Finch to train with Takewondo best
Taekwondo: Next week Laidley Taekwondo instructor Darren Finch will travel to New Zealand for specialist training with the world's No.1 competitor in a bid to hone his skills and mastery of the popular martial art.
Finch said he was looking forward to the opportunity to be coached by 14-time world champion Carl van Roon, along with eight others from his school - Australia's Brisbane-based Bai Rui Taekwon-Do.
He said the Laidley group had 25-30 members ranging in age from seven to 54 and he believed interest in the sport was growing at a local level as well as nationally.
"Myself and one other student went to the World Cup in Sydney in September and our school took 61 people and came 12th out of 34 countries,” he said.
Finch said students from Laidley travelled to Brisbane every Saturday for training - mostly fitness and competition-based - and he wanted to further his own experience and bring that expertise back to his students.
The Laidley group's first tournament for the year will be a regional competition on March 3.
"We're quite competitive,” he said.
"Last October I took 12 students to the nationals and we brought home 14 medals.”
Finch said 43-year-old Catherine Ovenden had also won overall female champion and she was currently the national champion in three disciplines: sparring, special tech and power breaking.
Taekwondo, he said, helped improve people's confidence as well as being enjoyable.
"I like the confidence I can see the kids gain,” Finch said.
"I get a lot of students who are not very outgoing or who are getting bullied at school.
"It gives people the ability and experience to know they can do anything they want, as long as you give it a try. And a lot of people don't give something a try because they don't think they'll be very good at it.
"The confidence I see some of the young people getting is amazing. It's practice and training and achieving because along the way they have small achievements. It's very empowering.”
He said the process of grading also boosted a student's confidence as they rose through the ranks and often parents became involved and started practising because "they have to drive them - they're already turning up so they might as well join in and get some fitness”.
Finch said many doctors were recommending martial arts for some children with special needs or to help young people with attention deficit disorders learn to focus and work with discipline.