If you’re wondering why Nate and Cole do Taekwon Do in The Trespasser, it’s because that’s what I know about!  

Here’s an article I wrote for the magazine: Taekwon Do Talk.  It’s about my family and how we enjoy doing Taekwon Do together.

Taekwon Do as a Family.

Our family has been doing Taekwon Do together for about six years.  First our son, Daniel, began with Mrs Young’s classes at Otumoetai and Pillans Point and it wasn’t long before my husband, Peter, joined him.  About a year later Amy and I began as well – it seemed the common sense thing to do: why sit and watch when you could join in!  There aren’t many sporting activities which you can do as a family – usually the classes are for either the kids or the adults, not both.  So we took advantage of that.

Dan with Pete and Mark

My son Daniel, with my husband Peter standing behind, practices his kick on our friend, Mark.

It has always been a challenge for me, being the un-sportiest of my family. Throughout my childhood, people would say nonsensical things about how I must be good at sport because I have long legs.  Actually, they’re more of a disadvantage to an uncoordinated person like myself – I tripped my way through all my PE classes at school and developed a healthy aversion to anything requiring exercise.  So to take part in Taekwon Do for me has always firstly been about doing something as a family, and secondly about trying not to fall over in class!

My daughter, Amy and I, practicing wrist locks.

The great thing about doing Taekwon Do as a family is that we all appreciate first-hand each other’s achievements. I’m sure I’m more proud of my kid’s achievements than I would be if I was just watching from the sidelines. There’s something about taking part in your kids activities that gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of what they’re doing. I can get as excited as they do when they achieve some new goal.

And it works both ways.  My kids are great encouragers of my efforts too.  If it wasn’t for that, I’m sure I would have given up a long time ago!  Every time I grumble about how difficult I’m finding some new technique though, I get a bucket load of support from my kids along with lots of talk about perseverance.

Seems they’ve taken on-board all the tenants of Taekwon Do.  Which is good, because I can use those same tenants to keep them focused in other important areas of their lives…homework and housework! Thank you Taekwon Do for the principles you’ve helped instill into my kids, even if they don’t always appreciate it!

Another great thing about Taekwon Do is the people we’ve met.  Such a great bunch—everyone is really encouraging! I particularly enjoy the Vets camps, where I get to be among others who’ve made it past my grade.  They don’t know how much of an inspiration they are.

Another aspect of Taekwon Do that I didn’t realise would be such a benefit to me personally is the self-defence knowledge.  Not just for self-confidence, which it definitely has been helpful for us all, but as an aspiring children’s writer, I’ve been able to have a lot of fun with Daniel figuring out fighting scenes for one of my kid’s books I’ve written (www.karencossey.com/childrens-books/the-trespasser-childrens-book/) We’ve had lots of laughs, and had to discard some highly improbable scenarios, but my stories are lot more realistic because of my Taekwon Do experience.

Talking about improbable scenarios, when I first started Taekwon Do I thought I would never get past yellow belt.  It’s quite incredible to me to look back at the things I used to think were impossible, and realise I can now do them. All I needed was time. I still find sparring the hardest thing, but it’s not so scary now (depending on who I partner with, that is!).  I can co-ordinate myself around patterns that I used to have stop half through and just laugh at myself. And occasionally I can break something I’m actually meant to.  Though getting past blue stripe still seems a big ask, I have my kids and my Taekwon Do buddy, Svetlana, telling me I can do it, so sometime this year I guess I’ll have to give it a go…blue belt, now won’t that be something?