My Taekwondo journey began in 2008 when I was 17. It was my sister's idea to start, and I thought I would join her so I could maintain my fitness and refresh my mind through my year 12 studies. I remember turning up for our first training session and watching the class do non-contact sparring. I was captivated by the way everyone moved, their speed and flexibility, and I was terrified. I was shy and uncoordinated, there was no way I could ever do that. However, by the end of the first year, I had found a harmony between myself and the strong mental values of practicing Taekwondo; respect, discipline, integrity, and the responsibility to motivate yourself to be your best. Understanding and practicing these values as we do in martial art training has been invaluable to my personal development. It has had a significant role in my self improvement, not only in my training but in my academic and professional lives as well.
As I began to complete gradings, I gradually developed the basic skills and techniques of Taekwondo, improving my strength, endurance, flexibility, and against all odds my coordination and balance. As I moved from school to university to full-time work, my time management skills also got an unexpected improvement. As I progressed, an understanding of the philosophy of Taekwondo; of personal power in not only body, but mind; and its history, took their part. Now, grading for my black belt, I can see that I have made a good beginning for my Taekwondo journey.
Half-way through last year, I was standing in this room towards the end of a lesson and Mr No picked up a chestguard and asked if I wanted to have a go at contact sparring. I thought, "Yeah, I'll have a go". I can say without hesitation it was one of the best decisions of my life; I loved it. I increased my training and joined the Tiger Team. It's been an amazing year since then - from not even owning arm and shin guards, I've gone to competing in open competitions in Malaysia and Russia under the guidance of Mr No. Nothing compares to walking away from tough training session or a fight, even if I lost, and knowing I did my best.
I'd like to thank Mr No for his great instruction, guidance and support, as well as all the other members of the Taekwondo family; particularly the instructors and Tiger Team members, and of course, my parents and sister. For me, Taekwondo is a passion I get to live everyday. I commit myself, mind, body and spirit, to be my best, so no matter what happens, I can look back and be proud. It's not easy, but that's why it's so great.