Breaking board

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It took Dr Jodie Olivier of Bella Dental Care, Baulkham Hills, NSW, just six years to earn her black belt in taekwondo

DSC_0038_horiz_web“I started taekwondo in 2007 while still at dental school. I was looking for an exercise outlet and there happened to be a taekwondo class at Sydney uni. It appealed to me immediately and now, six years later, I am a second dan black belt. It’s a challenging process to earn a black belt. Each belt level has a grading test where you are required to perform a set of blocking, punching and kicking techniques. You also need to do full contact sparring, patterns, board breaking and anything else the head instructor requests.

“Starting with a white belt, you progress through three yellow belts, three blue belts, four red belts, and then black. Taekwondo is a very dynamic sport. Our club also does some boxing and additional cross-training. You’re always on the go and get a really good workout.

“Currently I compete in Poomsae, which is the technical side of taekwondo, and have also competed in sparring. I won a national title in 2011 for open black belt Poomsae, and am currently ranked second in NSW. My highest sparring achievement was second place at the NSW state championships in 2011. As a martial art, taekwondo is designed for self-defense. Even though I’ve never had to use it in my day-to-day life, it gives you that little bit of extra confidence. If something ever did happen, I know I won’t freeze but will be able to do something. There are five tenets of taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. So taekwondo is beneficial not only for the self-defense and fitness aspects, but it’s also really good for discipline and personal growth. We have quite a large number of females in our club and our head instructor is a fifth dan female.

“I’m hoping to earn my third dan black belt next year. I have to perform a set of black belt blocks, punches and kicks. I also need to know all the patterns from white belt level through to third dan black belt and the Korean terminology for different techniques. I’ll need to break several wooden boards using a combination of hands and feet. The secret to breaking the wooden boards is not to hesitate but to strike through the board. It feels really good when you punch through.”

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