Fitness and Self Defence

John Marchand

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region
Narellan Vale Dojang / Macarthur NSW Region

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

I’ve been training for eight years now. My boys saw a demonstration at a local school fair one year and were mesmerized with the board breaks. They joined, so I joined.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

2011 National All styles Continuous Sparring Champion – Gold Coast Queensland
2012 Promoted to First Degree Black Belt
2012 National All Styles Point Sparring Champion – Melbourne
2014 Promoted to Second Degree Black Belt
2014 My son Jesse promoted to First Degree Black Belt
2014 National All Styles Sparring and Continuous Sparring Champion – Melbourne
2017 Promoted to Third Degree Black Belt

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

With great sadness and relief! Six months of gruelling training under Instructor Alex Mitchell, who at the time was thinking about enlisting in the Australian Army. Rep after rep, pattern after pattern. I learnt to get used to being uncomfortable very quickly, not to focus on the number, but to focus on my breathing and next technique instead. Lots of extras, such as long lonely jogs at night, running stairs, sprints, hitting the heavy bag, gym workouts, stretching after class, swimming, nutrition, you name it, I did it.

Unfortunately my Mother passed away the week before grading and never saw me grade. Mentally and spiritually Taekwondo put me in a good place. I was quite happy to wait until next grading for my chance again, but Master Paul organised a “special” in house grading. My pattern and breaks went really well and then about ten black belts lined up for sparring, one after the other, wave after wave. My fellow peers Craig and Steve who I was supposed to grade with me the week prior, absolutely hammered me. Instructor Hans who had heard I was grading, came back and gave me a nice touch up. My lungs were screaming by the end of it all and finally I heard those magic words “promoted to 1st degree black belt” Master Paul yelled out. I remember looking down at my waist and thinking wow, I did it, what a relief!

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

As I work in Hospitality I work odd hours, so I train when I can, usually about 4 sessions a week.

I make a point of doing something every day related to Taekwondo, even if it is just stretching or going over a pattern in my head.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Front kick – the most basic. Great for keeping the distance and reading your opponent’s reaction.

What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?

To compete in the 2017 ISKA World Cup in Sydney and to be the best version of myself.

To achieve 4th degree black belt.

To train, develop, inspire and mentor students and fellow instructors to keep training. Keep pushing the boundaries. It gives me great pleasure to watch the progress of white belt students turn into martial artists. For me personally, reaching black belt was just the beginning. Taekwondo is a journey not a destination.

To see United Taekwondo be a powerhouse in the Tournament Arena.

Coach a National Champion, give back what I have learned.

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

Yes most definitely! health wise – before I started training I was 127kg and suffered from heart palpitations.This condition has since disappeared. What I do for myself now will pay off ten fold later on in life.

My wife has noticed that I’m happier and very laid back … too laid back at times!

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“There’s no short cut to long term success“

Dedication, perseverance, consistency and hard work pays off.

“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”

It’s about living in the now. Don’t wait till the storm passes, Enjoy each moment to the fullest.

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

To new students – don’t put limitations on yourself. The first step is to have the courage to have a go. We all have strengths and weaknesses.  In time you will learn to focus on both.

Ask questions and talk to your instructors and senior students, after all they have been where you are.

For existing students – understand what the techniques are about and what various applications they can be used for as quite often they have multiple uses.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

  • Watching sport, anything combative such as rugby league, boxing, UFC.
  • Gardening and travelling –  especially cruising.

Favourite movie(s) and why?

Any Disney pixar movie … I’m a big kid at heart.

Favourite food?

Tough one! Sushi and any style of curry, especially Mauritian curries.

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

  • Studying Weapons to compliment Taekwondo.
  • Achieving my Fourth Degree Black Belt.
  • Running a full time centre with gym and floor mats.

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