Fitness and Self Defence

Sharon Canning

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region

Chapman Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Curtin Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Duffy Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Grammar Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Harrison Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Palmerston Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Wanniassa Dojang   / Canberra ACT Region

Branch Instructor Sharon Wadey

How long have you been training in Taekwondo? And what got you started?

I started Taekwondo in 2001. I overheard my supervisor at work talking about how great Taekwondo was, so my sister and I decided to give it a go!

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

  • Achieving my 1st dan Black Belt in 2003, and having my family watching (including my Dad, who has since passed away)
  • Instructing my first children’s class on my own in 2005
  • Joining United Taekwondo in 2007
  • Achieving my 2nd dan in 2008
  • Teaching my 2 year old twins a few basics in 2009 !!!
  • Achieving my 3rd dan in 2011
  • Starting my home dojang in 2012
  • Watching my children participate in their first official grading – and they passed – in 2012

Describe your first black belt grading, and what it took to get you there?

It was a cool August morning in 2003. I was suitably petrified, nervous and excited, and it was only 8am!!! I had cereal and a banana for breakfast and downed a big glass of water – all on my Instructors instructions. I called my sister to make sure she wasn’t in labour (she was 8 months pregnant). Luckily she wasn’t, cause this day had to be all about me! I did a few other things, which I probably shouldn’t mention (close friends and family will know what I’m talking about!), and proceeded to don my dobok and do a warm up. Not quite sure why I felt the need to warm up hours before my Grading, but went with it, nonetheless. A little later, my partner drove me to the Grading Hall. Good thing I wasn’t driving – I would never have made it ! I met my Mum, Dad, sisters and brothers and a few friends at the entrance, and proceeded to tell them that I felt ok and wasn’t going to throw up (what I didn’t say was how close I actually was !).

Then the Grading started. I joined the general warm up, which was good cause it calmed my nerves. Then the 4 other black belt applicants and myself were kicked out of the hall while the rest of the Grading continued. At various times, friends and family came out to see how I was and offer hugs and words of encouragement. And quite a few Black Belts I had been training with kept me company over the hour I was waiting, namely Pete, Obi, Dan, Marty, Adam and Troy. One time, my Instructor – Chief Instructor Brett, came out, took one look at me, smiled, and said “You’ll be right mate. You’re so ready”. And that was it. I knew it would be ok. Once the Grading started, I really didn’t think of much, other than “break that board… kick higher… tense in that pattern… c’mon, everyone’s watching you !” I broke every board first time, except for that darned spinning heel kick. Apparently you have to spin fast!!! So after words of wisdom from the holder – Chief Instructor Lachlan, I spun fast and wouldn’t you know it… the board broke. Hooray! That spinning heel kick break was my nemesis, and now it was over. Only 13 hours of sparring to go, and I would be finished. Well, maybe not 13 hours, but it sure felt like it! So I was very tired, very happy and very proud about an hour later – the Master wrapped my new belt around my waist (suffocating me in the process!), shook my hand and posed for a photo. Then I went straight to Instructor Brett for the approving smile, bow and handshake. What a moment! The emotions were running high, and I couldn’t wait to hug my family and jump around. A lot! We took a lot of photos – one of which has my Dad in it, and he passed away the following year – I will always treasure the thought of him watching me on that day. The celebratory lunch, dinner and breakfast the next morning was wonderful, and it was one of the most special achievements in my life.

How often do you train? In Taekwondo? Gym? etc

I train at least twice a week, sometimes up to 4 times according to my babysitters’ schedules. I do some kicking drills / stretching routines at home when I have time, too.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

  • Stepping jumping spinning turning kick
  • Flying back kick
  • Gliding axe kick

What are your Taekwondo goals for the future?

    • To instruct kids classes that are so popular I have to turn students away!!! Not that I would of course!

To build up my ‘Tiny Taeks’ classes so I can quit work and teach Taekwondo full time

  • To break 2 boards with a flying back kick
  • To do the splits on right and left legs without pain
  • Learn more about meditation and core strength exercises

What would you like to see more of or less of in United Taekwondo that could benefit members?

More of Chief Instructors doing patterns, board breaks and dynamic kicking at Gradings and camps

Has Taekwondo benefited home life? If so in what way?

Absolutely. I am more disciplined – with time management, my eating habits and organising my life.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

‘Awesome’. I seem to say this a lot in class. I have fantastic little students and there is always something they can do that is awesome!

Best advice you can give someone training and wishing to start training in Taekwondo?

Advice for a beginner – “just give it a month – you’ll learn so much, and see your own potential to learn so much more”.

Advice for a current student – “do your best and try your hardest – that’s all you can ask of yourself”.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

  • Playing with my children
  • Taking photos
  • Scrapbooking
  • Doing jigsaw puzzles, sudoko, crosswords
  • Socialising with friends

Favourite movie(s) and why?

  • Pretty Woman – cause I LOVE Julia Roberts
  • Good Will Hunting – cause I cry every time
  • Team America – cause I love laughing
  • Centrestage – cause I love dancing
  • Karate Kid – cause it’s so inspirational

Favourite food?

So many to choose from – steamed vegies, strawberries, pineapple, and all the unhealthy ones like potato chips, lasagne, pizza, chocolate and cheesecake.

With regards to Taekwondo where do you see yourself in 5 years?, 10 years?

(From 2009) 5 years – still instructing a children’s class (with my 4 children in it !), reflecting on my awesome 3rd dan Grading, and still participating in a dynamic and exciting martial art with some of my closest friends. (I actually wrote this 3 years ago and I am doing exactly that. Amazing!)

(From 2012) 5 years – instructing kids classes in schools and childcare centres full time, and being able to make time to do all the administrative things in UTKD Canberra that make our organisation better than all the rest!

(From 2012) 10 years – I’ll be happy as long as I’m training and instructing !!!

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