Fitness and Self Defence

Dean Johnstone

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region
Camden Dojang / Macarthur NSW

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

I signed up my 10 and 8 year old sons  in Jan 2012.  Five months later, a friend (whose children also were members) and I signed up to concentrate on our fitness and share taekwondo with our children.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

Too many. Top four –

  • Reaching my 1st degree;
  • Watching my sons reach their own black belts and their progress in their abilities;
  • Grading to my 2nd degree (including a three board elbow strike and a three board back kick) with my eldest son grading to his first degree.
  • Performing a flying side-kick successfully in 2015, 3 years after fractures behind my knee cap performing the same technique.

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

In December 2014, I decided to put it all on the line for the mid year grading in 2015.  I started attending United Taekwondo classes 4 nights a week between Camden, Narellan Vale and Mt Annan.  For five solid months, I did nothing but concentrate on the grading and trained hard with Instructor Rosie and Master Paul in preparation.  In those months leading up to grading, I must have lost triple my body weight in sweat, most of which now forms part of the polish of the floor boards at the Camden Primary School hall.

I knew I was ready and had worked hard.  I had all the expert advice from Master Paul and Instructor Rosie, so I knew I could get through it, but there was that niggling doubt with a pinch of nerves and a smothering of apprehension.  Since starting at United Taekwondo in 2012, I regretted not taking up martial arts when I was younger when I had the opportunity and was more agile.  This was my opportunity to put those regrets behind me and achieve something that for 20 years I convinced myself I was too busy to obtain.  My inner 17 year old self was excited to have come to this period of my life; my 40 year old body was wanting to be that 17 year old kid again.

We arrived at the hall, and under close attention of Instructor Rosie, I smashed out my pattern and then it was on.  Patterns first, I was always confident of my pattern.  Then the board breaks; a side-kick, an elbow strike, a jumping back kick and a spinning heal kick.  Feeling those boards snap brought instant relief, satisfaction, gratification and a sense of great achievement.  Then the sparring – suffice to say I was completely gassed out at the end.

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

4 nights a week – instruct / train twice a week at Camden, train twice a week at Mt Annan and Narellan Vale.

External fitness classes at work twice a week (early morning).

Indoor Cricket; unless it clashes with Taekwondo.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Back Kick.  Easily my most powerful kick.  I’m starting to enjoy the spinning heal too.

What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?

Keep reaching for the achievable – anything is achievable with patience, dedication and training.   For example, any kick involving a jump.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“The world is your oyster” – I’m not sure who said it, I’ve just heard it many times in my employment.  To me it means you can do anything you want, but you have to earn it.

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

Work hard, listen to your instructors. Taekwodo does so much more than just build fitness and teach self-defence – striving for that ultimate achievement gives purpose; working (training) for that ultimate achievement gives determination, persistence and dedication; achieving your milestones to your ultimate goal gives satisfaction and the drive to continue; proving to yourself you are capable of anything you put your mind to builds confidence.

You will get fit, you will learn self-defence, but more importantly, you will learn character traits in yourself which are transferrable to anything you do in life.  Become a member, and reach for achievable, nothing is unachievable.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

Family, Friends, Cricket

Favourite movie(s) and why?

STAR WARS I to VII (including Rogue One); the pendulum of Good v Evil.  But who is good and who is evil…

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN; The quest of one man to follow his desires and his determination regardless of the obstacles put in his path.

Favourite food?

Anything cooked on a bbq – Medium Rare

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

As an Instructor, encourage my students to be what they can be in Taekwondo and in life.  On a personal level, still striving for the ultimate goal; I haven’t decided what that is yet.

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