JUST Taekwon- DO IT!
Starting this blog was an opportunity to champion some of the best additional activities in Liverpool. You don’t always get a sense of the quality of an activity through their website or social media and many parents are looking for that recommendation before they make their choice. Liverpool ITF Taekwon-Do School are different, their website tells us straight away that they are specialists at what they do. Not only was the club established as part of the European Taekwon-Do Championship legacy but the website proudly shows their affiliation with UKTA (United Kingdom Taekwon-do Association) and The British Taekwondo Council. They hold membership with the ITF (International Taekwon-do Federation) and accreditation from Sports England Clubmark.
Need I say more, well actually, yes I must. When Helen Bennett, founder of Wirral UKTA and Liverpool ITF Taekwon-Do School, invited me to come along to a Friday evening session at SFX School in Woolton, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My experience of Taekwon-Do was limited to say the least so I prepared myself for a new experience, safe in the knowledge that my ever growing baby bump would keep me safely on the sidelines on this occasion! Before the visit I would have listed fitness as the main benefit of participating in this sport and whilst it does rate highly, instructors, students and parents all noted confidence as the most valuable area of improvement. In discussion Helen points out the diversity and accessibility of the sport compared to others. Helen’s background as a teacher in Further Education means she is constantly aware of differentiation and making adjustments for each student. In one example she notes how the sport has proven to be beneficial for multiple students with autism, who have enjoyed the structured routines practiced weekly.
The classes allow each student to move at their own pace. Helen highlights the contrast of joining these sessions to joining a football team. If you’re not one of the best players, there’s a good chance you’re not getting chosen for the football team. With Taekwon-Do you turn up each week, train and improve. You are only competing with yourself to be better than you were the week before. There is no sitting out on the bench or being compared to your peers.
But don’t go packing away the team kit just yet. A 12 year old student attending the class I visited has been attending the Liverpool School since shortly after it began and pairs it with his love of Rugby. The techniques and fitness training required in class have helped to keep him flexible and agile on the Rugby pitch. The session I watched started with a physical warm up before a coordination exercise, one to one practice of patterns, sparring technique and finally stretching out. If someone had handed me a Dobok (the white Taekwondo uniform you may have seen before) I dare say I might have even got involved myself, something not uncommon as more and more parents join the classes alongside their children. There are no upper age limits on the classes and the school’s blog talks more about the benefits of mixed age classes as well as the best age for a child to join classes in martial arts (https://www.liverpoolitf.org.uk/blog).
Isaac Berry-Bartle joined the Wirral School at the age of 18 and 4 years later is only a month away from achieving his black belt and instructor status. If this blog does inspire you to get belted up you’ll be seeing more of Isaac as he becomes instrumental in helping to run the Liverpool School. As we focus on the benefits of additional activities Isaac offers an excellent example of how a hobby can help shape a future career. After initially being wary of taking a lead in classes Isaac’s confidence grew, he commented on how he learnt to adapt his approach to different age groups and find ways of delivering sessions in the most suitable way for each different type of student. While his current job doesn’t require him to master a Martial Art, the leadership skills he has picked up in Taekwon-Do have landed him a role as a staff trainer where he is required to coach people in the workplace daily. A task he doesn’t think he would have been able to achieve before his time at the Taekwon-Do school.
The Liverpool ITF Taekwon-Do School is the sister school of Wirral UKTA Taewkon-Do which has been established since 1995 and currently has over 60 students. The Liverpool branch has now been established for just over 12 months and currently has spaces for new participants. If you think this might be for you or your family, classes run at:
Liverpool (SFX College, Woolton)
- Tuesday – 6.30 – 7.30pm – Adults & children from age 8*
- Friday – 6pm – 7pm – Adults & children from age 8*
More classes coming to Liverpool soon including a Sunday afternoon class, planned for the near future.