Fitness and Self Defence

Michael Richardson

Branch Instructor

Singleton NSW Region

Singleton Dojang

How long have you been training In Taekwondo? and what got you started?

I have been training for over 10 years.  It originally began due to me being an overweight and under-confident child who wanted to find something productive that could help me both lose the weight and stand the ridicule of my classmates at the time.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

Breaking my first board at green tip and my Black Belt gradings are the key moments that stand out.

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

I remember nearly setting fire to the car seat on the way there because of the amount I was shaking.  I was terrified, and getting there to see a packed hall didn’t exactly help the nerves.  I still remember the pain on Instructor Randal’s face after the third time managing to place a back kick on the tips of his fingers instead of the board, and the borderline inability to breath during the sparring.  I was quite pleased with my pattern though.  I shouted loud and performed it with confidence.

The grading was the product of nine months of running for half an hour five nights a week, practicing every pattern I knew daily, and spending ages in the garage working on my kicks for the board breaks.  I have never been fitter than I was then, but hopefully that’s subject to change sooner rather than later.

How often do you train? in Taekwondo? gym? etc

Mondays and Wednesdays in class, an hour of walking through swampland, mosquitoes and sweat every time I go to university, and the odd trip to the gym when I can afford it.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Always been a fan of my stepping kick, and a jumping back kick can be a nice finisher if you still have the energy and balance to pull it off.

What are your goals in Taekwondo for 2012?

Train hard, teach well, learn how to be a better instructor, and have fun doing so.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Everyone has their own special talents, and they also have the parts they can’t do so well.  If we spend time emphasising what they can’t do, all we teach them is that they are stupid and can’t do anything.  We should instead emphasise what they can do well, and use that to help them practice what they can’t do well so that they will one day be able to climb the metaphorical tree.

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

Start it!  It’s one of the best things I ever did for myself.  I’ve been doing it for seven years and have never looked back.  Also, you’ll only get out what you put in, so don’t come thinking that in three years you will be a black belt if all you are prepared to do is muck around it class.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

Reading, music, technology in most of its forms, running and doing verbal battle with the sibling.

Favourite movie(s) and why?

“The Boondock Saints”.  Classic one liners that I’ll remember until I die, and watching the determination of the two protagonists in making the world a better place through the most violent means accessible is always alright in my books.

Favourite food?

Steak.  Take the cow from the paddock, wipe it down, serve it.  Brilliant!

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

In 5 years, I want to achieve my 3rd Dan Black Belt.
In 10 years, I hope to be  instructing taekwondo to some of the students I teach at school.

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