Finch to train with the best

Lai­d­ley in­struc­tor to build his knowl­edge over­seas

Gatton Star - - SPORT - Louise Shan­non

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.

PHOTO: FILE

KICK PUNCH: Bai Rui Taek­won-do Lai­d­ley in­struc­tor Dar­ren Finch will travel to New Zealand next week for train­ing.

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