How long have you been training in Taekwondo and what got you started?
I have been training since September 2008. It is something I always wanted to do but never got around to until my son joined United Taekwondo. I watched him at one class and thought “this could be really good!” The rest is history.
Highlights of your Taekwondo success?
At the first class after my black belt grading, a very young class mate came up and looked at me with a mixture of excitement and awe. I had suddently become someone very important to him. I suddenly realised that Taekwondo was now going to be as much about focusing on others as on myself. Another highlight was the first grading after I took over Brighton-le-Sands Dojang. My students did really well, several being singled out for special attention by Master Paul. I was unbelieveably proud of them! It’s also great to train alongside people who have become friends, some of whom have been there since white belt days.
Describe your first black belt grading, and what it took to get you there?
I was the only one going for black belt that day (no pressure there then!) I had been training four nights per week at three halls, and training at home. I was very disappointed with my sparring – I think the occasion got to me and I forgot to fight however my board breaks were good! I’d never done a break using a hand technique, and Master Paul asked me to do a two-board punch. I trusted his judgement that I could do it, committed myself to the break and through I went. It was fantastic!
How often do you train? in Taekwondo? gym? etc.
I train three nights per week with United Taekwondo. I walk every day and do a couple of 5km runs each week. If I get a chance at work, I run through some patterns/techniques. (It can be hard in a suit!)
Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?
I like side-kicks, punches, elbow strikes. I also like pattern work, because I know what it is that I have to achieve, and so can always get the satisfaction of making small but constant improvements.
What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?
I’d like to get my second stripe when the time is right. I would also like to train a student from a very junior level right through to black belt.
Your favourite saying and what this means?
“Water finds its own level”. Life is full of ups and downs, wins and losses, justice and injustice. Over time, things usually come out even. So if things seem bad or hopeless, remember that they will get better. And if you are on top and winning, enjoy it, but don’t gloat.
Best advice you can give someone training and wishing to start training in Taekwondo?
Take it seriously but also enjoy yourself. If you can walk away from every lesson having learned or improved even one thing, then you are better than before. Be patient, and those little things will add up. And remember that there are always those above and below you in ability – what counts is whether you are moving forward.
What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?
Playing and listening to music, reading, spending time with my family and good friends, and eating delicious food.
Favourite movie(s) and why?
I don’t really have favourites. I like movies that make me laugh, and ones where the good guy wins in the end.
Anything my wife cooks (I’m serious! She is a great cook! Besides, she might be reading this profile!)
With regards to Taekwondo where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Hopefully still going strong with a group of students of whom I can feel proud and to whose lives I might have made a positive contribution.