Fitness and Self Defence

Sharon Canning

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region

Chapman Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Curtin Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Duffy Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Harrison Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
Wanniassa Dojang  / Canberra ACT Region
Waramanga Dojang / Canberra ACT Region

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

I started Taekwondo in 2001. I overheard my supervisor at work talking about how great Taekwondo was, so my sister and I decided to give it a go!

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

  • Achieving my 1st dan Black Belt in 2003, and having my family watching (including my Dad, who has since passed away)
  • Instructing my first children’s class on my own in 2005
  • Joining United Taekwondo in 2007
  • Teaching my twins a few basics in 2009, then watching them get their junior Black Belts in 2016 and 2017
  • Watching my husband and Chief Instructor achieve his 5th degree, then me achieving my 4th degree in 2017

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

It was a cool August morning in 2003. I was suitably petrified, nervous and excited, and it was only 8am!!! I had cereal and a banana for breakfast and downed a big glass of water – all on my Instructor’s instructions. I called my sister to make sure she wasn’t in labour (she was 8 months pregnant). Luckily she wasn’t, because this day had to be all about me! I met my Mum, Dad, sisters and brothers and a few friends at the entrance of the Grading hall, and proceeded to tell them that I felt ok and wasn’t going to throw up (what I didn’t say was how close I actually was !).

Then the Grading started. I joined the general warm up, which was good because it calmed my nerves. Then the 4 other black belt applicants and myself were kicked out of the hall while the rest of the Grading continued. At various times, friends and family came out to see how I was and offer hugs and words of encouragement. And quite a few Black Belts I had been training with kept me company over the hour I was waiting, namely Pete, Obi, Dan, Marty, Adam and Troy. One time, my Instructor – Chief Instructor Brett, came out, took one look at me, smiled, and said “You’ll be right mate. You’re so ready”. And that was it. I knew it would be ok. Once the Grading started, I really didn’t think of much, other than “break that board… kick higher… tense in that pattern… c’mon, everyone’s watching you!” I broke every board first time, except for that darned spinning heel kick. Apparently you have to spin fast!!! So after words of wisdom from the holder – Chief Instructor Lachlan, I spun fast and wouldn’t you know it… the board broke. Hooray! That spinning heel kick break was my nemesis, and now it was over. Only 13 hours of sparring to go, and I would be finished. Well, maybe not 13 hours, but it sure felt like it! So I was very tired, very happy and very proud about an hour later – the Master wrapped my new belt around my waist (suffocating me in the process!), shook my hand and posed for a photo. Then I went straight to Instructor Brett for the approving smile, bow and handshake. What a moment! The emotions were running high, and I couldn’t wait to hug my family and jump around. A lot! We took a lot of photos – one of which has my Dad in it, and he passed away the following year – I will always treasure the thought of him watching me on that day. The celebratory lunch, dinner and breakfast the next morning were wonderful, and this achievement was one of the most special events in my life.

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

I train 2 or 3 times a week, depending on how the old body goes. And other than teaching 16 Taekwondo classes a week, that’s my only exercise!

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

  • Stepping jumping spinning turning kick (this has been my favourite for at least 6 years!
  • Flying back kick
  • Any of the 3rd degree patterns

What are your Taekwondo goals for the future?

In updating my profile from 2012, I thought I should leave my old goals from that time, and add a bit to them… I find this amazing!

  • To instruct kids classes that are so popular I have to turn students away!!! Not that I would of course! – actually, I have had to turn a few students away. But then I rearranged my classes to allow the senior children to move up to the adults class, so now I have capacity for new students. Yay!
  • To build up my ‘Tiny Taeks’ classes so I can quit work and teach Taekwondo full time – I have done this! In 2015, I left the public service and started teach Taekwondo lunch time classes at schools, and continued afternoon classes 5 days a week. Best job ever!
  • To break 2 boards with a flying back kick – I broke 3 boards with a one step jumping back kick for my 4th degree grading!
  • To do the splits on right and left legs without pain – I can do the splits, but I still have pain. I will have to train harder for this one!
  • Learn more about meditation and core strength exercises – something else I still have as a future goal.

What would you like to see more of or less of in United Taekwondo that could benefit members?

More families doing Taekwondo together, less contact in sparring.

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

Absolutely. I am more disciplined – with time management, my eating habits and organising my life. And I LOVE teaching!

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“The fastest is not always the bestest!” I totally made this up and I love when the kids tell me that ‘bestest’ isn’t a word. At least they listen!!!

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

Advice for a beginner – Just give it a month. Then you will be more coordinated and more confident, and you’ll start loving Taekwondo like I do.

Advice for a current student – Do your best and try your hardest. That’s all you can ask of yourself.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

  • Hanging out with my awesome children
  • Date nights with my handsome husband
  • Taking photos (but I don’t enjoy downloading them from the cloud!!!)
  • Doing puzzles, sudoku, crosswords
  • Socialising with friends

 Favourite movie(s) and why?

  • Pretty Woman – because I love Julia Roberts
  • Good Will Hunting – because there are great messages in it
  • Centrestage – because I love dancing
  • Karate Kid – because it’s so inspirational
  • The new Jumunji – it’s so funny!

Favourite food?

So many to choose from – steamed vegies, strawberries, pineapple, and all the unhealthy ones like potato chips, lasagne, pizza, chocolate and cheesecake.

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

Still instructing Taekwondo full time and hopefully training regularly enough to keep me fit and feeling young.

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