About four years ago I separated from my husband. Our son was nine years old at the time and I had sole custody. He had been doing some swimming training and the coach advised me that although his arms were strong, he needed to develop some inner core strength and suggested a martial art would be a good way to achieve that. I had been looking for a form of exercise that we could do together as being single; it was going to be difficult to get a baby sitter every time I wanted to exercise.
Bondi Junction Taekwondo was the first place I rang and Maria was so kind and explained that there was more to taekwondo than just exercise. It is great for your mind as well. Many of the younger students have done extremely well at school.
We went to watch a lesson and discovered there was quite a mix of people – young, old, male and female. As I was 44 and female, it was reassuring to know that I wouldn’t be the odd one out.
For the first few lessons Maria showed us what to do at the back of the class. She was very patient and inspirational. I felt very comfortable as she did not push us hard. We could go at our own pace. When we had learnt all the moves after a few lessons, we joined in with the class under Lindsay’s instruction. Lindsay is one of the most respected black belts in Australia, being a seventh dan. I thought he would be very serious and strict, but he makes the class so much fun with his jokes, so although it is hard work, it is definitely enjoyable.
My son dropped out after a couple of years, but it is quite normal for boys to do that when they go through adolescence (much to their mother’s dismay!). Most of them come back after a few years and go on to become black belts.
I have continued to go for the last four years and try very hard not to miss a class (three times a week). As a single mother, my life can be quite stressful. Maria and Lindsay and taekwondo have been so good for me. I always feel better after a class. It is a challenge mentally as well as physically. You can’t worry about anything else while you are there. The stress of the day goes completely and my body is so much stronger and suppler. I am confident my body can only benefit from taekwondo well into my old age.