Jane's Journey to Second Degree Black Belt (and Beyond!)
This is Jane from our Coulsdon / Caterham location. We hope her story will inspire you:
How long have you been training?
Between 5 and 6 years I think. I was 44 when I started and am 49 now. I wish I had discovered martial arts 40 years ago. But I am glad I did find it eventually and I am proof that it is never too late to start.
What is your favourite part?
Where to start?
There are so many aspects to the training that I enjoy....the patterns, the set sparring and sparring drills, the self defence, the technical theory. It is an all round workout for my body and brain: it helps me with my fitness, my flexibility, my coordination, reflexes and my memory. I love the variety. There is so much to learn, and then to improve on, that I am never bored. It is like a journey...around every corner there is a whole new challenge waiting for me. The more I learn, the more I want to know and improve on. A lot of the drills are in pairs, or we might work on our patterns with people of a similar grade, so that makes the classes really sociable and fun. And it is not about being better than the person next to me in class or being judged if I cannot run as fast or jump as high as him or her. It is about being the best that I can be and helping others to do the same.
What have I achieved so far?
The short answer is: more than I would have believed. I have earned my second degree black belt. I have put myself way outside my comfort zone in so many ways and come out stronger and more confident. I have competed in national competitions. I have broken boards with my hands and feet. I have become stronger and more flexible than I ever was, even in my 20s. I have learned about far eastern history and culture. I had bunion surgery and couldn't walk for 3 months...but taekwondo helped me to get back to fitness...and I am even teaching now. If my instructor had said to me 6 years ago that I would have done any of those things, I would not have believed him. But here I am. And if I can do it, never having done boxing or gymnastics or anything remotely like this before I started, then anyone can.
Describe what TAEKWON-DO means to you in one word only? Wellbeing
Would you recommend Fortitude?
Yes, if you want to learn martial arts in a non-intimidating environment and exercise with positive, like-minded people. If you are thinking of trying it, there's no time like the present. Give it a go. As Master Hodson says, a black belt is just a white belt who didn't give up.