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Branch Instructor

Instructor Cassandra Layne

3rd Dan Black Belt

Canberra ACT Region – Bonython Dojang
How long have you been training in Taekwondo? And what got you started?

I’ve been training since 2007. It started as something to do in the off season from athletics but became my main interest and passion.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

Getting my instructors belt was defiantly a highlight. Another highlight was the first time I broke three boards with a sidekick. The sidekick was the first kick I had trouble with having enough power. To be able to break boards with it was one of the best feelings in the world.

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

I originally began Taekwondo with National Taekwondo, a very strict and military like version of the martial art. There were very few women and only one other female black belt who left not long after I began as a senior member. It was terrifying on the day, to stand in front of that crowd and know that it was only my skills that I had learnt that would get me through it. My instructor was not permitted to speak to me during the grading. It took strength I never knew I had to get my black belt and even more to become an instructor. It was an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I would not be the person I am today without that incident.

Moving across to United Taekwondo was one of the best things I have ever done. To stand in that grading hall and receive encouragement from students that didn’t even know me was both flooring and deeply moving. I earned my black belt for the second time and more importantly, I felt I had conquered the fear I felt that first time.

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

As much as possible. Training makes up a large portion of my life. When I’m not in class, I’m at home training with my partner. Though he trains in Hapkido, there is never a dull moment between us for all the arguments that break out over which martial art is better. I think we all know the answer is Taekwondo.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Spinning hooking kick, front leg side kick and gliding side kick to name a few. Being a short person, I have always relied on my kicks to keep the distance.

What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?

For the longest time, my goal was to get my third dan as that always seemed like reaching for the moon. Now that I’ve achieved my third dan, I want to see just how much further I can go. More than that, I want to help my students progress on their own journeys and achieve their own black belts.

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

Absolutely. Aside from being a gigantic stress reliever, Taekwondo has also allowed me to stay fit and disciplined over the years.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“If you only do what you can do, you will never be more then you are now.” – Shi Fu (Kung Fu Panda 3)

 I’ve always understood that it is important to push past what makes us uncomfortable, to step outside our own little circles so we can experience something new. This quote is an important one for me.

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

You will always be capable of more than you think. The first push is the hardest and the best part of United Taekwondo is that you can always find the support you need to go forward.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

I love my artwork and enjoy long hours in my studio blowing glass, engraving and kiln casting new sculptures. I also thoroughly enjoy getting away from the city. My ideal afternoon would be jumping on the motorbike and spending a few hours lost in the mountains.

Favourite movie(s) and why?

Coraline, The Little Prince, Kung Fu Panda, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle are my top five favourite movies. I like movies that break the usual mould of storytelling and create a world you can almost feel like falling into.

The Bourne Identity and Indiana Jones also make my top ten because if I could watch those actions scenes and not appreciate the choreography, wit and cunning that goes into them then I would probably consider myself a little dead inside.

Favourite food?

Anything Italian will always and forever win my favour.

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

It’s my dream to see myself progressing both as a student and a teacher. Training a student all the way from white belt to black would be one of the best feelings in the world. I want my dojang to grow along with the people in it.