How I found taekwondo and Why I'm Sticking With it
by Natasha Franks
(Sydney, NSW. AUSTRALIA)
training with purpose...suspension/body-weight training
People who know me may not believe it but I have always been intimidated by sports.
I was never great at any sport and therefore found myself shying away from the pressure of team sports (which is all school seemed to offer) and found myself enjoying being out on my own doing things like; bushwalking, cycling, jogging etc.
So, besides not loving 'sport', I have continued to LOVE being active and have continued to enjoy the competition with myself to make my body perform and look the best it can even though I will never be an athlete.
When I had my first child at 30 I developed an extreme fear of doing all the fearless activities I had loved like rock climbing, cycling, etc as I developed a fear of dying and not being there for my kids. That was fine, I learned to make my workouts based entirely on efficiency and effectiveness - no longer about fun and adventure. Then, 10 years later I decided I was ready again to rediscover adventure and some things I had always wanted to do.
Naturally, martial arts was one of those 'things' that I thought would fit the individual I am. Again, I was intimidated until I moved to live in Asia and thought 'what better place to start a martial art than in a country surrounded by it originators'?
So, which martial art do I choose? It took me lots of trawling the internet reading and speaking with people who were involved in a martial art to choose which one was best for me. I have always been a bit of an 'aerobic junkie' and it was important for me that my choice of martial art would be a good aerobic workout given that I would be committing to at least 3 times per week (I have learned you never get results from anything unless you commit to at least 3 times per week on a regular basis).
So with the combination of kicking AND punching, I was convinced taekwondo was the martial art for me. Envious that I had never started this at an early age I decided it was something I would get my 3 kids to do too - the one sport we could all do together.
Then to find the right school...
Well, convenience had to be the major factor so we could all commit to 3 days per week without it being a struggle to get there. I found a new branch of a major taekwondo school opening very near us and so took a deep breath and walked through the door to approach those strange people in 'white pyjamas'. Well, lucky for me they had scheduled 3 classes per week in the mid-morning and kids could come after school.
As it was a new location opening, I was the only one attending the mid-morning classes! That was perfect for me as I has no-one to intimidate me AND I got personal instruction for about the first 3-4 months!
Then, first grading...well all my old fears about being judged came storming back and ready to completely take over my physical abilities. I had to conjure up the memories of my early days starting out as an aerobic instructor and learn to fight thru the fierce body shakes and BREATHE!
This first lesson from grading taught me how much I needed taekwondo for mental strength, confidence and self-belief. Three and a half years later and, as well as challenging my body in many physical ways that I was no longer getting from my efficiency and effectiveness workouts, I have found the greatest gift gained from TKD is a belief that I don't have to give things up because I think I could never do it - it gives me confidence to know that if i can't do it now to keep trying and I soon will be much better than I started out.
So, TKD gives me purpose to my training. I am continually inspired by the variety of people at TKD and see there is something to be learned from all of them (not just the teacher out the front of the class) because they all have their reason and a purpose too.
Taekwondo is also teaching me patience and, like my life fitness goals that I adopted many years ago, it's not something I race through to a finish point (black belt) but something I expect to have to continue with for the rest of my life.Deb's reply
Natasha this is a brilliant story!
I have no doubt that many, many people will identify with the intimidation you felt at the beginning. And they will, I'm sure, be inspired by your determination. You have a great approach to your training.
Thanks so much for a great taekwondo story.