Julie’s Taekwondo journey

In this blog, our wonderful Quality Manager, Julie Rutherford, shares her journey of Taekwondo.

I have never been a particularly fit individual and have tried a number of gyms and fitness classes throughout the years but nothing really stuck. That all changed back in 2017 when I was reading something and a sentence stood out:

Taekwondo had been an amazing journey which has enhanced my self esteem, built confidence, developed discipline and strengthened both my mental and physical fitness.

Claire De Soldenhoff, a support manager in the East, had written a blog on her own Taekwondo journey and I was inspired to give it a go. It just so happens I was in touch with a girl who lived next door to me over 35 years ago and she was a black belt in Taekwondo. A few messages later I found myself at an adult class within a couple of week’s of Claire’s blog.

It was quite daunting going along to my first class but I was hooked straight away. I was actually surprised at how many adults take up Taekwondo and it was good to know I was not the only novice there. Many adults take it up because their children do so and my club run a combination of children’s only, adults only and family classes so they can train together.

My enthusiasm for Taekwondo grew and Claire found herself going over my techniques at the Staff Conference in Dunblane before my first grading in December 2017. Needless to say we did get some looks and interesting comments that night and I am sure the rest of the delegates enjoyed the free entertainment!

In the meantime, Alison Garrow, support manager in the West, had also been looking for something new to try and came along with me to a class in a very old and cold building in Bearsden. Before you knew it her daughter, Emma was joining us!

Alison and I decided to enter the GTUK Scottish Championships in April 2018 to represent our club XS-Taekwondo. Competing in the veterans’ section we took part in the Patterns and Sparring competitions and managed a gold and silver in the Patterns between us!

Alison and I have continued with Taekwondo and attend classes at least three times a week which equates to Fit180. Sometimes the club runs extra classes such as Patterns, Squad (which is sparring) and Destruction (which is learning to break boards). As well as increasing our physical fitness Taekwondo helps with your mental agility too as you learn the theory behind Taekwondo and each pattern you make. You also learn each move in Korean. This means learning the stances, punches, blocks, strikes and body parts in Korean which you get tested on at your gradings.

Fast forward to December 2018 and Alison, Emma and I undertook our latest gradings. Alison achieved her Green Belt (6th Kup), Emma her Yellow Belt with Green Stripe (7th Kup) and I achieved my Green Belt with Blue Stripe (5th Kup).

Along the way we have developed some great friendships with our fellow students, instructors and taekwondo parents. We have decided to enter more competitions in 2019 and we have set individual targets to achieve each year. For instance I hope to achieve my red belt by this time next year. Alison, Emma and I have also agreed to get matching Taekwondo tattoos when we achieve our black belts!

I hope this blog inspires you to take a chance and try a new activity as I was inspired to take up Taekwondo by reading Claire’s blog.

Thank you Julie for sharing your Taekwondo journey. If Julie’s inspired you to start a new activity, share your experience with us communications@penumbra.org.uk