5th DAN - MASTER
I began training in TaeKwonDo when I was 4 years old, part of the ITA in Petersfield, Hampshire. My parents encouraged me to start as we had just moved to the country from South Africa.
I started these classes with my 3 sisters and continued to learn and develop my skills. We quickly picked it up and I progressed through the ranks, achieving 1st DAN black belt in 1997. Towards the end of 1998 I passed my grading as a Junior Trainee Instructor and my 2nd DAN Black Belt at the same time. My sister, Samantha, also reached black belt shortly after myself, progressing to Trainee Instructor and then fully qualified Instructor.
Between 1997 and 1999 I competed in some competitions, achieving several 2nd & 1st place trophies for 'Forms' and 'Sparring'. I competed in an Open TaeKwonDo Championship in Hatfield in 2013, achieving 3rd place in sparring.
In addition to TaeKwonDo, I tried out Karate, Kickboxing and Kung Fu. I took part in Karate as a child, Kung Fu whilst at college and Kickboxing as an adult, but eventually decided to stick solely with TaeKwonDo.
In 2004 I qualified as an Adult Trainee Instructor. Here I was supporting my instructors in the junior and adult classes. Over the years I attended and organised many demonstrations at local infant & primary schools in and around the Hampshire & Surrey area.
In 2005 I joined a Kung Fu class while at college. I enjoyed the different view of martial arts and use of weapons. After I had finished the courses at college, I left the Kung-Fu group and focused back on TaeKwonDo. At college I qualified in Sports coaching, lower and higher levels, also PE and Health & Social Care.
In early 2008 I left the ITA and joined a new supporting body. In November 2008 I completed the UK Level 1 MMA qualification and an up-to-date 1st aid qualification. I was teaching at 3 martial art schools in Southampton and Waterlooville.
In 2009 I organised several weekly keep-fit session for physically and mentally challenged people in Hampshire. Each individual would have a set plan set out by myself for each class and adjust accordingly to ability/disability.
At the beginning of 2010 I began work for the UMAC. I was now teaching TaeKwonDo in 10 schools all over the south of England while working with UMAC.
Later in 2010 I joined NAKMAS who have been fantastic and supported me throughout my journey and I have been able to open the TaeKwonDo Academy Martial Arts & Self Defence School in Petersfield, Paulsgrove and Portsmouth.
Myself and our other instructors have also trained with Paul Green & Gareth Brown (Team GB TaeKwonDo Olympic Coaches) who have coached Team GB Gold medalist Jade Jones. Some of us have also had many years of training with Senior Master Mitchelmore 7th DAN. We have also attended seminars with Master Ian Holinsworth 5th DAN & Senior Master Shiva Wan Dier 8th DAN.
While at the ITA I also used to train with and teach Ben Haines, who is now representing Great Britain at the Olympics. His career high so far has been achieving Gold at the Greece Open in 2014.
In 2016 I organised a 2 day demonstration at the very popular 'Portmounth Summer Show' where approximately 40,000 people attended. We had a very good turn out of students who took part and were able to perform in front of thousands of people. In 2017, we also organised a demonstration on a much smaller scale for 'Kids Party in the Park'. This was still very enjoyable and gave the students a chance to show off their skills.
Classes are now in our own purpose built dojo in Hilsea, Portsmouth and also in Petersfeild - 6 days per week. I also hold self defence at work courses, Ice breaker events, and many other short courses. I am hoping to be opening additional TaeKwonDo Academy schools in Hampshire this year and I have several students working towards becoming fully qualified instructors and then starting up their own clubs within the TaeKwonDo Academy.
I am working towards achieving my 6th DAN Senior Master grade in the next few years and continuing to pass on my knowledge to my students and fellow instructors. It is a never ending journey; I learn something new every day and I practice every day as do my fellow instructors.
The journey doesn't end when you become a Black Belt, the journey just begins.