‘Then he attacked me and I just used my techniques to put him on the floor, and I kept him there until the police came.’
Phil, our Mechanical Design Engineer, has been telling us all about what he gets up to outside of work!
Where to start!? Taekwondo is a form of self-defence and Phil encourages anyone who is considering learning it to do so – he says that if anyone attacked him now, he is confident he would know what to do.
‘What we focus on is quite offensive, such as kicking and the demonstration of power by breaking boards. In the beginning, it hurts a lot but as you keep doing it, it hurts less and less. My righthand knuckles are quite big as a result of the pressure applied!’
Taekwondo is good for reducing stress so it is quite common that people who practice taekwondo are generally really relaxed and calm in daily life.
At the moment, Phil trains twice a week and sometimes has weekend sessions. He used to train a couple of days a week and then teach at the University club too.
When we asked him whether he has had to use it in real life, he told us about the time someone broke into his house!
‘My friends and I were in the living room when the offender broke in and stole stuff out of my room. Once I heard that he had left, I went outside, stood in front of him and we started arguing. Then he attacked me and I just used my techniques to put him on the floor, and I kept him there until the police came.’
As he has been doing taekwondo for 6 and a half years. He talks about the relationships you develop and says that it’s like a family. Most of his friends are through taekwondo and his fiancée does it too – that’s how they met!
They have to do competitions that consist of three main aspects: sparring, punching & kicking boards, and patterns of moves we need to learn. Phil tells us that he is best at patterns, but really enjoys the breaking part as well, ‘it is just explosive’. ‘When you fail it’s a lot of pain but when you go through, it is a magical moment and so satisfying – it’s really cool!’
There are four main national competitions a year. You get to know some good competitors and you get to compete against them. Sometimes, they are at a higher level than you, so you get to learn a lot from them.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It is not actually that old considering that it was developed in the 40s and 50s. It is based on the martial art created thousands of years ago. When Phil started, all masters and grandmasters were Korean, but now, we already have two grandmasters here in Britain!
There are ranking systems like the colour belts that go from white to black – Phil is black – and once you have the black belt, then you start first Dan, the master grades you, depending on your techniques and knowledge, but also on the contributions you do to taekwondo, such as doing classes. Phil’s fiancée is in the level just before becoming a black belt so he says he needs to admit that she is really good too!
If you are interested in learning more, why not contact/look here for classes near you: http://www.exetertkd.co.uk