By Oisín Bradley
It’s a new dawn for Taekwondo Club chairman Christopher O’Brien and the rest of the NUIG Taekwondo Club, as they look to find a new way to operate in the current climate.
O’Brien and the rest of the committee have had to get their thinking caps on to come up with a plan to navigate the waters due to the effects of Covid-19. However, the idea of online classes for their students is one which makes sense for the seasoned campaigner.
“In the past few years, we’ve run training every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to accommodate as many people as possible. As you know with the whole Covid-19 issue everything is a bit up-in-the-air, so at the moment we’re going for a virtual session every Monday and Thursday which anybody can join in on. One of our black belts will be instructing in that.
“On Wednesdays we’ll have an actual physical session for beginners, whether that be beginners or first years.”
O’Brien, who is currently training to receive his purple belt, is acutely aware of his responsibilities, and is committed to providing a classroom which is enjoyable for both tutor and student, and he insists that his door is always open for any advice.
“It’s my job to keep the club going in the day-to-day sense and make sure that all of our members are getting their enjoyment out of sessions. If anyone has any recommendations for how to make training better, or anything they want to cover they can come to me or the committee and we’ll go about making it enjoyable for everyone.”
The club has been to the fore when pitted against their counterparts from across the length and breadth of Ireland, and their haul of accolades from last year alone speaks for itself.
“As a club we’re very active in Inter-Varsities. A lot of people are joining us just for exercise, however there are four or five of us who are particularly active in competitions all across Ireland. Last year alone, four or five of us drew in 33 medals across nine competitions. We would have had more chances to get medals were it not for Covid. We try to go to as many Inter-Varsities as possible.
“From a competitive standpoint, we have so many sessions and we try to go to as many as possible to gain an edge on other clubs.”
When asked about why any aspiring martial artists would choose Taekwondo over similar sports, O’Brien was quick to point out the strengths his team had to offer.
“I’d say that our training is a little more all-round. We do a good bit of fitness, as well as plenty of self-defence as well as heavy technique to get the basics rounded. However, we also do a lot of sparring to hone techniques outside of our classrooms.”
The strength of talent on offer in the Taekwondo club is nothing to be sniffed at, and per O’Brien, the class is evident as soon as you walk take in a single session.
“There’s ability there for sure; three of us got onto National Squads recently and we’re aiming to go to the World Championships in March. We also have a number of Black Belts from the Irish squad who come in to train with us, so you’re tapping into an immense pool of talent when you train with us.”
NUIG’s Virtual Clubs Day concludes tomorrow at Thursday(5pm-8pm). For more info, check out @nuigalwaysport on Twitter!
For more information on the Taekwondo club, contact firstname.lastname@example.org