Blundo, from taekwondo to physics: “I dream of becoming a researcher, but …”

The 24-year-old Roman, graduate and doctoral student in Physics, is among the most promising blue in the Poomsae National Team: “The forms and freestyle deserve to become Olympic specialties”

Chiara Soldi

@thatsamoney_

Champion with enviable palmares, coach with solid values ​​and great scholar with a more than rosy future ahead of her. Elena Blundo is all this and much more. The 24-year-old Roman is among the spearheads of the Italian National Poomsae, or forms of taekwondo. A passion for martial arts born as a child and flourished at the Asd Sporting Club Nuovo Laurentino in Rome, where she specialized up to reach the highest levels, touching important results: from the junior world silver up to the two European bronzes won between the greats of the discipline. In the middle there are also world and continental titles in beach taekwondo, international podiums, including silver and bronze at the 2019 Rome Grand Prix, and 10 Italian titles (9 Poomsae, 1 Freestyle). And as if that weren’t enough, Elena is also a phenomenon in her studies: graduated in Physics, she is now facing her doctorate looking to the future: “I dream of continuing to do research, perhaps abroad”. And his first love? “I will never leave taekwondo. I will pursue my goals as an athlete, keeping in mind my mission: to transmit the values ​​of this splendid sport to my students of today and tomorrow”.

How did you discover taekwondo? And why did you choose poomsae?

“I discovered martial arts as a child thanks to my father. In the gym near my house there was a taekwondo course: in the gym we did both poomsae and combat, I liked both, but the forms struck me in a particular way because they are I have always been a perfectionist, since I was a child I tended to seek precision and accuracy in everything I did. Even my teacher Stefano Brizi is very attentive to these aspects, he is very keen to take care of the technique and to seek perfection “.

How did you go through the lockdown period?

“I spent the quarantine in Rome, staying at home for the entire period of the lockdown and only going out to do the shopping, in compliance with the dcpm. During this period, I kept myself busy working from home on the computer, studying and training. spaces in the house are very limited and therefore a bit of adaptability and creativity were needed. I trained mainly in my room in a different way than I usually do in the gym: I tried to take advantage of the situation to focus on my flaws and try to improve day by day. I alternated athletic training with exercises aimed at improving technique and maintaining fluency. I planned my workouts based on what I felt were my needs and in order to always have goals to reach. my days at home, training helped me to stay active and to face this very special period with serenity “.

Now that the competitions are canceled, how are you staying motivated?

“The World Shape Championships were among the first races to be canceled. With the lockdown, the rallies with the national team were interrupted and, unlike the fighting boys, we have not yet resumed, given the situation still uncertain from the point of view. view of the pandemic. However, we are continuing to train independently, and also taking part in various international and national online competitions. The same federation, together with the Korean consulate, has promoted online competitions such as the ‘Italy & Korea, Let’s share together’ competition “.

Are you more facilitated in independent training than those who need a partner like your combat colleagues?

“Of course, but it is also true that the presence of the external eye of the teacher is always very important, especially for the little ones. For example, I had my students send me videos to continue being present for them, to help them improve and To encourage them. Clearly by training alone the presence of teammates is lacking, which often helps to be more motivated. In addition, in the forms we do many synchronized competitions, in addition to individual competitions, and not being able to train with teammates we could not bring forward and cultivate this aspect. With some freestyle guys, Martina Pengue and Davide Turilli, we tried to keep in touch and to invent together a little freestyle to do at home, sharing the videos between us. It was a nice way to be ” Distant but united ‘”.

You talked about ‘students’, are you also a coach?

“Exactly. As soon as I turned 18 my teacher made me take the qualification as a coach and immediately gave me the opportunity to teach. In my path I learned a lot from him, he passed on the teachings of his teacher, Melchiorre Cavalli, to me. which was one of the most important in Italy. I also learned a lot in the national team from the coach Andrea Notaro and from the Master Young Ghil Park, precursor of taekwondo in our country: theirs were precious teachings and I am happy to be able to pass them on, to this is what I decided to teach. This involves partly different difficulties. As an athlete you need to have the ability to learn and put into practice immediately, as a teacher you need to know how to interact and relate to students, transmitting values ​​to them “.

Champion, coach and… What else?

“I graduated in Physics last year, then winning the competition for the doctorate. I am now finishing the first year of my doctorate at Sapienza in Rome in the field of Physics of Matter”.

Well done! And how do you manage to combine study and sport at high levels?

“It has always been difficult, throughout my university career, especially because I really care about doing everything I do in the best way. This involves sacrifices and full days. You need a lot of willpower, passion and the desire to improve yourself every day. It is very important to organize oneself by planning one’s commitments as much as possible in advance and trying to take advantage of studying when possible. Planning helps to face challenges one after the other and to be able to carry on sports and study in parallel “.

Among the many medals you have won, which one is the one that has remained in your heart?

“The 2019 World Grand Prix in Rome, because my loved ones were there to see me competing at home. In addition, Fita was very involved in organizing the event, making the race very beautiful and evocative. It was a competition very difficult against the best freestyle athletes in the world, then playing at home always involves an extra responsibility, but on that occasion we obtained important medals and satisfactions. Then, well, silver at the Junior World Cup in Colombia, in 2012. Usually Easterners dominate, few Europeans manage to win medals. Reaching the final was a feat, I trained a lot and it was my last world championship in the junior category. An important result that I will always carry in my heart “.

Poomsae, like freestyle, are not an Olympic specialty: how would you convince the IOC to include them?

“The forms are choreographies with sequences of arm and leg techniques in which the athlete seeks perfection and harmony. In a sense, they are a cross between fighting and artistic gymnastics and being both very beautiful Olympic specialties to look at. , I am sure that ours too would capture the attention of all sports fans for their elegance and spectacularity “.

What is your dream for the future?

“I would like to continue my path in physics and become a researcher, at the same time continuing in the field of taekwondo as an athlete and as a teacher. I dream of being able to transmit taekwondo values ​​to the youngest”.

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Blundo, from taekwondo to physics: “I dream of becoming a researcher, but …”

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