Kicking Down Barriers with Akino Lindsay
"The higher up you go along the food chain, the more challenging it is to establish friendships," said 22-year-old tae kwon do rising star Akino Lindsay.
The outspoken and spirited young athlete from Waterford always wanted to be a warrior and emulated many of his icons from a very tender age. As a child, he admitted that he always wanted to be a Power Ranger, the first sign that he would have a passion for professional fighting.
Currently studying anthropology at the University of the West Indies, Lindsay got his big break in tae kwon do around five years ago when he was introduced to the competitive sport through the Taekwondo Society Club at his alma mater, St George's College.
"When I started tae kwon do, the love for it was not there until I started interacting with the coaches like Herbert Stewart. He is one of the most brilliant coaches I have ever met. He is like a father figure to me," Lindsay said.
Tae kwon do training is no walk in the park. It consists of daily sessions that can last up to five hours, where persons can part take in either traditional training or competition training. He explained that traditional training focuses on technique and pattern development. On the other hand, competitive training focuses on endurance and fitness levels.
With roughly 12 competitions a year both locally and internationally, Lindsay not only has to maintain his fitness, but also his drive and motivation to compete. His Fight for Peace organisation, led by Damany Gayle and himself, which engages inner-city youths in learning tae kwon do techniques. This is not solely for self-defence purposes, but also to provide a productive avenue to keep them busy and out of trouble.
"My children [students] motivate me to be better because they look to me as their role model. The last World Championships I went to, I got that gold for them," he said.
Akino Lindsay is currently one of the most decorated under 30 tae kwon do athlete on the island. He has gold medals from the 2015 and 2017 ISK World Championships, 2017 RJR Tae kwon do athlete of the year, and 8 US Open Gold Medals, just to name a few. His secret to being ready for a competition is taking 30 minutes of sleep just before fighting to calm his mind.
"I'm only nervous when competing locally because Jamaica has some of the best fighters in the world," said Lindsay.
That being the case, he still tries to exude confidence and not arrogance. He has to believe in his abilities and capabilities so that he can execute and be able to back them up. After all, this is a sport that he is most passionate about and is successful at, thus he admits he has every reason to be proud of himself.
Akino Lindsay is on the rise to accomplishing his dream of being the best tae kwon do fighter in the region and refuses to let any obstacle get in his way.