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My Taekwondo Story by Danielle Jamison 1st Dan

Black Belt instructing small boy

Member Stories

DANIELLE JAMISON

 

I started training with Pacific International Taekwondo when I was 6 years old, mainly to copy my older brother because 6-year-old Danielle thought he was very cool!

I began training with Senior Instructor Shane at the Albany Creek branch. Snr Inst Shane was an excellent instructor, he focused on carrying out every technique correctly and being disciplined. He helped me make significant progress in taekwondo. I remember he would tell me, “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 repeating the same phrases he used, as those sayings had a significant impact on me.

One of my proudest recollections as a 7-year-old was during my 9th Kup grading, when Grand Master said I could be his bodyguard – which is possibly the best thing anyone’s said to me in my entire life!

Taekwondoyoung girl kicking

I trained with Senior Instructor Shane for a total of 3 years, until he had to stop training due to work commitments. Before he finished he moved from Albany Creek to Stafford branch so I decided to continue my training there, with him and Assistant Instructor Alexa. And that’s when I achieved my Junior Black Belt.

In the middle of 2021, I moved back to the Albany Creek branch and began training with Senior Instructor Ben, Instructor Sean and (then) Assistant Instructor Martin. I learnt so much about sparring, breaking boards and improving technically.

I originally planned on applying for my Junior Black Belt grading in March 2022, however, I pushed back the date to June, to become more confident in my board-breaking techniques.

To prepare for my grading, I increased my practice at home, incorporating lots of running and terrorising my parents and brother to hold hand pads for me to practice my kicks.

During training, Snr Instructor Ben and Instructor Sean motivated me by emphasising the five tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self control, and Indomitable Spirit. Having such encouraging instructors helped keep me on track, improving my confidence during my grading and leading to my successful promotion to Junior Black Belt.

Part one of the Junior Black Belt and 1st Dan gradings consists of demonstrating all the techniques learnt during the colour-belt levels. Senior Instructor Ben printed out a list of pattern names and numbers of movements, as well as the tenets of taekwondo and the meanings of each belt colour to help me memorise everything I needed to know for part one of my grading.

Part one my Junior Black Belt grading took place at the Toowong Branch Dojo. Instructor Sean drove all the way there to support me and both my parents came to watch me grade.

I was pretty nervous for part one of my grading, but thankfully I passed.

I was even more nervous for part two of the grading, especially for board breaks. Before my grading, Senior Instructor Ben and Assistant Instructor Martin helped me to warm up.

Senior Instructor Shane used to say that the 10th kup grading is the second hardest grading you will ever do and your first black belt grading is the hardest – which I found is 100% true. I’ve never been more nervous than when I was waiting at the back of the hall to be called in for my Junior Black Belt grading.

Thankfully, I broke all the boards and got through the sparring, receiving my Junior Black Belt!

Over the next year, I started helping to instruct the kids and adults classes and to prepare for my 1st Dan grading, I worked on improving my sparring and board breaks.

Unfortunately, Senior Instructor Ben moved to a different branch, so Instructor Sean and Instructor Martin continued instructing me towards my 1st Dan grading.

While being focused on my own physical training most of the time, I found that learning to instruct the class members was a different way of learning. Instructor Sean was amazing at teaching me how to be confident and explain techniques clearly.

Instructing definitely didn’t come naturally to me, but by watching Instructor Sean lead classes and train with students, I was able to become more self-confident in instructing others, though I still have a long way to go.

During my own training Instructor Martin helped me a lot with self-defence and implementing taekwondo techniques into real-life situations. Knowing how techniques are used helped me enormously.

In June 2023, I applied for my 1st Dan grading. 1st Dan and Junior Black Belt gradings are very similar, except 1st Dan has more demanding board breaks. Because I was more familiar with black belt gradings this time, I wasn’t as nervous during parts one and two of my 1st Dan grading (but I was still very nervous).

During the grading, I had struggled with the side-kick board break, but thankfully, I ended up breaking it and received my 1st Dan Black Belt.

After receiving my 1st Dan, I have continued instructing students in both the kids and adults classes. Getting more experience in instructing allowed me to become more confident when instructing others, and at the end of 2023, I was promoted to Assistant Instructor.

Currently, I am working towards improving my sparring and board break techniques required for the 2nd Dan grading, as well as continuing to instruct students.

Black Belt instructing small boy
Asst Inst Danielle instructing junior class member

Achieving my own goals and watching the students I have instructed reach theirs is an incredibly rewarding experience. I have been doing taekwondo for over 10 years and over this time, I gained valuable self-defence skills, whilst enjoying every part of the training, facing new and difficult techniques and becoming better at them.

I would recommend Pacific International Taekwondo to everyone. It has 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.

Danielle Jamison, 1st Dan Black Belt

 

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