The ups and downs of Taekwondo Fighting.

Taekwondo fighting is like life.

It's a roller coaster!

We caught up with taekwondo 3rd Dan Carly Reasbeck to find out more about her 10 year career at the top level in taekwondo sparring.

And we asked her for some tips to help beginners get over the obstacles they might face.

First up Carly what does it take to get to the top?

You have to train hard!

I did 16-18 training sessions each week.

In the mornings we did hill work in our full sparring gear before school. This was 30 minutes of stair running and sprints. Then it was back to the dojang for sparring training. We also did cross training- mainly aerobics and swimming.

And I never stopped training...

I never took a break. I trained in the holidays in our back room, perfecting my kicks with my Dad as a target. (He wore a hogu with 2 pillows stuffed down it!)

I got to the top by working hard. I guess anyone who gets to the top will say they same- they are always working. And of course it goes without saying that having a supportive family is vital!

What are some of the hardest obstacles you faced in taekwondo fighting?

I absolutely had unrealistic expectations of myself.

I thought if I trained hard I could smooth out the ride. I thought I could make every kick and every fight perfect. And I would beat myself up and get down on myself if I made a mistake.

Of course now I know that obstacles are essential. They are just hurdles to get over and make us stronger.

The other issue I had was my weight.

I started fighting at 16 years old and could easily make under 47kg. But of course as I matured my body changed and it got harder and harder to make the weight. For the last couple of years my focus was all on my weight and not on my preparation.

I would say to anyone if you find yourself in this position - let the weight category go. It's not worth it.

What help and advice would you give someone wanting to get into taekwondo fighting at a high level?

  • First find a good coach. You need a coach who knows when to push you and when to encourage you.
  • It's important that your training regime is tailored to your body. In my case I was fighting at a very light weight. And I found that too much strength training reduced my agility.
  • Surrounding yourself with great team mates is really important. I had fantastic training partners and we rode the roller coaster of success and disappointment together.
  • I think it's good to know nothing about your opponent. So don't look at the draw. And don't listen to gossip. That way your opponent in the ring is nobody to you. And you can just go out and fight your fight without giving them too much respect for who they might be.
  • If you don't have good head awareness work on it. I never got knocked because I was good at moving my head out of the way. It's a great skill to have.
  • And in tough times turn to your role models. Sit-down. And talk to them. Your training can get all consuming at times. And a quiet chat to someone you respect and trust can put a bit of perspective on it all. I found this very useful on a number of occasions.

Why do you think taekwondo fighting is important for women?

For women I think taekwondo fighting is about facing confrontation.

For many women just putting on a hogu is confrontational in itself.

It's important for women to feel what it's like to be kicked and not to freeze. I also think it's good for women to spar against men. This way they learn what it's like to be confronted by a man and how to cope with that.

It's also important to know what it feels like to kick someone. To feel the connection with that person. And to know what you would need to do in a self defense situation.

What else do you think is important?

Always, always use proper technique.

If you do proper techniques they will work well for you.

And you are so much less likely to get injured.

And what made you want to fight?

It all started with the Ninja Turtles when I was around 10!

I wanted to do Karate. I liked the cool uniform and belt. And I was always drawn to fighting.

Mum wanted me to do gymnastics. But I stood my ground and in the end Mum let do a couple of classes.

And once she saw me in action and saw how well I was doing she encouraged me all the way.

Once Sydney got the 2000 games I knew that if I wanted to fight in the Olympics I had to jump ship. And in 1996 I got my tkd black belt and started my taekwondo fighting career.

Carly went on to win 15 NSW State Championships and 12 Australian National Championships. She was the Australian representative at the US, Dutch, Korean, Spanish and Canadian Opens, the Asian Championships, World Cups, World Championships, Commonwealth TKD Games and the Junior World Championships (Quarter Finalist).

She was involved in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Teams. During her fighting career, Carly also received the only scholarship at the NSW Institute of Sport for Taekwondo and was awarded in 2000 the ASM (Australian Sports Medallion).

Thanks Carly we really appreciate you taking time to talk to us. Deb

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