One of the many stars of Team Strong Athlete is Trish “Superwoman” Plaja. This 42-year old mother of two is a busy event planner, a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, the co-owner of two martial arts schools and a fitness competitor! We recently sat down with Trish for an in-depth interview.
Where are you originally from Trish?
I was born in Guatemala City, I came to Canada in 1990. My husband and I were engaged back then and I came after he came representing Guatemala in the ITF Tae Kwon Do World Championships in Montreal , August 1990.
How did you get involved in martial arts?
I started training when I was 15 back in Guatemala City, I trained under two Tae Kwon do styles, World Tae Kwon Do Federation and International Tae Kwon Do Federation. After arriving to Canada and being new to the country my husband stopped competition training and we both started to train recreational Tae Kwon Do, until we opened our first Dojang in December of 1999 in the town of Orangeville, training athletes for recreational and competitive Tae Kwon Do and helping them to place on the Canadian team for International events. In August 2012 we opened an second location in the City of Brampton.
Throughout my martial arts career, I have traveled to Central America, back to Guatemala as an assistant Coach of the Canadian Team for the Pan Americans Tae Kwon Do Games in 2006 and also as a competitor on the Seniors Women’s team for Patterns and Sparring. I placed 1st in patterns and 2nd in Sparring. I’ve also participated in many Canadian and USA Tae Kwon do Competitions as a coach and competitor.
How did you get involved in fitness competitions?
I come from a family of athletes, my father was a former bodybuilder and a powerlifting competitor. He was always passionate about the sport, competition and training, and even with his busy work schedule he always made time to train and spend time with the family. He inspired me to be disciplined and I always knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I knew the commitment it would take for me but I waited until my kids were older to start my journey .
Describe the injury that affected your preparation for the IDFA Championships in 2013?
While training for a Figure competition in the summer of 2013 I tore the meniscus of my right knee, an injury that may have been caused from years of training martial arts and running. All the years of wear and tear on the knee joint finally caught up to me while training legs the day before the injury. The next day my legs were pretty sore and while walking in a shopping mall I heard an excruciating noise and suddenly I couldn’t walk. I barely managed to get back to my car with a swollen knee. At the X-ray clinic the next day I was told my knee was too swollen to see what was wrong with it so I was sent home with an ice pack. Through my friends in the Tae Kwon Do industry I was able to schedule an appointment to see an Orthopedic Surgeon and booked surgery in early August. While my knee was injured I was able to train different parts of my body with Coach PK. From time of injury to recovery I was behind in my contest prep by 5 ½ weeks. At the show I placed 3rd in my division! After dealing with so much adversity during my prep it was a great feeling of accomplishment for the all hard work in such a short period of time.
What’s next for Trish in 2014?
I would like to take some time to build some shoulders and legs and work on my core. My husband and I have plans to expand the Tae Kwon Do school early in 2014 which will take up some time of my regular scheduled training. Looking forward to competing in the summer of 2014!