Interview with Daniel Działa

Interview made by Andrzej Kwiek, translation by Agnieszka Mazur

Your sports beginning – was it Taekwon-Do from the start or maybe you used to train a different sport?
My adventure with Taekwon-Do ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation) started in 1993, when I was 11 years old. I was astonished by karate movies and I realized that I want to train martial arts. But at that time, in my hometown – Lubartow, there were not karate classes. I felt very disappointed because of that. However, after a while, my parents noticed some posters encouraging people to enroll into martial art classes – MKS Lewart Lubartów – Taekwon-Do ITF. Frankly speaking, the name of Taekwon-Do meant nothing to me then, my only desire was to train karate. I have to admit that I was considering about attending the first training session, but curiosity and my dreams about practicing martial art made me and my elder sister, Malgorzata to go there and try. As regards to some other sports apart from well-known children’s activities like football, basketball and cycling I haven’t tried anything else.

How do you reminisce about your first training session?
As I mentioned I set up practicing Taekwon-Do in 1993. The training sessions were conducted by Jerzy Jedut, now VII DAN. I’ve found out later that he is considered to be a coach of many champions of the most important sports event in Poland and all over the world. The rare discipline, good atmosphere, interesting trainings made me loving this sport from the start. The biggest incentives to continue the trainings were exams for higher degrees, during which we “were competing” with each other and had to show our training’s result standing in front of the examiner. When I started to train, there were about 40 people in my group, but after a while many of them stopped practicing Taekwon-Do. I had my own crisis after 2 or maybe 3 years, but thanks to my parents’ and coach’s mobilization I decided to continue gaining next levels in Taekwon-Do. In the end, out of 40 people only one person has stayed. It was me.
When I was in proper age and degree I got promotion into older group. It made me more fascinated in that martial art. Coaching in a professional manner caused that although the training sessions were very hard and sweated us out, they were very inspiring and interesting. From every training session we were leaving with huge amount of new amazing pieces of information. But it hasn’t changed and it is still like that. The more I practice Taekwon-Do the more I realize how much I need to improve and learn.

Jerzy Jedut – my first coach, very brilliant man with a great coaching experience… Hmmm… to be honest I really don’t know from what I should start… He taught me so many things about Taekwon-Do, and not only about it, so I could and should give only positive comments. If I had to tell something about him in a nutshell it would be that he was born, and he lives for Taekwon-Do.

I think that there isn’t an exaggeration in saying that Jerzy Jedut is one of the best instructors from all over the world. Since I could remember he has always given us priceless information by using sophisticated coach’s tricks. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to began practicing Taekwon-Do under such experienced teacher’s eye. If anyone wants to get some advice on Taekwon-Do matters I recommend to ask my coach.

As regards other coaches, I had the chance to learn Taekwon-Do at many camps or squad sessions being taught by German Anfinogenov, Waldemar Doelcki, Grzegorz Ozimek, Jacek Wąchała and Michał Korzybski. They have also given me many important guidelines.

First sparring?
I fought for the first time after I had trained for four years, at Macroregional Competition in 1997, in -48 kg category, weighing more or less 40 kg! I gained a victory over a competitor from Green Sport Lublin Club. During that competition I had two more sparrings, in which I also won. It made me a champion of the whole competition. It amazed my coach, and I have to admit, it was very nice beginning of my sports career. It pushed me to continue self-improvement.

I have heard a lot of praises from President Loboda and your coach, Mr Jedut about your sparring techniques, what is your “sparring philosophy”?
It is nice to hear that, but in my opinion I still have so much work to do. As regards on the subject of my sparring technique, I want to improve many things. I can say that I have a few “sparring philosophies” depending on my opponent’s fight style. Only what I can say is that before I stand on a tatami I am telling to myself : don’t let him to hit you, counter well, fight like it was your last sparring…

I saw in Wroclaw the way you provoke your opponent, with a good style of course, is it your own trick?
It is hard to say. As I said it is very difficult to carry on a fight based on your tactical assumptions. If I can see that adversary is not as demanding as I thought and he reacts as I wished, then I try to execute my plan or my favourite actions. On the other hand, if the opponent is more grueling I have to look for a different solution.

The best memory from the tatami?
Of course, that the best memories from the tatami are victorious competitions and sparrings. There have been so many triumphant fights. I have taken part in 300 sparring, out of which I have won about 250. This is the reason why it is so hard for me to pick up my favourite one. Personally, I consider each victory as a nice reflection.

The worst memories?
I am rather optimist than pessimist, so although I had few defeats, it is hard to recall a bad memory. If I had to find such reminiscence I would think of my loss in sparring with Argentinian competitor at a World Championships in Canada 2007. Taekwon-Do is a sport, and as you all know, from time to time everybody losses. The most important thing is to draw the conclusion very quickly and recover in order to be in a good condition again.

What can you remember, not particularly connected with you?
There always will be people and our club in my heart. Without the atmosphere at the dojang, at the camps or without my colleagues’ support during the training session any kind of success wouldn’t be possible. I want to thank them for everything.

If I had not practiced Taekwon-do, I would have trained..
It is really hard to say. There are so many interesting disciplines, which I could practice, but still, I don’t know if I were good at them. When I started my sports adventure at the age of eleven I didn’t stand out. I was not physically strong, I was a small, weak boy. Maybe because of the desire of improving my physical strength my interests focused on the martial art.
I must say, that I have no idea what sport I could have practiced with the same engagement as I train Taekwon-Do. I think, that the biggest affection on my perseverance have had my coach Jerzy Jedut with his professionalism on training sessions and my parents, who have taken care about my motivation. I would like to thank them for their support.

The older I am the more interests I have, but unfortunately there is lack in time to realize them, not mention about the costs.

Of course, as regards to sport, I am interested in similar disciplines such as Box, MMA, sometimes I like to watch Snooker or WPT (World Poker Tour). And I have always been supporting Adam Malysz, and nowadays thanks to Robert Kubica. I am keen on F1.

Different kinds of interest are Internet and digital photography. I have bought a Digital Single Lens Reflex Kamera and now I am gathering all needed informations, from additional equipment to programmes required.

Would you like to add anything else?
Once again, I would like to thank to all my family, best friends and my coach for their help and support.
I also want to thank to Rectors and Vice-Rectors from University of Life Sciences in Lublin for their understanding. Without their permission preperation for any kind of the most important sports event would be impossible.

Finally, I want to thank to the managment of Venturo Sp. Z o. o from Wroclaw for their help, which gives me the chance to develop my skills and interests.