3rd dan | november 2022
Hearing of taekwondo at the age of 5 through my best friend’s commencement of his own taekwondo journey, I joined a club near my home and made my way to yellow belt. However, after coming to Australia in 2013 and recommencing my journey, I found out that I had essentially learnt nothing. With this, I truly began my journey at the young age of 6. Reflecting on my first competition a mere 2 months after joining, I recall the exhilarating feeling of winning both my events. Doing so encouraged me to walk further down my own path of taekwondo. Only a year after joining, I would soon join the competition team with other talented individuals who had and would continue representing the club in both states and national championships. Here, I met and built youthful relationships with likeminded others, unfortunately some would eventually end their own journeys short of reaching black belt while others would achieve the belt only to quit later on. Yet, there remains only a handful of athletes who diligently practise their techniques.
It would take me a short 3 years before I would reach 1st Poom with a mixture of both successful and unsuccessful experiences at both states and national events. During these three years, I thoroughly enjoyed learning the basics of taekwondo including all numbered poomsae, all self-defence techniques mandated at the time and a large majority of blocks and strikes. However, I was yet to experience the moral applications that the years to come would offer. Like many others, once reaching the stereotypically final rank of black belt, I began to wonder, what was next. Were there more techniques I had yet to learn? Was this where I would become untouchable to the untrained person? Was there really nothing left? These were questions I frequently asked myself. This coupled with a consistent streak of unsuccessful competitions, I found myself in a state where my faithfulness was wavering. Fortunately, my determination to continue would propel me forward for another 3 years until 2nd Poom. During my initial three years of being a black belt, I continued to improve on the accuracy of my techniques, learnt poomsae ahead of my own belt as well as my own physical growth in adolescence. All this however does not accumulate to the lessons learnt for my own development of character.
Eventually, another three swift years would go by along with the commencement of many other journeys and the conclusion of many more. Today, I stand here in preparation for my 3 rd dan grading finally at the age in which I can and miles ahead of where I once was. The morals and life lessons within the past 9 years are plentiful and significant as they continue to shape and create who I am today. With this, it would be far too arrogant to not express my gratitude to those who have helped me even if it may have not been for every step of the way and to glorify those who have.
To those who have been with me during parts of my journey, most recognisably Alexander, Reiner and Reyen, Riley, Damon, Michael, Charli, Chloe, Matthew, Chook, Lorelle and many others. I write this to you who have greatly impacted my life even if it wasn’t for long. Thank you for accompanying me through my journey. Thank you for influencing, training, and encouraging me to continue taekwondo and thank you for the joyous moments that illuminate my memories of my taekwondo journey.
To Master Benecia, thank you for coaching me all these years in both poomsae and sparring with different strategies and techniques that I would not be able to execute without your help.
To Master Bryanna, thank you for assisting me in my journey for the past 9 years and by ensuring that every single session is entertaining as can be with your bright personality.
To Master Joyce, thank you for establishing my foundations from the very first day of my journey as well as for organising and allowing me to experience and take hold of so many different opportunities.
To Master Brian, thank you for being the second fatherly figure in my life and for contributing greatly to the personality I am today.
To the Cheong family, my gratitude to you all cannot be expressed through simple words. The amount that you have all done for me is innumerable and vast. From teaching me everything I know to essential life lessons that I will never forget.
From here, I intend on continuing my training as far as I can with Weiwu Taekwondo even through what will be the most stressful time of my life in VCE. Thus, concluding my speech. Thank you for listening.