Canberra ACT Region
How long have you been training in Taekwondo? And what got you started?
I’ve had a long association with taekwondo. I started as a kid, but then stopped at 4th grade. Then I moved to Canberra and did a little Karate and again, got to 4th grade. Then after a while, I went to one of Chief Instructor Brett’s classes, watched one, then joined in and haven’t looked back since. That was somewhere around 10 years ago!
Highlights of your Taekwondo success?
I love the training and the people. Everyone has always been encouraging and that made it easy to stick with it and not walk away. I guess the highlights are always learning new dynamic kicks for me. They absolutely don’t come naturally as I’m a bit of a wombat and jumping isn’t my forte! With perseverance and yes, encouragement, I manage to get through and learn these wonderful kicks that I never thought I’d be able to do! And the world of taekwondo is just opening up!
Describe your first black belt grading, and what it took to get you there?
My first black belt grading was a journey to say the least. I remember when I started with United Taekwondo, that I’d look at the senior colour belts and look at the things they did thinking, I’ll never get there. But I did. And I was training five or six days a week in the year before the grading. Chief Instructor Brett had always said that the hard work was always put in before the grading. That the grading itself was just to show what we’d learned during the training, but that earning a black belt is done before the day itself. It’s the journey you take to get there.
My journey was intense. I know our sparring is non-contact but inevitably at that level, there’s always something. I’d end up with the occasional bruise from blocking this kick or that kick, but it was all part of the journey. I even named some of them in honour of the person who’s kick I might have blocked!
In the end, on the day, the Chief Instructor had me so well prepared that it felt like nothing could get in the way. I did my patterns without any mistakes and with my board breaks, the only one that I had to try twice was my side kick. At the end, after all the sparring, Master Paul even commented that I looked like I could have kept going for much longer! It was a testament to my determination being matched and exceeded by the people who helped me get there.
How often do you train? In Taekwondo? Gym? etc
I try to train twice a week, and I instruct once a week, plus I also try to help out others with instructing when I can.
Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?
I think it’s probably a stepping jumping spinning heel kick at the moment. It’s not because I’m absolutely great at it, but it took me a long time to learn it. Like so many dynamic kicks, they always look impossible until I learn how to do it. My next favourite, when I learn how to do it, will be a stepping spinning jumping turning kick.
What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?
To still be able to do taekwondo when I’m 70! Thankfully I have a while to go.
Has Taekwondo benefited home life? If so in what way?
I think Taekwondo gives you an opportunity to disconnect and focus on yourself, which in turn lets you re-charge and be more present at home.
Doesn’t hurt to know a few moves when you’re fighting for the last piece of chocolate either!
Your favourite saying and what this means?
“Make haste, slowly”
Given I started with United Taekwondo in my late 30’s there was always something in the back of my head wanting to plough through it, wanting to be ready at every grading and being the best I could be. What the reality is though, is that you make haste by consistent training, but you take the time to learn properly as you go. This means that I didn’t grade at every grading. I didn’t rush through and half learn stuff just to scrape through. I took my time and at the end, I think that makes me a better martial artist.
Best advice you can give someone training and wishing to start training in Taekwondo?
Just try it! Sometimes, like me, what looks like the impossible transitions to the improbable just before it becomes doable. You’re never too old to start.
What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?
I enjoy being social and I have a nice little collection of old computers from the 80’s. Some of them are relics almost forgotten in history.
Favourite movie(s) and why?
I really like horror movies these days. Nice intense ones! I’m also a fan of Sci-Fi, one of my favourites being Arrival. You get so much more out of that movie the second time you watch it!
There’s not enough room here for that…
With regards to Taekwondo where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Still training and still instructing. My story isn’t done yet, so I’m looking forward to the next five, ten years and beyond.