When Sylvana Giuffreand Shalini Burnsjoined Taekwondo World, their aim was to get their black belt. However, after reaching black, they wanted more. Both ladies are over 40 with families. They have a passion for the sport and train hard.
Here are their stories
Sylvana Giuffre (47)
My journey into TKD extends from my Karate background. Having reached my Brown Belt Black tip in Karate by the time I was 19, I felt something was missing and incomplete. I took up TKD at a much later stage in my life, with all intentions on getting my black belt. No deviations this time around. I also wanted a “mixed martial arts” skillset. My son inspired me to join him in his journey to getting his black belt. He joined TKD 2 years before I did and I got the “itch”. My son said he would wait for me to catch up to his level and “we’ll grade together mum”. With that in mind, I set myself the goal to get my black belt within 2 years, and I did. But I wanted more! Two years after getting my black belt, my good friend Shalini inspired me to go on the journey with her to get our Second Dan. Together, it was gruelling training at the dojo for 12 months. Not only did I train with Shalini at the Dojo, but I was disciplined enough to train at home. If I wasn’t training at the dojo I was training at home 7 days a week to be prepared for my Second Dan grading.
TKD is an addition for me. I can’t get enough. I am in awe of the young Masters and they drive me to be my best at all times. I’m always learning something new and always bettering myself at it. If I think I’ve nailed some move, I think again. No I haven’t nailed that, I can do better. So I keep on going. The masters inspire, motivate and discipline me. I love their teachings.
TKD is a life long sport. When you think you get to a certain level, you have the craving to go to the next level.
TKD never stops, it is life!
Shalini Burns (44)
Burns family I started karate when I was 7 years old. After 6 years of training I reached my brown belt, but had to stop. I joined a gym in my 20s and enjoyed the aerobic classes and weight training and did that for many years even after starting a family. It was when I noticed my son getting pushed around on the playground; when he was 3 years old that I decided to seek out some form of martial arts for him; as I remembered how confident I was in my ability from a very young age and knew introducing him to it, would help him. It has exponentially! After watching him train for a while I found that I wanted to get involved as well and we joined up as a family. It took my husband some time to convince but we now argue to decide who goes to class and who stays to look after the kids. We enjoy the family time and doing something as a family. It is very rare to find a sport that you can all do together.
As with everything in my life, I give it 110%. So after 2 years as a black belt I decided I wanted more. And thus trained with the wonderful Sylvana and we graded together. We may be older and the body may not be flexible as it used to be, but our passion and dedication make up for these limitations. We will continue to be better than what we are today. We will continue to persevere.
My competition is within myself and where there is a will, there is a way.
Taekwondo World has not just provided me with a training sanctuary, it has also allowed me to build a community of friends that I call family.