In the Black

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Lum1_PPReturning to the sport he loved as a kid, Dr Allan Lum of Forrest Avenue Dental Centre in Bunbury, WA, earned his black belt in taekwondo.

I started taekwondo in primary school and continued with it through my high school years. I steadily made my way up through the various dans but I never achieved a black belt. When I started university, I stopped training to concentrate on my studies. However, taekwondo was never far from my mind because one of my life goals was to earn a black belt. As soon as I started working at my first practice, I joined a class with that goal in mind.

“Luckily, I still remembered a lot of the basics—I was taught the foundations very well when I was younger. The biggest problem I faced was that I had lost a lot of flexibility over the years. There were things I could do easily when I was younger that I now found impossible. Midway through the process, I injured my hip by pushing myself a bit too hard. It took a few months to recover before I could start training hard again.

“There are a number of coloured belts to work through and there are also levels where you earn a stripe on your belt. It took me about three years to achieve my life goal. Earning a black belt in taekwondo felt like the end of a journey I had begun as a kid. It’s possible to keep climbing levels as a black belt but I just want to maintain my status and consolidate all the skills I have learnt. I still train regularly because it’s all too easy to slack off without realising it. Then it’s a long hard climb to get back to this level again.

“After I finished university, I could see how easy it would be to get caught up in the dentistry and just work all the time. I wanted a good work/life balance and that was what inspired me to take up the sport again. After a long, tiring day of dentistry, I enjoy switching my mind to something else. It’s great for general fitness and provides a stimulating learning experience in the company of like-minded people.

“Taekwondo is a defensive martial art and it’s nice to know that you can look after yourself in a bad situation. Luckily, I’ve never had to use martial arts in real life and I’m very thankful for that. As you mature, you realise that it’s easier to just walk away rather than provoke a bad situation and make it worse.”

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