Israel Rogan and Daniel Craig have both recently received their black belts in Taekwondo, at the ages of 11 and 10, no less! We think that must show a lot of hard work and dedication on their part – what an incredible achievement for the young Coffs Coast locals.
Hey Issy and Dan. How long have you been studying Taekwondo?
Dan: I’ve been doing it for just under two years.
Issy: I’ve been studying Taekwondo for just over five years; I started at the age of six.
Taekwondo is very important to you both and requires a lot of your time. How many hours a week do you train on average?
Dan: Classes are 45 minutes, and I come in five – six times a week. I also do a lot of my training outside of the gym, which includes a lot of fitness training like running, pushups and situps.
Issy: I come to four classes a week, and I do a lot of training outside of the gym. On a school day I wake up and train in the morning, go to school, then train again in the afternoon.
You have both recently received your black belt at such a young age. What’s the journey been like becoming a black belt in Taekwondo?
Dan: It involved a lot of hard work. Over a year you had to complete 50 km of running, and on the day we had to complete 50 reps of pushups, sit ups etc. and our poomsae. We also had to prepare a speech about what it means to be a black belt and remember an oath.
Issy: There are ten belts in total, so you need to train and learn new things for each one before getting to the next. You have to be very committed if you want to get your belts and need a lot of discipline to get there, which means sacrificing a few things. That means not missing training and working hard outside of school and training times.
What was the feeling like when you received your black belts?
Dan: It was awesome; it was a feeling you couldn’t describe.
Issy: It was incredible! I’ve put in all these hours, and now I’m here and it’s what a lot of people dream of becoming – and I was able to achieve it.
What do you love about learning Taekwondo, and what has it taught you?
Dan: You need determination, respect, discipline and confidence. You have to work through stages. At a young age it teaches you to stop and think about what you are doing. It teaches you responsibility, respect for others and makes you a little more mature.
Issy: The thing I love about it most is the exercise in determination; you really have to dedicate yourself, which will be a great skill to have for life.
What are your future goals in Taekwondo?
Dan: To someday be the best in the world and compete internationally and for the Olympics.
Issy: To someday own my own dojo and be able to teach students different fighting styles.