The Heart of an Athlete
Körmöndi Lídia, Karate, Team Hungary
Thanks so much for your time, Lídia! It was a pleasure speaking with you and we are very excited to have the opportunity to share your inspiring story and "can do" attitude with the world! In summary, I think the take away point from our conversation might be this: "Be brave, trust yourself and believe in hard work!"
Intro Q & A
Place of Birth?
How did your karate journey begin?
It started around the time I was about 12 years old. Then, I didn’t really know that karate existed. I had just seen martial arts on the TV and got a feeling that I wanted to do something like that. It [martial arts] was very interesting, and I felt that if I could do it, it would be a very unique and rewarding journey for me.
Once I started doing karate lessons and training, I played lots of games and participated in various competitions; I was so motivated to win as a child. In fact, I would run to the training center because I was so excited. From there, I trained everyday and eventually developed myself into a top class competitor and went to the world championships twice, even though I may not have been the most physically gifted.
Athlete Q & A
What are your most notable athletic accomplishments and the biggest moment of your career?
U22 European Champion: 2009
European Championship: Bronze medalist 2011 (Lithuania), 2014 (Azerbaijan) 2015 (Poland) 2016 (Georgia)
European Championship: Silver medalist 2012 (Belgium)
Two-time World Championship qualification (Top 12 ranked EU fighters)
Szolnok European Cup: Gold medalist
Oyama Memorial Cup: Bronze medalist
All World Tournament: 5th place
What makes your form of karate different from other types and how are matches won?
Kyokushin Karate is a “full-contact” form of karate (meaning no pads or protective gear and full, direct hits are allowed). It is considered to be the hardest and strongest style of karate. Despite this, Kyokushin Karate is deeply rooted in self-development, respect, and mastery of the mind.
Bouts are decided by the difference in damage due to valid punches and kicks to various parts of the body.
Editor’s Note: Check out this link for more information and rules.
What’s your secret for success when under pressure?
Always keep focused, be strong emotionally, and train everyday.
Always take just one more step and jump over the hurdles, no excuses.
We’ve never seen anyone so focused and intense in competition, where did you get this “fire in your eyes” from?
I think this is just the type of person I am. You can practice focus, but for me this came from a really strong internal motivation and passion for my sport and to win. It is a fighter/competitor attitude.
What was your pre-performance/fight routine?
The day before a fight, I relax and write in my training journal what I want to feel and have happen on the day of the fight; motivational sentences and performance affirmations to “pump me up” and to create an optimum competitive mentality.
On the day of the fight, I start with a hot bath to relax, do some meditation, and have time just for myself. During the day, I make sure to always eat a bit of raw lemon, dark chocolate, and take in a tiny bit of a sparkling drink. Upon dressing in my combat clothes, I warm up with punching and skills work with my coaches using boxing gloves, pads, and body protectors. Something else I do is hold my kabala (a talisman) in my pocket for strength. Before the fight, I take off my pullover and then run onto the stage repeating this mantra in my head: “Felmegyek és győzök” (I will rise up and win).
Top three lessons learned from combat?
I learned it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses before combat.
I learned how to keep working when it gets really hard, to instantly kill the feeling of wanting to stop or quit. Never lose your focus, even for an instant, or you will lose. Even if you feel that you have almost no energy or effort left, don't give into the pain; give everything you have left to overcome the problem. I would always take that one more step to win.
It's okay to have a bad day, but don’t let it get to you, or you will lose. More importantly than medals is to improve and do your best.
You mentioned your unquenchable thirst to be better. Is this something you learned from someone or does this come naturally to you?
This is something that comes both naturally to me and what I was taught in my dojo by my master, Shihan Stefanovics József: to become better everyday. I have this ability to enter into a certain attitude or mental state where I can continue to fight and do whatever it takes to win and achieve goals.
A difficult challenge(s) you’ve had to overcome?
Sometimes the rules and aspects of the game are a challenge. For example, there are times when you may take (or even give) an illegal punch to the throat or head but you cannot stop fighting because you never know what the judge sees. You have to keep going despite the pain and stay focused at all times to win, no matter what.
Being comfortable with it being just me up there fighting. But my teammates and coaches are near by and this is motivation that always helps.
Editor's Note: While it's illegal to punch someone in the head in this form of karate, it's perfectly legal to kick and knock someone out on the head. Fight are ONLY stopped when someone is bleeding from the mouth, falls to the floor, or gets knocked out.
An unexpected moment/powerful realization that greatly influenced your athletic career and/or life?
Realizing that one of my dojo coaches and teammates, Victory Martfű, and I share a very special connection. He has helped me become a better fighter physically in training and, in important situations, has also given me a source of strength to draw from. These are the types of special relationships that last a lifetime.
You also are a Hungarian Karate National Team Coach, what’s that like?
I really enjoy coaching and supporting younger athletes. While I have a busy schedule now with my day (and sometimes all day) job, it feels so good to be able to give back something to the sport as often as I can.
Favorite Hungarian proverb?
Bátornak kell lenni. “I have to be brave”
What’s your superpower and catchphrase?
My superpower is my motivation. My catchphrase is: “Felmegyek és győzök.” I will rise up and win.
The best thing you’ve bought in the past year to help improve your health, fitness, and/or performance?
Traveling, vitamin sea 🌊, and vitamin D from sun...but that's free! ☀️
Are names really backwards in Hungarian? So it's really, Körmöndi Lídia?
Yes, that's right! We don't also have middle names.
Editor's Note: Parents also can only choose from a pre-approved list of names for their children, and each name has a celebratory name day. Only a few new or unusual names are approved each year. Some previously approved names are very funny, like Manó (Elf) or Farkas (Wolf)! :)
If someone reading this will get into a fight for any reason, what is the #1 thing would you tell them to win?
If it's a fight on the street, try to avoid these situations! In competition, be confident in using the skills you have learned. Focus is your number one skill. It is also important to be flexible on your tactics and able to change strategies in an instant!
Your biggest idea for a better life (in 1 or 2 sentences)
Surround yourself with people you love and care about you.
Where can our readers follow you and/or a team Hungary on social media?
FB: SHINKYOKUSHIN MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION HUNGARY
Where can our readers see you “in action”?
There are various training camps in Hungary I frequently attend.
There are also a bunch of YouTube videos of my fights you can find searching by my name.
Editor's Note: Our favorite unedited fight can be watched here. You are also going to want to watch this “bass-ass” highlight video. :)
You mentioned your day job, what's that?
I do one-on-one and group Hungarian lessons online for those who need or want to learn the language. Learning Hungarian is necessary for anyone who is interested in becoming a Hungarian citizen (and obtaining an EU passport) through their Hungarian ancestry.
Editors Note: Feel free to email Lidia if you are interested in learning Hungarian: email@example.com
Any last words of wisdom?
Are you an athlete? Have an awesome story or accomplishment? Or just interested in just sharing your wisdom with the world?
Well, then we'd love to have you (or someone you want to nominate) be featured on our next installment of The Heart of An Athlete!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured!