National champ shows way
TAEKWONDO success requires flexibility, strength, dedication and, it seems, an experienced Ipswich coach.
Head instructor of the Tans Taekwondo club at Ipswich PCYC, Kevin Donaldson, is beaming from ear to ear thanks to a growing list of state and national champions to come out of his fold.
For the first time, the popular PCYC club can boast a national taekwondo champion after 10-year-old Tamzin Christoffel won the honour at the recent Australian championships on the Gold Coast.
Donaldson, a veteran with 23 years martial arts experience, said Tamzin's victory was a win for everyone at the centre.
"It was an awesome feeling when Taz won the title," he said.
"We have 135 students who train here and if anything, it increases my respect for the children and how hard they work to get to that level."
Tamzin, who attends Ipswich East State School, said her win came as a surprise but had also given her more motivation.
"I never actually thought I would make it to nationals," Tamzin said.
"Now I really want to go to the Olympics one day."
The PCYC also boasts a number of Queensland champions, including 10-year-old Connor House and patterns gold medallist Brock Steadman.
West Moreton Anglican College student Marshall Roberts also achieved a runner-up result at the Queensland championships.
Keryn House said her son loves attending the taekwondo centre and she felt confident it was giving him valuable skills.
"Connor lives for the competition," she said.
"He really loves the challenge of taking on an opponent.
"From my perspective, the training gives me confidence he can defend himself in dangerous situations."
Mr Donaldson said his students learn much more than just how to compete in a martial arts sport.
"Taekwondo is about spirit, respecting one another and control," he said.
"Kids who come here can learn to become well rounded individuals, who can take care of themselves.
"They will learn self-defence skills but hopefully they'll never have to use them."
Taekwondo competition has a range of divisions, including age, weight and ability.
Sparring at the PCYC club is not compulsory with new participants welcome to attend to take part in the self-defence training and exercises.