I started taekwondo when I was 6 years old, mainly to copy my older brother because 6-year-old Danielle thought he was very cool. I went to the Albany Creek branch, the instructor was Senior Instructor Shane McNish. He was an excellent instructor, focusing on technique and discipline, and he helped me make significant progress in taekwondo. He used to say things like, “It doesn’t matter if you get it wrong one hundred times, as long as you try your best” and “I’d rather if you did one good kick than ten bad kicks”. Now that I am teaching young children, I find myself saying the same things he did, as those words meant a lot to me.
I fell in love with taekwondo and could be found regularly practising flying side-kicks in my bedroom, which now looking back, was not the greatest idea.
Back then, Instructor Sean Hyde was a 1st Kup and used to help teach the kids class. I remember watching his 1st Dan grading and hoping that maybe I could also be a black belt one day.
I don’t really remember much about gradings or training (because I was very young), but I do recall at my 9th Kup grading, Grandmaster said I could be his bodyguard – which is possibly the best thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
I trained with SI Shane for three years and when he had to move away for work, I trained with SI Ben Boland for two years. SI Ben was an amazing instructor, he really helped me improve my patterns and technique, and helped me get to 3rd Kup.
I trained with SI Shane and Assistant Instructor Alexa for another three years, progressing to 1st Kup. Unfortunately, SI Shane retired from Taekwondo, but Assistant Instructor Alexa helped me continue my training to get my Junior Black Belt.
I moved back to Albany Creek with SI Ben, Instructor Sean and Assistant Instructor Martin half-way through 2021. I learnt so much about sparring, breaking boards and improving my technique, and with their help, I got my Junior Black Belt at the 2022 June grading.
I was pretty nervous for part one of my grading, but thankfully I passed. I was really nervous for part two of my grading because I was scared that I wouldn’t pass. I broke all the boards and got through the sparring and got my Junior Black Belt!
Over the next year, I started helping teach the kids and adults classes and worked on improving sparring and doing harder board breaks.
Unfortunately, SI Ben was moved to a different branch, but Instructor Sean and Assistant Instructor Martin helped me train for my 1st Dan grading. Instructor Sean was amazing at helping me learn how to teach other people and get better at patterns and board breaks. Assistant Instructor Martin helped me a lot with sparring and how to use taekwondo techniques in real-life situations.
In June 2023, I went for my 1st Dan grading. I was a little bit less nervous for both parts of the grading, but still very scared for the board breaks. There was a terrifying moment where I thought I was going to fail from not being able to break the boards, but thankfully, I ended up passing!
Both achieving my goals and seeing people I have helped teach achieve their goals is an incredibly rewarding experience and I would recommend taekwondo to everyone. Taekwondo helped me grow in confidence, fitness and discipline and I am very thankful to all my instructors and my parents for taking me to taekwondo every week.