When her daughter was being bullied at school, Pat McQueen decided to take her to taekwon-do classes.
“I wanted her to be confident that if anyone came for her, she would be able to stand her ground,” said Pat, of Mundaring, WA.
“Watching her class I was so impressed that I decided to enrol myself.”
Twenty years on, Pat, 58, is one of four veteran practitioners from around Perth who will represent Australia at the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships in Belarus this year.
The group, aged from 53 to 73, represents the Low Taekwondo-Do academy in Darlington.
The oldest team member is Ian Green, also from Mundaring. Leanne Searle from Rockingham and the youngest of the four, Patrick Ng, from Sterling, complete the line-up.
“For me, apart from the exercise and friendships, I value taekwon-do for the self-control and self-confidence it gives me, knowing I can protect myself,” Pat said.
“I also find comfort in the discipline and structure and in setting goals for myself.
“There is a lot of stretching involved, which is very beneficial as you get older.”
More than 700 competitors from 60 countries are expected to compete in the Eastern European country.
The 17-member national squad, selected at the national championships in Sydney last year, has 10 veterans and seven juniors.
Because the Korean martial art is an amateur sport, competitors have to cover all their own costs to train and compete at the world championships.
To help meet the cost of airfares and accommodation, the four are seeking financial support.
Details on how to donate can be found at a dedicated GoFundMe page: Oldies at TKD Champs, Belarus 2018.
- Interested in taking up taekwon-do? Visit austkd.com.au and click on Clubs.
So what is this sport?
- Taekwon-do is recognised as one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2000 years.
- The name translates as tae (foot), kwon (hand), do (art).
- It differs from karate in that it emphasises kicking techniques rather than hand strikes. Its techniques include joint locks, throws, sweeps or a variety of take-downs.
- The specific postures, stances and movements also differ from karate.
- Taekwon-do is South Korea’s national sport but it is practised in 188 countries.
- Up 70 million people take part in taekwon-do, of whom four million are black belts.
- Lauren Burns won Australia’s first Olympic taekwon-do gold medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
This article first appeared on www.thesenior.com.au