; there was no support. Indian players don’t know how to maintain their points in competitions, but small children from other countries know how to do it. Instead of using electronic gadgets for real-time points monitoring, we manually keep track of points.
If we want India to win games in the Olympics, we need Federations to support the sport. Only then it is possible to participate and also to win.
Sir, are you training anyone at present for the Olympic games?
For the Olympics, I am not training anyone, but training is on for other international games. Now there is a ranking system, and India is behind, so they have to practice more. We need sponsorship for players who have financially unstable who are talented. We need to win more number of the open-international championships which is recognized by WT World Taekwondo. We need more sponsorships for participation in the Olympic games.
At this age, do you follow any diet, workout to keep yourself fit?
No, I don’t follow any particular diet, but I do follow a diet pattern.
I have grown up in Manipur from childhood. In 1994, I came to Karnataka from Manipur. First, I settled in Harihar in Chitradurga; there, I started Taekwondo.
From then till now I have only two meals per day. I won’t have breakfast and snacks. Around 9 to 10 AM, I will have lunch, the evening I will have a cup of tea and biscuits, and before eight o clock, I will have my dinner and sleep by 9 PM.
For people of my age, we need a lot of stretching exercises. My Taekwondo stretching exercise routine closely resembles yoga. People above 50 years must do stretching exercises, yoga and must sweat to be fit. Those who weigh above 60 kg must have good shoes if they want to walk or run. It is essential to set dedicated timing for physical activities and not strain the body much.
Master, can you tell us about your academy?
My academy name is WRM Taekwondo Academy. Before this, I was in the NGB club that is National Gorge Builders Taekwondo Club. As a master, I wanted my platform for students to practice without any limitations.
In this academy, there are rooms where children can come from different places and stay and practice here. After opening this academy, we have achieved a lot. My students have won medals.
Right now, we are struggling due to the pandemic. Parents fear sending their kids for training.
I hope this situation improves soon.
I would like to thanks Physeek.fit for their time and involvement in promoting such content on social media. I request you to continue what you are doing, and there is a need for such support for many.