Branch / Region
Phillip Dojang / Canberra ACT Region
How long have you been training in Taekwondo? And what got you started?
I have always been interested in learning a Martial Art and I was also looking for avenues to increase my fitness. I have been training for over 15 years in Taekwondo. I started in another school but then moved to United Taekwondo when my other school closed in Canberra.
Highlights of your Taekwondo success?
For me the road to each of my Black Belt degrees have been rocky ones. Each has had different obstacles and challenges thrown at me, above the normal training requirements. Whether it be delays out of my control, injuries or techniques I had to work hard to fix, each has been a tough mental battle as well as a physical one. Overcoming these obstacles and achieving my Black Belt or following degree have been major achievements for me. But I think highlights come each and every grading when I see my students achieve things they never thought they would be able to do.
Describe your first black belt grading, and what it took to get you there?
It was a very long road to get to my black belt grading. Having trained hard in preparation, only to have that pulled from my grasp about a month out when my school closed was a huge blow. And then starting my training again took a lot of perseverance to continue. Luckily I had an amazing Instructor in Chief Instructor Brett so that was a huge help to my training. When I was told that I was ready to start training again for my black belt, I put in a lot of hard work, training and preparation, but I do believe it made me a better black belt for it. Also my hand was injured a few weeks before my grading during a training session. This meant that I had to complete a combination board break instead of a hand break. I was nervous about the combination break, but I was able to successfully break the combination and I was very proud of what I had achieved.
How often do you train? In Taekwondo? Gym? etc
I try to do some training (weights, cardio, pattern practice) every day either before work, stealing time at lunch times or in the evenings after the kids go to bed. I instruct with Instructor Tamara two nights a week and train under Chief Instructor Brett one night a week. I also try to get to the other Dojangs in Canberra during the week for an extra training session or two. I also don’t mind a game of squash or some other activity with friends if I can fit one in.
Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?
My favourite Taekwondo move is a spinning, jumping inward crescent kick and I think always will be. But I really enjoy learning new techniques and then being able to execute them correctly.
What are your goals in Taekwondo for 2020?
I would like to see my and Instructor Tamara’s Dojang students grow. I also hope to have achieved my next degree as part of my next grading.
What would you like to see more of or less of in United Taekwondo that could benefit members?
I would like everyone to be aware that the greatest attribute you can bring to Taekwondo is patience and a calm mind. No one is intrinsically born being able to do Taekwondo and everyone’s learning curve and abilities are different. Being happy with your own pace and looking to develop what you can achieve and not comparing yourself to others.
Has Taekwondo benefited home life? If so in what way?
I’ve found that I’m fitter and stronger and feel better about myself because of Taekwondo. It’s also great to be doing Taekwondo with my wife who is also my instructing partner at our Dojang and is a wonderful partner to have for my branch. I also find I’m more conscious of my body, balance, control and movement – which helps in a lot of parts of life.
Your favourite saying and what this means?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – Dalai Lama
“I have done my best.” That is about all the philosophy of living one needs. – Lin Yutang
Best advice you can give someone training and wishing to start training in Taekwondo?
Remember that training for Taekwondo is an individual process and there is no time frame or skill level you have to achieve, just improving your own skill is all you need to do. And then practice what you’ve learnt. I know I am still working on things I learnt as a white and yellow belt, so there is always more you can learn.
What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?
I must admit that I love my Playstation, but I also love movies, TV shows and spending time with friends. I really enjoy a game of tennis or squash if I can fit one it.
Favourite movie(s) and why?
Being involved in the largest Film Society in Australia, I’ve seen a lot of movies so I have a lot of favourites. City of Lost Children, The Fifth Element, Batteries Not Included, Star Wars, Willow and many more. But I love any film where someone achieves something they never thought they could do.
I have a mouthful of sweet teeth, so anything sweet is great, but I also love Asian food and copious amounts of coffee.
With regards to Taekwondo where do you see yourself in 5 years?, 10 years?
With a thriving branch of mine and Instructor Tamara’s students striving to do their best and myself doing the same.