Fitness and Self Defence

Tamara Cain

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region

Campbell Dojang  / Canberra ACT Region

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

I have been training for about six years. I had always wanted to do a martial art but I didn’t really know which one to choose. Going along to a class to check it out seemed really daunting, so I didn’t do anything about it. Then one day I got brave … took a friend as moral support … and found out that everyone was really friendly and that classes were made up of a range of people with different strengths and interests. Actually taking part in a class convinced me that taekwondo was for me and I haven’t looked back since.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

My highlight has been the opportunity to set and achieve personal goals in taekwondo. This includes everything from learning new techniques, to doing well at Gradings, to becoming an instructor. The rewards of learning skills and progressing in my training are so much greater than going to a gym week after week doing the same thing.

I also have a medical condition that impacts on my ability to do high impact and high intensity activities. While I have to be careful with my training, a medical condition does not necessarily have to be a barrier to achieving your goals.

The other highlight is the friendships I have made at United Taekwondo. The club nurtures new starters and encourages students to build relationships with each other and with their instructors which makes the commitment an enjoyable one to make.

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

My black belt grading was nerve-wracking, exciting, and everything in between. But I knew I had trained hard and so even though I was nervous I was also confident that I was ready to grade. I had two friends come and watch, and it was great to be able to show them what I had achieved. In short, it was awesome!

I had started training in another school that closed down when I was at black tip level. It took a while to find another club that had the positive characteristics I had grown to appreciate. I began training with Chief Instructor Brett Canning, who helped me to adapt my techniques and patterns and opened my eyes to how much more there was still to learn. Through this journey, I learnt more about myself, and I feel like I have become a better student, black belt and instructor as a result.

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

I would like to be able to say I have this serious regime of exercise and training – but I don’t. I try to go to the gym in the mornings before work. I usually do a group fitness class because I really need someone to shout directions, and other people to stand behind to disguise my early-morning awkwardness. In the evenings I share instructing with Instructor Steven twice a week at our dojang in Curtin, and then I try and get along to one or two other classes so I can learn from other instructors and get to know the other United Taekwondo students.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Pretty much anything that doesn’t result in me falling over.

What are your goals in Taekwondo for 2009?

In no particular order:

  • To contribute to the club as a whole and to the Canberra region of United Taekwondo.
  • To get more members at Instructor Steven and my dojang in Curtin.
  • To become a better martial artist.
  • To become a better instructor.

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

I’d like to see more patience. It isn’t always about grading every three months or learning the next pattern. It should also be about learning more about yourself and doing everything you do to the best of your ability.

I’d also like to see more demonstrations from senior members to inspire others, and more community demonstrations done by all grades to raise awareness of the club.

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

Hmmm … as I live with Instructor Steven I would have to say that taekwondo has benefitted my home life by making our fights over who does the washing up a whole lot more exciting!

Taekwondo has become a big part of my life. It gives me motivation to be more health conscious and I really like that it is something my husband and I began together and continue to do together.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” – Winnie the Pooh

This saying reminds me of the importance of having people around you who care about you. And that you should never sell yourself short, you will find that often you surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

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

To someone who is training – Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the black belts and instructors were born knowing all of this stuff. They were beginners once too, and they are all still striving to improve and learn more. So practice, ask questions and always try your best.

To someone wishing to start training – Don’t be scared to give it a try. Every accomplishment first comes with the decision to try.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

Does eating chocolate count as an activity?

Favourite movie(s) and why?

I have a short attention span, so usually the last film I’ve seen (unless it was really bad). Let’s just say, any movie that makes me laugh, scream or clap … but for the right reasons.

Favourite food?

Yes, food is definitely a favourite of mine.

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

Hopefully with a dojang full of students, a belt with an extra stripe on it, and spending time with the friends I’ve made along the way.

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