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 TaeKwonDo as we had just moved to the England 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 progressed through the ranks, achieving 1st DAN black belt. Towards the end of 1998 I passed my grading as a Junior Trainee Instructor and my 2nd DAN Black Belt. My sister, Samantha-Jo, achieved her black belt shortly after myself, progressing to Trainee Instructor in 2004 and then fully qualified Instructor in 2010.
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 with several of our students & instructors. I achieved 3rd place in 'Sparring' and our club also took some 2nd and 3rd place medals.
In 2019 I attended as a judge and had the opportunity to compete in an Open Mixed Martial Art Competition where we took many of student to also compete. I achieved 2nd place in 'Team Sparring' and between our students, a total of 50 medals and trophies were won. We exceeded the other participating martial arts by far !
In addition to TaeKwonDo, I tried out Karate, Kickboxing, Kung Fu and Judo. I took part in Karate as a child, Kung Fu whilst at college and Kickboxing as an adult, but eventually decided to make my main focus TaeKwonDo.
In 2004 I qualified as an Adult Trainee Instructor where I was supporting my instructors in the junior and adult classes. Over the years I attended and organised many demonstrations at local infant, primary & senior schools in and around Hampshire & Surrey.
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 lower & higher Sports coaching, A-Levels in Physical Education, Communication Studies and Health & Social Care. I also qualified in Maths, Further Math, Physics & Human Biology A Levels and then went on to qualify as an Accountant in 2016. I am currently working towards my Level 5 Diploma in 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 now teaching at martial art schools in Southampton and Waterlooville.
In 2009 I organised several weekly keep-fit session for physically and mentally challenged people in Hampshire which was great for the participants to meet others and have some fun while keeping fit. Each individual would have a plan set out by myself for each session and adjust accordingly to the individuals ability/disability.
At the beginning of 2010 I did some temporary work for a national Mixed Martial Arts Organisation where I was teaching TaeKwonDo in 10 schools all over the south of England.
Later in 2010 I joined NAKMAS who have been fantastic and supported me throughout my journey and this has enabled me to open the TaeKwonDo Academy Martial Arts & Self Defence School in Petersfield, Portsmouth & Liss.
Myself and our other instructors have also trained with Paul Green & Gareth Brown (Team GB TaeKwonDo Olympic Coaches) who have coached Team GB Gold medallist 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 with the ITA I was one of the instructors who trained with and taught Ben Haines, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics achieving Gold at the Greece Open in 2014.
In 2016 I organised a 2 day demonstration at the very popular 'Portsmouth 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' at Branbury Park, Portsmouth. This was 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 Petersfield & Liss. We 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 within the next couple years and I have several students working towards becoming fully qualified instructors and eventually starting up their own clubs within the TaeKwonDo Academy.
I am working towards achieving my 6th DAN Master grade in the next couple of 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.
Additionally I have a Level 3 Trainers Qualification so I am trained to teach several additional qualifications such as:
Safeguarding Children & Adults, Equality & Diversity, Effective Communication, First Aid, Mental Health Awareness and Health & Safety.
The journey doesn't end when you become a Black Belt, the journey just begins.