Category Archives: Training Diary: Mum vs Ninja

A personal diary of my progress in training beyond 1st Degree Black Belt, by Assistant Instructor Anna Bradford.

Many see ‘Black Belt’ as the end destination but for me it has been the starting point of my training especially since becoming a mother and trying to balance two very different aspects of my life, hence the blog title ‘mum vs ninja’!

Zac’s Brave Battle

Almost all of the raffle prizes have found their way to the winners now! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the raffle by buying tickets or donating prizes. We have transferred £260 into Zac’s Trust Fund and sincerely hope it helps. 

Donations kindly made by

– Promotional Products UK

– Skiltons’ Bespoke Designs

– Tesco of Low Town

– Emotion Studios

– Master Tony Sewell 

– Faintree Garage

– Bristows Sports Shop

– Elizabeth Beckett Skincare 

– Bridgnorth Tae Kwon-Do, our wonderful students, family and friends 



We have a confession…

We have a confession. When we have good news to share, we try to publicise it far and wide. We work hard and so do our students, so we like to tell the world! When a student has a setback, maybe we are not quite so upfront. We are not embarrassed and certainly not untruthful. We just don’t shout from the rooftops, usually to protect the student’s feelings. They are already feeling fragile and disappointed. 

What we do do, is support them privately and encourage them to turn the situation around into a positive. We can honestly say every one of our students who has failed, who has persevered with it, not given up at the first hurdle, shown the grit and character to go back and try again, has become a far better martial artist. Not just physically but mentally too. They know what it feels like to fail. I do too. They know the courage it takes to go back to class, feeling a bit sheepish or even annoyed. They also know that nobody judged or laughed. Everyone helped, encouraged and allowed them to continue to develop. Those that return to class, and applaud their peers who were successful, despite their own disappointment, are a special kind of person. 

What we know for sure is that not-passing-everything-first-time doesn’t make you a bad student. We like to think it doesn’t reflect on us as teachers either! Sometimes you just have an off day. Sometimes the nerves are too much. Sometimes a new instruction in the grading that you don’t know (and you’re actually not expected to know) makes you lose your confidence. That’s what happened to me. The point is you must learn from it. It’s ok to make a mistake in a grading. Just don’t let it put you off your stride competely. 

Of course we only put students up for a grading if we think they are ready. But it is never a done deal. 

So our confession is, we don’t all pass first time. And we think that’s ok. 

Colour belt grading success at Bridgnorth 

Four of our students have passed the latest colour belt grading. 

Sixth Degree Black Belt Mr Burgess travelled from Wells to Bridgnorth to conduct the grading, which was held at Bridgnorth Leisure Centre. Tom passed with an overall A-grade, showing consistent performance above the expected standard for his stage in the taekwondo journey. Jack was ill on the day but turned up, tried hard and showed us his best ever martial arts. Phoebe and Oliver passed their first gradings with flying colours too. Phoebe has only been training since January and Oliver is the first student to graduate from Mini Masters to gain a yellow stripe. The first of many, we know! 

Mr Burgess also praised our three black belts who were put forward for assessment, saying he was “pretty impressed” and that the black belts performed at a “very high standard”. Well done everyone! 

Kicking the year off! 

A group of colour belts passed their winter gradings with flying colours and a 100% pass rate which the club has maintained throughout the last 12 months. Adult black belt student Aubrey Round has gained his Umpire Certification in preparation for his upcoming 3rd Degree Black Belt grading which will take place in the spring. Mr Round also won silver for men’s veterans heavyweight black belt sparring at the GTI English Open last weekend. David Rowley also won a silver, for men’s veterans middleweight sparring, losing a very respectable final to a fifth degree black belt, after a tie. At the same competition, secondary school student Jack Light scored a personal best of 17 for his pattern ‘Toi-Gye’, and continued to show improvement. The best result of the day without a doubt was everybody’s attitude and willingness to strive to improve! Keep it up folks! 

As the grading approaches…

As the grading approaches, do you feel confident and able? 

You should! 

You will have worked on your fitness, stamina and concentration skills. 

You will have trained regularly, shown commitment and drive. 

You will have a goal in mind for the short and long term. 

You will have overcome nerves to deal with an aspect you feel unsure of or less confident with.

You will have practiced your patterns time after time, perfecting the moves and learning to understand what they are used for in a real life situation. 

You will have developed sparring techniques and the ability to adapt your style depending on your partner. 

You will show self control and physical confidence when demonstrating self defence and defensive drills techniques. 

You will have worked hard to learn and use the correct, precise parts of the hands and feet for each technique. 

You will have learnt Korean history, terminology, pattern meanings and the symbolism behind Tae Kwon-Do colours to stretch the mind and challenge yourself. 

You will have accepted guidance, constructive criticism and probably had some form of setback or disappointment. 

You will have helped, encouraged and inspired your friends in the club. 

The grading is just the next step in a long and enjoyable journey. 

Smash it, and enjoy it! 

GTI NW Open Results 

Yesterday saw the second GTI North West Open, held in Liverpool, and five of our students competed. Jack led the way with a commendable patterns score of 13, only one point away from the medal winners. Disappointing for Jack but progress nonetheless and hopefully a source of motivation for next time! Jack’s sparring also showed good progress but lots of punches from his opponent drew Jack into a close boxing-style fight. Jack will continue to work on tactics in his training to feel confident in how to escape from the punch-heavy fights – finding space and leading with the legs. 

Harry hasn’t competed for a while but showed good spirit with an explosive pattern that scored 16. The gold medal winner scored 18 so you can see Harry wasn’t far off! In his sparring Harry was also in a punch-dominated fight with his opponent warned to stop using swinging punches. Harry showed experience and tactics by using a lovely retreating side kick. Harry also showed a very technical fight with excellent use of kicks. 

Well done to Jack and Harry – you fought fairly, and are truly coming on in leaps and bounds. Keep it up! Everyone experiences disappointments along the way but if you decide to, you can turn them into a positive 😊

On to the adults (or almost adults!), who spent the majority of the day time keeping, scribing and umpiring. Jake and Aubrey chose not to compete in patterns and Dave, having had little chance to prepare on the day, rushed on to the ring after trying to find a missing competitor. He has a kind heart but next time he assures me he will focus on number 1! 

Jake sparred first in the black belt category. He won his first fight and made it look effortless – but Jake used the appropriate speed and techniques to win the fight without using all his energy. The second fight, against another GTI Squad member, was 2 minutes long, 1 minute rest and another 2 minute round. An excellent display from both competitors and a very well deserved gold medal for Jake! 

On to the men’s veterans category. Dave, with a significant height disadvantage, was certainly no underdog and came away with another gold medal for his collection. Aubrey was a close second taking silver in the Bridgnorth TKD v Bridgnorth TKD final! A lovely position to be in, but who are you supposed to root for?! Both showed excellent tenacity, grit and determination and both tried to lead with their feet.

Well done to all of you, your results speak volumes of Mr Plant’s tuition. Back to base tonight with lessons learnt and more work to be done.