Diya Shah

I started Hanmudo when I was nine years old. This was a year later after my parents separated. I remember it being a difficult phase in my life. My mum wanted me to do Martial Arts. She thought that Martial Arts would help me take my mind off what I was going through and channel my energy in the right direction. I did not appreciate the idea at the time and was rebellious. My mind was set that Martial Arts is for boys! I did not want to get into Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu; the most widely spoken forms of Martial Arts I had heard of.

I would see my mum searching different forms of Martial Arts taught in Castle Hill. I secretly prayed that she would not come across any centres and the matter would rest. Where there’s a will there’s a way and she came across Family Self Defense, called the centre and the next thing I knew was that my brother and I were meeting with Master Keyvan. My mother just signed up my brother and myself, not giving us an option! I whined for the first week, thinking I would get away it.

We were regular with the classes despite the numerous challenges life threw at us. After a couple of weeks, I started enjoying each class. I remember Mr. Sam and Mr. Alex along with Master Keyvan being my first teachers.

Without realizing at the time, Hanmundo was a strategy used to help me de stress after a long and tiring day at school including the day to day challenges. Over time I noticed that doing Hanmudo helped me with my focus, stamina and also enhanced my social skills meeting likeminded friends.

I feel that I am mentally switched on as I have to remember my techniques including the names of these techniques. Also, an advantage of learning how to count in Korean!

I feel blessed to have earned a Black Belt in Hanmudo. It’s been a journey of sticking out class after class, getting beat down, sweating, bleeding, pain – a physical represtation of dedication, perseverance and a willing spirit.

Earning a black belt to me is a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth upon completing a goal (which I clearly was not keen in the beginning!) while going to school, living day to day and being faced with life challenges.

Earning a black belt proves to me that I have:

Perseverance – I know that I can do anything I set my mind to.

Dedication/Consistency – I have a deep level of dedication to all purposes and paths in my life.

Leadership – I have been offered many memorable opportunities assisting in the Little Ninjas classes, Dragons classes and leading the warm-up in Teens Classes thus boosted my leadership skills.

I wish to continue with Hanmudo because I feel there is always room for improvement and learning to master the techniques while having fun and keeping fit – mentally and physically!